There comes a time in almost everyone’s life when they pause and think to themselves “Should I buy an RV?”
Recreational vehicles are great ways to travel long distances comfortably and are a good investment for those who travel frequently because they save you thousands on pricey hotel rooms and airline tickets. But they also require a bit of work, so before you buy an RV, ask yourself these simple questions:
What type of travel do I want to do?
The first thing you should do before you purchase your first RV is the most fun — seriously. You should sit down and daydream about what you want to do with your RV, how far you want to travel, how much space you want, what kind of amenities you want, etc.
For some, a road trip need only be a weekend long getaway. For others, it’s multiple weeks on the open trail. Some even pack up and leave without a set return date. Regardless, you want an RV that can go as long as you can.
Next, you’ll want to decide what you want to travel comfortably. Do you want a big bed and a sizeable kitchen — or vice versa? Or both? Can you use solar power to make your travels a little more sustainable? What style is best for the type of travel I’m interested in?
Once you’ve worked through those details, you can start looking at the finances.
Can I afford it?
RVs require a few different commitments — specifically financial.
RV and camper financing terms generally range between 10 to 20 years. Most lenders offer flexible financing terms for new and used RV loans and refinancing. Options include choosing a shorter financing term with a higher payment, while others may choose a longer term with lower payments. You can also customize the financing terms for your RV by selecting something in between. If you choose the longest available loan term with the lowest monthly payment and pay off a little more than the given amount each month, you can lower your effective interest rate and significantly shorten the length of your RV loan term.
Use an RV payment calculator to find out how much you can afford, and how long you’ll be paying.
Where should I buy it?
When it comes time to make your purchase, you have a few options.
You should start with RV shows, which happen rather frequently during the spring. Shows give you the opportunity to see a variety of models in one place. Plus, there are usually a number of sales and specials to help with financing.
If there isn’t a show coming up and your eager to buy, try a dealership or go straight to the manufacturer. They both have experts on hand to help with any questions you might have, as well.
Wherever you do end up buying your RV, look locally to save money on traveling costs, and don’t be afraid to shop used. Used RVs won’t depreciate in value as much as newer models, and you can easily find the repair history to ensure it doesn’t require any unexpected repairs.
Now that you’ve considered the aforementioned questions, you’re ready to shop. Just don’t forget to talk to Mountain America Credit Union beforehand about financing and loan options.