Do you dream of traveling the open road, or are you looking for a way to spend quality time with your family? Owning a recreational vehicle (RV) is the goal of many freedom-seekers, and purchasing one is a big decision. Determining which type of RV is the best investment for you, and deciding when to purchase, can be daunting. Here are RV buying tips to help you find the camper that is right for you.
Determine Your Reasons for Buying an RV
For many, RVs are seen as the path to carefree, wanderlust-filled vacations, long weekends, and extended trips. For others, RVs can be a temporary “home away from home” while visiting family or a way to save money during retirement. Knowing your reasons for buying an RV will help you determine not only which type and model of RV to own, but when the time is right to make a purchase.
Leisure travelers may be willing to make the investment on an RV based on the return they’ll receive in the form of quality time spent with family and friends. Other travelers, including those who plan to frequently upgrade their RV, may be more interested in how well an RV holds its value over time. Would you prefer to buy a new RV, or would you consider buying a used RV that has already seen some use? Used RVs can be a great way to save some money upfront, but often lack the warranties offered with new RVs. How you plan to use the RV, and your motivations for purchasing one, are factors that will help you in your decision-making process.
Prime RV Buying Season
Much like buying a car, there are a lot of theories about when the best time is to buy an RV. Some will say that the best time to buy is at the end of camping season when sales are slow for the dealerships and the salespeople are more likely to make a deal to move inventory off their lot. Others will say that waiting until late winter is the best bet, as new models will begin to appear in the showroom in early spring.
Both of these methodologies can make sense, but as any experienced RV buyer will tell you, the best way to get a great deal on an RV is to do your research and know what you want. Going into a dealership without a clear understanding of what you’re after, and what is a reasonable price point for the type of model you’re looking for, sets you up for either buying “too much” RV for your needs or paying more than you anticipated.
Do Your Research
To get the best deal on a new RV, do your research. Begin by determining what you plan to use the RV for, and then decide what type of monetary investment you are prepared to make. With these two requirements figured out, begin searching online, at dealerships, and at RV shows for campers that meet your criteria. Do not fall into the trap of blindly buying the brand of RV that your neighbor or friend has. What works for those owners may not work for you. Go in with an open mind and look inside many RVs to see if the layout, amenities, and price fits your purposes.
Another key metric to take into consideration, beyond price and amenities, is what additional expenses are involved beyond the sticker price. If you are looking at travel trailers or fifth wheels, determine which kind of truck or SUV will be needed to tow the RV. If you are planning to use your existing vehicle, make sure it is capable of towing the size and weight of the RV you have your eyes on. If you are looking at RVs that have an engine, such as a Class A or Class C motorhome, research the fuel efficiency and additional towing capacity. Factor these into your decision making so there are no surprises when you take your new RV home.
How to Find the Best Deal
When it comes down to it, finding the best deal isn’t a matter of “when” but a matter of “how.” By understanding what you are looking for in an RV, and researching what options are available and in what price range, you will have equipped yourself with the knowledge needed to get a good deal any time of year.
Knowing what you want also allows you to jump on opportunities as they arise. Perhaps a dealership is having a sale in conjunction with a local RV show, or maybe motorhome financing has been made especially attractive due to a holiday or event. Making a list of which RVs you are interested in before these sales happen means you can walk in, pinpoint your desired RV, and start negotiating smartly.
Notes on RV Depreciation
It is important to understand that all RVs depreciate. If you are purchasing a new RV, you can expect to see a 20-30% depreciation when you drive it off the dealership’s lot. The RV depreciation then slows over time, with many RVs being worth about 50% of their list price by the time they are five years old.
Depreciation is influenced by many factors including which amenities the RV has, the perceived build-quality of the RV, the market demand for a particular make and model, how well the RV has been cared for, and how many miles the RV has been driven or towed.
Those who plan to invest in a new RV every few years would be wise to research which RVs hold their value best over time. Similarly, those who are in the market for a used RV can benefit from understanding which makes and models of RV retain their value and are known for their sturdy build and minimum amount of required maintenance and fixes. At the end of the day, with a few rare exceptions for classic RVs, all RVs will continue to depreciate throughout their lifetime.
Owning an RV can be a ticket to freedom, a way to spend quality time with family and friends, and a gateway to adventure. By understanding your reasons for buying an RV, determining an acceptable price range for your situation, and arming yourself with information, you can get a great deal on an RV no matter when or where you decide to make your dream a reality.
Motorhomes vs Travel Trailers: Which RV is Right For You?
