5 Tips to Help Purchase a New or Used RV

There are so many factors that go into the decision to purchase an RV.  There are even more factors that go into it when you decide to purchase a new or used RV. Today we wanted to provide you with 5 tips to get you off on the right foot when you decide to take the plunge and purchase a new or used RV.

 Shop Around


Make sure you put the sweat and tears into this.  It is a big decision and you generally would not want to purchase the first RV you see on the first lot you find. Before you purchase your new or used RV be sure to spend the time online researching and reading up on brands, chassis’, differentiation’s in RV classes, etc.  When you get to your first dealer spend some time walking the lot before working with their sales reps.  That way you can start making your own opinions without the subtle nudging of the sales team.

Know Your Desires


This has the chance to make or break your experience so really focus on this point.  Before you buy your RV take the time to sit down and write out a list of things that you know you want in your RV.  Then look at it again a couple times and determine which are ‘must-haves’ and which you could live without.  Then go through it again.  Typically, this list will start to slim out the more you go through it.  I typically push for minimalist living where possible but for some people that does not work well so if you have a lot of hard ‘must-haves’ on your list, that’s OK.

Here is a short list of things that you may want to use as a starting point.

  • How many spaces to sleep.
  • Climate capable (is it set up to handle cold weather/hot weather as needed).
  • How many slides (it is surprising how much difference a slide can make to open up a room).
  • Kitchen Counter Space.
  • Weight requirements/restrictions (are you planning to pull your RV or if you’re buying a motorhome are you planning on pulling a vehicle behind it?).
  • Closet space.
  • Fridge Size.
  • Number of A/C units.

This list can get extensive as you could understand.

Bigger is not Better


When you start your search to purchase a new or used RV outside of all of the technical specs, and actual functionality of the RV you will also want to take a close look at the lifestyle you are planning on living.

A lot of people may start off thinking that they should get the biggest RV possible to have the most space (especially if you are planning on living full-time in), but that really is not always the best choice.  I would actually highly suggest that you rent a few different RV’s before you make a purchase.  There are great resources for renting RV’s out there for relatively decent prices.

Buy Used


Just like with cars, buying a new RV is typically going to hurt your budget a lot more than it is worth, and the value will drop the second you sign the papers.  Obviously, you are not going to want to buy something that is 30 years old if you are not wanting to do a lot of renovation.  So, take some time to think about how much work you may or may not want to put in once you purchase your used RV.  We bought a 16-year-old (at the time) 40’ Class A.  Now 16 years of use can vary greatly between one RV and the next one so there is no ‘golden number’ to this.

Either way if you are buying from a private seller or a dealer you will want to do your due diligence before you take it off the lot.  Make sure that everything works, and I mean EVERYTHING.  When you find the things that do not work push the point and you may be able to shave some money off that price tag.  Here is a starter list of things you will want to check:

  • All appliances (Fridge, Freezer, Ice Maker, Microwave, Stovetop, etc.).
  • Each A/C and Furnace separately.
  • Varying functions of the thermostats.
  • All lighting (interior/exterior as well as chassis/house).
  • Make sure all of your gauges work (fuel level, oil temp, trans temp, etc.).
  • Any small motorized functions (steps, awning, etc).
  • Slides.
  • All running water (don’t forget to check the exterior as well if applicable).



Having goals to change your life in this way or that way is excellent, and I encourage you to hold on to those but throw a bit of realism in with it as well for balance.  If you know you are the type of person that will be spending more time inside than out a bigger RV may be better suited than a smaller one.  Vice-versa if you love being outside then really what more do you need than a Shower, a fridge, and a bed??

Point being; before you purchase your new or used RV take a look at your lifestyle and the lifestyle that you want to have and plan appropriately.  We spend a lot of time at home and work from home, so we wanted a bit of a larger space given the amount of time we spend inside of our home.

Enjoy the Ride!


RV’ing can be tough, living full-time in one can be even tougher.  However, any difficulties that you will come to are minimal in comparison to the positive benefits that come out of this lifestyle.  This is a holistic experience and if you allow it your life will completely change, but most importantly enjoy it. Enjoy the fresh air, enjoy the adventuring, the new cities, the new people, take in every moment of your new adventure.  And when you have a hard time, stop by RVsmart and see if we can provide some assistance.

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