I have had a great deal of experience both buying and selling RVs and think people should understand the mechanics of doing these things.
In recent years, there has been a major pricing shift in the diesel pusher marketplace that has caused thousands of people to be placed in tragic financial situations.
Average buyers are unaware of the consequences they may be facing because at the point of sale, they are only looking at the “front end” of their deal.
They assume that if they can afford to buy a coach, that is all that matters, but they are wrong.
Their lack of foresight and knowledge is what gets them into trouble, but there is no way for them to know the financial dangers unless someone warns them.
The purpose of this article is to provide that warning and show people what they can do in order to be able to avoid financial ruin and still be able to own a pusher.
Why Prices Keep Rising
In recent years, due to the
- increasing popularity of RV travel and living,
- housing market crisis and
- retirement of hordes of baby boomers,
the desire for recreational vehicle ownership has skyrocketed. This is especially true in the diesel pusher market because these vehicles are considered by many to be the ultimate in class and luxury when it comes to RV travel.
Furthermore, there are no other coaches on the road that can compare with them, and people know that trying to buy "cheap" usually ends in disaster! Complaints in places like Ripoff Report serve to reinforce this type of thinking.
The result is that prices have gone up for both new and previously owned pushers because dealers will continue to price their wares at whatever level the market will bear.
Currently, buyers have been more than willing to pay the high prices because they feel they have no other choices!
High-End Coaches Are Expensive
While it is true that all recreational vehicles are classed as “luxury” items, this is especially true when it comes to motor homes.
Diesels are viewed by most aficionados as being the best you can own because of they offer better amenities and benefits than any other type of RV, including gas engine motor homes.
These vehicles have never been inexpensive to own, but until recent years, they have been within the financial reach of most people wishing to buy them.
That all has changed.
There was a time when paying between $200,000 and $300,000 would buy a good quality coach, but these days that price will only produce a lower quality vehicle.
If you want a new coach with all the bells and gongs, you can pay up to three million dollars for it!
What It's Like to Travel in the World’s Most Expensive RVs shows you what you can get for this kind of money, but these types of vehicles are far beyond the financial reach of the average person.
What People Are Buying
Given these circumstances, most people will opt to either buy a new pusher for between $200,000 and $300,000 or purchase a previously owned one for between $50,000 and $150,000.
Either way, the average guy is likely to create serious financial problems for himself.
- He may think that buying on the low end will protect him, but that is rarely the case.
- If he buys new, he likely will be asking for major losses at some future date.
This is especially true if he chose to finance rather than buy for cash or if he used the equity from the sale of his house to make his purchase.
Depreciation Is a Big Problem
Because of depreciation,
- the second a buyer signs the sales contract for a new coach, he has lost 20% of his investment,
- the year after purchasing a previously owned unit, he’ll lose 5% and
- for both deals, the new owners will continue to lose 5% per year of their unit’s value.
However, people don’t think about this when working out their deals, they only know that they are buying a vehicle they may have been dreaming of owning for years!
They think they’ve done their math, and they assume they can afford the pusher they just purchased, but they are wrong.
The first year, the $300,000 new pusher is only worth $240,000 and at the end of that same year, the $150,000 one is only worth $142500, but the losses don’t stop there.
Every year the values continue to drop.
The bad news is that the owners don’t know this until they decide to trade or sell. This is where reality sets in, and this is why many buyers, without realizing it, are pricing themselves (and others) out of the diesel pusher market.
Why Prices Keep Rising
The more people there are who are willing to pay exorbitantly for diesel motor homes, the higher the prices will go.
As prices for new coaches rise, so will prices for previously owned units.
So no matter what the average person wants to buy, he’ll have to pay more.
Since recreational vehicles are assets that constantly decrease in value, buying one, in most cases, becomes a losing situation that doesn’t rear its ugly head until it’s too late.
Not many people can afford to lose hundreds of thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars at the point of sale, but this is what is happening every day.
Unfortunately, it is only happening to the lucky few who are even able to sell their coaches!
Those who can't sell lose every penny they have invested!
Selling a Used Pusher Is a Major Problem
The biggest issue that diesel owners face is that they made their purchases not being able to know what lies ahead for them.
- accidents and
- job loss
all loom as possibilities in people’s futures. When these things happen, they affect finances, and the first thing that usually happens is that people try to sell their pushers to free up some cash.
However, such a sale doesn't usually free up any cash because there are literally thousands of previously owned coaches for sale on any given day.
In addition, owners
- are most likely upside down on their loans, which means they’ll have to come up with enough cash to pay them off when selling,
- cannot compete with the big dealerships when trying to sell their units and
- are trying to sell in a buyers’ market, which means that to make a deal, the’ll have to take deep financial losses.
Thus, people wishing to get out from under the financial burdens their diesel pushers represent are stuck in a no-win situation because no matter what they do, they’re going to lose a ton of money!
Is There a Way Out?
People who dug this hole for themselves will not be able to climb out of it.
However, for those wishing to own a diesel pusher, being aware of what is going on should serve as some protection.
My best advice:
- Search long and hard for a well-maintained, older, high-quality pusher that has less than 100,000 miles on it
- Try to find one that you can buy for less than $50,000.
- Pay cash if you can.
- Take good care of it.
By doing this you’ll get all the benefits of a high-end, luxury diesel pusher but will not have to pay a premium price in order to do so.
Diesel pushers like these are not easy to find, but they are out there.
I saw one just yesterday on Craigslist. It was a 2003 Beaver Contessa in immaculate condition for $45,000. The first person who looked at it bought it!
When it comes time to sell, sell on the street rather than trying to have a dealer sell it for you.
This way you’ll get most of your money back because an older coach has mostly depreciated before you ever purchased it and you won’t have to pay any sales commissions.
By doing this, you won’t get priced out of the Diesel Motor Home market and your losses will be minimal.
These days, doing this is the only way you can travel in style without going broke!
The Bottom Line
If there is one good piece of advice I can leave you with, it is this: always buy with an eye towards selling.
Never assume that you won't need or want to sell, because no matter how great your coach, there will come a time when you will have to let it go.
Buying is easy. Selling is not.
The thousands of people whose pushers are languishing in storage facilities right now are living proof that this is true.
Unless you like throwing money away, you would be wise to do whatever you can to avoid being priced out of the Diesel Motor Home Market, because the consequences of doing otherwise are too serious to ignore.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: We have a renovated 2007 Fleetwood Bounder Pusher 38V with 44,000 miles on it in excellent condition. We would like to sell ourselves. How much can we expect?
Answer: According to NADA.com, your coach is worth somewhere between $38,000 and $82,000. Those figures are not set in stone. They are averages so you might get more or less.
© 2017 Sondra Rochelle