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What to Know About Researching & Buying an RV

In this article, we’re breaking down the three major steps to take once you’re ready to browse available units and make a purchase.

We recently hosted a live Facebook Q&A answering questions from real RV shoppers about the researching and buying process — but we’re also sharing many of our tips here on the blog. We’ve previously discussed what you need to know before shopping for an RV. In this article, we’re breaking down the three major steps to take once you’re ready to browse available units and make a purchase: 

Do Your Research.

It’s time to finally find and compare relevant RVs that are available to purchase; but where do you start? For-sale RVs can be easily found online by visiting dealership websites and online marketplaces like On these digital platforms you are able to browse listings and filter results based on your preferred criteria. RV listings provide you with a number of ways to evaluate for-sale units: 

  • Photos: Images are the most foundational way to get a good look at the RV you might buy. The best dealers will post plenty of pictures, including every angle of the exterior, as well as pictures of each area of the interior.
  • Videos: Even more than photos, videos give you the best idea of what the RV will look like in “real life.” Videos can show you the RV in-action, demonstrating each of its main features.
  • Specific details: Listings should include key details about the RV, including the year, condition, mileage, sleeping capacity, and more.
  • Descriptions: Dealers will also describe all the features you can find both inside and outside of the RV.

While you’re researching, be sure to compare listings. Just because you’ve found one RV that could be a good fit doesn’t mean there’s not a better RV or a better deal out there. As you more seriously consider different RVs, be sure to research the dealer themselves, as well as the history of the RV if you’re buying used. Knowing you’re buying a quality unit from a trustworthy dealer can give you greater confidence in your purchase, and may be the deciding factor when deliberating between different RV buying options.

Connect with the Seller.

Once you’re interested in an RV, you don’t have to immediately visit a dealership to connect with a dealer or learn more about the for-sale unit. In today’s virtual world, there are a number of ways you can reach out to a seller without stepping onto the dealership lot. Most dealers can be reached via a phone call or email, of course, but many dealers also offer texting, live chat messaging, and live video chats.

Video chats are an especially useful communication tool, because — in addition to speaking with the seller — they also allow you to conduct a virtual inspection of the RV without going to the physical dealership. Just like an in-person inspection, scheduling a live video appointment with the dealer lets you…

  • View the RV’s exterior and interior, 
  • Hear the engine running, 
  • See the mileage, 
  • Review parts or potential damage, 
  • Ask questions, and 
  • Hear the dealer’s sales pitch.

Pro Tip: If you’re shopping for RVs on, look for the RV Trader Inspection Badge on specific listings. This indicates that an RV has been inspected by RV Trader Assurance powered by Lemon Squad. You can view a complete inspection report, detailing the condition of the unit’s internal and external structure, mechanical components, appliances, and the results of a road test. You can also view over 40 high-quality photos of the for-sale RV.

From phone calls and emails to texting and video chats, any RV listing — as well as the dealership’s website — should provide you with all the relevant seller contact information and communication options. When reaching out to a dealer, don’t hesitate to request more photos, seek out additional details, ask questions, talk financing, make an offer, negotiate price, or communicate about anything else you think is important.

Review Virtual Buying Options.

Once you’ve decided to purchase an RV, you may be able to complete most or all of the buying steps online, depending on state laws and dealership policies. Check with the seller to see if virtual options are available for…

  • Signing documents to finalize the sale of the RV,
  • Obtaining financing (from the dealership or 3rd party), or
  • Obtaining warranties (from the dealership or 3rd party).

You can also check to see if you have to go to the dealership lot yourself, or if the RV can be delivered. If you’re local, a seller may bring the RV right to your driveway. If you’re further away, you may be able to arrange for the RV to be shipped to you. Finally, throughout the buying process, keep an eye out for indicators of scam or fraud, browse on secure sites, and be careful when sharing personal information online.


Congratulations! Soon you’ll be out on the road, on your way to the campsite and memory-making fun. If you’d like to take a deeper dive into researching, shopping, and purchasing RVs, don’t forget check out our Facebook Live Q&A! If you’re ready to jump right into browsing RVs, head on over to and don’t forget to check out our full site of virtual buying resources.


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Emily Sullivan
Emily Sullivan
Emily Sullivan is a Content Curator for Trader Interactive, serving the recreational brands RV Trader and Cycle Trader. Her mission is to provide thoughtful, practical content to those who are always on the hunt for their next adventure.

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