Looking to purchase a home-on-wheels? You’ve come to the right place! There’s nothing quite like the mixture of the open road and traveling with all of the comforts of home in your RV. So the open road is waiting, all that’s left to do is buy an RV. Easy, right?
Not so much. Regardless of where you’re at in your RV buying journey, you likely know that there are options. A lot of options. To start, you’ll need to figure out what class of RV is going to make sense for how you want to travel–click here to learn more about that process. But then what?
We’ve got you covered! We chatted with some of the most knowledgeable and seasoned RVers in the community, and asked them to share their top RV Buying Tips. Check those out below, and let us know your favorite piece of advice in the comments!
Inspect Before You Buy – Mike and Susan, RVBlogger
My best advice for someone buying a new RV is to have the RV inspected by a professionally trained RV inspector through the National Recreational Vehicle Inspectors Association (NRVIA). Why? Because no new RV is perfect and there will be problems with it that are unknown because no one has ever lived in or used the RV before you. It takes perfect people to build a perfect RV and therefore every RV is imperfect in some way.
We also highly recommend you have the RV inspected and repaired by the dealer BEFORE you sign the paperwork and pay for the RV to ensure your repairs are handled quickly and before you take possession of your new RV.
When we purchased our new RV we gave the dealer a refundable $1,000 deposit and had the motorhome professionally inspected. Many issues were discovered. After the dealership made all of the repairs we then signed the paperwork and completed the financing paperwork to pay for the RV.
We then took our motorhome on a “shakedown” camping weekend where we found more issues. We took the RV back to the dealership that Monday morning and they corrected everything else we found.
The big takeaway is this. There will always be problems with every RV even brand new ones. That’s why the first thing we did when we purchased our new RV was to buy an extended warranty through Wholesale Warranties. The extended warranties that the dealerships sell can last for multiple years but they have mileage caps.
We were able to purchase our Wholesale Warranty with unlimited miles. And since we will be 3/4 time RVers we figured this would be the best option. There is no point in paying for a 7 year warranty that has a mileage cap of 60,000 miles which will prematurely end in 3 or 4 years when we max out the mileage requirement.
14 Buying Mistakes to Avoid – Tom Kennemore, EnjoytheJourney.Life
We don’t have time to get into all 14 here, but you can and should check them out in full! This is sage advice from real RVers! Check out EnjoytheJourney.Life’s 14 RV Buying Mistakes YouTube video here.
A few of the can’t miss RV buying mistakes from this video include:
- Not joining the Facebook groups of current owners of the RV brand or models you are interested in. Also not doing the research on the reviews, especially the common problems and repairs that are needed for that RV brand or model. First, before you do anything else! Research, research, research! Check out the reviews of the specific RV you want to buy. Join the Facebook groups for that brand and see what current owners like and don’t like about their RV. Try to get answers on the exact make, model and year as RV manufacturers make updates from one model year to the next. Ask a lot of questions. I am so embarrassed to admit this, but I never checked reviews on my first RV before buying it. And I wrote a book and have a course about online reviews! We were so caught up in picking out the RV that we liked the most, that we skipped checking reviews. This was definitely a newbie RV mistake. That being said, all RVs have issues, get the floorplan you want and a great extended warranty, but more on that later.
- Choosing the wrong RV dealer to buy from. Check the RV dealer’s online reviews, especially around service! Are they happy to honor warranty work? This is huge. RV service is more often bad than good. Sorry to say. If you walk onto an RV dealer’s lot and you can access an RV that is in for service, do not buy from that dealer. We have walked onto many RV dealer lots to tour new and used RVs only to find that we accidently walked into another owner’s RV that was in for service. This shows an extreme amount of carelessness on the dealer’s part and I would say run, don’t just walk away from that dealer. Not only should your RV be locked when it is in for service, it should clearly be parked in an area that is not open for RV buyers to tour. Consider going with a family-owned dealership for better service like The Great Outdoors RV Company in Greeley Colorado. Also a dealer that isn’t going add a lot of extra fees or pressure you to buy extra’s that are not necessary
7 Steps to Happy RV Buying – Emily Fagan, RoadsLessTraveled
1) Personally tour as many rigs as possible and talk to owners of similar rigs.
2) Simulate everything you’d do in the rig: Can you cook a meal? Fit in the bed? Relax in a chair? Store clothing, jackets, shoes, kitchen gear, food, toiletries or other required items?
3) Check the cargo carrying capacity (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating minus Unloaded Vehicle Weight). Light duty use requires 2,000 lbs; heavy duty use requires 3,000 lbs. If you travel with full tanks, remember water weighs 8.3 lbs/gallon, propane weighs 4.2 lbs/gallon
4) Does your tow vehicle or toad match the RV (i.e., towing strength or the ability to be towed)? Do your truck bed’s dimensions (inside the wheel wells) match the camper’s outer frame dimensions?
5) Buying new? Compare the asking price for that model nationwide (prices can vary greatly). Look under the chassis and under the hood at the structural design and strength. Do a detailed walk-through and witness all systems working before paying. Do a factory tour!
6) Buying used? Look for signs of water leak damage or structural problems. Check the roof, chassis and engine. Query the seller about the rig. Beware of known scams where an agent selling the unit for someone else knows nothing about it.
7) Make sure your new rig feels like home, and have fun shopping!
Ready to hit the road?
If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the RV industry, it’s that education is key. Learn from your fellow RVers, like our 3 RV experts above, and enjoy a peaceful RV purchase process. And once you’ve chosen the right RV for you, make sure you protect your road ahead with an extended RV warranty.