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Your Personal RV Buying Guide


Family RV trip

It’s vacation time! Nothing beats a summertime road trip, but long hours in the car can really kill a vacation. That’s the beauty of recreational vehicles. The road IS the destination; anywhere you go, you’ve got luxury-class accommodations!

Buying an RV is a big decision and making the purchase can be super stressful. That’s why the more you research before you set foot on a lot, the better.

Here are 3 questions to ask yourself before you shop for an RV.

1) What class are you in?

There are three classes of RVs: Class A, Class B, and Class C.

Class A are the biggest and most comfortable. Built on big-rig platforms, these are basically rolling houses. They feature full-sized couches and TVs, full bathrooms, kitchens and expandable bedrooms. The price tags range from $60,000 to over a million for custom-built motorhomes.

Class B motorhomes are on the other side of the spectrum. These are built on full-size van platforms. They include scaled-down versions of the same amenities in Class A motorhomes, in a more maneuverable, less expensive package. Expect to see a small kitchen, a compact bathroom, and sleeping space for 2-3 people. These vehicles cost between $50,000 and $100,000.

Class C motorhomes offer a compromise between A and B. These start with cargo-van platforms and extend the wheelbase somewhat to the length of a short bus. Amenities are more complete than in a Class B, but nowhere near as robust as in a Class A. These vehicles run between $60,000 and $200,000.

You may want to investigate other options that can fill the same needs at lower prices. These include camper trailers, pop-ups, and 5th-wheel tow-behind campers.

2) What’s your budget?

How much RV can you afford? Because of the high price tag, financing periods for RVs are typically 10 years or longer. Because RVs depreciate, interest rates are slightly higher than a home loan, too. Remember: when calculating your monthly budget, you’ll need to include money for fuel, insurance, registration, and maintenance, aside from the monthly payments.

It’s also worth determining what you can budget for a down-payment. You may be able to finance 100% of the purchase price of your RV, but putting money down helps protect you against depreciation.

3) When should you get financing?

While many dealers will try to work out financing in-house, it’s smart to go in with a pre-approval. It’ll allow you to negotiate from a place of confidence. Also, it’ll prevent you from falling in love with an RV you can’t afford.

If you’re thinking about an RV, the time to talk financing is now. How much RV you can afford should be at the forefront of your selection process.

Your Turn: Are you an RV wizard? How did you choose the home you’re currently driving? What features are absolutely must-haves in a new RV? Let us know in the comments!

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