There are thousands of RV's to choose from, with tons of options and configurations, one for almost every budget. For most people, a RV can be the second largest purchase they will ever make. It can be an extremely frustrating and time consuming process. My promise to you is to provide you with the information you need to make a sound buying decision, receive a fair price, and help simplify the purchasing process so that its more enjoyable. I'm here to help you in a honest and ethical manner.
Below I've listed some useful resources to assist you with your dream of owning a RV. And as always, feel free to reach out and contact me should you have any questions.
Where To Begin?
What Type of Camping or Travel Will I Do?
Your camping adventure can be as simple and brief as a weekend, while some will adventure out for a few weeks at a time. Many individuals, believe it or not, are taking on RV'ing on a full-time basis, whether for pleasure or the lifestyle.
What Type of RV Should I Purchase?
When you decide on the type of camping or travel you'll be doing, you can then figure out which type of RV to purchase. Here's what's available:
Class A Motorhomes
These are the largest motorized "house on wheels" that are ideal for long distance travel, large families, and living in comfort and style. These units typically have multiple slide-outs, lots of storage, and amenities beyond belief. Class A's are the most expensive, typically prices start above $75,000 for basic models to custom luxury suites that have prices tags well over $1 million dollars.
Class B Motorhomes
These units offer many of the features and craftsmanship of Class A's, only in a smaller package that is easier to maneuver. They use a full-size van as it chassis and can be equipped with compact bathrooms, kitchens, and queen-sized beds. Great for multiple-week voyages, this class of motorhome is like driving a large premium SUV.
Class C Motorhomes
A cross between Class A's and Class B's, these units seem to be the most popular during the Spring, Summer, and Fall to rent. They are easy to drive and provide plenty of sleeping space for the family. They can range from 20 feet up to 40 feet long.
These type of RV's lead national sales year after year due to the big advantage of being lightweight with a sturdy construction and towable with standard pickup trucks, SUVs and minivans. They range in size from 12 feet up to 35 feet. Most sleep from 4 people up to ten and range in price from $8,000 to over $150,000. They also include tons of amenities and provide the option of leaving the trailer at the campsite and using the tow vehicle for day trips.
This type of RV provides a more stable pull down the road due to moving the weight off the bumper to over the rear axle in the bed of the truck. They are easier to back up as well. Great for long distance travel, fifth-wheels range in length from 20 feet to 45 feet long. Due to their size and weight, it's important that you have the proper truck to be able to pull the load safely.
Typically the smallest sized trailer that pops-up or folds out. Even though they are small, some models can sleep up to six people. Setup and tear-down can be troublesome and time consuming. They are usually the most economical to own, with prices starting as low as $5,000. Pop-ups are a great way to get into RVing and mostly used for weekend trips.
Very popular on the west coast and southern states, these RVs are built as travel trailers and fifth-wheels. They are designed with a built-in garage door on the back of the RV that allows for toys (motorcycles, side-by-sides, etc.) to be stored during transit. Once the "toys" have been unloaded, the open space can be used for sleeping or lounging. Toy haulers are typically heavy due to the construction needed to house the toys.
A truck camper slides into the bed of a standard pickup bed and offers many of the comforts of the other types of RVs in a small space. Many outdoorsmen favor truck campers because they can be hauled into the backwoods or over rough terrain, and then offloaded at a campsite and left behind.
Other Items to Consider?
Where To Look When Buying a RV?
Ready to Buy?
What Should I Expect to Pay?
With ultra-competitive online pricing, be wary of the "too good to be true" priced RV. Not every dealership provides the same experience and many price their RVs much lower than other dealerships to "bait" the customer onto their lot. Once the customer arrives, they find out about all the "extra" fees that are added on to the sale price of the RV. Fees like: title work, registration, advertising, delivery, floor plan, administrative, destination, key, setup, convenience, self-financing, trade-in, detailing & cleaning, documentation, tire excise or inflation, prep, inspection, and more. These fees can add up to hundreds, if not THOUSANDS of dollars! Ask before signing your name on the dotted line.
What's My Trade Worth?
Reasonable dealerships base the trade-in value of your RV by referencing current national market prices and the condition of your RV. They should use the same system to evaluate your trade-in as they do to price their pre-owned inventory. Please remember that NADA and other online value sites don't write checks to purchase your RV, dealerships do.
How to Finance a RV?
Many RV'ers look to financing at least part of their purchase. A RV is considered a luxury item and you'll need good credit to qualify for financing. Your local dealership can provide competitive rates and long-term financing (up to 20 years on some RVs). Your bank or credit union may be an option as well. Lenders may require up to 20% down payment while some offer zero-down loans.
What's a Pre-Delivery Quality Inspection?
Not all dealerships offer a pre-delivery quality inspection (PDI), but you should expect and request it in order to make sure your RV is ready to take straight to your camping site from the dealership. A typical PDI can take 3-5 days should something need to be repaired or replaced. All systems including electrical, LP, water, heating, A/C, should be inspected, tested, and repaired if need be. Also expect an inside and outside cleaning before you perform the walk-thru with the dealership representative.
How Will I Know How to Use Everything?
Again, not all dealerships offer a "walk-thru" service after you purchase a RV, however; you should expect and request it in order to make sure your RV is in working condition and you know how to operate everything on the outside and inside of the RV. The walk-thru typically takes up to 3 hours depending on your previous RV use and knowledge.
Ready To Go RV'ing?
The First Night
You should "dry camp" in your driveway the first night and not be tempted to hook up to shore utilites just yet. Prepare your meal in the RV, watch some television, and make up the beds. There is no better way to test the living facilities than to actually use them without getting stranded hours away from home. The batteries should be fully charged and provide enough battery capacity to dry camp at least one night without having to run the generator. When you get up in the morning, start the generator or plug into shore power, to verify that the inverter goes directly into the bulk (highest) charge rate. It will take two to three hours to recharge the batteries. If it is really hot, then by all means connect to shore power so you can run the air conditioners, but when it cools down, disconnect shore power so that you can test your batteries for the remainder of the night. READ ALL THE MANUALS to test your knowledge from the walk-thru and your testing of the RV earlier that day and make any notes that will serve you on your first distance RV outing. Start a "fix list" for the dealership where you purchased. Contact the dealer and schedule a service appointment as these items will most likely be covered under warranty or extended service contract.
The Shake Down Trip
Choose a destination roughly 100 miles away for your maiden voyage. Use all the systems multiple times to try to detect and flush out any failures of electronics and other devices. At your destination with full hook-ups, refill the fresh water tank and run water into the gray tank to verify gauge readings and that there are no leaks. Drain the gray water using the sewer hose and do the same with your black water tank. Check the gauge for accuracy and for any leaks that may occur. Drain the black water tanks and refill the fresh water tank and camp using all the systems for the remainder of your trip. Again, add to your notes and fix list (if any fixes needed) and contact your dealer upon returning home.