RV Depreciation – How To Use It To Your Advantage

This article is going to be about RV depreciation. About what it is, and how you can minimize it and save money on the purchase of an RV.

So what is depreciation anyway? I mean, we hear that term used a lot. So what is it exactly?

Well, it’s simply what happens when something you buy loses value over time.

Now it often happens with vehicles, like cars and trucks. And of course with RVs as well.

So why do they depreciate so fast? Mainly because, especially with RVs, new ones are coming out every single year.

And they have new features and capabilities with every new model year.

So that means that the older ones are not quite as valuable anymore to the buying public.

Also, from year to year there’s going to be wear and tear on the RV too. And that’s going to lessen the value as well.

Watch my video on RV depreciation

So the thing I want you to keep in mind is that RVs should not be considered an investment in any way!

They’re all going to lose value somehow over time. But the question many RV owners want to know is, how fast do they lose value? And how much?

Table of Contents

RV Depreciation – How Much Does It Affect The RV’s Price?

Well, most new RVs that you buy are going to lose about 20 percent of their value within the very first year or so of your ownership.

And then after that they will lose more from year to year. But it’s not going to be nearly as much as that first couple of years.

Now here’s the good news though. Depreciation does affect the RV’s price quite a bit in the first five years.

But after five years it tends to slow down a lot in its drop in value from there on.

In fact, by year 5 most RVs have depreciated somewhere around 35 percent on the average. But by year 10 it’s only dropped to 50 or 60 percent.

How RV depreciation affects RV prices
How RV depreciation affects RV prices

So I think you can see that RV depreciation starts to level out a little bit between year 5 and 10.

RV Depreciation Doesn’t Affect All RVs The Same Way

But different brands and different manufacturers lose value at different rates. And why is that?

Well, that’s because some brands are better known for quality. They have a great reputation with RV buyers and so their value holds longer.

These are brands like Airstream, Casita, Newmar, Tiffin. And there’s others as well. I can’t go down the whole list here in this article.

Perceived RV quality affects RV prices a lot
Perceived RV quality affects RV prices a lot

But there’s quite a few high quality brands that just hold their value better than others do.

And on the other side of the equation there are the typical high production RV builders.

You know, the ones that you see everywhere at almost any dealer you visit.

And they’ve got tons and tons of models and various price ranges and so on. Typically, they are the ones that often lose their value quicker than other quality built RVs. So just keep that in mind.

Now how can you slow down this loss of value in an RV that you have bought?

Well, I’m going to share three ways that you can do that. And number one is something we’ve actually already covered.

The Number One Way To Tame RV Depreciation

That is to try your best to buy a quality RV brand from a quality RV manufacturer.

Now how can you spot quality in an RV? Or what are the brands that have the best reputation?

Well, I know it’s a challenge for many buyers! And that’s why I created several guidebooks to help you in the quest to identify quality RV brands. I’m sure they can be a big help for you in the buying process.

Download my RV guidebooks on manufacturer quality

But now let’s move along to our second point on keeping the depreciation loss as low as possible.

The Second Way You Can Keep The Value Of Your RV High

And that is to maintain your RV as well as you possibly can while you own it.

Unfortunately, this is something that I’ve got to say a lot of RV owners don’t really do very well.

Maintain your RV to keep it's value high
Maintain your RV to keep it’s value high

They buy the RV, and then they kind of treat it like a new home that will never have issues. Or at least it will be a long time before they’ve got to do anything to it.

But the truth is are that RVs constantly need maintaining. And it doesn’t take an awful lot to learn what to do. Also it’s not difficult to do for most people.

In fact, roughly 80% of the things that need to be maintained or repaired around an RV can be done by the average RV owner.

All they need is just a little guidance and know-how that is usually easy to find online.

So try to maintain your RV and keep it in really good shape. And keep a record of what you are doing as you maintain and repair it too.

Record any maintenance you do or any repairs that you make to that RV. Keep very good records of the care that you have put into it.

And let me tell you, that impresses a buyer a lot when you go to sell that RV.

Maintenance records are a great way to get more money for your RV
Maintenance records are a great way to get more money for your RV

When you hand over the records that show exactly what you’ve been doing to keep that RV in excellent shape.

Well, automatically in the buyer’s mind, the value of that RV has increased immediately.

