Buying an RV can be complicated. There are so many different types and brands of RVs that it’s hard to know which one will serve you and your family the best. So to help you think through this and other items, here’s a list for consideration before you buy that RV.
Hopefully this list will help you narrow down the decision a bit so that you can be pleased with your decision for years to come.
Do I Need A New Or Used RV?
Similar to automobiles, RVs are a depreciating asset and will lose value the minute you drive it off of the RV lot. So it’s worth some heavy consideration on whether you need a new RV or a used RV. Like cars, a used RV is going to lose value at a lesser rate than a new RV. That’s the financial side of things.
For the practical side of things, it may be better to buy a used RV if RV’ing is not something you plan to do all that often. For example, if you plan to use the RV less than several times a month, a used RV may be better suited for your needs.
Whereas if you plan to actually live in the RV full time, it may make more sense to buy a new or newer RV.
Will You Buy The RV With Cash Or A Loan?
If you are buying your RV with a loan, you’ll likely be required to put at least 20 percent if not more as a down payment. This decision should factor into whether you buy a used or new RV.
Since new RVs will lose value faster, you don’t want to finance a new RV that will lose its value faster than you can pay off the loan.
Also keep in mind that a loan on an RV won’t be like your mortgage on a house/home. The bank will require you to pay back the RV loan faster than a 30 year mortgage.
Therefore, it is unlikely that the bank will let you get ‘underwater’ on the loan. (‘Under water’ is a term that is used to describe the event where the loan amount becomes greater than the value of the RV)
But with the bank requiring you to pay off your loan faster, beware that this will create larger RV loan payments than you may expect.
So ultimately, the decision to buy new or used may also affect your decision to pay with cash(if you are able) or RV financing. If you aren’t sure on how much your RV loan payments will be, be sure to check out an RV loan calculator to help.
What Will You Be Using The RV For?
Obviously, the RV will be used to go camping and/or live in. But depending on how much you live in the RV may impact the size of the RV you want. There are three “Classes” of RVs that also help describe the size of the RV.
There’s Class A, B, and C. Class A is the largest and most spacious with Class B being the smallest and are sometimes called van campers and then there’s Class C which is a medium sized camper. The more time you plan to spend in your camper, the larger you will likely want it to be.
It’s also important to consider where you will be taking the RV and how much stuff will you be taking with you. If you need a lot of room for belongings, and extra stowaway compartments, be sure to think about that.
Do You Own A Heavy Duty Truck?
What do trucks have to do with RVs, you might be thinking. Well, if you do own a truck, an RV trailer may be an attractive option. This is an RV that can be pulled behind a truck. Many times, an RV trailer can be just as spacious and roomy as a motorized RV.
Plus, there are many different kinds of RV trailers and since they don’t have an engine, these can often be less expensive. Along with not having an engine, these can be less upkeep and maintenance when you don’t have to worry about the engine experiencing mechanical issues.
A drawback to a trailer is that pulling a larger trailer behind a truck is something that can make a driver nervous and creates a different risk. On the one hand, you don’t have to deal with mechanical issues as much but on the other hand, you are pulling the trailer which creates a new risk.
For those that don’t know, pulling a trailer can be more challenging than driving the RV itself, but if pulling a trailer is something you are comfortable with, it may be worth the risk.
What Brand Should I Buy?
Your first priority when choosing a brand, is that they are reputable. In other words, they should be a good company with a good history. Do some research to determine whether the RV brand and the type you want doesn’t have any issues historically.
The last thing that you want as an RV owner is to constantly be working on maintenance issues that come up. Sure, there will always be maintenance when owning an RV, but as an owner, there’s no need for maintenance if it can be avoided.
How should you do your research? Start by asking other RV owners how they feel about their RVs. Next, visit message boards and online forums for the particular brand that you are interested in. Believe it or not, there will be specific message boards for each RV brand.
And third, visit used RV sites and see what RV owners on these sites are saying. In today’s world, there’s no shortage of information and ways to find the information you are looking for. If you think you have a type of RV you like, do you research first in order to maximize the quality of your RV ownership experience.
Buying an RV is a big decision. There’s real dollars and cents involved so use the list above to help you make the right decision and make your RV ownership experience a great one for many years to come. If you make the right decision in these 5 areas above, you greatly increase your odds of a favorable outcome.
We wish you the happiest of camping!
(This is a Guest post)