OUR TIP TO YOU WHEN CHOOSING YOUR FIRST RV:
Take your time to do your research. As novices we had no idea what features were available in RVs. There were features we never considered or even thought of. An extra few months of figuring out what will make this lifestyle work for you will pay off.
Basing your research on a wide variety of resources is a great idea too. Make sure you get someone with personal experience with RVs on your research team. Learning from other’s experiences has so much value. Here is our experience. We hope you learn from us.
Those of you who have just started looking into full timing are having some anxiety, intense discussions, and doing heavy research. One of the biggest topics we encountered was deciding which RV to buy. There are just endless options in RVs.
Even the location of the toilet has options. In a house it goes in the bathroom. In an RV it can go in unexpected places. You can have a toilet in its own closet like room. Seriously, a toilet by itself in a closet is an option. That’s all that is in there. You can have a toilet in the shower. I specifically searched Google and YouTube on how that works. Do you sit on the toilet while showering? I guess it isn’t that complicated because I didn’t find a clear answer. You can have a toilet in the middle of a hallway. Doors without locks on either side of the toilet are supposed to stop others from walking through the bathroom to the bedroom or kitchen/living room while you are dropping a deuce. The designers obviously live alone.
Being greenhorns, we were nervous that if we make the wrong choice our dreams of RV full timing would be forever impacted. The options, opinions, and debates are endless.
If we buy one with unknown engine issues and have constant mechanical problems, what will happen? Will the nonstop repairs make this lifestyle too difficult?
If we buy one that ends up leaking, what will happen? Will the resulting damage be beyond repair?
If we buy one with the toilet positioned in a hallway, what will happen? Will Katie spontaneous combust from lit up embarrassment when Joe walks in on her sitting on the plastic throne with her shorts around her ankles?
The debates are endless I tell you. It is a completely personal decision on what will work for you.
We got started researching RV full timing just like you. Reading blogs and watching YouTube. There are some very informative people out there living the life you are dreaming of. They are ready to tell you all about it. Everyone has a fantastic story to tell. Keep Two Old RV Dogs at the top of your list.
Your ace in the hole is asking a professional mechanic about their experience. This was just as valuable as all the RV internet research we did. Katie’s brother-in-law, Ryan, has 20+ years professional mechanic experience and a decade of that is directly working with RVs. He was worth his weight in gold to us during the RV selection process. He had an answer for all our questions based on his personal experience.
- What RV engine did you work on the most? A. Chevy
- What is the most common RV repair? A. Anything water related. All RVs have the potential to leak.
- What are some of the signs we will find on a RV we should question buying? A. Pay attention to any signs of water damage including on the ceiling. A faded exterior means the RV sat outside unprotected.
- Anything we should be prepared for that we don’t know? A. All RVs need repairs. RVs that sit for a while not lived in could take up to a year to work out all the problems you will come across. Are you sure you want to do this? OUR A. Yes, pretty sure…we can always buy another house if we can’t hack it, right? Right? Ryan, where are you going?!
Really, he was a huge help for us. We highly suggest you speak to someone in the know. (Salesmen don’t count.)
Through our research we decided we wanted the following:
- Buy from a dealership. We will have the reassurance that everything will be in proper working order when we drive it off the lot. All paperwork will be in order. Clean title. No shady deals. (More on these little hiccups later) Buying from a private seller on Craigslist leaves the buyer with nothing to fall back on if there are problems with documentation or immediate issues with the RV itself.
- Class A. Class B and class C models look like they are great for a vacation camping trip. We could visualize living in a class A. Buying a fifth wheel camper meant buying a truck too. We didn’t want the truck payment on top of the RV payment. Class A was the way to go for us.
- Ford chassis. We enjoy learning from others. If one of our resources says other people are putting Chevys in the shop more than Fords, we will stick with Ford.
- Couch and dinette. We didn’t like the look of a table and chairs. When we go to a restaurant we always answer “booth” to the table or booth question. So why not have our own booth at home? As for the couch, we can’t remember why we wanted a couch because we dislike it so much now. It is uncomfortable and awkward. We still have not figured out how to get both of us on it comfortably. It is garbage and we look forward to getting a couple recliners.
- Used but no too used. Buying new means immediate depreciation in your purchase. All RVs have problems that need to be worked out by living in them. There is no getting out of that, not even by buying new. Finding used but not too used is an easy task. There are thousands of RVs with low mileage that are used 2-3 times per year by a retired couple that only drive it 50 MPH on newly paved highways. At least that’s what the RV salesmen tell us.
- Toilet in its own room. For obvious privacy reasons.
These are the features that we thought worked for us. Our desires comprised a very reasonable list. We got to work looking for RVs online. We looked at local dealerships and searched RV Trader. Soon we found what we were looking for in a few different models online. It was surprisingly easy to find so many. We decided to take a trip to the dealership to narrow our list down to one through pricing, mileage, and lying around on RV couches that didn’t belong to us.
Our RV journey and learning experience is to be continued. Join us next time for:
Monday Morning Quarterback Review of Buying Our First RV
RV Buying with Vapin’ Nate