The Third Way To Keep High Value In Your RV

OK, let’s go to number three on our list of slowing RV depreciation loss.

And that is to keep your RV updated as you go with newer technology. Also with newer styles and appearance.

Update your RV's appearance to keep value high
Update your RV’s appearance to keep value high

Now this is important. Because a lot of times people are looking for the latest gadgets and the latest technology.

It’s the things that make RVing easier and more pleasant for them. Also, if you look at older RVs, you’re going to see colors that just aren’t anything near what we are into these days.

You will see things like carpet used everywhere all through the RV, instead of hardwood floors.

And you’ll often see things that clearly date that RV by the appearance alone.

Well, try to keep your RV updated as much as you possibly can. And then when you do, the money you put into it isn’t wasted.

Because that way the investment is not only beneficial for you and your use of the RV.

But it’s also a big plus in the mind of a prospective buyer who’s looking at purchasing that RV too.

And that’s an important point! So keeping the RV modern in appearance increases the value of the RV to them too.

When Is The Best Time To Buy An RV?

OK, so then now the question is, when is the best time to buy an RV to prevent value loss?

In other words what’s the sweet spot in depreciation loss where you should be buying an RV?

Honestly it’s somewhere between year 5 and 7 in my opinion. Because up to then, like we discussed earlier, price depreciation has been pretty rapid.

RV Depreciation Value Loss Sweet Spot
RV Depreciation Value Loss Sweet Spot

But then it just sort of starts to level out a little bit at that point. And you can get a great RV for a great price that’s depreciation stable at that point.

Should You Never Buy A New RV To Prevent The Big Depreciation Hit?

So here’s another question, should you never buy a new RV then? Because of that big depreciation hit that you take right off the bat.

Well I’m not saying that at all! There’s actually several very good reasons that people buy new RVs.

For instance, they may just want that bumper-to-bumper warranty that comes with it for the first year or so.

That way they don’t have to worry about paying for any major repairs during that time.

Also, a lot of people like new RVs because nobody’s used it before them. So they know how that RV has been treated, since it’s brand new.

That means that nobody has had it before and done some bad things to it. Especially things that may not be obvious to the next RV buyer. So they like that!

They also like the idea that there’s not been anybody who smoked in it. Or had pets in it, or things like that.

And that’s especially important to folks that have allergies to those kinds of things.

Also people like to buy new RVs for the latest features, like this article mentioned before. They just want the latest technology available.

And there is nothing wrong with any of those reasons for buying a new RV at all. But here is another important point in favor of buying new RVs.

A Major Reason Why RV Depreciation Doesn’t Always Affect New RVs

And that is if you plan on keeping your RV. And I’m talking about keeping it for many years, maybe 10 years or longer.

Well then honestly, depreciation doesn’t really factor into the equation very much at that point.

Depreciation on new RVs doesn't have to affect everyone
Depreciation on new RVs doesn’t have to affect everyone

Because during all those years of RV depreciation, you are keeping that RV instead of selling it.

But what if you think that you may sell your RV within the next few years or so?

Well then, it’s important for you to factor in the depreciation loss of value in the cost of that RV.

And then try to minimize it as much as possible in the ways I’ve covered in this article.

Well that’s it for now. Have safe and happy RV travels!

4 Season Travel Trailers – The Top Picks

This article is about the best 4 season travel trailers brands to buy.

But what does “four season RV” mean anyway? Well interestingly, there’s no set standard for it in the RV industry that all manufacturers accept.

So it can be a pretty wide definition from one brand to the next. And you have to pay close attention when a brand advertises ‘4 Season Capable”.

Now most travel trailers that you buy are usable from somewhere in the spring to late fall. And that makes them essentially “3 season” travel trailers.

Click this image to watch my video about 4 season travel trailers

But what about hot weather in the summertime time? Well you know, hot weather can be tolerated if you have a good RV air conditioning unit.

Of course, it may be a little uncomfortable at times, but that’s about it. However winter poses a much bigger challenge for RVs.

Because not only will you be uncomfortable in really cold weather, but it can also do damage to your RV.

It can freeze water pipes, waste tanks and other components in the RV causing expensive repairs.

So winter is that fourth season that we want to add in to make a true “four season RV”.

