Buying An RV 

 This guy found a home for $500.  There are good deals out there.    

The first step in buying an RV is to know what you want and why.  Check out the pros and cons of the different types of RV here.  Then go to step two.

The second step when buying an RV is to ask  a few questions:

How much time do plan on spending in it?  Are you just going camping for a weekend every now and then or are you planning to full-time?  Full-timers usually like to have the comforts and amenities of a regular sticks-n- bricks home.  That means they need more living and storage space.  When weekend camping, roughing it can be a fun part of the experience.  However, roughing can get old fast when there is no end to it.

IMPORTANT:  Go to RV shows, dealers, and anywhere you can go into various RVs and experience them.  Take your time.  Lay on the bed…pretend you’re getting up in the morning.  Is there enough room to easily maneuver?  Will you have to climb over your spouse (and her sociopath cat) to get in or out of bed?  Is there enough head room?  For sex?  Is there a place for your alarm clock, pills, and whatever? 

Can you walk around the bed?  It’s a lot easier to change the sheets on a walk-around bed than one that only has access one side.  Go into the bath room (don’t use the toilet).  Is there enough room to stand naturally in front of the sink?  Imagine shaving there.    Is there a enough elbow room?  Is there enough leg room to sit on the toilet?  Sit on the toilet to make sure.

Is the table big enough?  Sit at the table and make sure you have enough room for your legs.  Is it difficult to squeeze into the bench seats?  In the main space, do want recliners or a couch?  Often, RV recliners are not very comfortable.  Many people prefer a couch.  They are more comfortable, better for cuddling, and cat naps.  Usually they fold out into a bed as well.

Is there enough room to pass by if someone is standing at the stove or kitchen sink?  Do you want a driver’s door?  Many class A motorhomes do not have separate doors in the front.  The only way in or out is the door on the side of the RV.  (RVs do come equipped with some windows that can be pushed out in case of an emergency.)

If you are going to full-time and run a small business from the RV, will you have enough space for an “office”?  Where would you put office supplies.  Where would the printer live?  Try to visualize it.

Take your time in each unit you visit.  Simulate doing everyday tasks.  Can you stand up straight without hitting your head?  Where will the TV go?  Can you watch it in comfort or will you be at a weird angle?  Can you stretch your legs while sitting in the chairs or couch?

If the RV has slideouts do all of the above with the slides in as well as deployed.  Can you get to the toilet with the slides in?  Can you get to the bed with the slides in? Can you open the refrigerator with the slides in?  In some RVs you can’t.

What kind of camping will you be doing?  There are basically Four kinds of RV camping, RV resort, RV park, boondocking, and stealth.  Click here for more info on the different kinds of RV camping.

What’s your budget?  Obviously, more money equals more choices.  The smaller your budget, the more size, type, age, and condition come into play.

Do you want to tow a trailer?  If so, your choices are limited to motorhomes because you cannot tow a trailer behind a trailer.

How many people will be staying in it?  Will you have a place for everyone to sleep?  Where will that psychotic cat sleep?

Where will you store it when not in use?  Will you have to pay to keep it at an RV storage yard? 

Who will be driving?  Not all drivers are comfortable driving a large RV or towing a trailer.  Many single women RVers prefer Class C motorhomes because they are relatively easy to drive.

Which amenities and features are most important to you?  Do you want a large TV?  AC?   A bathtub?  Large comfy queen or king size bed?  Residential style toilet?   Lots of storage space?

Will you be doing any cold weather camping?  Is the RV set up for freezing temps?

Step three…you have a good idea of what you want, now it’s time to start looking for your RV.  One of the most important things you can do when RV hunting is to give yourself plenty of time to look at lots of RVs.  As you start looking at RVs and what people are asking for them, you will soon get to the point where you will know if an RV is overpriced, average, or a great price.  You’ll “know the market” and be able to recognize a good deal when you see it.  If you want a good RV and a good deal, you have to be able to recognize a good deal when it comes along.  If you are patient a good deal will show it’s self eventually.  Have fun with it.  See yourself as a treasure hunter.  Everyday you’ll get a little closer until you find just what you’ve been looking for at a great price.

Some of the best places to look for a used RV are:

·         RV Storage Lots…Ask the manager if any of the RVs are for sale.

·         Parked In Driveways…If it looks like it’s been there a while or is an older model, it may be for sale.  Can’t hurt to ask.

·         In industrial areas…Look behind buildings and chain link fences.  Ask the first person you see if they know anything about the RV.

·         Truck repair shops.  Look at the license plate sticker.  If the registration is out of date it may be a good sign the unit may be for sale.  Be sure to find out what it will cost to bring the registration current before you make an offer.

·         Auto auctions...good place to find fixer-uppers.

·         Word-of-mouth…tell everyone you know that you’re looking for a used RV.  You may find that someone knows someone who is selling exactly what you’re looking for.

·         RV dealers

·         Online…PPL Motorhomes, Camping World, RVzen RV Trader, Craig’s List, RV forums

 Step four…Inspect before you make an offer.  The better the inspection the less nasty surprises later.  If you’re on a tight budget, you will most likely be buying an older RV.  It will have issues.  The idea is to know what they are and how serious they are.  Once you have identified the issues you can factor them into your offer.  Some issues will be deal breakers and some won’t.  If you don’t know whether or not an issue is serious, find a forum or a yahoo group online and ask the members.  Here is an inspection checklist that will take you a long way to avoiding bad surprises.

Step five… making an offer is the last step in Buying an RV.  Keep in mind the asking price and the selling price are two different things.  If you have looked at and priced many Rvs, you will have a very good idea if the asking price is reasonable.  One strategy is to bring a friend who is good at negotiating.  You show some interest but your friend is lukewarm.  Often the seller will lower his price before your friend can talk you out of buying it.

What if you want an RV but you’re broke?  If you’re willing to settle for an older RV or a fixer-upper, you may be able to get creative with the seller and work out a win-win deal.  Sometimes it pays to ask a few questions.  Find out what he needs the money for.  If he tells you he needs to put a new roof on his house and you happen to be a roofer, you could trade your labor and expertise for the RV. 

Sometimes a seller is going through some hard times and can’t afford to keep the RV because of the registration, and storage fees.  He goes to the storage yard to start it occasionally and finds that it needs maintenance.  He can’t afford the maintenance.  He’s motivated to sell it while it’s still worth something. 

You could offer to make monthly payments, take over the storage costs and start fixing up the RV.  Of course, you would want an arrangement like this to be put into writing.  The point is, it can’t hurt to ask.    Don’t be afraid to get creative if you’re short on cash.

Congratulations!  You’ve made a deal and you’re the proud owner of an RV.  You survived the buying process and now adventure calls!

Before you take off on your adventure…you’ll probably need to secure a few items to outfit your new RV.  Here is a checklist to get you started.  Oh, and don’t forget RV insurance. 


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