Buying an RV — The Pros & Cons of New vs. Used

TheRVgeeks Miscellaneous 78 Comments

One of the first decisions often made when buying an RV is “New?” or “Used?” While some people would never consider one of those options or the other, for many of us either is a viable choice, each with their own pros and cons. In some surprising ways, neither is “all good” or “all bad” in most regards.

Cost is of course a major consideration for many of us. Although we purchased both of our RVs new, we got around the cost issue the same way that most people do with their only home: a mortgage. Regardless of your financial situation, or preference for size or type of RV (gas or diesel motorhome, class A, B, or C, a 5th wheel or a travel trailer), going with a used RV might be worth considering, even if you can afford new.

While we don’t (and can’t) lay out every possible factor, we cover a series of the most common considerations that might help you decide whether a new RV or a used one is a better fit for you.

After you watch the video and hear things from our point of view, please leave a comment down below letting us know your take. Do you totally agree with where we’re coming from, or do your needs and situation include other factors that we haven’t even thought of?

We mention RV Trader in the video as a way to expand your search for both new and used RVs, making it more likely you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for at a competitive price. To learn more visit www.RVTrader.com.

You’ll also notice that our dear friends Chris & Cherie’s bus makes a brief appearance as just one example of what can be done with an older RV, when savings from the initial purchase are funneled into renovations instead. They have a great article (and video) about their take on the matter of renovating an old RV vs. buying a new one that’s definitely worth watching! They offer an incredible amount of valuable information that every RVer can benefit from, so be sure to check them out at www.Technomadia.com.



We're handy RVers, not professional technicians. We're happy with the techniques and products we use, but be sure to confirm that all methods and materials you use are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.

We sometimes receive products for evaluation at no cost, and The RVgeeks are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. But our opinions are our own, you won’t pay an extra penny, and we only link to products we personally use, love and can recommend to friends with complete confidence.


Comments 78

  1. Hello Peter & John.
    My wife and I are in the process of going full time. We are in our 60’s . We looked into 5th Wheels and found that if you could not spend in the $200,000.00 range for a well built 5th Wheel like a DVR and a newer Dully Pickup that we could not comfortably feel secure in our investment to last for any length of time.
    We did however find a 2006 Numar Essex 45 foot beauty with only 32000 miles on it with everything in great working order
    with the exception of a small tare in the main awning that is about 6″ long that had been patched. The RV was exercised every year until now going from Oregon to Southern California. The Tires dot date has 3 years left with tons of tread and no cracking.
    I used to work of Country Coach when they were in Business so I am no stranger to the potential maintenance costs to maintain a Coach of this caliber. This Numar was kept under cover. Even the 12.5 KW generator has under 500 hours on it.
    I am thinking that at $135,000.00 it is a fair buy. My wife and I will be living on a fixed income of about $2000.00 a month and staying in RV parks for about 3 months at a time thus not putting a lot of travel on the coach. Perhaps 3000 miles a year. My question is do you think we are biting off more than we can chew with maintenance costs? We think we can save on average
    $500.00 a month in saving toward anything that might arise in the unfortunate event that something breaks. We will be making money thru working Camp jobs as well.

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      Hey guys! Sounds like you’ve found a nice package in that Essex… but as to whether or not it’s “biting off more than you can chew” is hard to say. In our 15 years of full-time RVing, we’ve spent, on average, about $1,700/year maintenance (both scheduled and non-) and repairs. That includes replacing the tires and repairing an engine oil leak in our current Mountain Aire.

      We can say that for only 3,000 miles a year of travel, having an RV that has it’s own whole powertrain that needs to be maintained definitely adds to the expense. Fifth wheels & travel trailers are so popular because you can get so much space for your dollar… AND they don’t have an engine, transmission and other motorized parts to have to maintain. Sure… tires will need replacing (but they’re a lot cheaper than the $1,000 per tire it cost us to replace all 8 of ours) and axles will need lubrication. But you don’t need to change the engine oil, coolant, air filter, or the transmission fluid. Add to that the 12 year old age of the RV you’re looking at, and we’d be extremely reticent to recommend purchasing something like this on a fixed budget.

      Obviously, you need to do what you’re comfortable with. But we think that the lower maintenance costs of towable RVs is definitely an appealing item for you to consider… and it might be worth looking deeper into other makes/models of fifth wheels that might suit your full-time needs without the high upfront costs.

      1. Thanks so much for the reply and advice. I think at an average of $1700.00 per year we could budget for that easily. You are correct about the space. 5th wheels are evolving into great things. However ether way I think used is the way to go in ether case. I would not want to be the sucker to take the depreciation hit. That is having more money than sense. If I were to finalize the Nurmar purchase I could possibly recover the full cost within a year as the NADA book value is $159,000,00 depending on our economy in that time frame. If all works out I would just keep it or even trade for a 5th. wheel and Pick Up truck. All I know is that our home is in a pending sale and our time is limited to make that decision. We are also aware of the size issue. This motor coach is massive. LOL

  2. Question for you, we are going to purchase a class C bunkhouse model and will consider a new or used one. Would it be a good idea to consider a purchase a motorhome from a rental outfit? They claim that they maintain a high standard of upkeep.

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      Hi Steve! Actually, a rental RV would be our very LAST choice. Like a rental car, it is exclusively driven by people who have no vested interest in caring for it. And worse than a rental car, it’s mostly used by people who are the least qualified to actually know how to operate the systems properly. We’d suggest that buying a 1-owner used vehicle off a dealer’s lot would be far superior to going the rental route. Just our $0.02.

  3. We are looking for our first RV and would like to thank you for the Video on New or Used. There were some items such as House Batteries and Tire rot that I should have thought about. We experienced the “Dead Batteries” while looking at an Renegade up north. Had to wait for a short time to get the slides open, but they opened and we looked and the Renegade is still in the running.

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      Hi Donald,

      Hope things work out and you end up with a great RV! Batteries and tires are definitely two items that are often overlooked when evaluating ANY RV purchase… new OR used! Sounds like that Renegade needs a new set of batteries… so if it makes it to the finals, be sure to factor that into the pricing! ;)

      Good luck!