4 Seasons for RV travel and camping
4 Seasons for RV travel and camping

Now let’s go over a list of things that really should be included in a 4 season travel trailer.

Table of Contents

4 Season Package Feature #1

And number one on the list, is upgraded insulation. Really good insulation. In fact, the higher the “R” factor in the RV’s insulation, the better.

Now RV manufacturers use various materials to put insulation in their RVs. But probably the most common are materials like either fiberglass or rigid foam.

The two main methods for insulating travel trailers
The two main methods for insulating travel trailers

And if you had to make a choice, rigid foam is probably the better choice among the two.

However, here’s a warning. Make sure that you verify that the manufacturer has done more than just put higher “R” values of insulation in the walls.

Also verify that added insulation is in the ceiling and the floor too. Because you really need that extra insulation all around the RV’s living area.

4 Season Travel Trailers Feature #2

Now here’s the next thing you want to look in a 4 season travel trailer. And that is that it should have a sealed or shielded underbelly.

And that’s because you need to protect your RV’s water pipes and waste tanks. Not to mention other components that could be hidden down there as well.

So you don’t want that area exposed to the elements in really cold weather.

Winter weather can freeze pipes quickly
Harsh winter weather can freeze pipes quickly

That’s because a cold wind can go right in under the RV since there is nothing to stop it.

And that means that it can get super cold under there and cause lots of problems.

So make sure the RV’s underbelly is sealed and protected as much as possible.

Now here’s a way RV builders can upgrade basement areas even further. And that if the RV has a vent that puts heat down in that area too.

That’s a really nice feature that makes sure that basement areas don’t freeze.

And another help in really cold weather is RV tank heater pads. They attach to the waste and water tanks underneath.

And usually you have a control button to turn on your tank heaters somewhere on your RV’s control panel.

Now these added items are really good to have. But if your RV doesn’t have them, at least make sure that you have a sealed underbelly.

4 Season Capability Feature #3

Now the next component you want to look for in a 4 season travel trailer is double pane windows.

And I think we all recognize the value that double pane windows bring to stay more comfortable in various kinds of weather.

When you’re dealing with extreme temperatures, they help keep cool and heat inside. And they help keep the uncomfortable weather outside.

Now if you don’t have double pane RV windows, that’s going to be an issue. Especially if you want to use your RV in more extreme weather.

That’s because single pane windows are a huge place for loss of heat or cool air. So a true 4 season travel trailer will offer that feature.

4 Season Capability Feature #4

Next up on our list is to make sure you have a really good furnace and air conditioning system. And that will be huge help to keep up with extreme temperatures.

So look for more than the average heating and cooling capacity here. For instance, a higher BTU furnace and a better air conditioning system.

Also keep in mind that it’s best to have a ducted system in your RV. That way you can spread the air throughout the entire living area.

And that is really going to help to make sure that everything is protected the way it should be.

OK, so those are the four things that you want to be looking for in a good 4 season travel trailer.

Now entry-level travel trailers are not going to have all of these features just mentioned.

They might have one or two, but they’re not going to have them all. But true 4 season travel trailers are going to have really pretty much all of these components.

And that means they are upgraded and therefore more expensive to buy. So just expect that 4 season travel trailers are going to cost you more when you buy them.

Now here’s a positive side of the cost of 4 season RV components though.

And that is that generally speaking, when you get 4 season components in a travel trailer, you’re also usually going to see better overall construction methods and materials being used throughout the RV as well.

So it usually means that you are getting a better travel trailer all around.

What Brands Make The Best 4 Season Travel Trailers?

Now let’s get to the question of what brands make the best 4 season travel trailers?

Well I’m going to provide a relatively small list here. And my list will only include brands that I feel build better quality overall products to begin with.

Now there’s lots of RV brands out there. And in the travel trailer segment of the industry, there’s dozens of brands you could consider.

But a lot of them just slap a sticker on a travel trailer identifying it as being “4 season capable”.

And that doesn’t necessarily mean that they have all the components we have covered in this article.

So I’m not going to include RV brands that are generally building with sub-par quality.

Only those that I feel not only build really good 4 season products, but they’re also made with good quality overall.

4 Season Ready Brand #1

So number one on the list is Oliver. And let me just say that Oliver builds a fabulous travel trailer.

