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Should you buy a New or Used RV?
When it comes to buying your very first RV or even your second or third, there are so many things to consider. There is also the age-old debate that has many people confused about whether purchasing their RV new or used will be the better option.
For us, we thought about this the entire time we were searching for our home on wheels. We read Facebook groups, asked questions, and saw other people ask the same questions. We found that the majority of people said to buy “used”.
However, I was still so skeptical. Is buying used really the best option? During our research and purchasing timeframe, I set down and examined the pros and cons of purchasing an RV New VS purchasing an RV Used.
I also always kept in mind that I was purchasing our home. This was a place we will sleep, cook, play games, and live life full-time. I did NOT approach this purchase as the same as buying just a normal vehicle. After all, a car doesn’t have a bathroom, fridge, sink, or propane tanks and generators.
So, let’s get to it and first examine the Pros and Cons of purchasing your RV New Vs. Used.
Pros and cons of purchasing a Used RV
Used – Pros
- Usually cheaper than purchasing brand new. This make’s it easier to pay cash instead of financing.
- Less guilt if you want to make any renovations whether major or minimal.
- All the “Kinks” are worked out from others “breaking it in”.
- Anything that needed to be fixed has usually been taken care of by the manufacturing warranty if the previous owner took advantage of the warranty.
- Easier to negotiate price.
- Lower Insurance
- Less Depreciation from your point of purchase.
Used – Cons
- Usually Sold AS IS without any warranties
- If purchased used with a loan, you will usually have a higher Loan Interest Rate.
- Unknowingly could purchase a LEMON or one that was not been maintained properly.
- Could have mold, leaks, or more.
- Unable to have your true pick of floorplans.
- If purchasing a Motorhome, less fuel-efficient than a new motorhome.
- Hidden Maintenance Issues.
- Other people or pets misuse now becomes your problem.
- Usually outdated appliances and décor (Unless you are going to be making décor renovations and upgrades, this isn’t a con)
Pros and Cons of Purchasing a New RV
New – Pros
- It’s yours! No one has ever owned it before. (Nothing in the tanks that are foreign to you)
- New Appliances, new furniture, and that new home smell.
- Greater options and flexibility to search and choose the right amenities and floor-plan that is best for you and/or your family.
- Manufacturers warranty
- Ability to purchase directly from Manufacture and customize to your liking
New – Cons
- Premium Price (Don’t be afraid to negotiate and check the prices nationwide for the same RV)
- High Depreciation
- Higher insurance
- You have to work out the kinks and issues yourself
Now that you know the pros and cons of purchasing a used RV vs. a new RV, which is better?
Honestly, it really comes down to your own finances and your own personal reasoning. What is important to you and/or your family? Is it the money and not wanting a loan or is it making sure your floorplan and amenities supply the right needs for your family? I feel like there is really no “right” answer to the new vs used debate.
What we chose and why…
For Matthew and I, we searched all the floorplans and prices. After 6 long months of conducting comparisons on RV Trader and going back and forth on buying new or used, we found what we needed.
Ultimately, we decided to buy brand new, took out a loan, and got the perfect floorplan that fit us. We made the decision to buy new because we were going to live full-time and it needed to fit our needs. Making sure we were comfortable, happy and had a Washer/Dryer prep in our space was a top priority.
Also, we realized with our research that the type of RV we needed and wanted was the same price new as it was a few years older.
When you buy used, all the “kinks” are worked out, right?
Honestly, you can purchase a brand-new RV or a used RV and still have problems. There is no true guarantee that it will be perfect. We have only had one leak in a side window that was an easy seal up. So far we have been full-time living stationary for almost a year now.
So, just figure out your priorities and needs that are personal to you. I hope this helps and don’t forget to check out RV Trader to search for your perfect RV, whether you’re looking for a used one or a new one!
It makes sense that buying a new RV allows you to look for the right features that will suit your needs. My wife and I would like to take our children on a camping trip this summer, and we need an RV that 6 people will be able to live in comfortably. We’ll consider buying a new RV that has everything that we need.
