You’ve finally decided to hit the road to freedom. Now comes the tricky part, finding the perfect RV! It‘s exciting to buy an RV, but it can also be stressful. It’s like buying a new or used car on steroids. To be satisfied with your purchase, one important question to ask is: should you buy a new or used RV?
Should You Buy a New Or Used RV?
There are pros and cons to both options. It is essential to do your research before buying. After all, an RV comes with a large price tag.
Buying used will save a ton of money, but there is potential for hidden issues. Plus, someone else has already lived in your RV. Buying new usually has more security. You will also get to choose exactly what you what.
Keep reading to decide which choice is the best for you.
Buying a New RV
When you buy a new RV, you will probably make your purchase from a dealer. Sometimes, people like to shop around and buy new RVs at an RV show. All this means dealing with a lot of salespeople. If you buy new, that doesn’t mean you have to pay the sticker price. Come prepared to negotiate to get the best deal.
Pros of Buying New
Everything is Brand New
When your RV is new, so is everything in and on it. You’ll have new tires, new slides, a new awning, and a new interior. You get the idea. Having something brand new can be a lot of fun. After all, it is yours and yours alone!
When everything is new, you also don’t have to worry about damage or failing equipment. For some people, buying something new offers peace of mind. And since you are going to be traveling the country in an RV, that is important.
Has a Warranty
Another perk of buying a new RV is the warranty. If something goes wrong shortly after purchase, it’s covered under your warranty. This isn’t the case with used RVs.
If you buy an RV from a national dealer, you can usually make warranty claims at any dealership. This is beneficial if something goes wrong when you are hundreds of miles from home. Having a warranty makes getting repairs cheaper and more straightforward.
Getting Exact Model And Customizations That You Want
You also might want to buy a new RV if you are picky about what you want. When you are shopping used, you are stuck with whatever used options are available. If you buy new, you can get any RV you want.
You will also have the option to customize your RV if you buy new. You can get upgrades and even pick the interior decoration. Buying new ensures you get exactly what you want out of your new rig.
Cons of Buying a New RV
There are some drawbacks to buying a new RV as well. Here are the top cons.
As soon as you drive your brand new RV off the lot, the value will decrease substantially. They call this depreciation. And RVs are known for having high depreciation. With a new RV, depreciation is even more of an issue compared to a used rig.
Within the first 3 to 5 years, new RVs will depreciate as much as 30-40%. Ouch! That can be a hard pill to swallow.
Another problem with new RVs is something seasoned RVers call the shakedown period. Since everything is brand new, your RV hasn’t gone over any bumps in the road. As soon as you drive, things will inevitably need repairs.
You might have knobs that fall off or maybe fixtures that wiggle loose or squeak like crazy. Sometimes certain features don’t work at all. You’ll have to make minor fixes after your first trip. We recommend preparing for this and bringing your tools along!
Most Expensive Option
If you want to buy a new RV, prepare to pay for it. This is the most expensive way to buy an RV. Like new cars, new RVs cost more. And you’ll also take the hit on depreciation. New RVs can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $1 million.
Buying a Used RV
If you’re wondering should you buy a new or used RV, you probably still have questions. Let’s cover what buying a used RV looks like.
You can purchase a used RV from a dealership or a private seller. The primary benefit is the cost savings you’ll have when buying used. If you buy from a private seller, you may save more. Remember to use caution when meeting anyone and be on the lookout to avoid scams.
Buying used might also mean making some compromises. Your dream RV might not be available when you’re looking to purchase it. If that’s the case, you’ll have to make adjustments. We recommend having a general idea of RV class and floor plan you would like to have. Then search for RVs with those specifications in your area.
Pros of Buying Used
If you’re wondering should you buy a new or used RV, here are the top reasons used may be the right choice.
When you buy a used RV, you will save a ton of money. We purchased our RV for less than half the original sticker price. This isn’t going to happen if you buy a new RV. The reason you’ll pay less is because of how quickly newer RVs depreciate. This brings us to our next point.
In the first 3-5 years after purchase, a new RV will depreciate 30-40%. After 5 more years, it will depreciate another 10-20%. https://www.nadaguides.com/RVs/shopping-guides/how-much-do-campers-depreciate This means the older your RV, the less it will decline in price. That’s because it will have already experienced its most rapid depreciation.
“New RV” Issues Should Be Worked Out Already
New RVs also have to go through a shakedown period. A nice perk of buying a used RV is someone already took care of that for you. Many of the issues in the first few trips will already be resolved. That means less time spent on maintenance and more time enjoying your travels.
Cons of Buying a Used RV
There are cons to everything. And buying a used RV is no exception.
Potential For Hidden Issues
When you buy a used RV, there could be mechanical or interior issues. Unfortunately, when you buy something used, there could be problems you can’t see.
Even small problems could quickly become expensive, which is especially problematic if you aren’t handy. Paying a shop to fix hidden issues will cost even more in labor.
Already Lived and Traveled In
Another drawback is of buying a used RV is that someone else has already used it. It may have damage, stained carpeting, or other cosmetic defects. For some people, the little things aren’t a big deal. For others, it can be a huge downside.
Chance For Purchasing a “Lemon”
We have read horror stories of people buying lemons. Nothing would be worse than spending tens of thousands of dollars on an RV that doesn’t work.
When you buy a used RV, there is the possibility of someone trying to rip you off. Most reputable dealers won’t intentionally sell you a lemon, but it could happen with a private seller. Luckily, there are some ways to avoid many of these used RV issues. Keep reading to find out how!
Tips for Buying a Used RV
If you decide you should buy a used RV, there are some things you absolutely must do. These tips will mitigate your risks.
Always Hire an Inspector
When you buy a used RV, it‘s critical to hire an inspector. An inspector will uncover any issues you might have overlooked. That way, you know what you are getting into. If it needs slight repairs, you could use this information to negotiate a lower price.
Hiring an inspector will also help you avoid buying a lemon! It’s definitely worth paying for an inspector if it saves you thousands of dollars in the long run. Plus, you never know when an RV salesman might be ripping you off.
Do Your Research
Another thing you need to do when buying a used RV is to know the fair price for your future RV. One of the best ways to determine this is to check the NADA guidelines, similar to the Kelley Blue Book of RVs.
Checking listings in advance will help you negotiate the best deal. This is a critical money-saving tactic you should use with private sellers and dealers.
Always Check for Water Damage
Finally, never buy an RV without thoroughly checking for water damage. Water damage can cost thousands of dollars to repair, not to mention the time to fix everything else. Sometimes, water damage can cause a total loss.
Check all the walls, cupboards, and floors for signs of water damage. Delamination or soft spots on the walls or floors are tell-tale signs of a more significant issue.