What to Look For When Buying an RV

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What to Look For When Buying an RV (Photo: @Francis_Briau via Twenty20)
Buying a recreational vehicle (RV) is a major decision which should not be taken lightly. If you’re planning to spend a lot of time in the RV, or even if you plan to use it only occasionally, knowing what to look for when buying an RV is essential. You want to be sure you are meeting your needs without exceeding your budget, but it may be hard to know what your needs actually are.

Consider what you want to do with an RV

It is impossible to know what to buy unless you have a firm idea of what your needs are. But where do you start?
Step 1: Examine your budget. No matter what you would like to have, you are limited by your budget, so getting an idea for how much you can spend is the wisest way to begin. Once you understand your budget, do research on RV loans and dig into the details of RV insurance.
Step 2: Look at your needs. With your budget in place, you can begin to look at your needs.
First of all, how large is your family, and how many people will routinely be staying in the RV? If you are planning on using the RV for retirement, will you have frequent family and friends visiting? Determining exactly how many people you need to accommodate is important.
Step 3: Think about your possessions. You should also think about what sorts of possessions you’ll want to bring along.
If you are a lover of the outdoors, then you might want everything from a kayak to a boat to come along. Make sure the RV can support your hobbies.
Step 4: Determine your comfort level with an RV. Driving an RV takes a lot of skill for even the most experienced drivers.
But, if driving the RV is not in your plans, then you might be equally worried about towing one, especially if you don’t have a large vehicle to do so.
Step 5: Think about your lifestyle. If your home is simply a resting spot for you now since you are always on the go, then you’re probably not going to need an RV that goes beyond that.
If you like your creature comforts and spend a lot of time within your home now, then you’ll probably want an RV that has a bit more to suit you.

Looking at the details surrounding RVs

Step 1: Research specific RVs. Do this to understand better how they can meet those needs.
A good place to begin is by researching RV manufacturers. You can get a sense for the common names and models that are out there so you can start to form ideas about what fits you.
Step 2: Check out floorplans. If you have already decided on a towable RV or one that you want to drive yourself, then you’ll want to begin looking into floorplans as well.
There are, as you might expect, a variety of options out there, but you will begin to see which plans are suited to your needs.
For instance, an RV that supports lots of beds is not going to suit someone who never plans on having guests. Conversely, purchasing an RV without room reserved for beds is not a great idea for a large family. All of this is to say that you should get an idea for a general pattern of floor plan and then progressively narrow this down.
Step 3: Check out customer reviews. Find out how real people feel about specific RVs you are interested in.
You can also look at reviews for your local dealers.
Step 4: Look into insurance. This is not nearly as fun as researching the RV itself, but it is a necessity.
Figure out how much it will cost to insure the RV you have in mind, and compare costs from a variety of insurance companies. Make sure you build this into your budget going forward.
Buying an RV is an exciting process, and if you are realistic about your needs and budget, you can get an RV that is affordable for you and is a great use of your money that you will enjoy for years to come.