So you’re ready to go RV shopping, how exciting!
This first step was probably the easiest. Now you have to figure out what you want and need from your soon to be, large family investment. We are on our second Travel trailer and have grown up with a number of variations as well, which has allowed us (my husband and I:) to discover steps in the process as well as necessary features to make our choice a good one. Here is an RV Buying Checklist to help you through the process!
First, determine your budget and be sure to be comfortable with it. I know it is so tempting to go high enough for a brand new fully loaded beauty but I can tell you from personal experience, this is not the way to make the most of your budget. There is no point in getting the perfect RV with all the bells and whistles and then having no money left to travel!
Now that you have a number in mind, think about the people who will be traveling with you. Will it be children, grandparents, just the two of you? This makes a huge difference in the layout and size that will work best for your situation. In our particular situation, we made a bunkhouse model an absolute must as we have two young girls and if you know anything about girls you know they need their own space!
Next, comes the features. Think about your traveling companions from above again. Will you need a second door, possible in the bathroom area or an outdoor kitchen? We have both though the outdoor kitchen was the item on our must have list. If you are planning on long trips such as a two-week adventure or even a month-long escapade, storage and TV jacks may be high on your feature list. Again, for us, knowing we most likely will never travel for more than a week at a time, having one or two options for TV/DVD placement was plenty, however, storage was a must with two girls.
So now that you have a pretty good idea what you want and need out of your RV and have a budget in place, it’s time to determine what type of RV you will be shopping for. There are a number of options that fit into every budget and pulling capability such as, a pop-up camper, expandable travel trailers, travel trailer, 5th wheel, and motor home. We have a travel trailer and because we have a large truck are able to have a large 32ft version. Knowing not everyone has a vehicle with a large towing capacity, options such as the pop-up camper and expandable travel trailer may be better for your situation. If you are planning on long over the road trips, a motor home may be a good choice if your budget allows.
A few tips during your research:
- double doors
- outdoor kitchen
- panel doors
- bathroom tub
- outdoor shower
- outdoor entertainment speakers/TV mount
What can I tow?
Looking for your vehicles towing ability? Check in the owners manual for the specifics.
How should I pay?
If you choose to finance your RV check with your accountant, the sales tax and interest may be tax deductible as a second home.
New or Used?
Used RV’s are an excellent option to help your budget go further! Think about how much you travel, not very much right! Most likely the current owner is the same so a used RV can be just as clean and nice as a new model but at a very reduced price! Our first travel trailer was used (nearly 10 years old) and while the outside was faded and showed its age, the inside was nearly new. The previous owners stored it outside in the elements but only traveled with it a handful of time! Score for us!!
What should I know?
Research on the intranet before hitting any big dealerships. Some sites I found useful include
Just like car dealerships, the salespeople can be overwhelming and not necessarily point you to the RV’s that best meet your needs. If you walk in with your budget, towing ability, and your must-have list, you are less likely to be directed off course. Also, a great way to see all the options and styles available in one place is attending an RV and camper show. Not only will you be able to see a massive amount of options but they usually offer some unbelievable deals so go ready to purchase!
So, that was A LOT of information! The best advice I can give is just to dive in. Information is power so start absorbing!
I’d love to hear about you RV buying experiences! Share yours below!