We decided to purchase a 2015 Thor Palazzo 35.1. After a less than positive experience at the MD dealer and a few phone calls to Camping World in Roanoke, VA (the first place we were going to test drive) we made an offer there. The same price as the 2014 and a pickup date of August! This is a better deal for us: it’s not been sitting on a dealer lot for a year (with the slide-outs opened), it has a larger engine, I personally like the fabric colors better (taupe with more green than brown hues), and it’s THE SAME PRICE.
Also, the RV that was going to be gone by Monday if we didn’t leave a deposit… not true. We were contacted twice over a week later by the initial salesman in MD to see if we were interested. No thanks. We then saw the RV we test drove, the only 2014 left on their lot (according to them), posted on their website as a 2015! WHAT?!? Obviously not a reputable dealer at all. For those looking to purchase an RV, do your research and listen to your gut. We didn’t like the salesman hand-off and we didn’t like the high pressure sale. I’m glad we walked.
So, now the waiting begins. In the meantime, we are looking at RV Storage Lots in Prince William, RV driving classes, and car dollies/trailers for the RV. So the research is not over yet!
PS We did not buy this RV either! We were all set to go, and were working with the loan officer. We were told all needed to be in order by a particular date (four week days and six days total) so we could keep the low interest rate. Great! We pulled our paperwork together and called and left two messages. Then Andrew sent an email. Then the date passed and we began contacting the salesman and the manager. There was nothing they could do but we were not going to have to pay too much more with the new interest rate, so we should just finish the sale. What?!? Your dealership could not be bothered to complete the sale so we could have the better interest rate but we should just buy the RV anyway? I don’t think so! So, this new life change, this huge deal and change of mindset was beginning to look like a mistake… next steps?
Okay, so we went back to the MD dealer who very kindly showed us around because he put in the time so we figured we’d try to buy there… if the price was right.
As I previously shared, appointments are mandatory for a test drive! Ours was for 9:00 AM on a Saturday because of the crazy traffic in this Metro DC area. We arrived a little early and within minutes we were in the 2014 Palazzo 35.1 with our salesman and another employee who does all the test drives for the dealer. He showed us how things work, drove us to a parking lot with curbs and let my husband take over. I am going to learn to drive the RV, but not in front of my husband and two other critics! I’ll be taking driving classes. More on that later.
Andrew was able to easily use the mirrors to keep track of the back wheels and drove all around the lot. Then he practiced backing up and did so well he was allowed to take it back to the dealer. Wow! He’s a natural RV driver! It was also fun to be in the RV on the road. With the motor in the back it’s a pretty quiet ride considering it’s a huge diesel engine! We also noticed that some drawers and cabinets popped open during the drive. I’ll be looking into the best ways to keep those secure when we own our RV. With the slide-outs pulled in I expected the RV to be very tight-and it was. But there was plenty of space to move around. Our dog beds will fit in the space in front of the sofa and the bathroom and bedroom are accessible too!
We were quite happy with the drive and then went back to talk some numbers. We are always prepared with research. With the Internet at our fingertips we knew the price of other 2014s from RV Direct as well as other dealers in our area. We knew also that there are different warranties offered by different dealers. We also knew the deals available on 2015s that are coming out this summer. So, with our research we were ready to negotiate! That’s when our salesman said we had to negotiate with the head of sales. Okay-we liked our salesman but he was evidently too new to sell to us? We were escorted to an office with a very loud and aggressive salesman. Not really our style. He proceeded to tell us all about the perks of buying with them-sounded reasonable. He then went on to tell us the price he was offering. We started negotiations. He was unable to do anything with the price unless we put a down payment today. We discussed more and he was able to give a small discount until Monday IF we put down a healthy deposit. Um… NO. He then told us that it was the last 35.1 on the lot and that it’d likely be gone by Monday. We walked away saying we’d think about it and discuss it. We went back to our car and did that for a while. We decided we didn’t like the price (or the hard sell BS) and that we could actually get a 2015 for the same price as the 2014 if we waited until August for pickup. Decision made. We informed our salesman and left.
PS: Over the next several weeks we were contacted by our original salesman. The RV was still there. Too late, we are not interested in dealing with pressure sales and having bad feelings around such a huge purchase! So, buyers, don’t let the dealer pressure you into ridiculous down payments until you are sure it is the RV for you!
We had plans but it didn’t work out! Living in Northern Virginia we have a bit of traffic and the planned RV test drive for Saturday fell through. First of all, when planning to test drive you MUST schedule an appointment! Unlike car dealers who are happy to take you out when you drop in; RV dealers expect you to make a reservation. This is likely to be sure that you are serious about buying. So, this past weekend we had an appointment to test drive but the RV dealer was 3 hours away. With traffic on Saturday it was over a 4 hour drive (one direction) so we had to pass up the opportunity. Instead we decided to drive an hour into Maryland and see what we could get done there.
The RV dealer we went to was open until 4:00 and they were willing to show us the RVs we were interested in and so we took advantage of that! We went from RV to RV. We focused on diesel pushers for several reasons including our understanding of gas mileage, and ability to have a quiet and easier drive in mountains (where we plan to spend some time). We saw several floor plans and ultimately decided that our first instinct about the Thor Palazzo 35.1 was spot on for a few reasons. First being interior storage in the bedroom. We need a nice hanging closet for our cloths when we are living there full time. We saw other Thor models as well as Winnebago and other makes and models but none met this storage qualification. We also must have a washer and dryer space-if it is not already standard. Two dogs can make a mess and we need an easy way to get towels and blankets cleaned without having to store a bunch of dirty items in the RV. Another perk of the 35.1 Palazzo is the living room TV is directly across from the sofa, rises out of a counter so it’s not always in your living space, and there is no booth dinette. This is perfect for our style of TV viewing as well as the need for little dining room seating. This arrangement might not be best for a family or those that eat at the dining room table… but we normally eat on the sofa with our feet up at the end of a busy day! So, with the smaller living room space perfectly organized, plenty of kitchen cabinets and a pantry/coat closet near the door, a large bedroom closet in addition to a washer and dryer we knew this was the floor plan for us!
Now that we spent nearly an hour going from RV to RV and looking at outdoor kitchens, huge living rooms, no washers and dryers, two bathrooms, etc. we knew that one floor plan met our needs! We were ready to test drive and the dealership was closing! So, we made an appointment for this weekend to test drive there.
While there, we overheard an important piece of advice… in VA each county charges different % of tax for an RV. The county where we live charges 5% of the value of the RV per year! That’s about $8,000 per year in taxes alone! WHAT!?! So! We did some digging and found that Prince William County does not charge an annual tax for RVs. According to our research, RV owners from across the state rent space in one of many RV storage facilities and then use this address when purchasing the RV. It is where the RV will be kept/stored. This way we will spend about $1,200 storing our RV and we will be supporting a local business. Honestly, living in Arlington, we don’t have the driveway space to store it anyway! Best option all around!