Finding a dealer: Refer to our List of Manufacturers to find dealers for the brand you might choose. Call the dealer. Ask about which models they have in stock and how many total. The shopping experience can be very fun, but not if you drive hundreds of miles only to find that the motorhome you want is not there. The longer you take, the better. We started visiting dealers almost a year before we bought. We learned so much about the motorhomes, the dealership and the integrity of the salespersons.
Verifying Service Capabilities: Before your first purchase, assessing the service capabilities of a dealer can be hard. Regardless of dealer or brand, you will have problems! The first salesperson we met was honest. He said "If you don't have a tool box and a sense of humor, don't buy a motorhome". These homes are complicated and things will go wrong. Go sit in the service waiting room. Talk to those waiting about their experience. Do this a few times and you will be able to discern those who give you the straight story versus the complainers or those who defend their purchase even when they should not. Find out the billing rates and minimum charges. We once paid $56.00 for a half hour minimum, only to have the technician replace a burnt out 12 volt bulb in a few seconds.
Get References: Ask your salesperson for references. This is the best way to buy anything. After you get the references, follow up and talk with them long enough to get the straight story.
Choosing Options: Get a "build sheet", a list of all the options on the motorhome you like, with the retail price of each option. Find out what the options are and choose what you want. It is very likely that you will get pressure to buy off the lot. But the available motorhome may have options you don't care about. Negotiate a price for the home without the options. We weren't willing to pay for some, so we ordered our motorhome and waited 12 weeks (05-2006) for it to be built. We got exactly what we wanted without paying for any extras. For us it was very exciting as our delivery date approached.
Buy new or used? Buy new and you will have to work through all the problems, but you are covered by a warranty, usually only one year. If you buy used, take an experienced motorhome owner with you to check out all systems. This can take many hours. We did not have such a friend so we bought new. We could help you now.
Negotiating a Deal: This can be easy with a good dealer, hard with others. We got a decent offer from our dealer on first request. Email us for further discussions about this tricky area.