Check out our best RV Buying Tips and Tricks to Save Money on your new RV! These tips will Save Money, Save your Marriage, and Set you for Success on your RV Journey!
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.
When we decided to go on the road and RV Full time, we thought long and hard before buying our first RV. We did some things really well and made some mistakes. This is part of a 2 part series in RV Buying. Below is a list of the RV Buying Tips Every RV Rookie needs to know.
RV Buying Tip #1: Do Your Research & Stay Organized
Being new to the RV world, it took us a while to learn the lingo. Learning about RV Living is like learning a foreign language.
The most important thing to do when buying an RV is to do research. Pinterest was an extremely helpful resource because you can save the items you need and organize them super easily. Youtube was great because we got information from real people! We spent months watching YouTube videos, Pinning RV Hacks on Pinterest, and reading blog articles.
The next part of this trick to buying the best RV is to make a notebook dedicated exclusively to all things RV. We each had our own notebook where we wrote our notes, RV apps, wrote down questions, etc. Naturally, being the RV-OddCouple, our notebooks looked completely different and covered opposite RV topics.
These journals also came in handy after we purchased the RV and performed the RV walk-through. We had a place to list defects and punch list items. We learned the hard way that you can’t rely on the RV dealership to write everything down. RV Dealerships don’t like to give copies of any paperwork that is not required by law. Keep your cell phone handy and take pictures of defects and documents they don’t want to give you.
RV Buying Tip #2: Be True to Yourself
We knew that the only way that full time RV living would work would be if we were brutally honest with ourselves regarding our needs. There are many different ways to live in an RV full time. You can boondock, (as in no hook-ups) or you can stick to RV Parks. There’s a spectrum that ranges from camping to glamping.
Wifey: I knew I needed hot running water. If I had to rough-it long term I would fail. I like hot showers too much to go camping permanently. I know I could boondock short term, but long-term boondocking would be a set-up for failure. As a mom, I need to still feel like I have a nest. I need to be able to provide home-cooked foods for my family and feel like I have a place to call home.
Hubby: My number one priority was keeping my family safe. If I couldn’t travel with my family safe in the RV, this wouldn’t work. I needed the right vehicle and RV that would make me comfortable when travelling with my family. I didn’t want to worry about the RV hitch swaying while driving. I needed a solid build and the laws of physics in my favor.
So be true to yourself before taking the plunge to RV Fulltime. Can you rough it? If you can, for how long? How big is your family and how many people will be travelling in the RV? How much space do you need as a family to be happy? RVing Couples will have different needs than fulltime RV Families with kids.
RV Buying Tip #3: Be True to Your Partner
Communication is Huge! We had very different needs and expectations of RVing full time. We didn’t always understand the other, but we took our time and tried really hard to see the other’s point of view.
Some wise person once said “Happy Spouse, Happy House!” RV’s are small spaces so getting along with your spouse is non-negotiable. Being true to each other will make the full-time RV experience a success.
Make no mistake, there will totally be disagreements with your spouse when RVing fulltime. But placing your loved one’s needs as a top priority will be reciprocated and make the Fulltime RVing experience enjoyable.
RV Buying Tip #4: Look at RV Manufacturer’s Build & Chassis & Reviews
One of the items to research is the RV Manufacturer. John gets the credit for researching the frame, construction build, and warrantee. Don’t skimp on the foundation of your new home. If the frame, build and chassis are sub-par, everything else is subpar.
Also, read customer reviews to get a sense of how the RV Manufacturer responds to customer needs. You will get a sense of customer satisfaction by taking the time to research the company that makes the RV and checking out their reviews.
RV Buying Tip #5: Have an Adequate Vehicle to Pull it Safely
Again, Hubby gets the credit for this one because he did the research to make sure we could tow as safely as possible. Safety when towing was a top priority because we would be RVing full time.
When John wanted a new Truck, Mercedes didn’t understand why the truck we had wouldn’t work. Instead of taking it personally, John took the time to find videos on RV safety and load capacity. As soon as she saw the load capacity of the dually, she completely got on board.
We ended up trading in our truck and purchasing a 2018 GMC Denali Dually. This truck is a beast! Although we may have gotten away with a non-dually, we are delighted in our truck. He pulls the 5th wheel like butter on toast!
RV Buying Tip #6: Shop for Your RV Off Season
One of the best things we did was buying our RV off-season. You can get a better deal offseason because the RV dealers will be trying to make room for the following year’s inventory.
RV buying season differs depending on what part of the country you’re in. Typically, up north, the busy season is in the summer and in the South, the busy season is in the winter. Living in Florida, we purchased our RV in the summer. If we were up North, we’d have gotten a better deal in the winter.
Basically, by doing the opposite of the norm, we positioned ourselves to get a brand new RV at slightly used prices!
RV Buying Tip #7: Take Your Time Moving In
We purchased our new RV months before we jumping into full-time RV living. This gave us enough time to reduce our belongings and make strategic decisions on what to take with us. We got to practice living in our RV.
This is one of the best RV buying tips for taking our time to move into our RV helped us make the best decisions on what to keep and what to get rid of. It was awesome having time to make sure things fit. You would be shocked at how many things might measure right but once installed just don’t work out. If we had only given ourselves a week or so to move in we would have been stuck with way too much stuff.
Also, as soon as you buy the RV you will want to fill it. It’s like a carnal instinct or something. Do your best to resist the urge to buy stuff and take the time to check if what you already have will work.
There’s More! Learn from Our Huge and Expensive & Embarrassing Mistakes!
After reading our RV buying tips, you probably think we did a great job buying our first RV. Well, we did something good but made some big RV buying mistakes too. Check out our RV buying mistakes too so you can get a whole picture of our RV Buying experience. Don’t Make the same Expensive and Embarrassing mistakes we did!
Why are we sharing our Experience?
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. 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!
Why are we sharing our RV Buying Tips and Tricks?
Many people freely shared with us valuable information and insights to help us in this RVing journey. Our hope is to do the same and pay it forward. 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