Buying an RV: Off-the-Lot or Online Shopping?

Are you planning to buy a new RV for your family this year? Buying an RV opens the doors for incredible adventures that you’ll never forget. When choosing the right RV for your family, there are many factors to consider, including whether or not it’s best to buy an RV off the lot or place an order with customized options. Ultimately, the choice is yours, but we’ll walk you through some of the pros and cons of buy-it-now RVs vs. on-order RVs so that you can make the best decision for your family. 

Couple shopping online

Buying Off the Lot

Whether or not you’re planning to buy your RV off the lot, as an RV owner, I recommend visiting your local dealers and getting a feel for the RVs on the lot. When you visit a lot, the dealer can easily answer questions and show you around various models. It’s a great way to get a feel for the RV you’re looking at purchasing. Below are the pros and cons of buying your RV straight off the lot.

RVs

Pros

  • Take your RV home right away.
    • Usually, after the loan is approved and the paperwork is finished, you can take your RV home that day or within a week. 
  • Build a strong relationship with your local dealer so you have a great place to bring your RV for maintenance, repairs, and warranties.
  • Get to tour the exact vehicle you’re taking home so that you know what the space will feel like before you take it home.
  • Your dealer can easily answer your questions or show you similar floorplans on the lot.
  • You can ensure that everything on the RV is functioning before it ever leaves the lot.
  • Find the RV you want for less by buying a late-model used RV in great condition.

Cons

  • Visiting local dealers is more time consuming than shopping online.
  • Often, additional features can’t be added to units on the lot and must be ordered.
  • Local dealers may not have the unit you want in stock at all times, so you will be more pressured to buy right away.
  • Sometimes buying off the lot can result in a higher price because it’s harder to shop around.

Online RV Purchases

Especially this year, ordering your RV online is easy.  When buying our RV, this was the method we chose after weighing the pros and cons of both options.  Additionally, because of the pandemic, we felt that this was a safer option for our family.

on the phone

Pros

  • Browse hundreds of models, floorplans, brands, and more from the comfort of your home.
  • Get better deals on prices by finding high-value dealers.
    • This was the only area we went back and forth because we love to support local businesses, but it made a massive difference for us financially to buy online. 
  • Narrow your searched by RV type, floorplans, and more.
  • Customize your RV with options available from the manufacturer
  • No-contact ordering keeps your family healthy at home.

Cons

  • Long delivery times
    • For our fifth wheel, the manufacturing process took eight weeks, and we couldn’t have it delivered for another two weeks. Ultimately, it worked out for us because we didn’t have a place to park it until right before it arrived, but if you want to travel quickly, this is not the way to go. 
  • Expensive fees for delivery.
    • Some dealers will offer free delivery or a flat rate for delivery across the country.  Others, however, hire outside companies to deliver the RV, which can result in an improper setup of your unit or damage in transit — which should be covered by the delivery company. 
  • If buying out-of-state, the title transfer process can be lengthy and complicated.
  • Dealer may be too far away to perform regular maintenance, repairs, and warranties.
  • Unless you have a hookup ready when the RV is delivered, there’s no way to test appliances and other functions without using your RV’s generator.

This year, the RV industry is hotter than ever, which means more and more dealers are offering improved online shopping experiences as their lots are turning over almost weekly.  If you’re buying an RV for your family vacations for years to come, talk to your local dealer about the features and amenities you need, or shop online at RVingPlanet and find an RV for sale near you!


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