I like that you explained how it is easier to buy an RV with cash if it is pre-owned. I would like to use my late uncle’s inheritance to buy an RV so that I can take my son camping, but I need to find one that will align with my current budget. Maybe it would be best for me to save money by purchasing a pre-owned RV.
Great post! We’ve always had RVs in our family, and a relative of mine had recently purchased a brand new one. It may not have been the best decision because the “kinks” weren’t quite worked out, as you mentioned. Good thing for the warranty, though.
Yes, those warranties are fantastic! I wish them well with their RV!
Such a great pros and cons list. We bought a used tent trailer years ago and it was great. We got to the point in life that we weren’t really using it anymore so we sold it. I still regret that decision.
Thank you so much!
There are likely going to be “kinks” whether you buy new or used. The hardest part of finding the right RV is finding the right floor plan for you. I think that makes the decision for many people.
Love the pros and cons list. I can imagine that it’s a lot like buying a house, but since it’s also on wheels it’s about 10 times more complicated!
Knowing my Hubby, he would want new. That’s just the way he is – he likes to be the first owner so that there are no surprises. Great breakdown! Thanks for sharing.
Yes, we can totally relate! Thank you for reading! 🙂
Great list. We are almost empty-nesters and an RV is one of the things we are thinking about as we get closer to retirement!
Thank you! Wish you the best! Rving is a lot of fun!
Great info and breakdown on the pros and cons of either purchase. Years back we had a diesel pusher that we purchased used. We had it inspected by a third party prior to purchase. They are so much fun, I miss going! Thanks 🙂
That’s a good note to have it inspected when you buy used! Thanks for your comment!
Very helpful list of pros and cons! I think that living in an RV sounds like so much fun. Maybe after my son graduates, I’ll get the opportunity to try it!
You definitely should try it! We love the lifestyle! It’s a whole new adventure every day! 🙂
This is a great guide to see before shopping for one! When we have looked, I just couldn’t get over the used smell. haha, I would have to go with a new one or one that was meticulously maintained.
Totally Agree! Thanks for reading!
Great pros and cons for new and used. I’d want new too, for all the reasons you list. I’m enjoying your posts.
Thank you so much! Thanks for reading!
Ever since we started thinking about getting an RV and selling our houses I read up on everything about RVs. This is a really comprehensive list of the pros and cons of buying new vs used and will help us out. Thanks for the info
Great breakdown! this will be a fantastic resource for someone who is looking to buy an RV
Thank you very much!
Wow! So much to think about! I would love to someday own an RV as I think it would make travel lovely! Also, we have an RV pad and hook up on our property so it would be great for when we have so many guests over during the holidays.
That is amazing! I hope someday you are able to get one for you and guests! You’ll love it whether it’s new or used! 🙂
How interesting. We bought a used RV for the exact reason you bought a new one! We are also living in it full-time. We went from dealer to dealer and could never find one that had everything we wanted so we bought used so we could make it exactly how we wanted it through renovation. Also much cheaper haha.
Yes, we debated that but decided that making the renovations was still too much out of pocket that we didn’t have. It truly is everyone’s personal reasoning and what works best for each individual. Glad you all found what you needed and wanted! 🙂
My husband and I were just having this discussion! I’m more of a buy used person, whereas, he prefers to buy new. We’ll see what we wind up with, lol! We’ve got two kiddos and will only be taking week long trips every few months. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Yes, we are the same. I would have loved to buy used and renovate, but My hubby loves new. So we did the math on renovations vs. buying new and ultimately the new won for us! 🙂 Best of luck! Y’all will love it!