  4. We are replacing our A-Liner with a camper that has a bathroom and larger refrigerator. We like the looks of a R-Pod. Have you had any experience with one?

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      Hi Alexander! We have no experience with towables, but we sure do love the look of the R-Pod! We’d suggest searching though the posts at iRV2 for better opinions on them (there might even be a user forum for R-Pod). It’s free to join and read/post questions at http://iRV2.com/forums. Sorry we’re not more helpful on this one, but hope this gets you heading in the right direction. Happy New Year & Happy Shopping! 🙂

  5. Hi Guys,

    I want to apologize if I am not in the right spot for this question, but I had a hard time finding any of your AC videos to post to. I’ve been watching your channel for a while now and I am enjoying it very much. I follow you, and Less Junk, More Journey, Technomadia and a few others. I think y’all are doing a great job with your videos especially for those of us just starting out.

    I’ve actually put a deposit down on a 2007 Winnebago Tour, its 39′, Cumming Diesel with the Allison Transmission on a Freightliner frame, its only has 26K miles. I’ve driven it and am having it checked out from top to bottom. This coach has a basement AC unit, which the salesman is telling me that these basement units don’t cool the coach as well as the roof mounted units. I have a few friends who are also RV’rs and they are telling me the opposite, I was wondering if you would have an opinion on the matter and also if you would share any suggestions on the purchase? I feel pretty confident in the coach, and the salesman is also impressed with it. For my very first time driving the coach on the test drive, I impressed the saleman…so I am confident I can handle it, I just want to make sure I check everything for full time living. I look forward to your comments.

    Until then, I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and wishing you both a very Happy New Year! Tony

    Tony Placella
    datonplace@gmail.com
    281-825-2059 If you are ever in the Houston/Galveston area.

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      Hi Tony! Congratulations on your pending purchase. We only know one couple with basement air in a Winnie, so we emailed them today to see what they think after owning their rig for many years. Here’s their exact reply:

      “We absolutely love it and have only had it serviced once. No problems at all and
      leaves the roof free for more solar panels.”

      We’ve heard similar things from others, including basement A/C being quieter. The only negative we’ve heard is the potential for increased repair costs in the event that’s needed, due to more complicated access than roof units.

      We’d suggest it’s not a make or break issue.

      Sounds like you’re doing due diligence and a thorough pre-purchase inspection. Please let us know how you make out!

  6. Thx for the reply. I have to admit that a website like yours is an incredible source of information for beginners like us. We almost looked like experts when we rented an RV this summer even though we were beginners. All the merit to you… (and to the Wynn’s).

    Keep up with the good work!

  7. We are in the process of buying our first RV. We knew we wanted a small RV (25-footer class C) with a decent space of living (i.e. with slideouts). Since we know nothing about RVing, we decided to rent one this summer to get a bit of experience. It helped a lot.

    First of all, some features became part of the “must” list. We had the chance to drive a F-450 and a Mercedes Sprinter. The Diesel Sprinter became a must rapidly for many reasons.

    Although we tought a big slide out would be a must (ours had a bed that was part of the long single slide out), we noticed that the queen size bed took 6 feet away from our living space (5 for the bed and 1 to go around it) leaving less room in the vehicle. Since we like to cook a lot, the very small galley became anoying. So we new we would have to find a compromise about this.

    We looked at website like RVtrader and yes, it gives you access to a very large inventory of vehicles. The problem for us was that I am from Canada and I received contradictory information about the custom fees associated to importing a vehicles from the US. Mercedes Canada does not support the warranty of the vehicle if bought in the US… unless it’s built on a Canadian chassis. A canadian chassis looks very much like another type of chassis but you pay 4000$ more for it. Why? Do not know. Maybe some sort of a gimmick to subsidize canadian dealers who will have to honor the warranty.

    Then I phoned the canadian customs to know if our 6,1% custom fee would apply on the vehicle. Even though some american dealers told me that there was no duty fees apply to an RV, the guy at the customs told me that they work with the VIN number of the vehicle. If the VIN starts with a number from 1 to 5, it means that it has been built in North America and there is no duty fee applicable. If it start with a W (Germany), the 6,1% applies on the vehicle AND on the RV itself. These extra fees made buying in the US less tempting.

    We really liked the 2016 Winnebago View 24M. The compromise was big though since there is no fixed bed on this floorplan. It meant that we would have to make our bed every night before going to sleep or keep the cab over bed unfold all the time. We were ready to go with that but then we learned that Winnebago had decided not to produce the 24M in 2017. We assumed that the demand was not so big and it scared us a bit as we will have to resell it one day. Added to the extra fees (canadian chassis and the “maybe” duty fee), it made us start ot look at other options.

    We are now shopping for the 24G floor plan. We will probably buy new in Canada for the reason mentioned above. Our market is incredibly smaller than the US so not so many dealers have it in stock. The good thing about that is it will be custom built, but we will have to wait a bit.

    Thanks for all the tricks you gave us. We learned a lot from you guys.

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      Hi Luc! It sure sounds like you are doing your homework, with due diligence on all the most important factors. Nice job. We imported our RV from the States to Canada also, but we’d already owned it for quite some time when we emigrated, so there were no tax issues at all. We rented a Sprinter-based campervan in Australia for 3 weeks earlier this year, and have a lot of respect for the chassis. But there are indeed so many considerations, that other things may take precedent as you’ve said: bed space and layout, kitchen space, country of origin for cost purposes, etc.

