Buy an RV – What You Need to Consider First!

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Are you in the market to buy an RV?

Before you buy anything there’s several important factors to be considered. From size and layout to budget and maintenance, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to RV shopping.

Research, ask questions, and do more research – that way you’ll be making an informed decision when you decide to buy an RV.

In this article, I’ll help guide you through the essential considerations you need to make before you buy an RV that fits your needs. 

Table of Contents

RV Shopping 101: What to Consider Before You Buy an RV

Whether you’re planning a long-term road trip or just looking for a comfortable way to travel, an RV can be a great investment – but probably not financially. RVs seldom go up in value and when buying new they depreciate as soon as they leave the lot. It’s best to know that right from the start.

It will be or can be an investment in your family’s future adventures. So, whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned traveler, read on for valuable insights that will help you choose the perfect RV for your needs.

#Buy an RV

Types of RVs and their Features

When it comes to purchasing an RV, there are several types to choose from, each with its unique features.

Class A Motorhomes

Class A motorhomes can be the largest and most luxurious RVs available. They’re built on a bus or truck chassis and can be up to 45 feet long. These motorhomes provide all the amenities of a home, including a full-sized kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a living area. Class A motorhomes are ideal for long-term travel or full-time living. 

Class B Motorhomes

Class B motorhomes, also known as campervans, are smaller than Class A motorhomes. They’re built on a van chassis and can be up to 22 feet long. These motorhomes are designed for people who want to travel light and have the freedom to explore remote areas. Class B motorhomes typically have a small kitchenette, a bathroom, and a sleeping area. They’re easy to park, require no special licence to drive and less costly on fuel that a Class A.

Class C Motorhomes

Class C motorhomes are built on a truck chassis and are larger than Class B motorhomes. They can be up to 32 feet long and have a distinctive over-the-cab sleeping area. These motorhomes provide all the amenities of a Class A motorhome but are more affordable and more compact.  A Class B+ is an RV that is similar to the Class C without the over-the-cab sleeping area.

Travel Trailers

Travel trailers are towed behind a vehicle and come in various sizes, from small teardrop trailers to self contained units. These trailers provide all the amenities of a motorhome, including a kitchen, a bathroom, and sleeping areas. Travel trailers are ideal for people who want the flexibility of being able to detach their RV from their vehicle and explore the surrounding areas.

Fifth Wheel Trailers

Fifth wheel trailers are similar to travel trailers in terms of amenities, but they are designed to be towed by a pickup truck and many feel they tow better. They have multiple levels and higher ceilings–all things that provide more living space than a travel trailer and are typically more luxurious.

#fifth wheel RV

Budget considerations for RV shopping

Budget is one of the most critical factors to consider when buying an RV. They can range from a few thousand dollars to several hundred thousand dollars. Before starting your search, figure out how much you can afford to spend. Keep in mind that the cost of the RV is just one part of the equation. You also need to factor in the cost of insurance, fuel, maintenance, and repairs.

If you’re purchasing a new RV, you can expect to pay more than you would for a used RV. However, a new RV will come with a manufacturer’s warranty, which can provide a certain level of comfort. Used RVs may be more affordable, but you need to be careful when buying one. Make sure you have it inspected by a professional so there aren’t any surprises later on.

If financing there may be a difference in interest rates with new RVs financed with a lower interest rate than a used one.  Check with your bank or an RV dealer first.

Consider what accessories are necessary because you will need to purchase a few necessities.

Buy an RV - New vs. used RVs

New RVs are probably more expensive than buying used, but they come with several advantages. For one, new RVs will have the latest features and technology. They’ll also come with a manufacturer’s warranty, which can provide peace of mind. Used RVs, on the other hand, may be more affordable and can be a good option for people on a tight budget. It’s entirely possible to buy a used RV that is a great condition and a good deal. It really pays to shop around.

When purchasing a used RV, it’s essential to have it inspected by a professional to ensure it is in good condition. Look for signs of wear and tear, such as rust, leaks, and cracks. Check the tires, brakes, and suspension to ensure they’re in good condition. Ask the seller for maintenance records and check for any recalls.

RV Lifestyle

Factors to consider when choosing an RV - size, layout, and amenities

When choosing an RV, there’s several things to consider beside price, including size, layout, and amenities.

Size

The size of the RV is important. Larger RVs provide more living space and amenities, but they can be challenging to maneuver and park. Smaller RVs are more maneuverable and easier to park, but they provide less living space. It becomes a trade-off of what’s more important to you.

Layout

The layout of the RV is another critical factor to consider. Make sure the layout provides enough sleeping areas and living space for your needs. Look for a layout that’s functional and provides easy access to the bathroom and kitchen.

If there’s slides check to see if the bathroom, bed and kitchen are accessible when the slides are in. This can become an issue if you need access when you’re traveling.

Amenities

The amenities provided by the RV can be essential. Look for an RV that provides all the amenities you need, such as a kitchen, a bathroom, and sleeping quarters. Make sure the amenities provided are of high quality and in good condition. Do you need a fireplace, queen size bed, washer, dryer combo, or a generator? 

RV maintenance and repair costs

Just because you’re in an RVs doesn’t mean you can get away from maintainince tasks. They require regular maintenance to keep they value and remain in good working condition. Maintenance costs can vary depending on the type of RV and its age. Newer RVs will require less maintenance than older RVs. Make sure you factor in the cost of maintenance when determining your budget.

In addition to regular maintenance, RVs can also require repairs from time to time. There’s really no avoiding it. Repair costs can vary depending on the type of RV and the extent of the damage. Make sure you have an emergency fund set aside to cover unexpected repair costs.

Financing options when you Buy an RV

There are several financing options available for RV purchases. You can finance your RV through a bank, credit union, or RV dealership. Make sure you shop around to find the best financing option for your needs. Consider the interest rate, loan term, and monthly payment when choosing a financing option.

You may find that used RVs have a higher interest rate than newer ones but by speaking with your RV dealer and bank you will get the right information.

RV insurance considerations

RV insurance is essential! It’s definitely needed to protect your investment. RV insurance can provide coverage for liability, collision, and comprehensive damage. Make sure you shop around to find the best insurance coverage for your needs. Buy the insurance needed for your travel needs.

If full time RVing you’ll need more coverage than if you use your RV for vacations only. Consider the deductible, coverage limits, and premiums when choosing an insurance policy.

#RV living

RV safety features and regulations

RVs are subject to safety regulations that ensure they are safe to operate on the road. Make sure your RV is compliant with all safety regulations and has all the necessary safety features, such as airbags, seat belts, fire extinguishers, and propane bottles.

RV lifestyle and travel planning

Before you buy an RV, consider your lifestyle and travel plans. Think about where you want to travel and how often you’ll use the RV. Consider the types of amenities you need and the amount of living space required for your needs. 

What’s the plan? Are you parking it at a lake and use it as a cottage or will you live in the RV full time? That makes a difference and your choice of an RV will make a difference.

Conclusion and final tips for RV shopping

When you buy an RV it can be an exciting experience, but it’s essential for you to make an informed decision. Consider the type of RV, your budget, size, layout, amenities, maintenance, financing, insurance, safety, lifestyle, and travel planning before signing on the dotted line.

Remember to take your time, do your research, and find the perfect RV for your needs. If considering full time RVing read this.

Are you shopping for an RV?  Please share your experiences – I would love to hear from you.  If you like this article please share. 

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