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Most potential RV owners are faced with the big question– whether to buy a new or used RV.

Really, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to buying new or used. Ultimately, you’ll find that both choices have their pros and cons.

The good news is, there’s RVs out there for every camp-style, budget, and liking. Once you narrow down these basics– then it’s time to start browsing!



So, what’s it going to be? New or used?

As you explore your many options, take a few of these things into consideration.


Should You Buy a New or Used RV?


The Cost of Rolling Off the Lot

Sooner than later, you’ll hear about how much a new vehicle instantly loses value once it rolls off the lot. This goes for recreational vehicles as well and is estimated that once it’s driven off the lot, it loses roughly 20 percent of its value. In this case, the very first owner is going to take the biggest depreciation hit when buying new and also see it depreciate at a steep rate over the first few years.

Despite this loss, others see the value in being the very first to ever use the pristine components, even being able to configure a new RV exactly the way that they want to use it. Besides, everything is brand-spanking new so should last a long time and is under warranty if anything needs to be replaced.



On the other hand, buyers can save a chunk of money upfront by purchasing a pre-owned RV while leaving the steep hit from depreciation up to someone else– as they now enjoy it at a slower rate. 


Someone Else’s Hand-Me-Downs

New smell? New mattress? No miles?! What’s better than immaculate new features, appliances, mattresses, and toilets JUST. FOR. YOU?! Nothing screams the latest and greatest more than that crisp new car smell and peeling the protective film off of new accessories. To some, this is well worth the hefty price tag!

Used rigs, on the other hand, have been… USED! Not only can the sound of this deter buyers, but potentially worn or damaged elements (perhaps, unknown at the time of purchasing) can wreak havoc on one’s finances and even safety down the road! Unfortunately, we’ve all heard horror stories of those spending their life savings on a rolling nightmare with ceaseless repairs. After all, when buying used, you could be buying someone else’s problem.



However, before you completely nix the idea of buying used, remember used RVs can be heavily used and others hardly used. In fact, our “used” toy hauler still had the plastic on the mattress, protective paper on the toilet, and past dealer stickers on the kitchen stove! It was hardly used and in great condition. (Long story short, the previous owners used it one time and ended up getting a hotel for the night.) In such a case, it’s important to keep in mind that sellers may not get the use they anticipated or they simply find out RVing isn’t for them. So, although an RV may be advertised as “used” it doesn’t mean that it’s worn

The same goes for how well an RV is maintained. How it’s taken care of significantly impacts its appearance and lifespan– ultimately determining its overall worth

A good sign when looking to purchase a used RV, is a well-kept interior and exterior as well as proof of routine maintenance and safety checks.


Kinks, Tweaks, & Fixes

As for brand-new RVs, you won’t have to worry about issues arising, right?


It may sound shocking, but brand-spanking new RVs are notorious for needing kinks worked out right after they roll off the lot. In fact, you’ll probably have a looooong list of fixes and repairs to take in… And believe me, repairs and warranty work are not only annoying, but time consuming.

On the positive side, buying a new rig with a full manufacturer’s warranty from a reputable company can save the owner a lot of money from RV repairs while giving them peace of mind knowing they have an option to protect their hard earned investment.



Looking at the used-side, pre-owned motorhomes and travel trailers generally have those minor tweaks and fixes already repaired, not to mention all of the upgrades the previous owner may have added over the years.

Although many used RVs come broken-in and ready for the road, that doesn’t mean issues won’t arise later on. Many times used rigs are sold as-is with no warranty. (Depending on the age of the unit, you may be able to purchase an extended warranty package through a third party.) 

It’s important to thoroughly inspect the unit or have an RV inspection completed by a certified third party to ensure it is in good working condition and that you are making a wise investment. 


Upgrades & Customization

Speaking about added upgrades– some used RVs are sold fully loaded with years of accessories, upgrades, or renovations the previous owner put into it. For example, when we bought our used Class C, it came with all the essentials; pots and pans, camping chairs, hookups, adapters, and even a storage cover. Most importantly, the previous owner also put in new carpet, window shades, a backup camera and inverter. (While a perk, just remember, don’t let little accessories thrown into the deal overpower the actual condition of the RV and sway your buying decision.)

