Buying Your First RV
New Year is only a few days old and already you hear the road calling.
If you do not know how to answer that call, here are a few suggestions:
Motorhome or Trailer Decision
if you want to travel (Class A or C motorhome) or stay a season in one
location (fifth-wheel/trailer). Forget about the extra space that a
fifth-wheel or a trailer provides if you have to back it into a space
every few days or weeks.
show that the highest percentage of change RVers make in the first few
years is a switch from one type to the other. If you are a travel bug,
don't even think about trailers or fifth-wheels, go motorhome. Without
experience driving a big rig, start with something in the motorhome 33
ft. range or smaller.
you are traveling alone and not thinking about a full-time adventure in
the beginning, the Class B+ vans might be the right choice.
best bang for the full-timer buck, if one of the drivers has
experience, is a 10-year old 40 ft. high-quality motorhome. Full body
paint is important for the long-term. The layout is paramount if you are
planning to travel full-time. Slide-outs are a nice addition along with
important feature is storage space. Having full basement compartments,
automatic levelers, and newer tires are on the top of the list for
motorhomes. Ensure that the salon is laid out to suit you, the TV in the
right place, not too many sofas, etc.
resist the urge to redecorate until at least six months down the road;
you cannot recoup the money spent if you decide to change vehicles.
you are thinking about buying used, know that a Class C motorhome is
built on a much cheaper chassis (truck) than a Class A, so
construction is not as solid either. If you buy new, there are some
quality Class Cs now available.
the basic decision has been made (motorhome or 5th-wheel), search
RVT.com and RVTrader.com. RVUSA.com is another site to explore. Use the
NADA.com database to get a price range. Also decide on gas (much cheaper
original cost and at the pump) or diesel (more power, longer life) for
the engine choice; do your research first about maintenance.
For help justifying the cost, read this article:
about three models you like, then get serious about finding one from a
private owner. Here are a list of websites to peruse:
Purchasing an RV without an "independent" RV maintenance person giving
it a thorough checkout definitely comes back to haunt you.
Visit NRVIA.com. This site searches the USA for certified RV Inspectors.
a certified inspector is not available near you, mobile RV repair
services are everywhere. Most reliable RV repair facilities have someone
who can handle the inspection. This service can be free (hoping to get
the repair work) or up to $300.
NOT SKIP THIS STEP. Have the current owner drive it to the facility
(liability reasons) or have the inspector come to your location. If you
decide on a motorhome, it is a good idea to have an oil analysis done as
well. This can tell you a lot about the current state of the
you wind up on a dealer's lot (last choice), have a mobile service stop
by for an hour. ALWAYS plan to attend this, never accept the
salesperson's word. Be careful with warranties, do your research.
assume anything while at the dealer's lot. Get EVERYTHING in writing.
Be prepared to deal with sales personalities, do not let them intimidate
you. Succeed in getting the best value by not signing on the dotted line before doing all your research. If you need to, put a small deposit down on the rig until you decide if it is the right one for you.