      We think you’re doing a bang-up job of researching and preparing (especially renting first, which is a brilliant move). Hope you end up with a great experience in the end. If you plan and accept that you’ll have to compromise in some ways, you won’t end up being disappointed, since there’s no “perfect” rig. That’s the single biggest thing we hear if someone is dissatisfied with RVing or their RV… that they extremely high expectations, which can of course be a challenge to rise to. We’re happy with our rig despite its drawbacks (like too big and expensive, but very comfortable in exchange) because we’re okay with accepting compromise in the name of happiness and quality of life. You’re being very thorough, so we bet you’ll get there, too! :)

  8. My wife and I just took 9 months off to practise snow birding ! We are still a few years away from retirement. Any thoughts of the merits of a class A diesel pusher vs a toy hauler 5er on the basis of accessing some of your boon docking sites? We are set up in our toy hauler with lots of solar, lithium etc and do a lot of boon docking. Looking hard at a Used Dutchstar and wondering if the 40ft length would limit our boon docking choices?
    PS we are almost neighbours living in Fort Langley.
    Thx Denis and Val

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      Howdy Neighbours! Generally, the smaller the rig, the more freedom & choice you have for places to stay. That’s true for both boondocking and commercial RV parks, and especially national park and national forest campgrounds. If there isn’t some substantial difference in size between your toy hauler and the motorhome you’re considering, we wouldn’t think that access would be noticeably different. And if you’re set up well already (as it sounds like you are with solar and lithium!), we’d opt for staying with what you have. Unless you have other reasons for considering a motorhome besides access, we can’t think of any obvious reason to switch.

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      We don’t think there’s necessarily much difference buying from a dealer or a private individual as far as dependability of the vehicle or honesty of the seller. We’ve heard good and bad on both sides.

      That said…

      Some pros about buying from a private owner, especially the original owner: 1) They’re of course much more likely than anyone else to be very familiar with the condition of everything and the maintenance history (hopefully with records), and 2) You can get a feel for your confidence level in their honesty by spending some time talking with them and hopefully getting the “warm & fuzzies” (of course not a guarantee, but it’s good to have a good gut feeling that someone is telling the truth).

      We’re not as keen on taking a salesperson’s word for much of anything, since they have one job: selling. Of course many are honest, but if they’re not, it’s probably harder to tell since they do it all the time vs a private seller, who is less likely to be a professional salesperson.

      Also, a private sale will often come with a lower price, since they don’t have a sales business to support and a commission to pay to a salesperson.

      So we do like private sales, especially if the rig is 1-owner, with maintenance records, a transferable warranty, and from a person who gives our gut reason to feel good about everything they’re telling us (look for any inconsistencies in their story about what they’re selling, vehicle condition, or anything else that might make you feel they’re not being completely forthcoming).

      That said, dealers have pros too: a business reputation that can often be checked, a place to go back to if you have a problem, and greater potential for a warranty of some sort to be included.

      The actual condition of a used vehicle might be easier to determine when buying private, as ANY purchase should be preceded by a pre-buy inspection from a qualified RV technician who specializes in these types of inspections. That type of inspection is not only a must, but may actually give an advantage to the private sale, as a dealer generally does their own inspections, and has a conflict of interest that an independent inspector doesn’t: they want to sell vehicles while spending as little as possible to rectify problems. A privater inspector works for YOU, and does generally not have that conflict of interest, since they’re simply paid to report back to you.

      Hope this helps a bit.

  9. I would have liked you to mention the pros and cons of not only purchasing an RV but also selling or trading up or across.

  10. Great Job Guys,
    I certainly agree that in order to get the features you want in an RV, you may have to go back a few years to get your budget properly aligned with your wants. I also totally agree on the value of RV Trader as a resource for learning what is available and what prices at least “look” like fair prices.

    One point I might add, whether buying new or used, is to research your dealer as well. We bought a 10 year old diesel pusher from one of the largest volume dealers in the state only to learn that they had no one on staff really qualified to work on the engine or chassis. After 5 months of a very painfull process, the RV is at a dealer who really knows what they are doing and we may actually have the use of it again soon. Once we get everything fully funtional, we can begin the updates to make it our own and we are looking forward to many years of use before we tackle that process again.

    Keep up the good work!

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      1. Looking to buy a Rexhall 375ss. Has a rear engine gas workhorse. What can y’all tell me on pros and con of gas pusher.

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  11. 5th wheel / Gooseneck will always pull easier and ride quality is bar none compared to a bumper pull. Additional benefit is 5th wheel will always have more storage and larger floor plans. Downside is your tow rig will need to be at least a 3/4 Ton or 1 Ton for weight hauled. Good luck and happy Rv’ing

  12. Oh, if one can and plans to do a lot of traveling, go pusher, the ride and air suspension make all the difference in the world. Plus when you are driving, the engine is in the rear and boondocking, the generator is in the front . Don’t really hear it when sleeping.

    Christian

    1. Question? Pusher with workhorse engine. Have a used one in sight and want to stay with gas, What can you tell me on gas pusher?

