Used RVs Tips

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Where can I find reliable information on RV pricing?

Resources for Buying Used RVs

If you are buying a used RV, know where to find information about used RV prices. NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) is the largest publisher of value guides in the world and offers appraisal guidelines for vehicles, including RVs. NADA lists prices that reflect the market and consumer information (safety, insurance, FAQ on RVs). So if you want to find out if a used motorhome is considered a used RV of value or priced too high, consult NADA or visit: for more information

Kelly Blue Book is another resource you can use to determine reasonable used RV prices. The "Official RV Guide - Motor Homes, Campers, Van Conversions (1986-2007)" provides used values plus list prices on new units. Also see the "Official RV Guide - Travel Trailers, Fifth Wheels, Folding Trailers."

Is it worth it to restore a used RV?

Fixing Up a Used RV

If you've found a used RV for sale that you would like to restore, consider the cost of your planned improvements. If the cost of the repairs you plan to make exceeds the cost of the used RV, you may want to reconsider. Also know that when the amount of work involved is too great, buying a dilapidated RV will offer little used RV value.

If you decide that repair work is for you, prioritize your list of tasks. Put the most important repairs at the top of the list and be sure to begin with functional changes first, so you can enjoy your RV even during cosmetic restoration. Take note that you don't want to do a job like painting before you install fixtures like counter tops. You will expend twice the energy repainting when you damage the finish by hammering and fitting the new counter tops. Remember that restoration takes time and effort, so by planning ahead you'll be enjoying quality time in your RV in no time.

What should I expect with financing, tax deductions, and insurance when I buy a used RV?

Financing, Tax Deductions and Insurance When You Buy an RV

RV Financing:

So you've decided that you're ready for that RV. You're buying experience should be fun and run smoothly if you keep a few things in mind. New or used RV dealers would prefer that you come shopping with pre-approval from your bank or credit union if you are not paying by cash or check. Most new and used RV dealers will offer financing as well, so you may want to call ahead and compare interest rates. Stick to a budget to ensure a set monthly payment. Remember, it's easy to be dazzled when you are looking for a used RV motorhome, travel trailer, or camper!

RV Tax Deductions:

Fully self-contained RVs, like motorhomes and travel trailers, are sometimes tax deductible as a second home. When purchasing a new or used RV, consider that your tax deduction may be enough to put you into a lower tax bracket. Consult the IRS for details, as some restrictions apply.

RV Insurance:

Don't forget insurance when you buy a new or used RV. You will need liability insurance and you may want to purchase additional insurance in case of damage by weather, fire, flooding or vandalism. Check that your RV meets safety standards for make and model, because your insurance company may not want to insure a vehicle with weight or safety issues. It's better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to your home away from home!

How do I choose the right used RV?

Choosing the Right Used RV - Part I

When you go to your RV dealer or find someone with a used RV for sale, have an inspection checklist. There are many components that make an RV functional and you'll want to make sure they all work.

  • Inspect the appliances and mechanical equipment of the RV.
  • Check out the refrigerator, stove, microwave, water pump, awning, heater, air conditioner, and slide out.
  • Look inside closets and cabinets. Are they clean?
  • Is there evidence of water damage (warping, bubbling, mold, mildew) or creeping critters?
  • If there is rodent or insect trouble, you could be looking at damaged fabric, wires, and wood.
  • Look at the floors and ceiling for water damage, mold and mildew. Any type of discoloration hints to water damage.
  • How does the unit smell?
  • If the unit is a pop-up or hybrid model, inspect the tent ends for damage to the canvas.
  • Inspect the outside for rust, dents, and frame damage.
  • Don't forget to look inside storage areas.
Don't rule out a unit if one of these items isn't functioning. Your used RV dealer may want to offer a replacement to keep you in the market. After you've given the unit the complete once-over and the unit is in decent shape, it should mirror Kelley Blue Book value for used RV prices. Buying a used RV can be tricky, but with this checklist you'll be sure to find a winner!

Why should I buy a used RV?

Buying a Used RV

First time RV buyers should consider buying a used RV from a reputable used RV dealer. Like cars, used RV prices vary, so investing time in your search is important.

There are many different types of used RVs on the market and you should look at them all to determine what fits into your lifestyle and budget. Be sure to factor fuel cost, tow vehicle, maintenance and repair into your budget.

There are several types of RVs: Motorhome, fifth wheel, class A, class B, class C, travel trailers, truck campers and pop up campers. Each of these models involve different options, towing requirements, maintenance and care. Before you buy, consider an RV rental to see what you like before you decide to purchase a used RV. It is a major investment so you should do your homework!

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Guru Spotlight
Sherril Steele-Carlin