Purchasing a recreation vehicle is the second-largest purchase lots of people make in their lifetime. When you make the decision to spend that kind of money, it's important you make wise buying decisions. Mark has witnessed many poor buying decisions during his time in this industry, and on this segment, he gives us some pointers on how you can avoid some RV-buying pitfalls.
1. Making a hasty buying decision. What this means is purchasing an RV without doing an research. Hasty buying decisions are common in high-pressure selling environments and it's easy to see why. You get caught up in the moment, especially when a salesperson tells you, "These prices are only good for today," or "Once this model's gone, we can't get another one on the lot like it." Lots of people buy RVs at shows where there's a lot of excitement, only to discover it is the wrong type, too big, too small, or too expensive.
2. Buy the right size. When Mark sold RVs, it was common for folks to be a little bit intimidated by the size of RVs. Just the thought of towing a 30-foot trailer makes you nervous, so you decide on a 22-foot model. Mark always tries to explain to people, when you tow a trailer, you don't really notice a difference between a 26-foot or a 30-foot trailer. Sure, it's a little heavier, but with the proper tow vehicle and hitch components, the length of the trailer should not be a factor to base the RV-buying decision on. This is true with motor homes too.
3. Buying the right type of RV. There are many different types of RVs to choose from, and you need to make sure you purchase a type that is best suited for you and your needs. It's important you consider how you plan to use the RV. If you like to explore the back roads or camp in state parks, a 40-foot motor home is a bad choice. In this situation a pop-up or truck camper makes much more sense. On the other hand, if you plan to travel cross-country in the RV, a fifth-wheel trailer or a motor home would work great. Think about how you plan to use the RV, how many people will be staying in it, and what your budget is prior to selecting the type of RV suited for your needs.
4. Your budget - you want enough left over each month so you can go out and enjoy the RV. Before you purchase your RV, factor in the monthly payment, insurance, and upkeep to decide how much you can afford to pay without getting in a bind, and still enjoy the RV.
5. Having the right tow vehicle - if you purchase a travel trailer or fifth-wheel trailer, it is extremely important the tow vehicle can safely handle the weight of the trailer. Mark always tells people to find the trailer you want first, and then buy the tow vehicle capable of handling the weight. If you already have a vehicle, you need to base the size and weight of the trailer on that vehicle. A quick and easy method I suggest for matching a tow vehicle and trailer is to find a trailer with a "gross vehicle weight rating" or "GVWR," less than or equal to the vehicle's two rating. In this case, even if the trailer is fully loaded to the maximum gross vehicle weight rating, the tow vehicle is still rated to handle the weight.
Mark J. Polk
RV Education 101