  13. I enjoyed your video.
    We are new to the RV lifestyle. We stared 10 months ago. We sold everything and purchased our 3rd RV first. This was a suggestion that was made to us while going through the rv driving class at LAZY Daze down here in Tampa Fl.
    We had no Idea on what to purchase so Laura, my wife being a computer wiz, looked up which RV’s had the most owner complaints. Those manufactures were eliminated from our search.
    We, like you, ended up looking at Newmars, only we were looking for used. We wanted to make sure we didn’t invest in something we wouldn’t like…..
    We were RV virgins , didn’t have a clue about it ! Never drove one, stayed in one or even considered one in the past. In fact if you would would have told us 3 years ago we would be buying one let alone living full time in one , I would have said you are crazy.
    We were just sick and tired of all the house expenses and taxes and insurance and maintenance and grass cutting and crappie neighbors and so on and so forth. So in a fit of disgust we sold everything and purchased a 2004 Newmar Dutch star with 22000 miles on it, with only one owner !
    In our mind used is and will always be the way to go. We bought ours through a dealership, it was on consignment.
    Your comments that just because it worked yesterday does not mean it will work today, is truer that we would have guessed. I/we had the misconception that buying from a dealer ship protected you during the purchase process. They made sure it was running when we got there, kept it running during test drive , walk through and sent us on our way. Now we told them we had never had one or done this before and we’re moving it to a site and moving into it full time. I said I wanted it fixed and even paid an extra $ 2200.00 for the mechanics to go over the chassis, changing all the hoses,oils, transmission fluid, filters, belts etc….
    I am sure you are by now sensing the other shoe is about to drop. Well it did. We purchased the coach on Friday in Fort Myers, drove it 142 miles to Clearwater Fl. Moved our personal effects in it on Saturday, drove it to the the rv park on Sunday morning and plugged it in at 9:00 am. ,Boy were we excited!
    Now we went grocery shopping. Came back home, at 1:00, yes this was Now home … it was wonderful.
    While unloading the bags of groceries, I smelled burning wires…. We walked around the coach sniffing, went outside sniffing and found the issue. The inverter was burning up, melting actually……… Holy crap batman what does one do ??????????
    Not knowing anything about these machines, I unplugged the damn thing. That seemed simple enough but wait I still need power to run the refer and freezer and ac. units after all it was memorial weekend in Florida. So I tried, but the batteries were dead. So the generator wouldn’t start. And the engine also was unable to start.
    To make a long and traumatic story short, this is a list of everything that went wrong with the coach during the first week and it took us more than a month to get the dealership believe us and send service to fix what they could and reimburse us the first $ 1300.00 we had to cough up on Monday, plus the $ 600.00 service call to get power going again.
    4 house batteries
    2 engine batteries
    50 amp shore power cord
    Inverter
    Break light bulbs
    Backup light bulbs
    Both roof ac solenoids
    Front cap leak repair
    Replace ignition switch, key kept falling out while driving.
    Chest freezer kept blowing fuses, needed new freezer
    Rear leveling jack wouldn’t retract all the way, replaced and upgraded all the jack springs.
    toilet bowl rubber seal.
    ice maker 2x.
    Wow, I didn’t realize how bad it was.

    Well that was the first round. Like I said the dealership covered some of the original issues. The rest were were covered at 60%. Of course letters had to be written to the owner, and fortunately being the largest Newmar dealer in Florida, he cared about his reputation, and our ability to negatively comment about their service after the sale on line. We finally kissed and made up, I have actually recommended the dealership to others looking for Newmars, he has a huge selection. Like you said when going used, bigger selection gets you closer to what you are looking for.

    And since then, I had to replace the awning motor, water heater, and the damn ice maker again !

    Suggestions,
    1 . Get a good Sam’s extended warranty. The gold package, covers everything. Not the one the dealers try to sell you. ( They only cover after a zombie apocalypse! )
    2. No mater your budget, make sure you have an extra ten grand in cash on the side for everything that will go wrong or you want to improve like new truck sound system and speakers throughout. (That was the cheapest thing to replace. ) got a Sony with blue tooth and mp3 player for $130.00 and 6 – 6×9 Alpine speakers for 169.00 a pair. It was worth every penny. Talk about great sound.
    3. Remember , used is out there for a reason. The previous owners could have been tired of all the little things going wrong every time they took it out. Which was probably 2 – 3 times a year. When you are full time, you can fix items as they go bad or break.

    I love reading your articles, they are very interesting.
    Thanks for letting me put in my 2 cents.

    Christian and Laura

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  14. So glad I found your site. I will be in the market for a motor home at some future time…..(caregiver for my 99 1/2 year old father who has major health problems. Not looking forward to what lies ahead there.) There are things I must have in a motor home like an 80 inch long bed, as my future travel companion is 6′ 2″. We in California have to have motor homes that pass smog inspection, and going to another state to find a deal on a motor home may not work for us. You have great tips and as my travel mate has only traveled twice with me, I am going to have him watch episodes that can clue him in as to what you can and cannot do while driving. He already learned you cannot go up steep driveways. Keep up the good work!

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  15. Hi RV Geeks!, I got your link through an RV Trader email; first time I’ve seen you. Very informative video and as a result of finding you, I’m going to sign up on your website.
    I’ve just sold my older Foretravel RV and am looking at a travel trailer next; getting a layout that basically gives me a “condo on wheels”, as I live full time in my rig. I’ve found layouts back a couple years that I like very much but these units go fairly quickly and I’m stuck looking at new. I like your idea of buying the year or two old unit much like buying a slightly used vehicle, you get that off the lot depreciation already taken care of.
    At an RV show, a dealer told me that buying out of state or not from them, and then bringing the unit home means that I’ll get shoved down the line on any servicing or warranty work locally done. They of course would prefer you buy from them, even though the cost savings can be thousands. I’d love your opinion on this, as I’ve used the RV Trader website just as you guys said, comparing prices and models.
    My other question is about buying and towing a fifth wheel (higher cost and going “upstairs”) versus the travel trailer (lower cost and one level living, probably a bit more difficult to tow). I thought I was firm on the travel trailer until I went into a fifth wheel at a show that had my ideal living room/kitchen layout and then a nice ‘landing’ design to the bedroom instead of the typical three steps up situation. Is this just all personal preference?? or are there some things I should consider between the two that you have knowledge of??
    I’ve found over my 5 yrs of the RV life, I sit in one spot for longer periods of time than I drive the RV around.
    If you have time to give me your thoughts, I’d love it!
    Thank you Geeks! :-)

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  16. Enjoyed your article and I will watch your show. We currently are selling our 2005 beautiful Mandalay four winds. 41.7′. Would appreciate any tips you can offer or referral to someone looking to buy.

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  17. My husband and I are looking for our first motorhome. We have always had a fifth wheel, but we are about to retire and want to do it with a motorhome and pull a trailer behind. We have been looking at used ones for sure, the price of a new one is scary. We have been looking at a 2005 Beaver Santiam in Texas and are looking forward to going there and seeing it in person. We are open for any suggestions anyone has as to how to start our new adventure. We have been looking on RV Trader for about 6 months now and most of the floorplans we like are on the West Coast and we are on the East Coast.

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  18. Important decision point to not overlook is the cost of property taxes and insurance on a new RV vs a used one. In line with the resale value dropping the most in the first 1-3 years of the RV, so also do the property taxes and insurance premiums. The taxes in most states will be the bigger factor contributing to the lesser costs, as insurance premiums do not go down as dramatically as the taxes.

