10 RV Buying Tips For First-Time Buyers

By Court Lundy

Buying an RV for the first time can be scary, exciting and life changing all at once! Once you buy an RV, you'll realize you have been travelling the wrong way your whole life. However, there are many things to think about when deciding to purchase a mobile home like what are you able to afford? What flooring do you want? How many beds? The options are endless. 

It's very important to make all of these decisions before you go and look for your future RV. Some may prefer to buy a used rig while others will only settle for new RVs. And no matter your preference, you'll find the RV of your dreams. With these 10 tips, your RV buying experience will be so much easier and less stressful. 

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Find Out What Kinds Of RVs Are Within Your Budget

Unless you plan on living in your RV full-time, you may not necessarily need an extravagant RV. However, if you don’t want to settle for anything less, then you’ll definitely need to save and create a budget before buying a mobile home.

Having a budget will allow you to know what you are comfortable spending. Also, knowing how much you’ll actually use your RV is a big question on how much to spend. If you’re planning on using it every weekend all year, then you may want to upgrade a few things.


Decide If You Should Go With New Or Used

The biggest difference between new and used RVs is the price. While some may only be comfortable buying new RVs, used RVs have experienced a ton of love and they still work just as well as a new one. For first time buyers, it may be better to go with a used RV just so you can see what you like and still have the option to trade it in down the line.

There are pros and cons to each, but no matter what you decide, you’ll love any decision you make.



Do Your Homework

You may be thinking, “What kind of homework?” Well, doing your homework means checking out the same RV for different prices. A new RV could be priced at a certain amount of money, but it is possible that you could also go online and find that exact same RV used for thousands of dollars cheaper elsewhere. But again, it just depends on whether or not you prefer a new or used RV.

Doing major research on RVs to see what you want is also crucial. You don’t want to go in to this process not knowing if you would like a carpeted RV or tiled RV, a big or small kitchen, how many beds you would like, etc. It will confuse you even more if you go into your RV search without knowing what you’re looking for.


How Much Storage Do You Need?

Storage is a very big consideration when you are buying an RV. If you don't need a lot of storage, then you can pretty much get by with a smaller RV. If you’re looking for a lot of storage, maybe because you have a large family, take a lot of trips, or are planning on living in your RV for half the year, then you will need to look into bigger RVs.

If you’re just planning on using the RV for a couple of trips a year, then buying your first RV should be easy as you will just need the basics. The length and amount of the time you’ll spend in the RV will determine how much storage you’ll need, helping you find out if you should go with a bigger or smaller model.

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Figure Out What Type Of RV You Want

You’re probably thinking, “There's more than one type?!” Yup! There are actually quite a few, but the two main different types are motorized and towable. Motorized is where you can drive the RV yourself, not needing to hook it up to a car in front of you. A towable RV is one that you cannot drive yourself, but it attaches to a car or a truck. If you're not sure which RV type is better for you and your needs, you could always rent one out first to try it before you buy.

There are many different types of motorized RVs as well as towable trailers. You can choose from class A, B and C RVs, travel trailers, folding camper, folding pop-ups, expandable and more. The right RV for you will depend on whether you want your RV to be more of a mobile home where you can pack it up and go, or do you want it to be set up when you get to your destination? These are important things to think about.


Keep In Mind How Many People Will Use The RV

Floor plans in RVs are different, but almost all RVs have the following elements: a living room, bathroom, sleeping area and kitchen. Because of these floor plans, you need to figure out what size of RV you need to accommodate all of those people. How many people will you be cooking for? The answers to these questions will determine the size of your kitchen.

All of your answers to the above questions will tell you if you need a small, medium, or larger RV. Most of the time, smaller RVs can sleep from 1-6 people and larger RVs can sleep 6-12. Also, in smaller RVs, you’ll have less bedrooms and more places that turn into beds (like the dining table), and in larger RVs, you’ll have more bedrooms.


Figure Out How Far You’ll Want To Travel

No matter what, if you’re buying an RV, you’ll definitely be racking up the miles. That means you’re using your RV to it’s full advantage, but this also means you’ll need to figure out whether to buy new or used as you’ll already be putting a ton of mileage on it.

If you’re planning on using your RV for only weekend trips here and there in the summertime, then you can definitely get away with getting a used RV with more clicks on it. If you’re planning on using it almost all year round for trips with the family, and going cross-country with it, or even living in it full-time, then you would be better off getting a fresh, new RV that only you’ve driven before.

RVs usually last up to 200k miles, and that takes a lot of travelling to get to. You can definitely find used RVs that are way under that, if you’re really trying to budget.


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Get Advice From Friends With RVs

Many of your friends may not have an RV, but you may know someone who has rented one, bought one, or is also thinking of buying one. Getting tips from your friends or just joining online groups and forums for RVs is really important to make sure you know if you truly want to go through with the purchase.

Getting advice from friends will also help you navigate what to do and what not to do during your RV search through lessons from their experiences. Maybe they decided to go against their gut and buy used when they really wanted to buy new, or maybe they got a bigger kitchen than the really needed. All of these talks will help lead you in the direction towards the RV of your dreams.

Don’t feel shy to join online forums and ask a ton of questions. You’ll need to budget for gas, groceries, and extra necessities for your RV. You can find out how other people ended up budgeting for all of those things, and you’ll learn a lot if you are new to RVs.


Decide If This Is Your Forever RV

A lot of people like to trade in their RVs after a couple of years, and that’s totally fine. You can make some great memories and then move on to the next one when you feel like the time is right. However, buying your first RV comes with a lot of questions. One of those biggest questions is if you want this purchase to be your last.

Making this decision will definitely help you decide if you need a smaller or a larger RV. Do you plan on expanding your family? Is there enough room for the amount of travelling you plan to do? Are the amount of miles on the one you’re looking at too much? All of these questions are important, especially if you plan on only purchasing one RV in your life.


Rent A Couple Of RVs Before Purchasing

This is one of the most important tips. You’ll never know what you want until you live it, and this is definitely crucial when buying something big like an RV. If you just stumbled upon the idea of buying an RV, great! But there is a lot more to it, and this is added to the ‘do your homework’ tip. By trying out different RVs while renting, you’ll get a feel for what you love and don’t care for.

You can rent one right here on RVezy and there are thousands of great options from you to choose from. Find anything, from smaller RVs to larger RVs, and you can take either weekend trips or week long trips. If you’re looking for specific accommodations when you rent, this is the perfect place to do it. Renting an RV will help with your final decision-making, especially if you’re looking to buy one that is used.

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