Marine & RVs

Buying an RV at an Auction Can Save You a Ton of Money

More Americans are taking to the RV life these days. Vacationing with the family in a camper van or trailer is more appealing, and you may be considering an RV purchase yourself. Before you head to the local dealer, there’s another venue you might want to consider. Heading to the auction to buy your family RV could save you thousands.

How the bidding works at an RV auction

Even if you’ve never been to a vehicle auction, let alone a recreational vehicle auction, you probably have a basic idea of how it works. According to Camper Report, you register as a bidder, bid on the RV you want, and ultimately sign and pay for your new vacation on wheels.

But, every auction has its own rules and guidelines, along with processes for bidding and finalizing. Some use colored lights to signify a pause in bidding, for example. Others have online bidding capabilities that might differ from in-person bidding processes. Before you jump in, you should consider exploring all the rules, terms, and steps for the specific auction you plan to attend (or e-attend).

Buying an RV at an auction has its perks

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An RV auction is an excellent way to find a great deal on a new-to-you RV. Most auction lists will feature lightly used models, repossessed models, and even dealer aged units. There are also RV rental companies that tend to use auctions to help sell off gently used RVs. Because the lenders and RV owners are motivated to move them, you stand a chance of buying yours at a much lower price point.

Don’t fall into the bidding trap

As with any auction, you can’t just walk in and buy an RV for the starting price. Instead, you’ll go head-to-head with other buyers and compete in the bidding process. Because of the thrill of the bid, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and keep bidding beyond your budget. So, be mindful of setting a budget amount for yourself to keep you from overbidding, and ultimately, overpaying for an RV. It may sting a little to walk away empty-handed. But in the end, you don’t want to fall into the bidding trap. Be prepared to back away if the price exceeds your budget.

How to plan for your auction experience

Not every recreational vehicle at the auction will be in good condition, so you’ll definitely need to do your homework first. There’s a chance you take home a lemon or an RV that requires more work before it’s road-ready if you’re not prepared ahead of time. Consider developing your strategy, carve out your intended budget, and have a general idea of what kind of RV you want. You can even research NADA values to prevent you from overbidding. Recreational vehicles also have vehicle history reports you can check into to discover vehicle accidents, salvage title status, and past issues.

Visit the auction’s website and browse the list of vehicles before you go. Do a virtual walk-around and familiarize yourself with which models you need to avoid. If you attend the public auction in person, you’ll want to physically walk around the RVs too. Sometimes, this will allow you to spot damages or deal-breaker issues, as well.

The RV life is calling, and you’re prepared to make your RV purchase. Just remember, whether you buy from a private seller, a dealer, or an auction house, do your homework first. Set your budget and know what you want in an RV before you explore your options. And when you’re ready, check out the auctions. You may just find your hidden gem of a vacation-mobile and save yourself thousands in the process.