Last updated on December 20th, 2023
Buying an RV for the First Time Tips
Have you finally decided to embark on your RV lifestyle dream? Are you planning to turn that dream into reality but you are a bit lost on how to do so or where to start? Venturing into the realm of RV ownership can be an exciting yet intimidating process, especially for first-time buyers.
Our comprehensive guide on buying an RV for the first time tips are designed to streamline this process and make it less overwhelming.
RVing may look to you like a fun and exciting thing to try. It is, but it also has some challenges and you need to be ready to face those challenges. The first challenge you will be facing when you decide on your journey is buying an RV for the first time.
This might look like an easy thing but with the availability of a sheer number of RV brands, models, types, and options on the market today, choosing the right one that fits with your needs and preferences can be indeed a daunting task. But remember, things are always hard at the beginning so embrace yourself.
In this article, we will guide you by providing useful and helpful tips when buying an RV for the first time. You should always go back to them when you feel lost as they will assist you in this confusing process. Hopefully, by the end of it, you will be able to have an overall idea of how to get yourself a good deal.
Keep on reading!
Tips For Buying an RV For the First Time
It goes without a doubt that we always need to go through different steps whenever we are going to make a large purchase. The last thing you want to do is to rush to your buyer and then regret your purchasing choice that now you have to live for the next upcoming years.
Why? Simply because you didn’t take your time to consider different aspects and factors that can alter and shape your purchasing choice.
With the expanding RV industry, you are faced with plenty of choices than ever before. That’s why you need to take your time and do your research the right way possible.
You will need to think about your needs and purposes, your budget, and the additional costs that this lifestyle brings with it and others. The more you have answers to your questions, the better your purchasing choice will be.
As you go through this list of tips, you might find yourself answering some of them easily, and some others it might take a longer time to figure them out. In both cases, take your time and make the right choice.
Define why you need an RV
The first step you will want to work on in this process is to, first, define and determine your purpose. This is one of the important factors to consider. The purpose of buying an RV can be a great determinant of other factors that come along the way.
Therefore, having a narrowed and precise purpose can give you some points to easily answer other points in this list. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you planning to live in your RV for a long period?
- Is it just for weekend getaways?
- Will you be traveling around for long distances in your RV?
- Will you be living there with your family? How many members are in your family?
- Are you planning to host your friends there in the future
People purchase an RV for different reasons and based on your purchasing reason, you will be able to determine your needs.
What kind of RV do you want?
Know that you have decided and determined your purposes and reasons for buying an RV; you need to think about what type of RV will make sense for you. There are different RV categories that you need to choose from:
- Class A: This category is ideal for living full-time there; they are suitable for a large number of people and usually look like huge buses towing a small vehicle at the back.
- Class B: This category is also suitable for up to 6 people. They are mostly affordable vans; their size depends on the owner’s preferences. The oversized ones come with slide-outs.
- Class C: In this category, an RV is constructed on a pickup truck frame.
- Fifth Wheels: Huge touring vans
- Travel trailers are smaller trailers than the Fifth wheels yet still quite oversized.
Based on this you will have to choose between two chief kinds of RVs: Drivable RVs and Towable RVs. Drivable RVs are usually termed motor homes or camper vans, and they fall under Class A, B, and C.
Towable RVs are trailers you connect to your tow vehicle. They fall under the travel-trailers, 5th wheels and pickup campers classes.
What brand do you want?
Now after you choose what kind of RV will be suitable for your purposes research your brand. You want to look for a decent and reliable RV brand signature.
There are plenty of brands there. Some have been on the market for a year and some others just entered the market with their new features and models. Don’t be swayed by fancy features and get lost in them, you will want to get yourself something that will last you a lifetime if possible.
Also, remember no brand is perfect. Each has its pros and cons. With time, and after doing good research you will find yourself driven to a certain brand.
Consider the size, weight, and type if you go with a towable RV trailer
It is important to know what kind of camper you will tow at the back end of your vehicle. You have to consider both the weight and the size of them carefully. In some state and city parks, the size of your overall RV matters and they even place size restrictions.
The width, length, and height are considered important determinants when you are going to tow and park your RV. Weight-wise, your vehicle won’t be able to tow an overweight camper.
Your vehicle has a limited weight restriction that should not be overdoed. You have to check how much weight your car hitch can handle. Therefore make sure you know your vehicle requirements before you do your purchasing.
Keep in mind additional costs and list them down
After all, it is just not about you buying an RV only, you have to consider the additional costs that come with it. Planning and listing these costs will help you determine how much you are going to spend on buying your RV eventually. Check out some of the costs that you need to keep in mind:
- Insurance: Depending on the option you choose, the RV insurance prices differ accordingly. You can find further details about RV insurance here.
- Maintenance: While living your RV’s life, our RV will be facing different road and weather conditions. Therefore, you have to check it regularly to make sure that it is in good condition. Some maintenance can be quite costly but they are not as much as cost when it comes to house maintenance
- Storage: depending on which area of the country you are in, storing your RV can be either super cheap or super expensive. However, if you are allowed and permitted to store it on your property then you are good to go.
- Camping Fees: here depending on what are your purposes each year, where you will be heading, or where you will be staying, your plan will come with an associated price.
Try to determine how much it will cost you to camp or park in your destination areas. You should schedule ahead of your time if they are not for free. However, if you choose to stay in one area and not move around frequently, you will able to spend less money.
- Utilities: Depending on what are the different options and features available in your RV, you have to think of important utilities like water, electricity, gas, and the internet especially if you are working remotely.