Oliver makes great 4 season travel trailers
Oliver makes great 4 season travel trailers

As a result, they have an incredibly high customer service rating from their owners.

So look for the Legacy Elite 2 as it will have a lot of 4 season features built right into it.

And you can read positive comments and reviews from Oliver owners online.

And they often mention how they use their travel trailer year round. So Oliver is a very good place to start shopping.

4 Season Ready Brands 2 And 3

Now number two and three on the list in this article is actually two brands together. And that’s Northwood and Outdoors RV.

Northwood and Outdoors RV are 4 season capable
Northwood and Outdoors RV are 4 season capable

Why do I put them together? Because they’re both owned by the same company.

So they have a lot of similar ways of approaching the task of building RVs.

And they are known in the industry for building true 4 Season travel trailers. So either one of those companies would be great to choose from.

4 Season Capable Brand #4

Then number four on my list is Lance. And Lance builds a better quality travel trailer in general than many of their competitors. Especially those competing in a similar price range.

Lance travel trailer RVs
Lance travel trailer RVs

So look for adding on the “4 seasons certified” option to your Lance trailer. And that will bring you into 4 season territory.

4 Season Travel Trailers Brand #5

Finally, number five on the list is Grand Design. They make some great products and they have a lot of loyal owners despite what you may heard otherwise.

Grand Design Reflection can be 4 season capable
Grand Design Reflection can be 4 season capable

In recent years they have had their issues during the Covid pandemic. But they appear to have resolved those issues and have returned to their pre-Covid form.

So if you’re going to buy a Grand Design travel trailer, look for the Reflection. And then add the “Arctic Package”.

Then you’ll have something you can use for 4 seasons of travel and camping.

Conclusion

OK, that’s where I’m going to stop in this article. But I’ve given you five brands that would be good choices for 4 season RVing.

So does that mean that’s all the really quality brands that are building true 4 season products. No, not at all!

There are others but what I’ve given you here is a good place to start shopping. And these brands are some of the best choices you can make.

Also, now you should have a list of components that you’re looking for to make a travel trailer a true 4 season product.

So you can take what you have learned here and use it to find other brands and models that are 4 season ready.

My hope is that you will make good use of the information in this article.

If you do, I’m confident that you’re going to be able to find a 4 season RV that will fit your needs very well.

Safe and happy travels my friends! Until next time ….

RV Dealers – How To Win When You Buy An RV

This article is about RV dealers, and how to buy an RV the right way. Also, how to avoid a lot of trouble and frustration with RV dealers, while saving money too.

The truth is that RV dealers are often interested more in sales than they are almost anything else.

Yes, they may have a service department. But the reality is that the sales and finance department often drives dealership profits.

And unfortunately, many have adopted sales tactics from car dealers. And I think we’ve all had our unpleasant experiences with high pressure car dealers.

RV dealers often use pressure sales tactics
Pressure sales tactics are common at some RV dealers

Because of that, the whole sales process is designed to get as much money out of every customer as they possibly can.

And not always giving priority to getting that customer the product that they really need.

So with this kind of sales process facing them, many RV buyers often make huge mistakes.

Buying mistakes equals lost money

And they spend way too much money for the RV that they buy. Or maybe they buy an RV, but it’s the wrong one for their style of travel and camping.

And they often get an RV that has all kinds of hidden problems. Issues that they’re not aware of, and they will have to deal with after the purchase.

But the point of this article is that you can avoid all of these issues and problems.

Click here to watch my video on this subject instead

Table of Contents

Step 1 For Success At RV Dealers

All you need to do is follow a few simple steps that I’m going to cover now.

So let’s go ahead and get started. Number one on the list is to do your research before you buy anything.

And when I say research, a lot of folks think “Oh no, I don’t want to do that”.

Well actually, some research can be a lot of fun! For instance, suppose you’re a beginner RV buyer.

Well then, you need to get familiar with the different kinds of RVs that are out there. And the floor plans that are available too.

So the way I recommend to do that is to just go visit as many RV dealers as you can. Just make it a fun adventure!

Now, you’re not going to buy anything at this point. You’re just going there to look and learn.

And you want to go through RV after RV on each visit. All different kinds, all different sizes.

