Virgins Guide to Buying the First RV
Buying an RV is a long process and a big investment which is why you want to get it right the first time around. Now, how to do that…
We are 30 years old and we are getting ready to purchase our 4th RV, so needless to say, we know the process better than we would like to admit. Lucky you, we are going to share all of our hard earned, money pit, time consuming, mistake ridden knowledge on how to find the right RV for you. Or as my grandmother liked to say, “Let me give you some pearls”.
First things first, let’s figure out what type or class of RV you want and how big. There’re sooo many different types out there; the easiest way to narrow it down is by asking some questions:
- What type of camping do you want to do? (What kind of roads will you travel?)
- Where do you plan on camping? (Some parks have length restrictions)
- How often do you plan on traveling? (Trailers are easier to winterize and store)
For Example: We plan on reaching some remote national forest and BLM campgrounds with potential small and rough roads, some oceanfront campgrounds with under 30ft restrictions and we plan on taking some hair pin topsy turvey scenic roads! We travel full time, log a lot of miles and we don’t have a truck to pull a trailer (and don’t plan on buying one). Important items for us are a good size fridge and ample inside storage space. With all of this info, we now know our new coach will need to be a smaller class A, B+ or C that is less than 30ft.
Of course buying used is nice if it’s an option. You will save on depreciation and someone has worked out some of the bugs for you. Believe us, there are lots of bugs to be worked out on even the fanciest of RV’s. If the coach floor plan, size or type you want is only available spankin’ new, you will have to pony up the cash for a new RV and if not, find a used one!
Now, it’s time to crunch the numbers…figure out what your budget is and stick to it! Get pre approved for a loan before you head to the dealership…that is unless you plan on paying cash for the RV. Talk with your bank or check out some online sources such as Good Sam, Costco and local credit unions. We received our first RV loan with no problems. A year later when we tried to upgrade to a new RV and the process was a much bigger pain. We almost didn’t get the RV because we were not already pre-approved.
It’s finally time to go look at your top choices in the flesh and you don’t want to waste time and energy dreaming and looking at coaches you can’t afford. (If you want to see how we shop, watch this video on our top RV choices)
Don’t buy the first time you look! Let the salesman know that you want to be directed to the coaches you are interested in and then ask them to leave. Give yourself some time to browse around and pretend to use everything! Cook, watch TV, lie on the bed, sit in the captain’s chair, shower and use the John (pretending of course). RVs are small versions of home so you’ve got to make sure you are comfortable with your every day rituals. Ask for a brochure, take some of your own pictures and make notes about your likes and dislikes of each coach. Take time to sit and think on it. Give yourself a few days and then go back again if you need to. After some deliberation you may find yourself with more questions or wanting to test out the bed again. Don’t hesitate, this is a big purchase and you want to choose the RV that best suits you, not your relatives, friends or kids. Yes I said it; you come first on this purchase, not the kids or grandkids! It’s finally all about you and don’t forget it!