"No one has a higher opinion of the value of their RV than their owner does."
- Dave Richard 2017
RV owners get very emotional when discussing the value of their RV. I get it. For many, it's been their home (or home away from home) for years. Memories have been made. Payments have been made. Some people are actually trying to get their investment back, maybe due to a change in lifestyle or a lack of proper due diligence in buying the right coach for themselves. But an RV is a DEPRECIATING asset, even more so than a car Far too many people don't know the ins and outs of buying an RV, nor do they approach the purchase dispassionately. Many are impulse buys made without even a hint of research on the brand, model and their respective reliability (far lower than cars or fixed homes).
But we buy them anyway. And many learn to love them over the years and get attached to them, so when it comes time to upgrade to something new, the quote above comes into play.
It creates sometimes heated discussions amongst those in the RV community, mainly because many people don't understand the free market principles of supply and demand, or of profit and loss. It's easy to take your older RV to a dealership in order to use it as a trade-in for a newer model, because you don't have to go through the hassle of listing it and showing it, but RV owners still think they can, and should, get retail value for their RV, even when trying to use it as a trade.
They forget two important things: No one else thinks your RV is worth as much as you do, and they forget that anyone taking the RV in trade has to make a profit. And that dealer is making that profit you could have realized because they're now assuming the risk that your RV will sell for a reasonable retail price. Profit that YOU are never going to see. But if someone's going to assume the risk, there has to be a reward, and many RVers want that reward for themselves.
Case in point: There are any number of Tiffin Allegro Open Road 36LA used models for sale out there - the model Barbara and I are pretty much settled on. Depending on the year and how it's optioned out, list price on that coach can run from $165k-$185k. At the most, one of the big 4 dealers who sell the most Tiffins will discount from list about 28%, putting the out-the-door price at between $120k-$133k. Driving it off the lot reduces it's value further by about 3% per year for the first 5 years, then drops even further after that. Doesn't keep from having 36LA's with $5k-$7k higher asking prices out there on the internet.
I'm not saying these coaches aren't worth their asking prices, but I am saying they'd better be in pristine condition if someone is going to pay those prices. And if it's a dealer selling those used models, you can bet they got them for under $100k, because they have now assumed the risk of selling those units.
It's OK to love your RV; just don't take it out on the dealer when they low-ball you because they want to keep their doors open. After all, if they close, who are you going to buy your next RV from?
The new year is almost upon us, and with just a little over 18 months before we make our final decision on the make and model of our future full-time land yacht, these pilgrimages to local and national RV shows become much more important.
In 2017, we made our first trip to the Hershey, PA RV show, billed as the world's largest. Being newbies at this, we didn't realize that setting aside just one day was not even remotely enough to see everything we wanted to see, nor did we realize that there are a host of RV's just waiting for prospective buyers to test-drive in a remote parking lot. Since we were still in search mode for the RV itself, we paid little attention to the hundreds, if not thousands, of third-party accessory providers that are vitally important to safe and carefree RV living. Hershey was an eye-opener, but Barbara and I realize we can and should do better if we want this transition to be a smooth as possible, given that neither of us has ever RV'd before.
Now, we don't know if the Tampa or Hershey shows are actually the largest (we'll let them fight over bragging rights), but all that really matters is that they are both pretty darned big. So in January, the place to be is in Tampa FL for their annual RV extravaganza. And this time, we're going to be better prepared than we were at Hershey. Don't get me wrong; we'll still be drooling over every motorhome that strikes our fancy, and spending an inordinate amount of time in the Tiffin section, but we'll continue to take objective looks at new offerings in our size and price ranges up to the day we finally order our dream RV. That's the big picture.
But this time, we'll dedicate a full day to speak to and investigate all those ingenious third-party vendors and their almost endless supply of innovations for the RV community. From tow dollies for the MINI, to power management systems designed to protect the electrical health of the RV, to tools, accessories and must-haves to help keep the RV up and running, and campground memberships that make living on the road more affordable, we're going to explore all who have decided to be at the show.
It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.
And we'll report back if there are things that are cool and interesting to us.
We're Dave and Barbara Richard, and we're planning the ultimate retirement experience - travel the U.S. and Canada in style in a Tiffin Open Road 36LA Class A motor home, play golf and stop at every weird and wacky roadside attraction we can find.