Traveling is something we all seem to want to do, but when push comes to shove and we go visit new places, it’s often not quite what we thought it would be. A lot of that has to do with the fact that your accommodations aren’t always as comfortable as you’d like them to be.
That’s why so many people choose to travel in an RV. From comfortable beds to a stove and a microwave, it really is like bringing everything – including the kitchen sink – with you on a trip.
But when you’re looking to upgrade your traveling lifestyle to include an RV, you’re faced with two main questions: should you get a motorhome, or a travel trailer? Today, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of each so you can make the best choice for your situation.
One of the first things that can help you narrow down your choice here is figuring out your budget. It is important to note that the price differences between a travel trailer and a motorhome may not be as significant as you think. While you should keep price in mind, RV Wholesalers’ prices can help you afford a motorhome even if you didn’t think it was within your budget.
But that’s not the only discrepancy in cost when comparing a motorhome vs a travel trailer. For starters, you have to take into account the true cost of ownership.
Most states don’t levy an additional tax on a travel trailer as a second home; however, due to the size and cost of a motorhome, some states may tax your motorhome as a second property. In addition to that, there’s a variety of costs included in registering either version of your portable living quarters with the state each year.
Counties may also tax you for personal property, which includes your vehicles and trailers. All of these costs vary by location, so you’ll want to check with your local authorities for concrete details.
There’s not much of a difference in gas consumption, as you’ll see worse gas mileage when towing a travel trailer with a large truck, or driving a motorhome that averages around eight miles to the gallon.
Finally, it’s time to look at financing. Unless you’re wealthy enough to pay cash for a motorhome or travel trailer, you’ll likely end up financing them. A travel trailer costs in the ballpark of a car payment – $300 – $400 a month, depending on the loan rates, term, and downpayment – while you’d be looking at a much higher, mortgage-sized bill for your motorhome.
Half the reason to buy a travel trailer or motorhome is for the lifestyle it provides, right? If you can afford the cost of a motorhome, it means you’re well off enough to spend your golden years traveling to your heart’s content.
To get an idea of the right option for you, you need to ask yourself these two questions about your desired lifestyle:
- Do you plan on driving to destinations and then back home, or are you looking for long-term travel?
- Will you travel year-round or only part of the year?
Destination travel is more suited to a travel trailer, while consistent road warrior status is worth looking into a motorhome. There’s no wrong choice here, but if you’re not traveling year-round, and you’re only making excursions to and from your house, then a travel trailer is likely your best bet.
Where Did I Park It?
Here’s where the fun really starts – parking whatever you decide to buy! Again, unless you have the yard or driveway space to park a motorhome permanently, you’ll need to find places to house it when you’re not using it. The same goes for travel trailers, although since they’re generally shorter and skinnier than motorhomes, finding storage at your house is a bit easier.
With either option, you’ll need storage that keeps your home out of the elements. That type of storage can run you anywhere from $50 – 200 per month.
What Do I Bring?
When you’re traveling in a motorhome, you’re obviously able to bring more stuff with you, since they’re larger. Generally speaking, though, the packing list for a motorhome or travel trailer is pretty similar. You just need to bring with you what you need to feel comfortable.
As roomy as a motorhome is, it’s not all that great at going off the beaten trail. If that’s how you choose to travel, you’re stuck with not straying too far off an interstate.
For some people, that’s all the travel and exploration they need. However, if you want to see the lesser-traveled parts of the country, then a travel trailer is your best bet. Getting around with one of those is much easier since they’re designed to be towed behind a large truck, often on dirt roads.
Insuring an RV
What do you think costs more to insure? A motorhome or travel trailer?
If you guessed motorhome, you’re right. After all, it’s a more costly piece of property, which can sustain or cause more monetary damage than a travel trailer. Usually, these will come with some sort of manufacturer’s warranty, though once that runs out, you’ll be on your own.
You are, of course, required to have auto insurance for a motorhome. Since it’s something you drive instead of tow, you’ll have to get a quote from your insurance company to see what that cost would be.
Do You Have a Permit For That?
If you want to drive a motorhome, you can choose between a class A or class C. In all states in the U.S., you’ll need the right endorsements or certifications on your driver’s license to show that you can safely operate a motorhome.
You don’t need anything like that for a travel trailer.
Is it Broke?
Maintenance – it’s the gift that never stops taking, right?
Regardless of what you choose, you’ll have maintenance. That’s just a fact of life. A motorhome will have more, and higher, repair and general maintenance costs since it’s an all-in-one deal. A travel trailer will be cheaper to maintain on its own, but you have to factor in the wear and tear on the truck pulling that trailer, too.
You can get a sense for what maintenance looks like cost-wise by looking through parts for both an RV and travel trailer.