We bought used when we were just camping on the weekends and holidays. It worked for us and we got an AMAZING deal on a really good camper. We still miss all the storage space that one had, but when we decided to go full-time, it just wasn’t going to work for our family of 5. So then we shopped around and took our time trying to find THE ONE. We’ve been happy with our purchase. And this reminds me that your mom still wants to see the inside. Next time we’re home, I need to let her know it’s at the house to look at. Hopefully she can see it before we sell the house and are gone for good. 🙂
I love yall’s RV! I want to see the interior too when you all come back in town! You’re actually the reason Matt and I searched around the nation instead of just our backyard for our RV. We drove to Oklahoma for the best price once we found the floorplan we wanted.
How about a post on renting one? My hubby is all ready to rent one for a month and travel around the country. It sounds like a great idea, but he has never drivin one or lived in one. We had one when I was growing up, but it was more for weekends. Love to know your thoughts.
Absolutely! I will definitely put that on my list to write! Thanks for the suggestion!
I think this is so different than buying any other vehicle, especially since you’re living in it full time! Definitely more worth it to get something that is comfortable and suits your needs!
Yes, it definitely is different and worth making sure you’re comfortable! Thanks for reading!
Well thought out blog post! I’m not in the market but if I was, this would be a good checklist
Thank you for taking the time to read! 🙂
Great information. I chose to read your blog post as my daughter and her husband recently purchased a new trailer. They were relocating to a new city to follow her husband’s new employment. Their plans were to live in the trailer for a short period of time until their new home closed escrow. They also have two young children that were with them, of course. Oh, and we can’t forget the Olde English Bulldog. The family quickly learned that a family of 4 plus a dog in a small, confined space in the Pacific Northwest is very challenging. The upside is that it brought them all closer and taught everybody a new level of patience. They are now happy in their new home. With all that being said, just before they closed escrow, they discovered that the trailer (purchased brand new) had started to grow mold and discovered a leak. Then they noticed mold growing in many places in the trailer, so there were multiple leaks. My daughter is now working with the dealer, hoping to get the dealer to purchase it back from them. They are still in negotiations and I’m hoping for a good response for the whole episode. The trailer is only 4 months old! Thank heavens they purchased new! Thanks again for your great tips on purchasing RV’s!
Thank you! Oh no, I’m sorry to hear that had some leaks that developed mold. Nothing is perfect, but at least they have that warranty! 🙂
Oh, I can’t wait till we need to make that decision whether to buy new or used. I think often for us it’s what falls in our lap. We look and have fun looking and then something usually happens that we know is the right decision so I am hoping that is so with our RV.
Yes, Agree! When it’s right, you’ll know! We felt that way when we found ours!
We are a young poor family still haha but hope to get an RV some time later in life. Thanks for this info, I’ll keep it in mind!
You’ll enjoy it! Hope you are able to buy one someday!
Thank you for the great list of Pro and Cons to look at, I am seriously thinking about buying an RV and this is very helpful!
We are considering buying an RV and have just started looking. Your list of pros and cons should make the decision a lot easier. Thank you!
I’m so glad they can help! It’s a big decision!
Really good information and I love your list and the issues from either perspective. I have only bought used. The only thing I would add, and maybe this has been improved on, when we went to look at new RV’s the chemical odor was terrible and was making us sick. We actually felt disoriented and very happy. lol We put down the money and left after agreeing to purchase a brand new LQ. After about an hour our minds cleared and we both looked at each other and said what did we just do?? (We went over budget, badly!) This is the main reason we went with used. We also noticed the salesman never came in the RV with us when we had questions!
Hi Tricia! Thanks so much! Sounds like you had a not so good experience. For us, our RV buying experience was amazing. No chemical smells what so ever! The gentlemen at Route 66 in Oklahoma walked us through everything, tested it all out, filled and drained our tanks to check for leaks, hooked it up to our truck with the no sway bars and more. It was an amazing experience! I’m sure it really depends on where you buy from. Not all RV sales places or brands of RV are the same. 🙂 I’m so glad you found a used RV that fits your needs and desires. After all, that’s what it’s all about whether you buy new or used! 🙂 Happy RVing!
Wonderful breakdown!! Thank you.