If purchasing an RV seems like it,s out of your budget, consider buying one at an RV auction, where you can get a great price for a coach that is often like new. Getting the right RV from auction requires a little bit of research, work, and patience, but if you get the vehicle of your dreams, it can all pay off in the end.
There are just about as many different options and possibilities with a motorhome as they are with buying a residential home, which is why it&'s important to know what you are shopping for. One of the first things you should do is look at all the available features and make a list of your personal preferences for things such as:
- Sleeping capacity
- Kitchen/cooking capabilities
- Bathroom preferences
- Sideouts (the sliding sections that increase the size of the coach)
With all these things in mind, the next step is to figure out what your budget is and what is available for the money that you do have. You have the option to purchase a brand new coach, purchase one that is used, or see what kind of deals you can find at a repo RV auction.
How RV Repossession Works
When someone applies for an RV loan (or another loan that requires collateral to secure the debt), the lender agrees to give that person the money and s/he agrees to pay it back. If for whatever reason the borrower is unable to make the regular payments to the lender, the lender can take the collateral (in this case, the RV) and try to sell it to another buyer. This process is called repossession, or sometimes foreclosure, and is intended to help the bank recover a portion of the debt that is owed. In some cases a lender can repossess someone&'s vehicle if s/he does not have adequate liability insurance as well.
Whatever the reason for the repossession, this process gives other buyers a golden opportunity to purchase an RV at a deeply discounted rate. While the creditor often has the option to either keep the RV or to sell it, they generally choose to sell it for cash so they can use the cash to settle the debt. One of the most common ways that these vehicles are sold is through RV repo auctions.
Before you attend any RV repo auctions, it&'s a good idea to study the laws in your state so you know your rights as a buyer, the rights of the seller and the previous owner. This can help you know what to expect and can ensure that you are getting the best possible deal from the purchase.
The Basics on RV Repo Auctions
In most states you can find two kinds of RV repo auctions: lender auctions and government auctions, and both generally have RVs to be sold at a significantly lower price than they would be if you purchased an RV from a dealership lot. Here are some of the things you should be aware of when going to an auction.
Do Your Research to Find a Good Deal
At the height of the financial downturn, many savvy buyers learned for the first time about the ability to buy repossessed vehicles, including RVs and trailers, from RV repo auctions. In fact, there were close to 2 million vehicles (cars, trucks, SUVs, and RVs) repossessed in 2010, up from just 1 million 15 years earlier. Having a greater selection often means you have the ability to find a great bargain when shopping for the coach. However, it&'s important to do some research and understand the item you are buying and how it compares to the competition before you buy the least expensive motorhome you can find at RV repo auctions.
Try to Avoid Risk
Buying an RV from an auction is not the same as buying from a dealer, where you get to take it for a test drive, see what it looks like inside, and give it a good once-over before you decide to purchase. The truth is that whenever you invest that amount of money into an item, you need to be aware of the risks. Some of the biggest dangers to the RV auction process include:
- Unknown condition of the vehicle—you purchase it “as is”
- Incomplete or unavailable vehicle history
- A potential that the owner might have tried to “trash” the RV before it is repossessed
- Lack of a warranty for most repo vehicles
Where to Find Repo RVs
The down side to an auction is that they may only be held once a year, which can make them a little more difficult to find (and if you&'re in a hurry to purchase an RV, it may not work with your timeline). You can search online to find the nearest government or private auction, and make arrangements to attend.
If you find that RV repo auctions are not going to work, there is also an option to talk to your bank or credit union to find out if they have any RVs they have repossessed that they are looking to sell. They may not always have one available, but if they do, they might be inclined to sell it to a member immediately rather than waiting for auction. You can also contact local dealers to find out if they have any repossessed RVs they are selling. If you purchase from a dealer, it may not be at the same low price as you would get from an auction, but this option gives you a little more time to inspect the vehicle and work out a fair price outside of the fast-paced, high-pressure environment of an auction.
If you dream of hitting the open road in a motorhome or trailer, you can often get a great deal on the RV of your dreams at auction. While there are some potential risks involved with this purchasing method, there are also some great deals out there.