5 biggest red flags in a trailer sale

When buying a used trailer, or any vehicle, it’s very tempting to shake hands on a deal as soon as you get a good asking price and the owner is willing to negotiate the sum. At the first glance, the RV you’re looking at may seem perfect. You saw the price and that made it ideal already so this will make you miss a lot of problems. When you do notice them, it will be too late to make the return, especially if you’re not purchasing one from a dealer.

 Here is a checklist of red flags that will show you that this trailer is not the right one to purchase. Make sure to take it with you to offset your overly positive outlook on the vehicle at hand.

Legal documents

If the seller doesn’t want to sign a bill of sale or the bill of sale they’re offering sounds shady, it’s a huge red sign. A trustworthy seller will be completely okay with signing the bill of sale with all the proper and legal language that should be contained in it.

 If you don’t have a bill of sale handy, you can always download and fill out a Texas trailer bill of sale template online. If the seller you’re working with isn’t comfortable with signing it, it’s a major red sign.

Fast sell

Another red sign is that the seller is rushing to make a sale. There are cases where this would be totally understandable. However, if they don’t explain the reason or seem extremely fishy when telling you why they’re in a hurry to sell, it should raise suspicion.

 When a person is trying to make a sell as fast as possible and are willing to significantly drop the price if you forgo technical checks, the odds are, there’s something wrong with the car. It may not be stolen, but it may have a long-lasting technical issue that will only be visible after a couple of days. In any way, when you’re negotiating to buy a trailer, you should never be in a hurry.

Hidden damage

The next thing you should be looking for is signs of hidden damages. If the seller tells you the trailer is in pristine condition and you find that it has signs of damage coverup, you have all the right to be suspicious of the owner’s integrity.

 An example of this is a broken wall that is just plastered over or a creaky door. Pay a lot of attention to the kitchen and bathroom area. If it shows signs of mold being hidden by the owner, it may be a sign that you’re going to have a lot of trouble with the trailer and may never beat the mold there.

Maintenance history

The next one is the maintenance history of the vehicle. You don’t want the two extremes — either no maintenance history whatsoever or a maintenance list that is way too long. In the first case, if there are no records of maintenance being done, there’s a good chance the owner or owners either didn’t take care of the vehicle at all or did it themselves or at shady places where the maintenance is not going to stand up to scrutiny.

 On the other extreme, if there are too many instances of maintenance being recorded, you may be looking at a vehicle that will cost you more in maintenance than in purchase cost.

 You want to have a maintenance history that records technical checkups at a certain mileage and an occasional bumper change.

Who owns the title

One of the biggest red flags that can happen in a trailer sale is the owner being hush about the title. If they say they’re either waiting for the title or don’t have it on them, the odds are they don’t have the title to the property. 

Under no circumstances should you sign a deal with the person who does not have the title to the property they’re selling. Make sure they present you with the proper documents before you’re making a contract.

A long list of owners

The other thing to look for is the list of people who previously owned the trailer. If the RV you’re looking at has been owned by a dozen people, this should make you think twice. It’s okay if it’s on a cheaper side of the market and has been owned by two or three people. They were probably upgrading to a better one after a couple of years just as you’re planning to do. 

However, if the trailer has been on the market for ten years and has changed more than ten owners, this should make you suspicious. The odds are they’re dissatisfied with the quality of the RV and are trying to get rid of it as soon as possible.

Generator problems

Since trailers are not exactly the type of dwelling that can be easily added to the electrical grid, most require a power generator to function properly. Generators typically cost quite a lot so if the trailer you’re looking at either doesn’t have a generator or its generator is malfunctioning, it’s best to give it a pass. 

Alternatively, you can try to negotiate a deal with the owner and ask for a lower price due to the generator problems.

Pro tip: bring a friend

The best piece of advice when it comes to choosing a new RV is to bring a friend with you. If you have a trusted friend who’s on good terms with machinery and isn’t invested in buying the trailer you have your eye on, he will provide you with a more reasonable frame of mind when testing the vehicle.

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