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Questions to Ask Before Buying a Recreational Vehicle

Posted on June 17, 2020

Buying a recreational vehicle (RV) of any kind, whether it’s a dirt bike or a motorhome, is a huge decision to make. It shouldn’t be done without a good amount of research and thought. Even the least expensive of recreational vehicles are still a big investment for most people.

If getting a new RV of any kind is something you are considering, be sure you know the answers to these questions beforehand.

What Kind of RV Do You Want?

line of people riding ATVsRVs come in many shapes and forms. Any type of vehicle that isn’t an automobile can qualify as a recreational vehicle. Motorcycles, motorhomes, ATVs, boats, and more are all recreational vehicles people love.

If you are undecided on what kind of RV you’d like, you should look at what adventures you want to have. Are you looking to travel the country in comfort? You might check into buying a camp trailer or motorhome. Do you want to explore the trails in speed? Consider a dirt bike, ATV, or other all-terrain vehicle. Are you hoping to spend more time playing in the water? A jet ski or speed boat might be for you!

It’s a smart move to try out an RV before buying, so consider renting or borrowing one to see if you like it. Not only will this help you know if you like the vehicle, but also what features you might like or dislike.

Where Will You Store It?

motorcycle in garageRVs take up space. Boats, motorhomes, snowmobiles, ATVs and motorcycles all need a place to be stored when you aren’t using them. For some, that can be a major complication. If you live in the city, have an apartment, or just don’t have the space at your home, storing your RV can be a deal breaker.

Before buying your new vehicle, make a plan of where you’ll store it. For those with a home, that might mean keeping it in your garage or to the side of your house. If you are part of a homeowner’s association, double check to make sure the HOA will allow you to keep it outside. If you don’t have the space at your home, you’ll likely need to pay for a place to keep it, like a storage lot or with a friend.

How Will You Transport It?

Most RVs are meant for specific activity and not for the open road. That means you need to get your RV from your home (or storage place) to where you’ll use them. You need to transport the boat to the lake, the snowmobile to the mountains, and the camp trailer to the campsite. This isn’t applicable to all RVs, like motorhomes and motorcycles, but it is for a good majority.

You’ll need some sort of truck or larger vehicle capable of hauling your RV. With a truck that has a large bed, you can keep one or two smaller RVs, like dirt bikes or snowmobiles, in the back. If you don’t have a truck, you’ll also need a trailer to carry your RVs around. That means you’ll need to purchase a trailer and find a place to store it as well.

Are You Willing to Maintain It?

woman mechanic working under a vehicleJust like your car, all RVs require regular maintenance. Oil changes, new tires, replacing fluids and general upkeep are all necessary to keep your RV functioning properly and looking good. If you use your RV a lot or do intense activities with it, you’ll need to focus on maintenance.

There are two ways to maintain your RV – either you pay for someone else to do the work or get your hands dirty and do it yourself. Paying someone means more money out-of-pocket but can come with guarantees and professional work. It can be difficult to find professionals to take care of your RV along with the expenses for their expertise. If you do the work yourself, you’re likely to save money. But it means more labor on your end and the possibility of mistakes if you aren’t experienced.

Even if you don’t use your machine regularly, or there is an off season for using it, you need to take care of it. That could include running the motor from time to time, replacing fluids, and cleaning it.

Buy New or Used?

It might feel like a simple question, but there is a lot to consider with buying an RV new or used. The biggest difference is price. A new recreational vehicle will cost more than a used one. But there are many other points to consider, too.

One thing to consider is the warranty. When buying a new RV, you’ll likely have a limited warranty with the option to purchase additional warranties. This can be a big money saver if your RV breaks down or needs repairs. If you buy used, you probably won’t be able to get a warranty.

One major disadvantage to buying new is that an RV’s value depreciates very quickly. If you want to sell it later, you’ll take a loss doing so. Buying used and selling it later, the depreciation will be much less steep. And, if you maintain and add some upgrades, you might even be able to sell it for a profit.

Can You Afford an RV?

white RV near a tall treeBefore heading to buy an RV, you need to examine your finances and see if you can actually afford one. Recreational vehicles are expensive, not something to be purchased on a whim. Even the cheapest of RVs can cost thousands of dollars, not something to be spent without serious thought.

Look at your budget, income, and savings to see what you can afford. If you have the money saved, buying an RV outright keeps you out of debt and is cheaper in the long run.

If you don’t have the savings for it, taking out a loan to buy your RV is another possibility. This can break up the cost of an RV to a monthly payment you can handle. If you want to go this route, you’ll need to make sure payment fits within your budget without disrupting your finances. You’ll also need a good credit score to keep interest low.

Pioneer offers RV loans with good rates for people looking to buy the RV they want. Whether it’s a motorcycle, ATV, snowmobile, or motorhome, we can help you with the purchase.

Learn More About RV Loans!

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