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  19. YOU are right I had a Wini Chiefton 1987. What a sink hole. Money after money. Every thing from furnace,water heater,trans mission,engine electrical.Glad i traded to a 2000 Chalenger with half the repaires. Oh i forgot the swaying air ride on the Winnie. It was all over the road..Ed Lindsey in Michigan

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  20. I spent a good part of a year searching for my Tiffin Phaeton.
    take your time.
    to narrow your surch, make a pick.
    if you go class c, you may outgrow it fast.
    plus most are gas. A bit easier to drive, but all take great care to do properly.
    you rented, that’s half the battle
    and then there is gas or diesel.
    I’m happy we went with diesel.
    so look under every rock and you will find it, good hunting…

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  21. Just got a super super clean 2010
    37 ft. Tiffin Paeton with 26,500 miles.
    oven never used.
    4 slides. Saved approx. $140,000 over new coach price of same kind from Tiffin.
    Upgrades we are doing:
    Tank less water heater=continuas hot water, $1,000, installed.
    dishwasher, $1,000, installed.
    As well as a induction cook top, went on top of where old cook top and oven were. $600.
    Coach has 4 t.v.s
    updating 3, inside coach, not the outside, hardly will use that, but all 3 inside slightly bigger 1-2 inches.
    HD Smart t.v.s
    The in motion satalight antena was obsolete by word of Tiffin.
    so not hooking that up, they don’t work the best anyway, used that money to replace with new on new Direct T.V. antena & complete udated system…….so if you want to watch movies while moving, a new Panasonic blue ray dvd player is the ticket at about
    $200.
    All new HDMI cable, new large Direct T.V. antena,
    dish on roof.
    smart T V.s
    everything for approx. $3,500.
    ALL upgraded, for the entire coaches electronic entertainment system.
    New washer & Dryer, stackable about $1,500 installed dealer paid for on condition of purchase.
    used once so far, fabulous!
    Just small loads at a time….
    tires near new, read the dot year.
    also paid for a bumper to bumper best warentee we could find, expensive $10,000 but we’ll worth it if eng. Or tranny, takes a dump. Coverd….
    so all in all we spent approx. Another $20,000 on top of what we paid, but a far cry over new price.
    I would make another vidio breaking down the costs….

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  22. One thing I believe is important to consider is warranties. Normally used RVs wont have any warranty while new ones may give you a good warranty. An example of that is a dealer in my neighborhood gives you a Lifetime Warranty on the house if you buy new, but only 30 days if used. Big Difference! Other dealers may offer some type of warranty and attach it to your mortgage for two or three years.

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  23. Hey Geeks,

    I’d love to see a post and/or a video on the essentials one needs to get a new RV set-up and operational. I’m sure you’ve covered it all in bits and pieces, but a single source sure would be helpful.

    As someone in the early stages of selecting what motorhome to purchase, it would be really helpful to know what ancillary purchases and expenses we should anticipate to actually get our rig on the road and functioning.

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      Thanks for the video suggestion, Allen. We can’t make any promises, but we’ll add it to our list and see if it’s a topic we think we can cover at some point. In the meantime, our Favorite Gear page lists a lot of the essentials required for RV living.

  24. That was some of the best advice you guys have provided. Keep up the great work, and safe travels wherever the road may take you.

  25. I would have also mentioned that one of the best deals one can get on a RV is at a large RV trade show. We bought our latest coach…a 2016 Newmar Ventana LE at the Hershey RV show last year. One can compare various makers almost side by side and we were able to negotiate price directly with the owner of the dealership.

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  26. Thanks for good information. I’m hoping to buy my first RV this year. We’ve rented in the past and depending on how business develops want to be on the road in six months or so. I haunt RV lots in my area and am getting familiar with what I want in a Class A or C. What the wife wants is something else. Most likely we’ll buy used. I spent too many years as the #1 house maintenance guy and want to avoid as many repairs in an RV as possible. I also want to avoid expense replacements. The tips for tires is excellent. Thanks for that. I make my living online these days and will be working on the road. The wife will come along for a while, but we’ll have a home base for her nest when cramped living gets the best of her good nature. As for me, I’d put a Class C in gear this moment and wave goodbye to a fixed address. There are a lot of us viewing on the Internet who need no-nonsense straight talk like you present. Your videos help with critical decision making. Keep ’em coming.