See lots of RVs at RV dealers
See lots of RVs at RV dealers

And you’re going through them with a purpose. Not just to look at them and say “Oh this is nice, I like that, or I don’t like this”.

What You Need To Learn About RVs

No! What you want to do is go find out how livable each kind of RV is. So sit in the chairs. Get into that dinette and see how easily it works for you.

Go and lay in the bed to see how comfortable it is. Then stand in the shower and sit on the toilet. I think you see where I’m going here.

You want to go through and imagine yourself living in and using that RV.

And if you go through enough RVs this way, pretty soon you’re going to figure out the things you like and the things you don’t like.

Yes, you’re going to find out what type of RV really works for you. And very often you’ll get a real feel for the kind of floor plan that fits you best.

So now you have all that information from your initial pleasant research phase. And you should know what kind of RV you like best and what fits you best. So what’s next?

Step 2 For Working With RV Dealers

Well, you need to find out which RV brands produce better quality products.

RV quality really does matter

And there’s a few ways to do that. First of all, you can do a lot of research online in RVing forums and websites.

And by doing that you can probably come up with a pretty decent list of quality brands.

However, what if you’d like to shorten that time and get right to the quality products? Well, I have created some guidebooks that’ll help you do just that.

Learn which brands build better quality products

These guidebooks focus on all the different kinds of motorhomes and also on towables too.

And they will give you the quality manufacturers and models for you to start with first. So that will be the best place to start when you’re looking for an RV.

And that will give you a real leg up as you’re going through this process.

Step 3 – How Much Should You Pay For An RV?

Now the next thing you need to do is get a feel for the cost of the RV that you’re looking at. In other words, what should you be paying for an RV?

And one of the best places I have found for price research is rvtrader.com.

Get prices online from other RV dealers
Get prices online from other RV dealers

But here’s an important tip. Don’t go on their site and just search in your local area for the RV you want.

No, it’s actually good to search all across the country to get as many of those RV models to look at as you can. Just to find out what the prices for that RV are averaging.

And that way you’ll get a real feel for what you should be spending for an RV in your area too.

Just throw out the high and low prices and look for the median cost of that RV. And that is a good price point for the starting negotiations.

So by now you know what the type of RV is that you want to get. And you should know the brands you need to start with too.

And you’ve searched nationwide to get an idea for the fair asking prices that RV is going for.

So at this point your homework is pretty much done. And it’s time to move on to the next phase of smart RV buying.

Now you can go to RV dealers and start the buying process. And you can be confident that you know what you want and how much you want to pay for it.

Who Should You Not Listen To At RV Dealers?

So the first thing that I’m going to tell you here is don’t accept whatever the RV salesperson tells you.

When shopping at an RV dealer, you need to understand that many RV salespeople don’t really know a whole lot about the RV that they’re selling you.

Salespersons at RV dealers
Salespersons at RV dealers

That’s because they are salespeople. So unfortunately in many cases, they’re going to tell you almost anything you want to hear.

Now it’s okay to listen to them. Don’t be rude and ignore them. Just don’t put total trust in everything that a salesperson is going to tell you about RVs.

There’s a lot of RV buyers that did that. And they regret it now because what they were told was not always in their best interest.

Here’s Where RV Dealers Make A Lot Of Their Money

Now there’s something else you need to be ready for when you go to the RV dealer. And that is financing!

Now if you’re going to pay cash, you don’t even have to worry about this part of the purchase.

But what if you’re going to finance the RV like the vast majority of buyers do?

Well, then you need to have your RV financing pre-arranged before you buy! This step is very important if you don’t want to lose lots of money unnecessarily.

Now I made a video on this subject in the past. And I highly recommend that you go through that video and learn about how to finance your RV the right way.

Watch my video on financing an RV
Click here to watch my video on financing an RV

You see, the finance department in an RV dealership is one of their biggest profit centers. If not the biggest profit center for the entire dealership.

Why? Because they’re usually not really offering you a great deal on RV financing.

But that gets lost in all the monthly payments that they work out for you. So it’s hard to see how much you’re losing when all the focus is on monthly payments.

Therefore, it’s best to have your RV financing already pre-arranged. In fact, you should get pre-approved for your financing before you even get to the dealer.

Now what if the dealer gives you a better deal on financing than you already have?