Lay it Out For Me
Lastly, the most important thing you’ll want to consider – aside from price – is the layout of a motorhome or a travel trailer.
More often than not, a travel trailer has more room, so you’re likely to have larger beds, couches, and appliances. One thing you can count on for sure, though, is that you’ll have plenty of room to lounge and relax while towing a travel trailer. Due to their elongated layouts, motorhomes more commonly feel less roomy than a travel trailer.
That’s not true for a motorhome. While motorhomes are meant to be lived in while driving, you should take into account the square footage dedicated to the driving section of the motorhome. The driving section can account for a decent amount of total square footage. But depending on the size of your family – or if it’s just you and your spouse who are traveling – you may not need that much room to begin with.
Choosing between a motorhome or a travel trailer doesn’t have to be a daunting decision, but it should be one you give a lot of thought to.
We really hope this information has helped but we understand you may still have a bunch of questions. We’re here to help at any point in the process and would be honored to get the chance to help you make the best decision for you and your family. If you’d like to give us a call at 877-877-4494 one of our expert RV consultants can answer any and all questions you have. And while we’d love to earn your business, you won’t be pressured or hassled into anything. Or if you’d prefer, head on over to our large RV inventory and submit some pricing requests to see what might fit into your budget…we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you see our prices! We’re here to serve you.
Are you in the market for an RV? If so, don’t worry about limiting your search to local RV dealers. Buying an RV online will widen your options and help you find the perfect RV for your lifestyle and budget. Learn more about the process with our guide to the ins and outs of buying an RV online.
Finding a Reputable Site or Dealer Online
Once you decide to buy an RV online, the first step is to find a reputable site or dealer. Because you aren’t able to meet the dealer or see the RV in person, it’s crucial to do thorough research before you get too serious in your search. To find a trustworthy source to buy from, begin by reading reviews about the dealer. Only choose a site that has a wide range of reviews from many different types of customers. A site with only perfect scores could be soliciting fake reviews. You should also ask yourself these questions:
- Do they have an up-to-date inventory online, with extensive information about each model?
- Do they provide contact information and good customer service?
- Do they offer educational articles and a warm community for their RV customers?
- Are their photos well-lit and unaltered by Photoshop?
- Can you communicate with someone by email or phone to get questions answered?
- Do they guarantee the security of your personal information?
How to Look for the Best Deal Online
If you’re like most RV shoppers, you want to find the best RV deals out there. To get an idea of the average cost of an RV, check out many online retailers and compare prices. RV Wholesalers is a great option for the lowest wholesale pricing in the RV nation. They’ve changed the industry by selling at a fair price and offering a wide selection of RVs to meet any customer’s expectations. And if you don’t see what you want in the inventory, you can even build your own RV at the same wholesale pricing.
Do You Have to Buy Local? Questions to Ask When Buying an RV
There are many questions to consider while shopping for an RV. Though you think you know what you’re looking for, the search may become overwhelming when you realize all the options that exist in the online market. Here are some questions to ask when buying an RV that will help narrow down your search:
- What is your main purpose in buying the RV, and who will be using it?
- Where do you plan to travel with your RV?
- How often will the RV be driven?
- Do you want to tow a trailer or have a motorhome?
- What are the features on your “must-have” list?
- What are additional features you would like to have, but aren’t required?
- If buying an RV online, how will the RV be delivered?
- How will you finance your RV?
Delivery & Pickup Options for an Online RV Purchase
Any reputable online RV seller will offer RV transport services or RV shipping to ease the process. You won’t have to worry about driving across the country to pick up your RV, and you will probably still be saving money since online RVs often come at a great price. When buying an RV online, make sure to test drive the vehicle as soon as it arrives. Test every feature, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re not sure how something works. Now is the time to ensure that everything is in working order.
Know The Options for Financing Your RV
RV financing is a great route to take if you are short on cash and need to spread the cost over time. Be sure to shop around for the best rates before settling on how you’ll be financing an RV. You can also consider alternative options like renting your RV out or getting a vacation home deduction on your loan. Arrange financing before finding an RV so you know how much you can afford to spend.
Understanding Your RV Service & Repair Options
The longer you have your RV, the more likely you are to have inevitable RV repair service needs. Smart RV owners always plan for RV repairs as a part of their budget, so nothing takes them by surprise. To find a reputable RV repair option, ask your RV-owning friends for recommendations before you commit to any one place. If you’re on the road, ask people at your RV campground or do an online search to find a reputable dealer. Be sure to ask the dealer for a quote on repair costs and don’t be afraid to shop around for the best rate.