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Buying a new vs. used RV has to be one of the most debated questions in the RV community. In this post, I’m going to discuss the reasons we bought a new RV and share some of the pros and cons of buying a new vs. used RV.
Buying a New vs. Used RV
“Never buy a new RV!”
“Don’t you wish you had bought used?”
Those are some of the most popular statements we heard after we bought a new Class A motorhome. In the video below, I walk you through the pros and cons of buying a new vs. used RV and why we decided to buy our first RV new.
Table of Contents
Pros of Buying a New RV
- Manufacturer’s warranty
- No previous owner
- Get the exact RV you want
Cons of Buying a New RV
- Premium price
- High depreciation
- Need to work out kinks/issues
- Higher insurance costs
Pros of Buying a Used RV
- Lower price
- Lower insurance costs
- Less depreciation
- Kinks/issues worked out (possibly)
- Option for private sale and extended warranties from third parties
Cons of Buying a Used RV
- Previous owner(s)
- Higher potential for hidden issues
- Limited selection
Why We Bought a New RV
We shopped for over a year before we decided on our first RV. During our search, we looked for both new and used RVs, eventually buying ours new.
The reason we purchased new is because every used RV we saw had issues. These issues included things like bad smells, water damage, peeling paint and a variety of other things. When we did find a used RV in good condition, we didn’t like the layout or some other feature(s).
Since this was our first RV, we wanted the backing of a factory warranty. Most RV warranties are only for one year, but since we were going to be living out of the RV full time we figured we could get all of the bugs worked out by the end of that first year.
Don’t be fooled however into thinking that a used RV isn’t going to have bugs. While some of the initial bugs from the factory were probably taken care of by the first owner, there are going to be other issues that crop up over time. As my grandmother used to say, “when you buy used, you’re just inheriting someone else’s problems.”
When we did find our RV and walked inside, it felt like home. We were happy to pay the premium to be the first owners, have a factory warranty and make the RV all our own.
When we sold a year and a half later, the price of the RV had depreciated by 10%. We’ve read guides that say you should expect your RV to depreciate 30% or more in the first year. I believe how much your RV depreciates is based on how in demand that make/model is and how well you took care of it. We took great care of our rig and it was made by a very reputable company.
To learn more about our first RV shopping and buying process, check out my book Take Risks.
Would We Buy New Again?
Maybe. Now that we’re shopping for our third RV, we are looking at used.
We’re considering used RVs that are 5 to 10 years old or more because we can save a LOT over buying new. When we look at the used RVs, we are factoring in the cost of gutting the inside and replacing many things – especially the bed and any repairs and additions such as battery upgrades and solar.
New or used, we haven’t been able to find an RV that checks all the boxes. We are considering a custom RV that could be the best of both worlds. This would allow us the ability to purchase a chassis used and have a company build out the interior with its own warranty. This way we can save some money while getting a camper that’s exactly what we want.
There are benefits to new and used RVs so my advice to to figure out your budget and look at RVs that fall within it. If you’re buying used, remember to have a budget for repairs or consider buying an extended warranty from a third party company.
Have more questions? Check out our RV Shopping and Buying Q&A.
Thinking of the best van chassis for your camper conversion? Check out our Top 6 Van Chassis for your Camper Van Conversion.
Thinking of getting a brand new Small Class C RV? Check out our list of the Best Class C RV Manufacturers.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on January 27, 2017 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.