  27. Hello RVGeeks, thanks for your overview of purchasing RV’s. I was fortunate to have a friend of mine who has bought and sold several RV over the years and he shared his experience and wisdom with me prior to our Motorhome purchase. I initially was looking into buying a 10 year old Diesel pusher and fixing it up as needed. I had a basic list of specs that I was looking for in the RV and used the RV trader as you suggested. I found a lot of great looking used RV’s for around 100K to up to 130K. I also was aware of considering things like age of the tires and any other issues that I would need to put money into bringing the RV into perfect working order. So here’s what I found out.
    If you have cash on hand, you can most likely get a great deal on a RV that someone is just trying get rid of. Some sellers don’t want to wait for someone to acquire a loan which I found out can take several weeks to process. If you must take a loan out, like me, be aware that anything older than about 4 years old, you can only get a 15 years mortgage. Anything newer, you can get a 20 year mortgage. This alone ended up being a major consideration when we were looking at RV’s. I my case I was looking at a 2008 Monaco RV selling around the 120K range, nice coach but only a 15 year loan. I found a 2014 Sportscoach Pathfinder that the original owner was selling for 140K. but I could get a 20 year loan. After calculating both payments, the newer RV mortgage was slightly less than the older one. Of course, over the life of the loan, I would end up paying more in interest but we are most likely only keeping the coach for a few years anyways. We ended up buying the newer coach.
    Other benefits as you stated were newer tires, appliances, equipment, etc. Plus that fact that the first owner got most of the problems with the new coach fixed while he owned it. We even have some warranty left on the chassis and motor for up to 5 years of the manufacture date. One thing that we did find out is that RV manufacturers in general will not honor their 1 year warranty if you are the 2nd owner. Bummer, since I did have several things that needed to be fixed that manufacturer should have honored.
    Bottom line is we really got a good deal overall and got most of the features in a motorhome we were looking for. 2 important things to me that we didn’t get were 1. a tag axle and 2. a engine brake vs an exhaust brake. Not deal breakers but some nice things to have.
    So here we some of the numbers to share with you to back up your recommendation about buying a slightly used coach vs brand new. Our MSRP from the factory was 310K. Ridiculous, no one is going to pay this much for this coach. It isn’t in the class a Monaco or Provost RV. The original owner bought the coach form Motor Home Specialist for 180k, which he thought was a great deal. He only kept the coach for about 8 months and then decided that he wanted to sell it. Nothing was seriously wrong with the coach, it turns out that he was buying a share in a million dollar houseboat and needed the money. He was originally asking 150K but we got it reduced down to 140K. Still way more that we had intended to spend but we felt it was too good of a deal to pass up. On extra bonus was that he had completely outfitted the entire motor home with all of the amenities such as plates, utensils, bedding, tools, cleaners, etc. My wife and I calculated about 1500 to 2000 dollars worth of equipment. Yeah, we were really surprised about that one. Anyways, I calculated that he took about a 56K loss from the original sale within 8 months. Bad for him, great for us.
    Since the RV only had about 3600 miles on it when we bought it, it was almost was like brand new and because of that there were still plenty of the brand new motorhome issues to deal with. I’ve had to fix leaky plumbing , hydraulic lines, electrical issues etc. but in doing so I’ve had a chance to figure out how everything works. For example, when we picked up the coach, which we bought in Utah, we live in So California, the seller told us that we might have to run the roof airs since the dash air didn’t get really that cold. We as we passing through the Las Vegas area he was right, the dash air wasn’t very cold. After we got home I got curious and started checking the system out thinking maybe the R134 was low. As it turned out, I found this one little brown wire unplugged from a relay switch. After plugging it back in, guess what, the air works great. It’s amazing that the manufacturers don’t do a better job on quality control .

    One thing I did change right away and would recommend all RV owners to consider in putting on a Steering stabilizer, changing the shocks out, I put on as set of Bilsteins, Super Steer Motion controls and Super steer bell crank. I was absolutely amazed how much the steering and handling of the coach improved. Rides and handles like a completely different coach. I’m sure you have this on your website but here is the website for their product, http://www.supersteerparts.com/

    Well, just wanted to share our story and wanted to thank you for all of your great tips and info about RV’s . I just retrofitted all of our light to LED from M4 products. Next thing I might consider is Solar panels but need to do some more research on that one.

    Thanks again , Larry Jordan

  28. Well we decided to go with brand-new, so we bought a 2016 Thor Palazzo 35.1. We have a list of 35 different items that need to be taken care of under warranty. From both heaters not working to the refrigerator not running off 12 V to flaws in the flooring. It’s been an interesting run so far.

    Having low expectations for the experience you’re going to have buying a new one is probably the best. I think you’ll live longer. The best hope is to find a dealer to work with that appreciates the perspective of the new buyer. I’m on the fence right now with our dealer. They sold 400 coaches last year. So they’re a good size dealer. Time will tell.

  29. Fantastic job guys! You covered what we think of as the top pros and cons. The only thing I can think to add to the conversation is mileage. When looking at used RV’s so many people think they are getting a steal when they buy a 10yr old motorhome with only 5,000 miles on it. When in fact you deal with a lot (or more) of the same “lot rot” issues you mentioned in the video. Just one more thing to think about as you’re out there shopping around.

  30. Very informative. My husband and I are about 3 years out from buying a charter bus to customize ourselves. We will take about 2 years to do the work until he retires. Our thought right now on buying a bus to convert is that I am vegan and I cook everything from scratch so I have to have full size oven, stove and refrigerator and small freezer. A working kitchen is very important to me. I also want a full size washer and dryer. We would like to boondock as much as possible so the off the grid capabilities are important too. We have 6 cats, a dog and 2 birds that will travel with us (that number may change as some of our pets are getting older). We have been thinking a 45 foot with a trailer for our Kia Soul (enclosed for extra storage). Now you have given me thought about looking at used and customize an existing diesel rig……..

  31. I was glued to this even though I’m not planning to replace our coach. As always, you guys make the best videos. The space shuttle shots were unexpected and completely amusing. Thank you.

  32. Hi Guys,
    My wife & I bought our first motorhome, a 2005 36′ Coachmen Santara, 2 years ago, from a private party. We did not take it to a dealer to have it inspected before the purchase. There were problems that we were unaware of until we took it in for an inspection. $4000.00 later the Coachmen was in good condition. Lesson 1. – make sure your RV purchase is contingent on an inspection. We were fortunate that we had negotiated a good price on the Coachmen, so the repairs did not “hurt” too much!!

    Since we were new to the motorhome world we have consistently consulted your website for information. Thanks for providing such practical help during our first 2 years.

    If we choose to upgrade, I completely agree that buying a 1-3 year old unit is the best way to go. The “Buying an RV” video was very well done. I would expect nothing less from you guys!!
    Ken

  33. My husband and I are going to an RV show tomorrow morning to look at new and used RV’s, travel trailers etc. and your video was extremely timely and informative. What you said about tires and batteries is something I never thought of before so thank you for that. All in all we really thought your video was great and it will come in handy when and if we decide to buy.

  34. Opps, forgot to mention that we also want a Newmar Ventana 35 foot diesel pusher with comfort drive. We can add solar, lithium ion batteries, LED lights, washer/dryer, keyless entry, change out the sofa, and maybe even a dish drawer.

  35. Another great video! Thank you. What unchangeable features would you look for in a used RV? I know this is a highly individual question but I’m trying to make sure I consider as many things as possible. My biggest concern after basic floor plan and making sure we have space for a larger frig if it turns out we need it, is cabinet color. Do you know of a way to paint/refinish Newmar cabinets that will hold up and not be prohibitively expensive (my concern is that so many cabinets seem to be dark which causes a closed in feeling)? Also, do you know of any national RV sales guides besides RV Trader?

