RV Shopping and Financing Online
The "ritual" of shopping for a new RV or Boat, and even recreational vehicle financing, has changed dramatically in the last decade - especially within the last 5 to 8 years. Gone are the days of driving hundreds of miles, from dealership to dealership; always at the mercy of time and distance - and the pressure of the sales office.
Granted, the Internet has been in fairly common use since the early 90's, but only in the last few years have we seen the majority of Recreational Vehicle buyers doing most all of their most focused and "actual purchase" related research and shopping without driving a mile. They are doing their homework at home, (and at work), on the Internet.
In the earlier days of the Internet, potential buyers had been slow to embrace major purchases, such as RVs and Boats - especially without seeing and inspecting the unit in person. But, smaller online transactions on websites like Amazon.com, eBay.com and other increasingly popular web-shopping sites, have increased consumer confidence and slowly matured into much larger and more expensive online purchases.
With the introduction of eBay Motors in the early 2000's, people began buying and selling all types of motorized vehicles, but the sale and purchase numbers for RVs grew faster than anyone had anticipated. By 2004, the search term "RV" was in the top 10 search terms on the (relatively new at that time), search engine Google.
In the following years more and more people began using the Internet to search for "Bargains", and the numbers of RV buyers and sellers have increased exponentially, year after year. Our experience has shown that online RV sales and online financing to be increasing even faster than expected.
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Today, the "new generation" of RV and Boat buyers span the entire spectrum of recreational-related demographics. Every age group from young families buying their first camper for occasional outings, to retired full-timers in super-luxury units, are joining the online recreational vehicle purchase revolution.
These buyers tend to do their initial research by driving to the dealerships in their comfortable driving area, usually a 50 to 500-mile radius, or by making periodic stops along their travels and adventures over time. By doing this type of initial shopping, they are able to see, feel and drive the types of units available. They can learn the pros and cons of the various styles, sizes and price levels by seeing these units in person at the dealerships they visit - hopefully leaving their checkbook and credit cards in their vehicle. (Lest they meet a salesman, and buy something.)
Once they have narrowed down their general types or units of interest, they can begin their online price shopping. They can slowly narrow down their search to a particular year, make and model, with specific options. From there on out, they simply call each dealer and/or private RV seller with a unit that matches their needs. Sooner or later, they find the right deal - at the right price. Distance seems to be no problem if they feel they are saving enough money, or finding the right unit.
At WaveWallet, we have seen our percentage of online, and/or out-of-state purchases grow to more than 50% of our RV financing customers. And, because they are normally unfamiliar with long-distance or private-party sales procedures, we provide them with an easy roadmap to a safe and successful transaction.
The new online RV and motorhome "Private Sellers" are wary of their exposure to unscrupulous or fraudulent buyers, so we help guide them through the complete transaction as well. Our RV pre-approval and loan processing, title research, and closing departments coordinate virtually all aspects of the RV purchase, finance and loan closing. A smooth transaction can be crucial to help guide the purchase and sale process from start to finish, with all parties satisfied with the outcome.
So, now you are able to easily find the best price and financing for just about any type of recreational vehicle. The thousands of dollars in savings normally cover more than the cost of driving or flying thousands of miles to take delivery of your new toy or home on wheels, or on water.
While most potential buyers' interest in saving money intensifies during the frenzy of shopping for a new boat or RV, they should remember those industry related businesses they may need after their purchase. Your local Dealer may be much more likely to go out of their way for "post-sale" related activities like service, troubleshooting, etc. if you purchased the unit from them. As you travel further and further from home, the savings in actual dollars become more and more important.
The rapid rise in the use of the Internet for RV shopping has closed more RV dealerships than any other factor, even the extended economic recession. However, the fortunate dealers with deep enough pockets to survive the recession, and those adaptable enough to survive the Internet, have evolved with the changing times.
Now that much of a dealership's income from unit sales has been reduced, they rely more and more on the increased income produced by other areas such as the parts and service departments. They have added new avenues of income such as rental fleets, consignment sales and other products and services.
If you decide to take the Internet leap and save money by researching, shopping and buying online, remember to give your local dealers a chance at earning your business. If not the sale - be it for service, parts or repairs; a little more money spent locally can go a long way in good relations over the long term.
And don't forget to remember that a "Great Deal" can be found just about anywhere if you look hard enough and smart enough. So start close to home, then go from there.
"For every buyer flying from New York to California to save a little money, there is another flying from California to New York to do the same thing."