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oldbutspry

When is RV season and how much do prices fluctuate?

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Just noticed someone mentioned RV season ending and prices going down.  Didn't want to hijack the thread so I'm asking here.  When is the best time to buy an RV and how much variation is there in prices?  And is this just at dealers or is it usually true with private sales as well?  I'm primarily concerned about large 5th wheels.

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I don't know what thread you saw the "season" comment but will try to respond. In most of the snowbird areas, the season is typically from about Thanksgiving time through February or March. There tends to be more activity of owners selling the RV near the end of those seasons. I don't know that it has much influence on prices but probably the availability of RVs would tend to make prices more negotiable. For dealers, RV sales tend to pick up in the spring as the part-time RV owners become more active. When such sales pick up that does tend to increase the availability of used RVs from the trade-in units. Dealers will usually advertise that they have special, lower prices for the big spring RV shows and sometimes it may be true, but very often it is more promotions than facts. I have also been told that the best time to buy is in winter when sales are slow on the theory that the dealers and their sales forces are more hungry for sales and will make better prices. In my experience, there is no season that is always good or bad to buy. Availability of RVs for sale is clearly better in the spring when sales are more active so dealers tend to have more rigs in stock and more used RVs on the lots. In many states, the amount of inventory impacts the dealer's taxes and so those areas usually have minimal numbers of RVs in stock near the end of the year. 

As far as getting the best price, it has been my experience that price is more a matter of negotiating skills than it is of the time of year. 

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In the northern parts of the country, fall is the traditional "best time" to buy a new or used RV. Owners that are hanging up the keys want to sell before needing to winterize and store the unit, while dealers want to clear older inventory off their lots to make room for the spring arrivals when demand picks up. On the other hand, spring is best time to sell in the north, when people are preparing for the upcoming summer season.

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6 hours ago, Kirk Wood said:

I don't know what thread you saw the "season" comment but will try to respond. In most of the snowbird areas, the season is typically from about Thanksgiving time through February or March. There tends to be more activity of owners selling the RV near the end of those seasons. I don't know that it has much influence on prices but probably the availability of RVs would tend to make prices more negotiable. For dealers, RV sales tend to pick up in the spring as the part-time RV owners become more active. When such sales pick up that does tend to increase the availability of used RVs from the trade-in units. Dealers will usually advertise that they have special, lower prices for the big spring RV shows and sometimes it may be true, but very often it is more promotions than facts. I have also been told that the best time to buy is in winter when sales are slow on the theory that the dealers and their sales forces are more hungry for sales and will make better prices. In my experience, there is no season that is always good or bad to buy. Availability of RVs for sale is clearly better in the spring when sales are more active so dealers tend to have more rigs in stock and more used RVs on the lots. In many states, the amount of inventory impacts the dealer's taxes and so those areas usually have minimal numbers of RVs in stock near the end of the year. 

As far as getting the best price, it has been my experience that price is more a matter of negotiating skills than it is of the time of year. 

Makes sense.  I'm down in El Paso near where the snowbirds are.

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4 hours ago, Dutch_12078 said:

In the northern parts of the country, fall is the traditional "best time" to buy a new or used RV. Owners that are hanging up the keys want to sell before needing to winterize and store the unit, while dealers want to clear older inventory off their lots to make room for the spring arrivals when demand picks up. On the other hand, spring is best time to sell in the north, when people are preparing for the upcoming summer season.

Yeah, I guess they need to pull them back home and empty out their personal belongings before selling them.  So if they are from up north, they would probably go back home before putting them up for sale.

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I read a lot of RV ads on RVT.com. and it shows when sellers reduce their asking price, and by how much.  It seems that a lot of sellers in Arizona mark down their RVs starting at the end of March through May.

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My snarky answer is RV season is any time I am out in it. :)

For purchasing, however, around here in Colorado the best time to purchase is when the next years models come out and the dealers are desperate to clear last years units off the lot. This may be true as a general rule but I do not know that for sure. 

 

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1 hour ago, oldbutspry said:

Yeah, I guess they need to pull them back home and empty out their personal belongings before selling them.  So if they are from up north, they would probably go back home before putting them up for sale.

That and the weekend/vacation recreational RV'ers out number the seasonals.

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From personal experience the buying season in the South (My experience is in AZ) is January thru the end of March.

Snowbirds who store their rigs there in the summer are getting ready to put them in storage, sell them or move up to a newer rig. The dealers are getting ready to shut down for the summer as when the snowbirds leave so does their business. By April 1st the place is deserted and want to clear their lots rather than move them to another location such as Florida or California where there are year round buyers

We shopped for our rig in February/March and in Yuma there were endless deals to be had from private sales, consignment sales and dealers. 

Of course cash talks, so be prepared.

The other side of this is that there is currently an RV boom going on. I have a personal friend who is a VP in one of the major RV dealers in the south. He was telling me that they can't buy enough RV's to meet demand. They also can't find enough RV Techs to keep up with normal servicing never mind repairs to rigs they've sold.  Competition might be pushing prices up.

We feel we did well buying our rig at the end of March.

BnB

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On 11/29/2017 at 11:19 PM, scouserl41 said:

From personal experience the buying season in the South (My experience is in AZ) is January thru the end of March.

