Watch out for those bad-guy salesmen!

A bad salesman cares little about you and your needs. He is looking for a commission, plain and simple. He’ll say whatever it takes to part you with your hard-earned cash. Look very closely into this guy’s eyes and you will see dollar signs.

This shady operator will tell you that it’s okay to finance an $80,000 RV for 20 years with no money down (it never is!). He’ll tell you your present truck is perfectly capable of pulling the fifth wheel you plan to buy (even if it’s not). He’ll tell you that you need this gizmo or that gizmo when you really don’t. This guy is poison to your future.

Avoid any salesman who speaks of an RV’s price only regarding “monthly payments” and not in honest-to-goodness prices. He can paint a rosy picture that may help him make the sale, but he will be doing you no favor. Most lending companies today will finance an RV up to 20 years, depending upon the size of the loan. The term of such a loan may seem familiar to anyone who has ever purchased a home, where such terms are common. But unlike a house that will appreciate, an RV will lose value. Long-term loans, especially on lower-priced RVs, can land a buyer into financial trouble down the road when they try to sell the RV but discover they owe more on it than what it’s worth. When financing your RV, choose the shortest term you can deal with and still afford the payments. And never finance an RV purchase based solely on monthly payments.

If I were you, I would ask a salesman three questions up front: How long has he been selling RVs; does he own one himself; and how long has he been with the dealership? These answers will reveal a lot about whom you’re dealing. If you don’t like the answers, find another salesperson. If you’re a female and would like a female salesperson, ask for one. There aren’t many, but they’re out there.

And don’t forget to check out the RV dealership itself. A quick call to the local Better Business Bureau or checking online with the BBB will alert you to any red flags. You do not want to deal with a shady operation or one that’s financially unstable: That’s asking for trouble.