At the same time, a seller might not want to put a hunk of change into an older RV, leaving you with a rig that needs a lot of work. For some, the time, labor, and perhaps, expensive improvements isn’t worth it. Yet, for those who are handy and may even like a project– could find it to be well worth the investment as they get to cherish their rolling masterpiece for years to come.

Of course, buying new is an upgrade! Have the latest and greatest, state-of-the-art features, right at your fingertips, without taking on a project. In fact, you can even go as far as selecting your custom RV interior and exterior– creating your ultimate dream RV!


Purchasing Cautiously 

From excessive upselling– whether on a dealership lot or private seller’s yard– the pricing games of RVs can often be outrageous considering the unit’s true value. 

When it comes to new RVs, it’s suggested that buyers can often get at least 30% off of the MSRP. But before going blindly into a dealership, go the extra mile and research online for the exact model to see how they are priced. After doing your homework, you’ll be better prepared to reasonably negotiate prices.

While shopping for the perfect RV, you’ll most likely hear that used RVs are “so much cheaper” than buying new. Sure, they’re most likely considerably lower-priced than a brand-new rig, however, they can still be overpriced. After all, some private sellers may have a hard time letting go of something at a considerably lower price they had spent so much on in the beginning. Then again, they may think the buyer will pay off their loan that, unfortunately, is more than the rig is worth. 

Other private sellers list high, trying to get back the money they’ve put into it. While updates and improvements do increase what it’s worth, it’s important to know general price points and analyze from there. Take into account the worth of the modifications, upgrades, and value of the unit itself to negotiate reasonably. 

It’s extremely wise, whether looking at new or used RVs, to research ahead and learn– or at the very least– get a ballpark idea of pricing. 

The National Automobile Dealers Association, NADA, (now acquired by J.D. Power and known as J.D. Power Values) can assist you in researching new and used recreation vehicle pricing, specs, and more for everything from motorhomes, travel trailers, park models and truck campers.

For more information check out J.D. Power RVs.

Additionally, RV Trader and RVT, which helps people buy and sell RVs, is also a great guide for comparing prices for particular models. Seeing what price other owners are selling at helps get an idea of what you should be paying.


New & Used RVs for Sale Online -


Other Considerations

Another consideration when weighing the pros and cons of buying a new or used RV is that many RV parks have limitations based on the age of the unit. Does the “10 year or newer” rule sound familiar? Although it may sound like a deal breaker, this rule generally doesn’t turn away but a small percentage of RVs. As a matter of fact, this rule is commonly put in place so that the RV park can look pleasing to the eye and so units don’t become a liability (leak, fall apart, or start on fire) on the premises. While all parks and resorts rules and regulations differ, this may affect your purchasing decision.


So, taking everything into consideration– sure, you’ll hear good and bad from both sides. 

Some kick themselves for throwing a large sum of money out for something brand new that depreciates so fast leaving them a slice of what they paid when choosing to sell. Yet to others, the cost was well worth buying the RV of their dreams that will last for many years to come.

Similarly, the same goes for used. To some, buying new would have trumped the choice of purchasing a pre-owned rig had they known all the unforeseen issues down the road. Then again, there are countless RV owner’s who bought a used rig that swear it’s the best and only route to take! 

Long term buyers may benefit from newer units investing upfront and taking advantage of warranties for the next few years. Where on the other hand, some buyers aren’t able to make such a large investment upfront, and lean towards a used RV. 

Also, those new to the RV lifestyle may prefer to buy used and see how they like it first, before splurging on a new one!

In the end, there’s no right or wrong but what it’s worth to the customer– which may not be purely based on financial reasons. Before you concentrate all efforts in one area, look at multiple used and new RVs. You might just find the perfect rig where you least expect it! 


Not ready to take the plunge and buy your first recreational vehicle? Check out these five reasons why you should rent first before owning.


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RVING IS BEING in an RV you love!