Well then, that’s fine! Go ahead and take it. But if not, then you have your own financing ready to go. And you will save a ton of money that way.

Step 4 For RV Dealers – Don’t Skip This!

Now let’s move on to my next point in the buying process. And that is to insist on getting any new or used RV that you buy inspected first.

And make sure it’s inspected before you take delivery too. Now you may meet with some real resistance on this request.

Yes, there’s a lot of dealers out there that don’t want RV inspections on their inventory. Why?

Well, let’s get back to the point that most RV dealer profits are driven through the sales department.

And that means that they don’t want anything to slow that sales process down. They want to move you right along while you’re excited and you’re really into buying.

They want to get this thing done as quickly as possible and move on to the next customer.

Well, the inspection slows down that process considerably in their opinion.

You see, the dealer goes to great lengths to stay in control of the buying process. But when you demand an RV inspection you are now in control instead. And that’s good for you!

Do RV Dealers Know That Some Of Their RVs Have Problems?

Now RV dealers unfortunately often know that there are problems with an RV. Sometimes even with new RVs!

They’re very well aware of it. And what they want to do is allow you to buy it first. Then take it out and camp with it and use it.

And that’s when you’ll find the RV’s problems for the first time. So you then come back to them to get those issues resolved.

But they’ve already gotten paid. They’ve got their money. So they have no real incentive at this point to be very quick about taking care of things.

Of course, most likely they will eventually fix it for you. But they’ll put you at the back of their service department line.

And they will get to it when it’s convenient for them, not for you.

Well, I’m sure you can understand that this is very frustrating for RV buyers. It’s very irritating!

And the internet is filled with examples of this taking place at RV dealers across the country.

So getting the RV inspected is the first step to avoid all that. And here’s why!

Hire An RV inspector
Hire An RV inspector

Because what happens when the RV inspector finishes their inspection? At that point they’ll give you a list of issues for that RV.

All the problems that need to be fixed. In fact, you can call it sort of like a punch list of problems that you would get for a new home.

How Can You Use An RV Inspection Report To Your Advantage?

So once you have the punch list in hand, you can then do one of two things with it.

You can tell the dealer that you want to negotiate the price further at that point. And that’s to cover all the issues you’re going to have to fix after you take delivery.

Or you can demand that they fix those issues now before you take delivery. And you see, either way you win in that scenario.

Now it’s so important that you do that before you take delivery. Because after you take delivery, there’s very little incentive for them to be quick about solving your problems.

But you’re still not done yet. There’s one more step you need to take for total RV buying success.

The Final Step To Success When Buying From RV Dealers

That is that even after you’ve got the inspection done. Even after you’ve given the punch list to the dealer.

Even after they’ve come back and said they have fixed all of the problems in the inspector’s report.

Now you need to verify that they have been fixed or repaired to your satisfaction.

In other words, you need to make sure they’ve actually done what they said they would do.

Please don’t ever take an RV dealer’s word that everything was fixed the way it should be.

In many cases, it may have been fixed to some degree. But not to the extent it should have been. And sometimes it’s not even fixed at all!

So it may be a good idea for you to get the RV inspector back again. And have them verify that everything was repaired and is functioning correctly.

Or you can do it yourself if you feel you have enough knowledge about RVs to do that.

Another option is to find someone you know that knows enough about RVs to verify the repairs are satisfactory.

But don’t take delivery of an RV until you’re sure that all these issues have been repaired properly.

If you have leave it up to the dealer, you may regret that decision later on.

Conclusion

Alright, I’ve shared with you a winning process for buying RVs. And it may sound like there’s just nothing but bad RV dealers out there.

This process is how you can win at RV dealers
This process is how you can win at RV dealers

But that’s not the truth either! I don’t want to paint all RV dealerships with a wide negative brush.

That’s because there are some that are very customer oriented. And they want to help you. They want you to get the product that will work best for you.

But there’s far too many RV dealers in this industry that are not like that.

So you need to protect yourself when you’re dealing with them. And I hope you’ll follow the guidelines that I’ve given you in this article to do that.

If you do, I’m confident that you will be able to get the RV that you want. The RV that you need. And the RV that will give you great service for years to come.

Well, that’s it for now. I wish you safe and happy RV travels my friends!

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