When you’re thinking about buying an RV, you might not know where to begin. There are many steps involved in looking for, finding, and purchasing your next motorhome or travel trailer, so we’ve put together a list of the most important steps in our RV Buyer’s Guide. Read our ultimate RV Buying Guide to find out how to buy an RV!
1. Set Your Goals & Budget
The first step in buying an RV is getting specific in why you want one. Are you planning to live in your RV full time, or be a weekend warrior? What kinds of appliances and other amenities do you want or need?
Your answers to these questions will guide you toward a realistic budget. Other factors to help you figure out your budget will include the amount you have to spend, how much time you’ll have to dedicate to maintenance and RV service, and even how much space you have to store it. You’ll also need to consider all of the necessary RV accessories you’ll have to buy as well.
Setting concrete goals and a budget will help make sure you can enjoy the RV you buy over the long term. Make sure to stick to the budget you set, and remember that the sticker cost is only part of the total cost of ownership. There’s also maintenance, upgrades, and possible breakdowns to consider as well.
Once you’ve set your budget, you can decide whether you want a new RV or a used RV model. While a new RV hasn’t been used or lived in, meaning you won’t have to worry about wear and tear on its systems, it’s generally more expensive than a used RV. If you work with the manufacturer to customize it, it’ll cost even more—but you’ll have your perfect RV that has every feature you like, so it might be worth it. Most RV dealers offer RV financing, and depending on your credit score, you could get a very low interest rate on your RV loan! Although, some soon-to-be RV owners don’t want to owe anything, so they buy a used RV instead.
The main benefit to buying a used RV is the savings. Not only will you save money on the sticker price, but insurance costs less, and you generally don’t have to worry about depreciation as much as with a new RV. However, you can never be totally sure of the history of a used RV, especially if you’re buying it from a private seller. Some wear and tear is inevitable, but to find out how much, have the RV inspected by a professional before buying. No matter if you’re buying a used travel trailer, a used motorhome, a used fifth wheel, or even a used toy hauler, you need to get an RV inspection to make sure it is in working condition.
3. Choose Your RV Type
There are many types of RVs and floor plans to choose from. The style of RV is probably the biggest decider of the kinds of trips you’ll be able to take in your RV, as well as what your support vehicle needs to be and other considerations. It’s a big part of your RV buying process.
Choosing an RV is figuring out the balance between convenience and comfort, and between power and portability. Motorized RVs, like Class A Motorhomes, Class B Motorhomes, and Class C Motorhomes, don’t require a big, powerful tow vehicle, and they’re easier to live in most of the time. Class As, the biggest type, have all the comforts of home and are easiest to live in full-time, where Class Bs are better for weekend getaways and road trips. Class Cs have a separate truck-style cab with an attached living area, which generally gives more space than a Class B while still being easier to drive than a Class A.
For a towable RV, options include a Fifth Wheel, Travel Trailer, and Truck Camper. The smallest, truck campers, sit in the bed of a pickup truck and are very convenient to move around. They can also feature expanding sides or tents for more space, but don’t expect all the space in the world. Travel trailers are great first RVs, since they hook up to trailer hitches on pretty much any truck or SUV. Fifth Wheels are huge, nearly as big as Class As, and must be attached to the fifth wheel on a truck’s bed. They offer better stability and cornering, but can be much more expensive than other options.
4. Choose Your RV Floor Plan
There are lots of possible floor plans available for recreational vehicles, and they’re all better for different uses. Do you want to cook gourmet meals wherever you go, or do you want to fit as much family as you can? If you’re more interested in food, you’d want to look for a full kitchen, but if you need room for multiple people, you’d need to prioritize sleeping spaces and possibly dining areas. Here are some popular floor plans all RV buyers should ask about while RV shopping.
- Rear bedroom
- Front bedroom
- Rear kitchen
- Opposing slideouts
- Bunkhouse (sleeping area)
- Rear toy hauler
- Rear entertainment
5. Choose Your Ideal RV Dealership
Finally, you’ll want to figure out where to buy your RV. Consider your options here, since it’s likely you’ll need to visit your dealer for repairs at some point during the life of your RV. You’ll want to look at customer reviews, not just for purchase, but for service and repair as well, and make sure to check the dealer’s RV delivery process.
At Blue Dog RV, we have dealerships all over the Pacific Northwest, so wherever you travel in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, Montana, or Nevada, you won’t be far from your friendly Blue Dog. We have a wide selection of RV body styles and RV floor plans, all made by the best, most reliable RV brands, like Grand Design, Keystone, Jayco, Forest River, Dutchman, and Highland Ridge, so we’re sure to have an RV that’s perfect for your needs. Plus, our customers give us rave reviews because we’re dedicated to helping them take great vacations.
Come to one of our RV dealerships in the Pacific Northwest, give us a call, or check out our inventory online today! If you’re new to the “RV Life” check out our RV Basics guide! We look forward to seeing you!