Let’s be real: buying an RV is NOT something that you should impulse buy. You probably already know that. However, do you know the questions you need to answer before buying an RV?
Buying a new or new-to-you RV is extremely exciting. As you drive home from the dealer with your new home away from home in tow, it’s hard not to be filled with happy thoughts about your future travels. But before you sign on that dotted line, it is super important that you consider (and know the answers to) the questions below.
Questions to Answer Before an RV Purchase
Run through this list of questions before you head to a local RV deal or RV expo. Once you have thought about (and answered) these questions, you will be much better prepared to choose a camper that is the best fit for you and your travel companions.
How much can you afford for the down payment/monthly payment?
Let’s get the money talk out of the way first and foremost. You need to know your budget. Know how much you can afford to pay each month. Also know if you will be required to put a deposit down. Will you be trading in an older model?
Make sure you ask the dealer about all repayment options, including loan length and interest rates. Sometimes you can get RV loans with repayment terms as 10-15 years. This can be helpful as it lowers the monthly payment, but be aware of how much more interest you will end up paying over time.
How much weight can your vehicle tow?
It is so super important that you do not buy a camper that exceeds your vehicle’s tow rating. We actually devoted an entire blog post to many of the technical aspects to consider before buying an RV. It’s worth reading as you narrow down your choices to your perfect camper!
What features are YOUR absolute MUST-HAVES in a new camper?
Need a bathroom? Outdoor kitchen? U-shaped dining? These features might not sound like deal breakers but trust us – figuring out your ideal layout is EVERYTHING. Walk in a variety of campers before you buy. You can even rent an RV to give it a true test run before you commit to buy.
For us, we knew that when we traded in our pop-up camper for a travel trailer, it HAD to have a bathroom (which wasn’t too hard to find since bathrooms are pretty standard in most travel trailers). One feature that we were SURE we HAD to have was an oven. It has been almost 4 years since we bought our camper. Guess how many times we have used that oven? ZERO. Oops.
On the same note, now that we have had our camper for 4 years and logged many thousands of miles with it, we have a short list of must-haves that any future camper we upgrade to would have to have. Sometimes you don’t really know what your must-haves are until you spend some time actually living on the road!
Do you have storage space at home for your new RV?
And if not, where will you keep it? Some homeowner’s associations, apartment complexes, etc won’t allow you to park a camper on property. Some homes simply don’t have the space to keep a camper parked year round. If you have to find storage for your camper, that will come at an extra cost. Keep this in mind and factor it into the monthly payment.
What size camper do you feel comfortable towing/maneuvering around campsites?
Everyone has a different comfort level when it comes to towing anything behind a vehicle. Know what you’re capable of (and comfortable with). Remember that towing an RV also requires you to back into campsites, pull on and off highways, and navigate through rest stops, gas stations, etc.
Buying an RV is one of those situations when it really pays to do some research before purchasing. You can save yourself a lot of time, frustration, and possibly even money by figuring out what you’re in the market for and then taking your time to find a great match!
Free Printable RV Shopping Guide Worksheet
We have a free RV buying guide worksheet that you can grab and take it along as you cruise the dealer lots. This worksheet will put a lot of helpful info at your fingertips, and help you keep the dozens of models you tour straight at the end of the day!