The RV Buying Guide from RV Education 101

Purchasing a new or used RV is one of the most exciting and challenging processes for RVers of any level of experience.

For seasoned RVers, purchasing your second or third RV can present a new set of challenges. New RVers can be overwhelmed by the amount of research, planning and decision making that goes into the RV buying process.

With over 30 years of experience in the RV industry, RV Education 101 co-founder Mark Polk has vast experience helping RVers through the purchase process. Mr. Polk sat down with us to discuss helpful insights RVers should know when buying an RV.

Lazydays RV: For all RVers, whether they’re purchasing their 1st RV or their 4th, in your opinion what are the most important things to consider when buying their next RV?

Mark Polk: There are lots of things to consider, but the most important in my opinion is to do your research on the RV, and the RV dealership you plan to buy from. You want a quality-built RV, and an RV dealership you can trust that offers exceptional service in all aspects of the RV buying process.

LDRV: For folks new to RVing, where is a good place to start the search for the right RV?

MP: You can do some preliminary research online, but the best place to go is a reputable RV dealership with a good selection of inventory and professional staff. A well-trained, seasoned RV salesperson can be a real asset during the RV buying process. Based on how and where you plan to use the RV, and on your budget, a professional RV salesperson can help you select the best type and size of RV to meet your specific needs.

If you’re buying a towable RV, they can make sure the RV is properly matched with the tow vehicle, and the dealership will have all of the parts and accessories you need to safely tow the RV. The more information you provide your salesperson early in the buying process, the better off you will be after you buy it and start using it.

LDRV: What do you recommend RVers look for during the research phase of the buying process? How important is doing the right research during the RV buying process?

MP: I mentioned earlier that you want to buy a quality-built RV from a dealership you trust. An experienced salesperson can educate you on things like how a particular RV is constructed, what type of roofing material the RV has, what size holding tanks the RV has, optional equipment the RV comes with and the warranty period. A good salesperson can explain why brand “A” RV might be better for you than brand “B” RV.

You also want to select the best type of RV for you, based on how you plan to use it. An example would be, if you plan to travel cross-country in the RV taking extended RV trips, a Class A motorhome or a 5th wheel trailer would be a good choice based on your planned usage. If you don’t do your research and make well thought out buying decisions, you can end up with an RV that is too big, too small or too expensive. Buying the wrong RV can be a costly mistake.

LDRV: Do you have any key tips for RVers looking to make the jump from a towable to a motorhome, or from a Class B or C to a Class A?

MP: As far as doing your research and buying from a reputable RV dealership goes, the same buying process applies. You need to research the various RV classes, the different brands & models there are, and the chassis the RV is built on. After you find the perfect RV that is the right type, size and floorplan, you need to make sure you can safely drive it.

Driving a 35-foot motorhome is very different than driving a smaller vehicle. This applies to first-time motorhome owners and folks going from a smaller Class B or C motorhome to a larger Class A motorhome. Taking a driving course before you purchase a large Class A motorhome can be extremely helpful. To sum it up, don’t buy a motorhome before you drive it.

LDRV: In your opinion what are the pros and cons of buying a new vs. a used RV?

MP: Some of the obvious pros for purchasing a new RV include:

  • It has never been used by anyone.
  • You have a full manufacturer’s warranty.
  • You don’t have concerns about used or worn out components on the RV.

Some cons to purchasing a new RV are:

  • The cost.
  • Insurance premiums are higher.

Some pros for buying a used RV include:

  • A used RV already suffered the brunt of depreciation, so it is less expensive.
  • If you only plan to take a few short RV trips every year a used RV is more practical than a new RV, and insurance is less expensive.

Some cons for buying a used RV include:

  • Not knowing the history or maintenance and upkeep of the previous owner.
  • It’s quite possible there will be added expenses for things like replacing the tires and brakes.
  • If you want a service contract on the used RV, the cost will be incremental to the RV purchase.

LDRV: Any other tips RVers should keep in mind when shopping for an RV?

MP: I always told my customers, when you think you found the perfect RV for you, based on your likes and needs, sit down in the RV and visualize that you are camping in it. Does the floorplan layout make sense? Is the kitchen where you want it? Is the bathroom big enough, is there enough storage inside and outside? Are there windows where you want windows? Can you imagine camping and enjoying yourself in this RV? If most, or all of the answers are yes, you found the right RV.

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Make sure to follow the Lazydays RV blog for the latest RV tips, travel ideas and more. For any additional questions about the RV buying process, contact us today or head to your local Lazydays RV dealer to learn more about our inventory of new and pre-owned RVs!

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