Are you interested in buying an RV? If so, there are three simple steps you can use to locate a new or used recreational vehicle without ever leaving home. These tips will help you avoid making common errors and help you grab the most bang for the buck.
Step #1: Narrow It Down
Decide on the general make, model and style of RV before you start shopping. This simple tip will enable you to compare apples to apples and make sure you are getting a fair market price. To begin, ask yourself the following questions:
What do I want to use? This question will help you determine the size of your potential motorhome.
How many people will travel with me? Again, this will help you determine how big your rig will need to be.
Where do I want to stay? If you plan to stay in RV parks, you can purchase a Class A big rig, but if you'd like to camp in national and state parks, you may need to consider something smaller.
What is my budget? Decide if you plan to buy your RV outright or if you intend to finance it. I highly recommend picking a budget and sticking with it.
How old of a unit am I willing to buy? Many RV parks have age restrictions on the rigs you can bring to their property. If you wish to stay in public parks, this may need to be part of your buying equation. While some rental locations are flexible, the general rule of thumb is no units over ten years of age are allowed.
After asking yourself a few questions, you may decide that a Class C motorhome that is less than ten years old and smaller than 36 feet is the perfect rig for you. You may decide that you are willing to finance but your top budget is $50,000, and you need space to sleep up to five people. Now you are ready for some online shopping.
Step #2: Research The Companies
There are a variety of RV manufacturers and taking the time to research their product lines will help you choose the perfect rig. If you are looking for a used RV, consider searching online for forums related to the model you are wanting. Previous owners are a great resource when it comes to the Pros and Con's of a recreational vehicle.
Here is an example: If I were searching for a Class C unit, I would find that some of the main manufacturers are:
- Holiday Rambler
- Gulf Stream
- Forest River
Now I can begin looking at forums and use my list as a reference. If I see a particular manufacturer being discussed either favorably or negatively, I can take notes.
Here are a few of my favorite RV forums:
If you find a particular model you are interested in, be sure to Google that brand with the words forum behind it. You may be able to locate specific conversation threads to help you.
Step #3: Shop Online
Let's say that using step 1, I determined that a Class C under $50,000 was my target RV. Using step 2, I researched a variety of Class C units and found I had a high interest in Thor Chateau and the Winnebago Chalet.
For additional pricing help, you may also look at the NADA Guides price checker, which will help you determine fair market value of an RV.
Remember, while low mileage is important, you also want to determine if the RV was lived in and for what length of time. A rig may have a mere 10,000 miles, but if it was lived in, the wear and tear will add up.
Need extra help? Consider the RV Consumer Group at RV.org. This online membership offers safety and testing results for nearly every type of recreational vehicle.
Buying your first RV doesn't have to be frustrating. Simply take your time working through these three tips. In no time, you will know what you want to buy and where to find it. Happy hunting!