When you are in the process of RV buying, start with some basics. Ask yourself what kind of RV experience you want. Keep these answers in mind as you make decisions. Where will you go? How often? For how long? With how many people? What do you see yourself doing? And so on.
Certainly there are pros to RV ownership - the convenience of the RV features, the flexibility to pick up and go and the enjoyable experience of RV travel. Cons that need to be considered include fuel costs and possibly RV storage.
Your planned RV lifestyle is a huge factor in what you buy. Don't underestimate it. As you learn more about possible RVs to purchase, keep coming back to this step. Talk through your expectations with the people who are in this with you.
One of the major choices is to decide on the type of RV you want to buy. Motor home, fifth wheel, trailer, etc. Before you can get serious about RV buying, you need to focus in on the type you want. Otherwise, you will just spin your wheels.
Take time to learn what you want. Go to RV shows and dealers and collect brochures. Sit in RVs, go through the motions of doing everyday tasks in the models. Pretend you are getting dressed, taking a shower, doing dishes, watching TV. Think about where you would store all your stuff. Check inside and out. Think about the tow vehicle or dinghy you might need for your planned RV lifestyle.
Learn something about how to operate and use an RV. Learn from others. Join RV clubs, read their publications. Check out forums on the web to see what others are saying.
Talk to people at RV shows or campgrounds. Remember you are hearing opinions, which may or may not be relevant to you. Their perspectives and preferences may be similar to your thinking, or very different. Listen to why they like or don't like certain things.
Assess your budget vs. the various RV costs, to determine what you can afford to pay. This means looking at the cost to purchase, the cost for extra accessories you will need, and the operating and living costs. Knowing what you can afford, as well as the lifestyle you want, will help you make the right RV buying choices.
Focus on quality, as you narrow down your choices of manufacturers and models. Don't get overwhelmed by glitz and fancy features if they are just tacked on. If you want the RV to hold together going down the road, quality counts.
RV buying is a huge decision...
Insiders Guide to Buying an RV:
This is a big investment... Know your RV buying stuff. Look at the range of what's available for your chosen type of RV. Before you make an RV buying decision, make sure you have a good idea of what's available out in the market.
Take time in making your RV buying decision.
Don't rush it. If you feel pressured for a specific trip you want to take, consider renting for that trip.
An RV purchase is a major decision, and a rental might be a great way to try things out first. You will learn firsthand what features and capabilities are important to you.
Book your RV Rental:
Consider a camera. When you are looking at lots of potential RVs, it starts to get confusing. Bring a camera or video camera to record what you are seeing and keep things straight. Keep track of which pictures are for which RV as you go along. If your camera has recording capabilities, use them to full advantage. Record specifically which RV you are in, what you are taking pictures of, what you like about the RV (or things that have you a bit uncertain).
Make a list of the features most important to you. Keep this is mind as you shop, shop, shop. Don't buy something just because it is available. Make sure it has the features you want. Even better, narrow down what you want to specific manufacturers and models.
Consider the pros and cons of new vs. used.
Completely inspect any potential purchase in great detail. Use the tips you learned in the books you read. If you don't feel comfortable, get someone qualified to do the inspection with you or for you.
When you do buy an RV, pay attention to details. Do a complete walkthrough before you commit. Make sure everything works. Make sure you have all operating manuals. Take notes. Understand your recourse if something does not work or breaks - whether buying new or used. Get everything in writing. Be comfortable with your decision.
Have fun! Taking the time to be diligent in your search and research will help you choose the RV that's right for you. Be careful and thorough, but also have fun in your search! Your RV buying experience is one you will always remember.