How to Buy an RV in 2021
As vaccination rates increase, more people are traveling. However, you may still prefer to minimize your risk by avoiding airplanes and other crowded spaces. There’s a reason RV sales soared during the pandemic and are still going strong. Buying an RV is a great way to see the country on vacation or while working remotely/homeschooling your kids. You can travel at your own pace while limiting your contact with people outside of your immediate family or pod.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of buying an RV, what to look for, cost and maintenance considerations, and more!
Create a budget
Make a wish list of the features you’d like to have in your RV and then figure out how much you can spend, whether that means paying in cash or making a down payment and using financing to cover the rest.
You can use J.D. Power's NADA Guide to Motorhome Prices to find current values for used and new motorhome models. We’ve also provided average price ranges for new models according to the three classes of motorhome below:
- Class A: The largest type of motorhome, looks like a bus or semi-truck. The average price range for class A is $50,000-$150,000; however you can spend much more than that for a luxury RV.
- Class B: A camper van with a bubble roof for standing room inside. The average price range for class B is $40,000-$80,000, making it the least expensive motorhome option, though you could spend up to $125,000 for a luxury model.
- Class C: A scaled-down version of a class A motorhome, $50,000-$80,000.
If you already own a tow vehicle and are looking for a more affordable RV option, consider a Towable RV, also known as a trailer. Types of Towable RVs include:
- Travel Trailer: Non-motorized RV, about $35,000
- Fifth Wheel: A travel trailer that is more stable when towed and may also feature an over-the-cab living space, prices start at about $25,000
- Lightweight Trailer: Can be towed by smaller vehicles and sleep 2-4 people, $5,000-$15,000.
Now that you know the different types of RVs to choose from and how much new models will cost, let’s look at the decision between buying new or used.
New vs. used
If the price tag of a brand new RV seems too steep for you, consider looking around for the model you want in a decent used version. After all, brand new RVs lose their value as soon as you drive away from the dealership, just like other vehicles. If you’re still new to the RV lifestyle and a purchase feels like a big commitment, try a few trips in a used RV to make sure you like it and/or to test different models before settling on one to purchase. These are good ways to test your potential investment.
Decide where to store your vehicle
If you live in a single-family, detached home and/or have a large enough lot or driveway, you can probably store your RV at home. But if you live in an apartment, condo, or townhome, or within a restrictive HOA, you’ll need to find off-site RV storage that fits your budget.
Research RV maintenance
Like any vehicle, an RV requires regular maintenance. Handy RV owners may be able to perform some of the maintenance themselves, but most people will need to find an experienced mechanic. You can also consider an extended service agreement with the dealership you buy from.
In addition to engine maintenance for your RV, you also need to think about interior maintenance. RVs are outfitted with plumbing, kitchen areas, potentially a washer/dryer, etc., so all of this will need repair or replacement at some point. Before you buy an RV, research local mechanics that are capable of performing repairs on these vehicles.
Budget for gas
Due to their size and wind resistance, RVs consume more fuel than traditional vehicles, so be sure to account for this expense when you're purchasing one. While gas mileage for almost any size RV varies between four and ten miles per gallon, a diesel RV will get up to 20 MPG. When you're planning road trips, be sure to budget for extra fuel costs.
Learn more about financing your RV purchase!
Since 1902, expertise and experience have made LSB the bank of choice for thousands of people like you. We’ve been helping people secure locally-sourced loans for over a century, and we can help you, too. Contact us with any questions you have about buying an RV or apply online in just a few minutes for an Auto, Motorcycle, RV, ATV, or Boat loan.
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