Snowbirds who store their rigs there in the summer are getting ready to put them in storage, sell them or move up to a newer rig. The dealers are getting ready to shut down for the summer as when the snowbirds leave so does their business. By April 1st the place is deserted and want to clear their lots rather than move them to another location such as Florida or California where there are year round buyers

We shopped for our rig in February/March and in Yuma there were endless deals to be had from private sales, consignment sales and dealers. 

Of course cash talks, so be prepared.

The other side of this is that there is currently an RV boom going on. I have a personal friend who is a VP in one of the major RV dealers in the south. He was telling me that they can't buy enough RV's to meet demand. They also can't find enough RV Techs to keep up with normal servicing never mind repairs to rigs they've sold.  Competition might be pushing prices up.

We feel we did well buying our rig at the end of March.

BnB

 

Interesting that RV's are selling so well right now.  I guess reasonable gas prices and economic improvement are driving this?  I was surprised to find a couple people at work have 5ers (and they are much younger than me).  I never would've guessed it before they said something.

 

11 hours ago, richfaa said:

We have a different take.It depends on your  knowledge of the product and your skills as a negotiator.

 

Yes, unfortunately.  :(  I'm not a great negotiator by any means.  I just try to find a good deal and snatch it up.

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10 hours ago, oldbutspry said:

I'm not a great negotiator by any means.  I just try to find a good deal and snatch it up.

If you know what make & model you want to buy, contact the manufacturer to get a list of all dealers who sell that RV in whatever you consider being a reasonable driving distance and then offer each of them an opportunity to bid on selling it to you. If you are going fulltime it really doesn't matter where the selling dealer is located since you aren't likely to be there when you need something. If you are not fulltime, you can usually return to your local dealer and let him know that another dealer is offering a better price and he may do better. What you can't do and be successful is to allow the salespeople to work your emotions and get you to act without leaving the property to discuss and think about the deal offered. 

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Among my computer ignorance is there a trick to getting past the "local" block that manufaturers use to recommend "dealers in your area"?  I know you can research zip codes so you can get a different area but an hoping there is a way around this step. Not just with RV's but anything you are trying to get competitive estimates.

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59 minutes ago, bigjim said:

Among my computer ignorance is there a trick to getting past the "local" block that manufaturers use to recommend "dealers in your area"?  I know you can research zip codes so you can get a different area but an hoping there is a way around this step. Not just with RV's but anything you are trying to get competitive estimates.

Without reading the whole thread , what local block ? I've never encountered anything like that .

 

Edited by Pat & Pete

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If you go to a site like a dealer of some item like an rv , vehicle or some other items they have some way to put in your zip code or address to locate the "nearest dealers in your area" an won't let you see others beyond a certain distance.  If you put in a different zip somewhere a good distance away you will get a different set of dealers. I don't think I am explaining this well but maybe you can get what I am saying.  In example: look up a particular make of rv on the mfg. website and put in for a dealer in you area.  Then  try again with a zip code  say 1,000 miles away and you will get a different dealer list. There may be another way to get a full list of dealers but I readily admit I don't know of another way.

I know the reason for this and it isn't to help the consumer.

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11 hours ago, Kirk Wood said:

If you know what make & model you want to buy, contact the manufacturer to get a list of all dealers who sell that RV in whatever you consider being a reasonable driving distance and then offer each of them an opportunity to bid on selling it to you. If you are going fulltime it really doesn't matter where the selling dealer is located since you aren't likely to be there when you need something. If you are not fulltime, you can usually return to your local dealer and let him know that another dealer is offering a better price and he may do better. What you can't do and be successful is to allow the salespeople to work your emotions and get you to act without leaving the property to discuss and think about the deal offered. 

We haven't decided what make/model yet but it will probably be used.

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10 hours ago, bigjim said:

Among my computer ignorance is there a trick to getting past the "local" block that manufaturers use to recommend "dealers in your area"?  I know you can research zip codes so you can get a different area but an hoping there is a way around this step. Not just with RV's but anything you are trying to get competitive estimates.

Which browser do you use?

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Another somewhat snarky answer is that the best time to buy is when you have the cash AND have found the right coach.

Seriously, if you have a trade-in, dealers will sometimes be more willing to deal at the end of the month than at the beginning of the month, and at the end of the year rather than at the beginning of the year. The reason is that they have to pay property tax on anything they own on 1 January, and salespeople who haven't made their quota are more willing to take less on the coach just to make quota.

If you aren't trading in, you can buy from a private party. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how much their rig is actually worth. It is our job to do the research and figure it out. Best way is to use PPL and NADA for low-end prices, and rv trader for upper end. It helps if you have 3-4 possible coaches in mind. Remember that people have many reasons for selling. Sometimes the seller is upside down on a loan and is hoping to recoup most of what they still owe. Sometimes health issues force a sale. Sometimes there is an estate sale. If a price is too low, it may mean that the coach has issues, or it may mean that the seller doesn't know what it is worth, or that they simply want it gone. Asking price and selling price aren't necessarily related. You can always make an offer and see what the seller says. We did, and got our coach.

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2 hours ago, oldbutspry said:

Which browser do you use?

mostly firefox but can do chrome, IE. duckduckgo easily.

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