There is a mystique to owning and operating an RV—travelling the open road, living in different places and enjoying an adventurous lifestyle, but before you rush right out to the RV dealer consider all the costs of buying that new or used RV.
Knowing what you can afford before you start shopping will help you choose the right RV. Once you decide on the size, type, style and model, shop at different dealerships to see what is available. Studying the blue book for resale prices will also help you to get the best deal when you buy a used RV.
In addition to the price on the sticker, buying a used RV can involve extra costs including dealer add-ons, maintenance and repairs, and operating costs.
Some contracts contain costs that seem hidden until it comes time to sign the papers. These costs vary from unit to unit and from state to state, so be sure to ask the salesperson about these items directly.
• Dealer handling involves the dealer’s cost of transporting the RV from the vendor or storage property to the sales lot.
• Dealer preparation is the cost of cleaning, ensuring essential fluids and fuel are in the RV to ensure it is ready to use. This may or may not be negotiable at a used RV dealer.
• Freight destination charge is the amount of money the dealer must pay for delivery from the manufacturer to the sales lot.
Costs such as sales taxes, preparation and others may also vary depending on the type of RV itself.
Maintenance and Repairs
Every RV needs repairs from time to time. Items that wear out or break will depend on the age of the RV, the type of use i.e. weekend camping vs. permanent residence, the type of terrain it is being taken over and more. It is best to set up a budget for maintenance and repairs. Figure at least one percent or more of the new purchase price. Over time, you can adjust this figure as needed.
There are costs involved in owning a car, boat or house. The same is true for owning an RV. You should consider the following as operating costs for your RV:
• Warranty offered by the RV dealer.
• Fuel for the engine and/or generator
• Propane for cooking and heating water
• RV park costs, which may or may not include utilities
• Cost of dump sites to empty waste tanks
• Auxiliary items such as a sewer kit, water hose, a water pressure regulator, surge protector, power line and more.
• RV leveling blocks and stabilizer pads
• Towing or a tow vehicle. RV owners can hire professionals to move the RV from park to park; owners who use the RV as a primary residence will use this type of service most.