Before You Buy an RV, Read Our RV Buying Mistakes that are Embarrassing & Expensive! We wish someone had warned us before we bought our first RV.
Hi, we’re the RV Odd Couple. We sold our house & most of our possessions to hit the road and live in an RV full-time with our toddler and dog.
Welcome to Part 1 of our 2 part- RV Buying Series. Here we are sharing RV buying mistakes that we made when purchasing our first RV. In Part 2 we have shared our RV Buying Tips & Tricks and list the things we did right in our RV Purchase. Be sure to check both parts to get all the RV Buying goodies!
These RV buying mistakes are pretty embarrassing and we debated whether to share them so openly online. We ultimately decided to share this because we want to help other people avoid the struggle that we experienced. We hope you learn from what we regret and what we did right. And please don’t judge us as our most embarrassing mistake is #6!
We watched tons of YouTube videos on RV living and RV products, but we let the excitement take over us and we still made really embarrassing and expensive mistakes. Along with the blog, we’ve added our series of YouTube Videos. Part 1: RV Buying Mistakes- Embarrassing & Expensive! & Part 2: RV Buying Hacks Every Newbie Needs to Know! Be sure to like and follow our Videos on YouTube and Join our Journey in the blog!
RV Buying Mistake #1: Don’t Sign Anything!
Unbeknownst to us buying an RV is nothing like buying a car or a house. When someone buys a house they sign a credit application to see what they qualify for. We thought we were signing a credit application to get figures on financing. It turns out we signed an RV Purchase agreement!
How did this happen? They told us that to find out our rate and our payment, we would have to get our credit checked. We thought the process would be like buying an automobile. You know how you have to sign to give them permission?
We were specifically told, “Sign to get your credit checked and find out the payment.” What we should have been told is “Sign this Purchase Order and be Contractually Obligated to buy this RV.”
Wifey spent a decade in the mortgage & banking industry, and she would never have been so misleading to her clients. But ultimately we really should have read the terms prior to signing and we know it’s our own fault. But we had another thing going on which leads us to our second mistake.
RV Buying Mistake #2: Get a Babysitter- No Distractions
Getting a babysitter for our toddler is tricky for us since we don’t live near any family and we don’t trust anyone but family to babysit. But it is so important to be on your game and not have any distractions when shopping for RVs.
We purchased our RV at a location that was 1.5 hours away from our home (each direction) which added to an already fatiguing situation. Our daughter was in a full tantrum in our arms as the salesperson held the RV Purchase Agreement to sign. This was our second one from our RV buying mistakes because we should have paused rather than ploughed through.
So learn from our mistake and get a babysitter!
RV Buying Mistake #3: Don’t Take Delivery or Possession of the RV Until ALL Checklist Items are Completely Fixed!!
We didn’t realize why Camping World was so insistent for us to take possession. Now we do. Since we signed the documents before the camper was ready, they were legally on the hook. They wanted us to get the RV off the lot to protect their own interests. In our excitement, we obliged.
Knowing what we know now we would have not trusted them to “make it right as soon as the parts came in.” Instead, we would have waited or sought legal counsel. Because ultimately they would have forced to purchase the parts outright instead of continuing to play the blame game with warrantee & Forest River.
RV Buying Mistake #4 Don’t Let Excitement or a Sense of Obligation Push You into Purchasing an RV
We were so excited to find a unit that had a kitchen island, bunk beds, and a loft for our daughter that we didn’t think rationally. We had shopped for months and had yet to find a unit with all of our RV must-haves. We wanted to reserve the unit so that no one would grab it from us. We should have come at it more from an abundance mentality of, “if it’s meant to be it will be” belief- rather than a scarcity mentality of “hurry before someone else snags this RV.”
On the flip side, don’t feel obligated to buy because a salesperson spent a few hours with you. Remember it’s their job. If you don’t buy, don’t feel guilty. You don’t owe them anything because they did their job. Do not obligate yourself to get into a $70K debt because some stranger spent 2 hours with you.
RV Buying Mistake #5: Shop Outside for Insurance & Read the Warranty Terms
You know how car dealerships offer a “protection package” when you buy a new car? Well, it’s the same with RV’s. The difference is that with tire blowouts being such a big safety risk and expensive mechanical failures being a big concern for full-time RV’ers, we wanted to know that we would have help if we needed it.
Another one of our RV buying mistakes is we didn’t realize that there is a secret “blame game” that RV Insurance/Warranty Companies, RV Service Repair Shops, and RV Manufacturers play. You see they all blame each other so they don’t have to pay for the parts. And when they do finally agree to pay for the parts, they take their time. Rather, they take your time- like months- to get your parts! This is infuriating. I wish congress would do something because it should be illegal and it’s putting full-time RVing families at a great safety risk. If we buy a $10K all-inclusive insurance, repair, tire, and cosmetic warranty bundle, you should have the decency of getting parts in a timely manner. Instead, they finance you for $10K, amortized over 20 years & take months to ship a $3 bolt.
We’re not saying you don’t need extra insurance for full-time RVing. When buying an RV to live in, you need additional insurances. But don’t make the same RV buying mistakes we made. Shop the insurance & protection package. We learned the hard way that we could have purchased the same policy at a fraction of the price.
RV Buying Mistake #6: Have a Place to Put the RV After You Buy It.
This is perhaps the most embarrassing of all RV buying mistakes. Not only did we not realize that we had signed a purchase agreement to buy this RV, but we didn’t have a place to properly store the RV!
Initially, we thought we would just park the RV on the driveway. We mistakenly assumed it would fit. But guess what – Our Driveway wasn’t long enough! We also didn’t have an electric outlet to hook up to power- so we had to find another option.
We had seen some videos on cheap RV living and they mentioned Memberships. We did some research and decided to join Thousand Trails. Even though the cost was expensive up-front, we knew that as full-time RVers, Thousand Trails & Encore would be a no-brainer.
So in the days that followed when the RV wasn’t ready, we had time to call Thousand Trails, join the club, and we secured a safe and suitable location to store our RV.
Bonus RV Buying Mistake #7: Get a 3rd Party Inspection
We didn’t even know that we could get a 3rd Party Inspection. We assumed that New RVs were in New Condition. Apparently, New RVs have defects from the manufacture and from transport to the dealer. RVs are mass produced in an assembly line type of environment that promotes quantity, not quality. And even if the RV is perfect after manufacturing, damage can occur during transport to the RV Dealership.
Knowing what we know now we would have hired an RV Inspector to check our fifth wheel before purchasing. This would have better protected us as we immediately had repair issues due to dealership damage.
Taking the Good with the Bad:
As difficult as it is to look reflect on our RV buying mistakes, there are also things we did right. And in life isn’t it important to reflect on the good as well as the bad? That’s why we created Part 2 of RV Buying Experience: RV Buying Tips & Tricks (things we did right when buying our 1st RV).
Why are we publicly embarrassing ourselves by sharing our RV Buying Mistakes?
Many people freely shared with us valuable information and insights to help us in this journey. Our hope is to do the same and pay it forward by sharing these RV buying mistakes we did. If you would like to join the odd family, join below! When you join you’ll get a copy of our “Quick Top 10 RV Must-Haves.” Also, you’ll join our community and be the first to know about new journeys, products and RV hacks!
Thanks for Joining our Journey,
John, Mercedes, Sage & Skippy