If you are or will be buying (or have already bought) a RV, you will run into the great dilemma – Do I buy a new or used RV? I’ve seen this question come up on YouTube, in Facebook groups, and in general discussions with others. As with every other thing in this world, there are pros and cons to buying a new or used RV. Here we will go over some of those and invite you to join the debate!
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Buying a Used RV
They cost less – All vehicles depreciate, RVs depreciate at a high rate – “a new RV loses between 25 and 40 percent of its value as soon as a buyer takes it home.”* After five years, you can buy that $60k RV for about $30k! What a bargain. This can be great for those that are new to RVing or that want to buy a RV cash and don’t have $60k in the bank.
*Quoted from Geeksonfinance.com
Potentially Upgraded – There is a good chance that a good, used RV has already been upgraded by the former owner. Those pesky blinds, faulty fridge, and lousy faucet are gone and have been replaced by higher quality, functioning counterparts. Not to mention upgraded tires!! This can be a huge savings and peace of mind for a potential buyer.
Buying Options – Buying used will allow buyers to avoid dealerships. No dealerships means, no pushy sales team, etc. You can buy directly from the owner.
Wear and Tear – If you are buying used, you might not find one of those upgraded models. You might instead just find an OLD RV that needs lots of work. Great for the handy folks that want to rebuild a unit – you can save up and build as you go. This is not an option for those of us that have never replaced an appliance, cabinetry, etc.
RV Park Limitations – Some RV parks ask what year RV you have. Some will allow renovated RVs others don’t. Some don’t care. It depends on the park. We haven’t been asked anything yet. We have stayed in parks with mostly full time RVers and many have older RVs.
Financing – If you are looking to finance an older RV, you must have a higher down payment. When we were first looking, we were going to buy a used RV. We planned on saving up and paying cash. The opportunity to go RVing full time came before we had much money saved up, but decided to go for it anyway. We could not get financing for what we wanted, so we bought new.
Warranties – You might not be able to get a warranty, especially if buying directly from the owner. You might not know the condition of the RV,there may be hidden troubles. Always do an inspection before buying. Here’s a great guide and checklist for anyone considering a used RV.
Buying a New RV
Everything is new – It is brand spanking new so, in theory, you shouldn’t have to worry about damaged items and anything that comes up should be covered by a warranty. You also have the option of purchasing an extended warranty. If anything is slightly damaged (a drawer that doesn’t close right, loose trim, etc.) can be fixed quickly before you make your purchase.
Latest Technology – A new RV should have the latest upgrades and technological advances. Ours came with LED lighting and was solar ready (we buy the panels and plug in). I think we are all waiting on more USB plugs, electrical outlets in more useful places, etc.
“Easy” Financing – While financing a RV is not as easy as financing a regular vehicle, it is much easier to finance a new one. The down payment can be as low 10% and they will work with buyers to get you in the “right payment”. Just keep in mind that you can spread out payments greatly, which might seem great, but with depreciation and interests rates, you will be paying much more than the sticker price.
Expense – New RVs can get very pricey, some can cost as much as a small home and up. Remember, they also depreciate quickly (see Pros section in the Buying Used section).
Dealerships – The only place to buy new is through a dealer. Our buying experience was fantastic and we did not have a pushy salesman (of course we were a pretty easy sale). Although salesmen tend to stick with your while you explore (or keep the RVs locked), if you ask (or go on a cold rainy day), you can explore the lot on your own. This can be good for discussions with your family or whoever you take along.
Watch for Poor Quality – More often than not, RV interiors won’t stand up to full timing wear and tear and will quickly fray. Bear in mind that RV’s are made with weight savings in mind, and for occasional use only. RV furniture and appliances are made by a handful of manufacturers and you might be surprised to find the same RV fridge in the $20K and $100K RV. Keep in mind, things break, especially with a lot of use. If you are using it only on weekends, in the spring, or in the summer, it may not be as much of an issue.