Thanks in part to the Baby Boomer generation, recreational vehicles (RVs) are selling better than ever — But retirees aren’t the only ones enjoying the convenience of taking their house on vacation with them. In fact, a large part of the recent surge in popularity can be attributed to first time buyers, with the average age of RV owners now falling solidly to 45.
But an RV is a commitment, with a high depreciation rate that makes it difficult to sell if you change your mind. For that reason, it’s important to take time to think things through before finalizing your purchase. Here are a few considerations for any potential RV buyer.
Cost to Buy
Affordability is a big issue with RVs, but you can find a model that fits your budget. Although higher-end RVs cost in the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, there are options like pop-up campers, travel trailers, and teardrop trailers that can be a great introduction. Before you start shopping, use an RV payment calculator to determine the type of RV you can afford.
Cost to Maintain
The expense doesn’t stop once you’ve purchased your new vehicle. You’ll pay a site fee when you vacation in it, whether you’re staying at a campground or on the beach. You’ll also need to pay to have it repaired and maintained before taking it on the road and each year, you’ll need to take steps to winterize it.
If you’re fortunate to live in a home with a large enough driveway, storage may simply be a matter of parking your RV and covering it. However, many homeowners’ associations prohibit this type of parking, so it’s important to check first. Otherwise, you’ll be forced to pay for storage at a cost of $30 to $100 a month or more.
Once you’ve set your budget for an RV, it’s time to consider the type you need. Will you be camping out for a week at a nearby campground or heading to the nearest theme park? Determine what amenities you’ll need during your trips and choose an RV that will be comfortable throughout each of them.
Driving and Setup
Driving an RV isn’t for everyone, especially if you choose a Class A or Class B model. You may need a special driver’s license to drive a larger RV, depending on the regulations where you live. Most importantly, though, you’ll need to be honest about whether you or someone in your family is comfortable driving long distances in this type of vehicle. Once you arrive at your destination, you’ll need to set up the RV, including hooking up electricity and water at your site. You’ll also need to dump your waste tanks, which is a process, so make sure you’re prepared to handle that before making your purchase.
An RV can take its owners on years of exciting adventures, offering a consistent, comfortable experience wherever it goes. But it’s also important to be fully aware of the expense and responsibilities that come with ownership, since RVs can be difficult to sell without taking a loss. Before making your purchase, fully research what you can expect to avoid any surprises.