    Thanks again for all of your helpful videos – especially the driving lessons. I know you will get back to that but, frankly, if I went all the way down under I think I’d be staying longer. Hope you’re having a fabulous time.

    1. @Elizabeth Ferguson I own a 2001 Newmar Dutchstar (Diesel) and I absolutely love it. Actually these two guys are who convinced me into buying a used Newmar. The craftsmanship is beyond comparison to many of brands I had researched, both online and in person. I had previously ONLY owned Winnebagos (1st was a 1986 27′ Class A Gas and 2nd was a 2003 40′ Ultimate Advantage Diesel). I would probably still have the Ultimate Advantage if it hadn’t burned to the ground due to a recall I was NEVER made aware. More on that later…

      I would never purchase a new coach (unless I won the lottery)(which is funny that they said the same thing in their video) due to depreciation as soon as you leave the lot. I mean AS SOON as all tires leave the dealers driveway. I will never own another Gas Rig again either, also due to depreciation. Also, I feel after 30k miles of using a Gas Rig the motor feels gutless. (horrible term I know and maybe I am bias to diesel) but I also tote a race car trailer, race car, and golf cart in a 28′ enclosed trailer. If you drive a brand new gas rig and a brand new diesel rig then do the same with comparable miles on a used gas rig and used diesel rig you will see my point.

      All 3 of my rigs had dark cabinets, I’ve grown accustomed to them, but again I am biased because when I see lighter cabinets I get a feeling of cheapness. Not sure why but thats just me.

      … and back to that burned down pusher I owned. Before buying ANY used RV I would STRONGLY suggest to write down all appliances (or take photos) and make sure all recalls have been completed or get completed ASAP to avoid a home being burned to the ground. Please trust me and avoid that pain and hassle.

      Happy RV’ing. Sorry so lengthy!

  36. First of all, you guys ROCK! I agree with what you say about new vs. used – all true. I would like to expand the discussion just a bit into one specific area, one which you are already familiar with – diesel pushers. When my own thoughts evolved to the point of favoring a diesel pusher over other RVs for my own full-time occupancy, I was first looking at Tiffin and Newmar coaches. Both are really good, and buying one 10 years old or newer, well kept and in good condition is a good bet. However, in my search for the ideal Tiffin or Newmar I kept pushing the age further and further back because of prices and what I consider “bang for the buck”. I know the engine and chassis is built to last – provided it gets used regularly. Unfortunately many don’t, and succumb to “lot rot” or maybe “driveway rot”. My feeling is that the newer technology, provided it isn’t part of the chassis, can always be swapped in – TVs, inverters, solar, etc can always be retrofit at less cost than pre-packaged, and you get to hand-pick your components (much like building your own computers from scratch, which tend to be so dependable that the hardware outlives the supported operating systems.)
    As I looked at older and older coaches online and “in person”, I began to realize that some hold up better than others. By this time I was starting to see Prevost, Newell and Foretravel diesel pushers. Once you become aware of these coaches you begin to realize that there are many from the 80’s and 90’s still in excellent condition, many serving as home for full-timers. The key to buying an older coach is to buy one that has been used rather than one that has sat for long periods.
    From the beginning of my search I had assumed that whatever coach I purchased would have at least one slide out. But then I saw my first Foretravel without a slide out – must have been a ’95 or so – and it didn’t feel as if anything was missing. On the contrary, the solid construction, and everything about the coach just emanated quality. Many features that were standard in Foretravels from the late 90’s and early 2000’s have just been making their way into other brands as late as 2010 and later. So what I ended up purchasing (for 1/9 the original price) was a ’99 Foretravel, just broken in at 136k miles, used continuously by a full-timing couple for the past 5 years, with 1200W solar, a 450 HP engine that will get 10 MPG if you drive it right, a 12v cold plate fridge, LEDs all around, AquaHot that keeps chugging along with annual maintenance, many convenience and luxury features that work just as well as they did when the coach was new.
    The one thing it doesn’t have is a slide out. Ever since I saw a $5k repair invoice to repair a slide out, my feeling has been that like Chris and Cheri, I can easily live without them.
    The fundamental differences among the diesel pushers are these: Prevost and Newell are essentially bus conversions – they are buses that are converted by companies for use as RVs. As such, they are bulletproof – with the same caveat, that the chassis must be run continuously and not allowed to sit for long periods. Foretravels on the other hand have always been designed as RVs – but they differ from the rest of the purpose-built RVs in their “monococque” construction – which is analogous to “unibody” construction in cars, where the chassis and body are tightly integrated. They are not bodies dropped onto Freightliner or Spartan chassis like other RVs. It makes a difference that carries through the rest of the build. They have been kown to roll onto their sides, and after being righted, driven off. Other RV-built coaches will suffer raked bodies and become essentially total losses under similar circumstances. They are also not manufactured on nearly the same scale as other makes, and their prices are very high, but if you are into it you can acquire an older one, give it some TLC, get some cosmetic work done on the exterior, maybe refresh the interior a bit and end up with a coach that everyone thinks is brand new. Just a thought for those inclined to invest time and a little sweat equity into their home on wheels.

  37. G’day Mates,

    Excellent blog.

    I’ve been using RV Trader for many months in my search for a Newmar. I have even paid to advertise a ‘wanted’ ad as well as posting several free ads. My findings:
    1. Many owners use dealers to sell their units. Those that don’t often have much older units. (Perhaps the dealers don’t want to put the older units on their lots.)
    2. Dealers are very keen to sell right now. (One was willing to take over 30% off the list price for a unit one year old!)
    3. No two units are the same.
    4. Getting the floor plan you want with the extras you like is just about impossible in a used unit. Buying used: you will compromise.
    5. If you like a unit put a down payment to hold it for a few days if you need to think it over. (Should have bought before the CDN went south!)
    6. Most of the units I’ve looked at do not have any solar power and I have yet to inspect any unit with more than one solar panel. Obviously not everybody likes to dry camp like you guys.