- Fuel: this factor is one of the biggest expenses that you should keep in mind especially if you move around quite frequently. Not only that, but while traveling you should also keep in mind the prices of road, bridge, and tunnel tolls.
- Taxes: some states might charge you with local taxes once you buy your first RV. Depending on which state you are in, make sure to know what kind of taxes and registration fees you need to consider and add to your list.
Study your budget and determine how you are going to pay for it
After you have reviewed the different factors that can add up to your overall costs, it is time for you to decide on your budget and determine how much you are going to spend on it and how you are going to do so.
If you have already determined that you are going to pay in cash, then good for you. However, if you don’t have cash and you need an alternative plan, then you should consider one. You can choose an RV financing plan.
If you were to choose an RV financing plan you have to keep a couple of things in mind. The RV has a shorter payoff rate than the vehicle and they are usually aid within 15 years. Remember the longer it is, the more you have to pay.
Attend an RV show and know our RV worth
An RV show can be a good start for you to accustom to some RV companies, owners, and brands. The shows usually display different brands and RV model options for people to see.
This will help those interested to know more about that model and the manufacturer company. Not only that but also about its price worth. You don’t have to purchase on the spot, you can only go there to get an overall look at what is being displayed and what could please your eyes and meet your needs and preferences.
Try to get as much information and details as possible and take notes, this is your chance to know better the things you want to consider when buying your RV.
Connect with other RV owners
It is always a good idea to get to know other people’s expertise and experience in the RV industry; they can help you understand different things about RV brands, lifestyles, and other important tips to consider.
Try to reach out and network with other RV owners especially those who have the same purposes and preferences as you. Ask them about the goods and beds you need to keep in mind.
Trust me; RVers are always excited to talk about their experience and advantages to other interested people. Therefore, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You can also join online forums and discussions that can help you get more details and information that you didn’t know about.
Schedule your purchase
Good deals are always available during the winter and fall seasons or at the beginning of the season when old models RVs are displayed at an affordable price.
Locate your store dealers and visit
Try to visit your brand’s different manufacturers and dealerships in the area; you don’t have to buy from the first you visit. Make sure to check at least 4 to 5 stores before deciding on one. This will help get a better deal every time.
Some of them will provide better and more affordable warranties than others. Just try not to restrict yourself to one only and take whatever they offer. Also, while you are in it, make sure to compare the different interest rates each of them imposes especially if they are offering financial plans themselves.
Be careful of hidden expenses
Once the dealer gets a hold of you and convinces you to buy their product, he will start adding some additional payments that you haven’t considered in your budget. As much as you might be aware of this or not, these charges once they add up, become a good amount of money.
Therefore, try not to get too excited and forget to ask if there are any extra fees to be paid once you purchase your RV. Asking ahead of time can help you understand if your budget will allow it or not and also dispute them with the dealer.
Your bargaining skills will become your ally
This is a good thing to get a discount and a better offer. You should never accept the first price the dealers offer you. Because in his head, he knows you want some discounts at a certain point, that’s why he is offering a higher price range just in case.
If you are not very good at bargaining here are some tips that you can consider:
- Always start by asking how much it costs and act surprised when you hear our dealer’s price tag.
- Ask him what’s the best deal you can get and if you can get discounts. Try to compare the deals with other shops emphasizing how good deals they offer as well.
- Try to make your purchase either at the end of the month or at the end of the year. You will be surprised at the great deals they offer since they usually want to close the sale at that time.
- Acting rude and ignorant with your salesperson won’t get to have the good deal you are looking for. Try always to be friendly and likable and you will see how interested they are to do business with you.
- Have a look around at different dealerships before you decide on one. Visiting different dealerships with provide you with leverage as none of them want to lose you to their competitors. Mention other great deals you have encountered at other shops and convince them that you are here because you are looking for an exceptional deal.
- If you are buying a used RV, then make sure to get a full examination. This will allow you to know the different wrong areas with your RV allowing you to get a better deal if you use them as a bargaining tool.
Is RV Easy To Maintain?
Is RV easy to maintain? The answer largely depends on the owner’s diligence with routine maintenance. Like any vehicle, an RV will inevitably require some repairs, but staying proactive with regular upkeep can keep these to a minimum. Standard RV maintenance encompasses tasks such as regular oil changes, which are crucial for maintaining the smooth operation of the engine.
Essentially, while an RV might demand a bit more attention compared to your average car, with consistent care and servicing, it can remain in optimal condition for years to come. Therefore, with a disciplined approach to maintenance, an RV is fairly easy to maintain.
Investing in an RV can be a complex process, especially if it’s your first time. Some crucial buying an RV for the first time tips are essential to define your budget. This will give you a clear idea of what you can afford without putting a strain on your finances. Secondly, determine the type of RV that suits your travel needs and budget. Consider factors such as size, layout, and amenities.
Another critical point to ponder is whether to buy a new or used RV. Each option has its pros and cons, so weigh them carefully. A new RV may have modern features, but it’s often more expensive and depreciates quickly. On the other hand, a used RV can be budget-friendly but may require more maintenance.
Remember to calculate the total cost of ownership, including insurance, fuel, and maintenance costs. Always research thoroughly before making a decision. Explore different makes and models, read reviews, and seek advice from experienced RV owners. Before finalizing the purchase, inspect the RV thoroughly for any damage, wear, or potential issues that might lead to costly repairs in the future.
These tips should guide you toward making a well-informed decision when buying an RV for the first time.