Buying an RV from a Private Seller
Just as the RV Dealer isn't your enemy; the Private RV Seller can be your best friend. They don't have ANY appreciable overhead built into the sale, other than the cost of their advertising, and/or any repairs or refurbishing to be done to the RV.
The private seller, or "RV for Sale by Owner", is usually much more motivated than a dealer. They only have ONE unit on which to concentrate their efforts. Many times their sole intention is to rid themselves of the burden of their no-longer-needed RV.
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In RARE cases, they are WISELY selling by owner so they can move on to a unit more suited to their present needs and desires. This allows them to sell their RV for a higher price than a dealer would allow them on trade-in, while still offering a bargain to their potential buyers.
Purchasing from a Private Seller can Work to Your Advantage in Many Ways:
1. Lower overhead = Lower selling price.
2. Higher motivation = Lower selling price.
3. No over-pricing to allow for trade-ins.
4. More extensive vehicle history.
5. A more personal transaction.
Because of these benefits, buying an RV from an individual may allow you to save thousands of dollars over buying a similar unit from a dealer.
You MUST, however, do your due diligence prior to the actual purchase. Any faulty systems left unchecked or untested will likely become your own burden unless discovered PRIOR to your purchase. In other words: "Caveat Emptor" - or - "Buyer Beware".
For now, let's take a look at some of the advantages of buying an RV from a private seller.
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Most individual sellers will incur minimal selling costs when selling "by owner". Most of these costs will come from advertising in local newspaper classifieds, Internet advertisements or other forms of marketing.
When compared to the costs incurred by an RV dealer, the individual has a major advantage. First of all, they have no commissions to pay upon the sale. Most RV Salesperson commissions in the RV industry are commonly set at approximately 20% of the gross profit.
In other words, if a salesman sells an RV for an average profit of $5,000 - Then $1,000 of that is going to the salesman as commission. This is not a concern for the private seller, therefore sales commission ALONE can be a potential gain of $1,000 or more to the buyer. (Not to mention the other $4,000 the dealer gained over his wholesale price.)
The above example is based on a moderately priced RV of say, $40,000 to $60,000. You can imagine the profits and commissions on higher priced units!
Also, because of the minimal or nonexistent overhead of the individual seller, profit is commonly NOT a motive for selling. In MOST cases, the sellers simply want to rid themselves of the unit. This usually translates into THOUSANDS of dollars in savings.
Combine those savings with Best Rate's used motorhome and RV financing programs, as well as our best loan rates, and you could double your savings.
While most private RV sellers will try to achieve a RETAIL sales price when the unit is initially offered, they rapidly tire of the stresses of the sales process and lower their "perceived" value of the RV. In other words, when they start the sales process, they have an unrealistic impression of their RV's value. After dealing with prospective buyers for a minimal amount of time, they rapidly become educated on the true value of their RV.
Seriously, think about your own experiences. How many times have you tried to sell something for a premium price, only to accept a lower, yet HONEST offer for much less than your original price? It all goes back to the old saying: "One in the hand is worth two in the bush." In other words, fatigued sellers WILL accept a bargain price if the offer is GENUINE. It ends their suffering... so to speak.
The key is to FIND these fatigued sellers when they are weak. Just as the predator on the African Plains seeks out the weaker and slower prey, you must find the weary seller - and strike when they are at their weakest point. Ruthless - Yes. Unethical - No. It's the law of the urban jungle. Live and prosper by the law, or live and pay a higher price - still by the law. (I can't believe I just wrote that)