RVing offers the freedom and convenience to travel where you want, when you want, just by packing your bags and hitting the road. However, buying an RV is no small task. It’s a big investment, so it’s important to have an idea of what you want before you start shopping. If you’re in the market for your first RV, check out RVT.com’s eight questions to ask before buying an RV.

1. How much do I want to spend on an RV?

Start by asking yourself how much you’re willing to spend on an RV. Do some quick research and see how much both new and used units are going for to come up with a price range. As you determine your budget, it’s important to factor in the total cost of ownership. Along with the sticker price or initial down payment on your RV, you should also remember the cost of recurring expenses, such as insurance and fuel, as well as the price of regular maintenance.

If you’re thinking about buying a fixer upper, you should also consider how much you might spend on the renovations and repairs. We previously discussed how to find and purchase an RV for a renovation project to help you along.

2. Should I buy a new or used RV?

Next, ask yourself if you want a new or new-to-you RV. There are pros and cons to buying new or used.

The biggest perk of buying new is that you get to breathe in that “new coach” smell and have an RV that no one else has driven. New models also come with the latest features, technology, and more modern interior styles. However, buying a new RV can be expensive, and the unit will depreciate quickly.

You can often find less expensive used RVs, compared to new. There’s typically a larger selection of used models to choose from at dealerships and on online marketplaces. If you do decide to buy a used RV, be sure to ask the dealer or seller for the maintenance and repair records.

3. What type of camper am I?

RVing offers you the convenience of always having a place to stay no matter where you travel. Before you buy an RV, you should think about what type of camper you are and who you’ll be traveling with.

Do you want to take the whole family to national parks? Will you be spending time with a loved one at a secluded campsite? Are you more into glamping and want all the amenities possible? Or, are you planning on living in your RV full time? Once you determine your camping style, you can better figure out what specific type of RV will be best.

4. What features do I want my RV to have?

Not all RVs are created equally. Depending on what make, model, and year you choose, you could buy an RV with all the bells and whistles, if that’s what you’re searching for. Although, some RVers prefer the simplicity of a smaller layout. Whichever you desire, make sure you know what features you want your RV to have.

How many people will be sleeping in your RV when you travel? Do you plan on doing a lot of cooking in your camper? Will you be spending more time inside or outside? Will you need extra storage space? By asking yourself these questions, you can make a list of the RV features that are important to you.

5. What type of RV do I want?

With so many types of RVs on the market, it’s important to narrow down your search and find a camper that fits your lifestyle or vacation style best. RVs range in size from the large and luxurious Class A motorhomes to smaller Class B camper vans. 

In addition to motorhomes, there are also towable campers, such as travel trailers and fifth wheels. If you decide to buy one of these types of campers, make sure you check with the manufacturer of your car or truck for maximum towing capacities. Many people use an SUV or truck to tow their campers, but some midsize cars can also handle the job. Read our previous article to learn which cars can tow a travel trailer.

6. What type of regular maintenance does an RV require?

While different types of RVs can require different maintenance, there are some basics that apply to any type of camper. Before you invest in an RV, you should make sure that you’re able to handle the routine maintenance. Here are a few parts of an RV that should be properly maintained during your time of ownership:

  • Roof
  • Slides and awnings
  • Fluids and filters
  • Tires

If you are not able to keep up with this maintenance, you should be prepared to pay a professional mechanic to perform these duties.

7. Where am I going to store my RV?

When you aren’t traveling in your motorhome, you’ll have to keep it somewhere. It’s important to establish a space for your camper, before you buy it, that will keep it protected from theft and harsh weather.

You can park your RV in your garage, driveway, or on the street in front of your home, so you can always keep an eye on it. If these options are not available to you, you can also utilize a storage facility or a public RV-specific garage.

8. What does the warranty cover?

Whether you buy a new or used RV, a dealer should provide you with a warranty. Make sure you’re clear about what the warranty covers and for how long. If you don’t think the standard coverage is enough, then you may consider purchasing an extended plan to help with the cost of repairs down the road.

Now that you have your list of helpful questions to ask before you buy, you’re ready to start shopping. Use these eight questions to navigate the RV-buying process and purchase a camper that you will be able to make memories in for years to come.

And, if you’re ready to start browsing new and used models, begin your search on the online marketplace at RVT.com.

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