10 Common First-Time RV Buying Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

In 2021, more Americans were buying RVs for travel and living. If you’re considering joining them in 2023, then don’t hesitate!

Well, actually, you might want to stop for just a moment.

Buying an RV is an exciting experience but if you’re not careful, you’ll want to go off-road as soon as you hit the road!

This detailed guide will outline the most common first-time RV buying mistakes. Make sure you study it thoroughly so you have a pleasant experience with buying your RV.

Let’s hit the road:

  1. Don’t Dismiss Used RVs

When looking at new and used RVs, newcomers often think that they must always opt for new ones.

While this is fine, you shouldn’t dismiss buying a used RV. There are many extra resources where you can find high-quality used RVs that are in pristine condition.

Even if you have a budget for a new RV, it might still be better to buy a used RV. Focus on using the extra money to buy accessories for your RV and for any upcoming trips.

  1. Travel Will Be So Much Cheaper, Right?

While we encourage you to travel and find the best places to explore with an RV, it’s not always going to be cheaper.

Apart from the cost of your RV, you’ll have to spend a lot on gas. No matter how well you maintain your RV, there’ll also be a need to send it for maintenance and repairs.

Next, you need a place to park your RV once you find a nice city or town you want to stay in. In most cases, the shopping mall parking lot just won’t cut it!

You’ll have to find a paid parking lot that allows you to keep your RV parked for a longer duration. Or you’ll have to park your RV at a campground. You can expect to pay upwards of $100 per night at many campgrounds.

There might even be cases when you’ll have to store your RV in a garage. This can cost at least $450 per month and prices increase based on your RV’s size. Different types of RVs also have different storage needs and this also causes the price to increase.

Continue to travel and explore the world with your RV — just make sure you plan ahead for the pricing.

  1. Buying Your RV as Quickly as Possible

We get it — you’re eager to start traveling so you want to buy an RV now! 

But it’s often worth it to postpone your vacation to buy the best RV. Buying an RV is a complex and tedious process. But this doesn’t mean that you should rush through it.

Take your time looking at the different options for RVs. You want to consider all the features you’ll need. You want to consider if you need more space or less space.

Of course, you must try to see an RV in person if you can. You have to sit inside the RV and perhaps take it for a test drive if possible. RVs, even if used, will cost a fortune.

Unlike a car, you can’t return or exchange an RV easily. Make sure you take as long as needed to decide which RV you want to buy.

  1. You Don’t Get It Inspected

When we say inspection, we don’t just mean that you check out the RV. Of course, you’ll be the first person who assesses the RV.

But afterward, you must hire a professional inspector to look at the RV. They’ll tell you if there are any potential issues with your RV. This is crucial before you buy your RV.

After buying your RV, if there are any issues you won’t be able to hold the seller accountable in many cases. This is why a professional inspection is crucial.

  1. You Don’t Take Driving Lessons

You could be on your way to winning the next Monaco Grand Prix but that doesn’t mean you’ll be great at driving an RV!

Driving an RV is difficult and even more so for larger models. Make sure you hire a professional teacher to help you learn how to drive an RV.

It’ll take some time for you to learn how to drive an RV. For some, it’ll take a few months, whereas for others it’ll take an entire year. Be patient and take your time to learn how to drive an RV.

Only once you’ve mastered it should you consider buying an RV. It’s a time-consuming process but it’s worth the effort.

  1. Buying a Broken RV

Earlier in the guide, we discussed how it’s okay to buy a used RV. However, you must still buy an RV in excellent condition.

Never buy a broken RV that needs to be fixed to start working. Many newcomers do this to save money. However, this is something that only seasoned RV owners should do.

You’ll soon find that fixing and remodeling a broken RV isn’t the same as fixing a broken car. Don’t unnecessarily put yourself through this hassle just to save extra money.

  1. Not Comparing RV Prices

You must always go about comparing RV prices before settling on the model of your dreams. If you find an expensive RV online, you might want to visit your local RV dealership for a lower price.

This doesn’t mean that you have to always look for the cheapest RV. In most cases, the cheapest RV is the one that’ll break down five minutes after you leave your driveway.

This, of course, doesn’t mean that you must always buy the most expensive RV either. You’ve also got to look out for scams where you’ll be overcharged for your RV.

You’ve also got to do the same when buying accessories and amenities for your RV.

For example, you might want to install an electronic stove in your RV. This will cost a lot but you shouldn’t need to shell out several thousand dollars just to get it installed.

As with the other steps, take your time to find your dream RV at the ideal price. Don’t hesitate to negotiate with the seller either until you reach a price that both of you agree to.

  1. Big or Small?

Another common mistake is not knowing whether you need a large RV or a small one. Or what size, in general, is best for your needs.

For example, a family of 4 obviously needs a larger RV. But how big is too big?

You want to test out renting an RV first if you can. This lets you figure out how comfortable you are.

You might think you won’t mind a small RV. But if you spend a week camping in a small RV, you might find it claustrophobic. Test out different sizes until you find the one you like the most.

  1. What’s the Warranty?

This is a common mistake for first-timers but even a few seasoned RV enthusiasts.

You must check the warranty for any new RV you purchase. Even some used RVs might come with a warranty. Warranties should also extend to any amenities you install in your RV.

Make sure you always choose an RV that has at least a one-year warranty. If you have the option to extend a warranty, you should do so.

You want to make sure that you can replace or fix any issue without having to pay too much extra money.

  1. Not Committing

As we mentioned earlier, buying an RV isn’t the same experience as buying any other automobile.

If you buy an RV, this is something you’ll have to commit to. In some cases, you’ll have to spend months or even years paying off your RV. You want to make sure you’re willing to commit to this.

The same goes for maintaining and cleaning your RV. It’ll sometimes take several hours to clean your RV. It might even be something that you’ll have to do each week.

Likewise, you might have to take your RV for maintenance at least once every three months. You’ll need to prepare your schedule to set aside an entire day for maintenance.

Owning an RV is a rewarding experience. But anything that’s rewarding also comes with the tradeoff of having to work on it. You’ll have to drive your RV often to keep it alive.

This might mean you need to go on more trips than you plan! This might sound fun at first but can become a burden at times. You have to choose whether it’s worth it for you.

In our book, when you sit by a fire at a campground and watch the stars, you’ll be glad you bought an RV!

Avoid These First-Time RV Buying Mistakes

Now you know the common first-time RV buying mistakes that you need to avoid at all costs!

Make sure you consider both new and used RVs when shopping. Used RVs should still be in great condition.

You also need to know the associated costs of traveling and owning an RV. Learn how to drive an RV and always hire a professional inspector to assess the quality of the RV.

If you’re ready to hit the road, make sure you check out our website for great travel tips!