Combine your love for the outdoors and traveling, and you may find yourself looking to buy an RV.  It gives you the freedom to travel, and you can work remotely while you do. You can even bring your pets along for the ride as you make life-lasting memories.

Buying an RV is actually a cost-savings measure when it comes to travel, saving you and your family on lodging and dining expenses. But before you make this investment, you want to be sure you are protected. Here are some ways to help you.

Top 6 Tips to Consider When Buying an RV

  1. Before buying, rent an RV to get a feel for the various types and to help you determine if you want to buy or rent.  When it comes to costs, it could be cheaper to buy a new RV vs. fixing up or having to pay for repairs on an older model.  But on the other hand, think about whether you really need a new RV, or could a quality used one suit you? 
  2. Educate yourself about the various types of RVs there are. There are camper vans, full RV rigs, and those that attach to the bed of a pickup truck that you pull along with you. It can be luxurious to have the space that a large RV affords, but you also have to be able to afford it and maneuver and park it! Make sure you are getting the size you truly need based on your family’s size and needs; and based on size, you need to make sure you feel comfortable driving [especially reversing] the vehicle. 
  3. Make sure that the person or dealership with whom you’re dealing is a reputable, honest one. That means believe nothing unless it’s in writing. Read every line of a contract so that, for example, if something does go wrong, you know who to call – the manufacturer or the dealer. The contract spells out who is responsible for issues that may arise. And in some cases, insurance may cover a problem.  Before buying, be wary of scams, so test out the RV; never put money down or buy it sight unseen.
  4. Be aware of all fees and costs; it’s not just about the cost of the RV itself. There are also costs for insurance, dealership fees if buying from a dealer and registration fees.  There could also be government fees.  Keep in mind that insuring older RVs can be more costly. Depending on whether you buy new or used, you will also need to consider the cost of repairs and maintenance. When buying a used RV, inspect the vehicle for potential water damage, and check to see that the stove and other appliances [especially the AC] work when the vehicle is turned on.
  5. You are going to need some key items—surge protectors to automatically shut off power to protect your RV electrical system, a generator that is the right size for your needs, a WiFi source, and a hot spot antenna to stay in touch, surf the Web and work;  and leveling blocks to make sure your vehicle stays in one place. Other important must-haves: a water filter, sewer hose, sewer hose support, a clear sewer connector, air compressor, and tire pressure gauges to check the tires, RV GPS to give you a heads up to avoid tight areas, RV mattress, water pressure regulator, cast iron skillet, a grill and/or propane firepit for when campgrounds do not allow wood-burning fires, folding table, and chairs, cell phone/laptop battery pack, etc.
  6. When you decide to buy an RV, whether new or used and regardless of type, remember that trust and reliability are key.  You want to be sure that what you are buying is truly a new RV or a quality used vehicle. One way to ensure that is to check serial numbers and paperwork before signing anything.  For help with buying an RV such as reviewing the fine details of contracts, consider hiring a specialist like Gigi Stetler who has been in the RV business for more than three decades. She has experience with every aspect of the RV business from sales to insurance claims. She oversees “GPS,” Gigi’s Personal Service, which can help you before you buy and even afterward, should a problem arise. Want more information? Consult with the experts at www.thervadvisor.com.

Jodie Morris

By Jodie Morris
Content and Article Writer

Jodie is a former Chicago Tribune-owned Sun-Sentinel staff writer who has been published in Rolling Stone, the Wall Street Journal’s Florida Journal, and South Florida Parenting magazine.