Pros & Cons of Buying a New vs. Used RV – Why We Bought a New RV

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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.

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.

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10 thoughts on “Pros & Cons of Buying a New vs. Used RV – Why We Bought a New RV”

  1. I love to camp and travel. Thanks for sharing the pros and cons of buying a new or used RV. It is truly a great and useful piece of info.

  2. I have enjoyed watching your videos. I have been looking at a Class B motorhome and I have narrowed my choices to the Hymer Atkiv 2.0 with the sofa bed floor plan, the Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL model, the Winnebago Travato GL floor plan or the Winnebago ERA 70B model. Have you done a video WHY you chose the Hymer?

  3. THanks for your videos. My wife and I look forward to them. Going to purchase a Class B next year and have limited th choices to Hymer (Atkiv, Sonne or Sunrise). Love the Atkiv. Also considering a Travato. CHoices are hard. Could you make a video on how you decided the Atkiv over, for example, a Travato?

    Chuck Hyneman

  4. Hi Joe. Just curious, now that you’ve decided to downsize and go class B, do you regret buying the Newmar new? I guess this is where that depreciation hit comes into play.

    • Hey Andy – we don’t regret buying new at all and would do so again. Our RV didn’t depreciate anymore than if we had purchased a new car and sold it a year and a half later. I think depreciation is over estimated by many people who compare the MSRP to the price the RV sells for second hand because MSRP is about 25-30% higher than what you should be paying.

      • Depreciation, like inflation is a silent killer. Buy new if you will keep your vehicle fo 8+ years. Most people are clueless.

  5. Wow!! Saw your info on you tube about
    The Alto Safari Condo/teardrop camper ?
    I have been searching for a place to park, as I travel, a retired senior gramma, from grandchild to grandchildren, Oregon to Nevada and homeless, I am, I wish to park a place, to just regroup, so I after viewing soooo many , this has chimed my senior bells!!!
    If I could somehow, bring this as a place for me, before I pass!! ?
    It is amazing!!!
    I want so dearly to share fun, with my grandchildren, seeing “Nanna” has a place..
    I so enjoy?, to the possibility of nightlight/stars and moon?
    I will continue the struggle, and one day my head, will rest in a place as this!!
    Awesome!! So powerful, process, to make a fun and safe place to just be safe!!

  6. Hi Joe,

    Great video! Now, would you please let me know if after buying the new motorhome you have experienced lots of defects or majir issues. I ask you because you decided to go new and mentioned that could be issues, but you never mentioned during the time you have the motorhome how many and how difficult is being in dealing with nanufactured an dealer tocorrect them.

    • Hey Oscar,

      We only had minor issues with the motorhome and Newmar was great getting those resolved but you have to remember that each RV is different. Where we may have had only minor issues, someone else with our exact make and model RV could have major issues. My best recommendation for buying new is to buy from a company that is willing to stand behind their products and resolve issues big or small.


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