Buying an RV for the first time is a big decision! Ultimately RVing is an excellent way to spend more time together as a family while saving money on your vacations. However, you probably have a lot of questions about what to expect when buying an RV. In this blog, we’ll go through some of the best tips for RV buying from real-life RV owners and their experiences. Learn more about these six things you need to know about buying an RV below.
Make a Checklist
First and foremost, you’ll want to make a checklist of must-haves. This list can be anything you must have to enjoy your RVing vacation. For example, these are some common checklist items:
- King bed in master
- Sleeping for x
- Outdoor kitchen
- Full-sized refrigerator
- # of slides
These are just a few examples of key items. If you are looking at getting a motorhome, your checklist may include engine type, gas or diesel, estimated miles per gallon, etc. Making this checklist is one of the longest processes in buying an RV, but it helps you find exactly what you want.
Motorhomes vs. Towables
If you don’t already know, you’ll want to decide on whether you’re looking for a towable RV like a fifth wheel or travel trailer or a drivable motorhome. The significant difference between the two is that a motorhome is built on a chassis with an engine so that your RV does not require a second vehicle to tow it wherever you go.
A towable RV, like this Alliance Paradigm fifth wheel, requires a specialized hitch installed in the bed of your truck to tow it. Fifth wheels, travel trailers, teardrop trailers, A-frames, Expandables, and pop-up campers are all examples of towable RVs.
As mentioned above, towable RVs have different hitch types depending on the type of RV. For example, fifth wheels are substantially more heavy than other towables, so they use a fifth wheel hitch to add stability to the towing vehicle and the RV. This hitch is mounted inside the bed of the towing vehicle. Travel trailers, and most other towables, can be pulled with a simple ball hitch. Additionally, your towing vehicle will have a limited amount of weight it can tow safely. If you are unsure of your vehicle’s towing capacity, talk to your RV dealer. They will help you find an RV that is the right weight for your truck or recommend towing vehicles that can safely tow your new RV.
Once you’ve found the right floorplan and RV type that features all your must-have amenities, it’s time to start price shopping. For most dealers, MSRP is set by the manufacturer and will be the displayed price, especially for newer models. However, many RV dealers offer special discounts at critical times during the year or may have special pricing because of their deal with the manufacturer. It’s always a good idea to shop around and find the general price of the unit you’re looking to buy.
Pro Tip: The best time to shop for your new RV will be early fall when most RV manufacturers release the next year’s model. Dealers will cut prices on late-model RVs to make room on their lots for the newest floorplans and designs.
Research Parts and Accessories
You may not realize it, but your RV will not come with everything you need to take your first camping trip. Before you can head out to the campground, these are your must-have RV accessories:
- Fresh Water Hose
- Black Water Hose
- Wheel Chocks
- Water Pressure Regulator
- Leveling Blocks
- RV Holding Tank Treatment
- RV Toilet Paper
- Surge Protector
Additionally, you may want to pick up other items like an outdoor rug, a water filter, camp chairs, fire starting kits, AC covers, bug vent covers, and a power adaptor, to name a few. It’s a good idea to see what dealers offer special pricing on parts and accessories when you buy with them. Sometimes, just buying your RV and all your accessories in one place can save you thousands.
Before you can officially bring home your RV, you’ll need to apply for RV financing. Most dealers will handle the paperwork and deal with the loaning bank on your account. In some cases, you may be able to find a better interest rate with your bank, so be sure to check with them before signing. Additionally, you will be able to discuss with your dealer the length of the loan to determine the best possible monthly payment for your budget.
Buying an RV is not unlike buying a house or a car; however, these essential tips can help you find the right design for your needs quickly and efficiently. For more information and advice on buying an RV, visit our First-Time RV Buyer’s page on RVing Planet.