    Have fun and remember to be SunSmart: Slip, Slop, Slap!

    Take care,

    John

  38. Hi – Rich from Holiday FL lov your latest vid on purchasing a new/used RV another good topic the pit falls of the “Purchasing Process” how some dealers will play with interest rates that the bank will allow them to increase the % rates to make the buyer leave more money on the table even when you got a good deal on the front end some RV dealership will try to recoup the deal in the F & I dept all those extended warranties and add on’s what to look out for in this process of wanting that great deal what are the red flags when making the deal! or all those add on warranties some may want to push onto you
    That may be worthless if the third party goes under. – I’m into wind & solar for some who don’t know about using the sun or wind to keep all these expensive batt. topped off- the different types of batteries out there, low maintenance vs 6 volt batt. sys. pure sign wave inverter 12 v to 115 AC. – use of Wind Generator set up while at you camp site can charge your batt. sys long after the sun goes down.
    I’m in the process of fixing up my home getting it ready to go on the market and then purchase a nice RV. I’m a big fan of your helpful vids Thanks much ….

  39. It’s very hard to find a 1-2 year old RV with what you desire. We have found many RV’s usually end up on the market when they are 5-6 years old. We’ve been looking for over a year, and so far no luck. Based on our research, we can discount a new RV 25-26%, thinking that is equivalent to the depreciation hit, and if we keep it 6-7 years, it’s worth it.

  40. Hey, thanks for giving us a new post while you’re in Australia!

    I’ll be buying a new RV in the next month. I’m with you on the value of the 1-3 year old RV, but the floor plan I want wasn’t available in previous years, so new it is.

    Rv trader.com is my new best friend. I told my local dealership that I’m seeing the same model and options package advertised at a much lower price at many places across the country. That’s giving me a lot of negotiating power. I hope I can buy locally, but if I have to go to a neighboring state, I can do that.

  41. I love this topic! I personally do not think I would purchase a new RV again after going through the process. We’ve had both new and used. Our original gal was a 1994 NuWa Hitchhiker Champagne edition which we loved because it was big and comfy. The problem we had was being new to RVing and the fact she required lots of love. We began having one problem after another (slide motor stopped, slide rotting, water heater would not stay lit etc.) and she started to bleed us dry and costing more to fiz that the original purchase. At that point we decided to sell her for what we could.

    Our next RV was brand new and we bought it at for a great price because the RV dealer was forced to sell all their inventory of Dutchman Komforts because a Thor dealer opened up less than 50 miles from them(Conflict of interest for Thor). We bought a 2013 Dutchman Komfort and it seems like our RV spend the 1st 6 months at the shop fixing small items we found during our walk around. (Broken blinds, lights not working & AC went out!) We soon figured that maybe the deal was not as good as it seems. One by one we knocked out each item and started doing our own upgrades,(Thanks to the RV Geeks!) Now our RV is our second home. We really do own alot of what we learned to you guys and hope one day we blessed to cross paths with guys one day.
    From our perspective, the higher your comfort level is around RVs and the more education you have about the rig you want, the better decision you’ll make in the long run. You’ll come in more objective and be able to weigh the goods and bads to decide what type and size RV fits your lifestyle and what amenities you can’t live without.

    Hope you guys are loving life down under! Take Care!

  42. I just got into RV’ing recently. We rented one and went out west, then purchased one within the next year. Used RVTrader.com to find it – and really liked that process.

    When we go to purchase next time I am with you. Either a newer used RV or a left over model year. I did find that a lot of used RV owners want much more for their RV than what I thought the RV was worth. They based that on the original MSRP (and maybe what they paid), without consideration for some of the deep discounts on left-over models or deals during RV shows.

    In the end I like the used due to the items you mention; Depreciation, negotiating power (seemed like private owner RV’s sit for some time – I think primarily due to that particular model appealing to a very specific and limited buyer population), and the ability to search throughout the country for the one that best fits your needs.

    Love the videos and the help you provide! Thanks and hope you enjoy your trip!

  43. Hi Peter and John,

    I’ve been a subscriber to your site for about 18 months or so. I thoroughly enjoy each and every post!

    Of course, sometimes after seeing one of your videos, I have yet another project on the motorhome. One of the first mods I did to the motorhome was to convert all the lighting to LED. Used M4 thanks to you. The products have been great!

    In regards to this post about new vs. used, you bring up many good points. In our case, we chose to go the used route.

    We decided to purchased used for many reasons such as:
    *We needed to look at used in order to afford the type of coach we wanted.
    *Able to get a better quality used DP coach for much less versus a new one.
    *The first owner took the depreciation hit.
    * The savings of used over new gave us a nice cushion to make needed repairs and upgrades.
    * Were able to find a floor plan that we love.

    We’ve had our ‘new to us’ 2003 American Coach Revolution 40C since October 2014. It needed some TLC and we knew that when we bought it. As such, the price reflected the new for some love.

    Our thought process was we could invest many thousands of dollars and still be well below the current NADA price. Once completed with the needed repairs and updates, we’d have a coach that would last us for many years to come. So far, our beliefs have come true. We absolutely love our Rev!

    We found our coach through RVTrader.com. As you point out in your video, it’s an awesome resource for finding your perfect coach!

    Of course, like anything in life, one must be aware that on occasion, you’ll come across too good to be true ads. We encountered a couple of those as we searched for our coach. Those ads tended to be easy to spot and then avoided.

    Hope all is going well for you ‘Down Under’.

    Be safe and look forward to your continued journeys and sharing of your knowledge.

    Dave and Young

  44. Thanks for this video. You helped solidify my thoughts on buying. I had been focusing primarily on Used but I am going to move my year range newer by a few years.
    Also, the tips about the woes of Lot Rot are now on my list – house batteries and tires will be a key part of my dealing/offer tactics!
    I’ve enjoyed several of your videos as I begin planning our move to RV life, although I have a few years to go before we make the big jump to full-time. Your videos are preparing me so that when I am financially ready to purchase I will be knowledgeable.

    Thanks again, keep up the advice and enjoy your trip DownUnder

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