New to the Forum. How to buy an RV?

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enewmen

New member
Joined
Dec 8, 2021
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3
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California
Hi all.
After lots of reading, I have a good idea of weight limits, how to hook up, what features I need, where to store, etc.
The problem is how to buy an RV travel trailer(In the U.S.)? Buying a car is easy, just visit Autotrader or some other searching to find a make, model, and price I want. When searching for RVs, the make and model I'm looking for is across the country.

What do you suggest? How to check if the kids fit in the bunk beds for example? Go to a dealer and order a new one, then wait a long delivery? Wait until someone is selling a model I like within one day driving range?

I am sure there is a lot more I need to understand later, but this is my first issue. I used to enjoy RVing when I was a kid and I hope to take my kids out to many locations in an RV.
Thanks!
 
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Oldgator73

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Dec 28, 2017
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3,793
You take your wife to several dealerships until she finds the RV she likes. Buy it whether you like it or not. You will not enjoy the RV lifestyle if she is not happy. There’s a reason I’ve been married 50 years. :cool:
 

DonTom

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Apr 21, 2005
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Auburn, CA or Reno, NV
I would suggest not spending much money on your first RV.

Perhaps buy one around ten years old.

Two reasons. After a while you will know what you want, which could be MUCH different from most others.

The 2nd reason is things WILL break in a ten year old RV. Good way to learn about fixing them!

But they can also be a money pit, so be reasonably carful in your selection.

By it's time for your 2nd RV, you will know what you want and don't want. Then you can even consider buying a new one. But I do NOT advise your first RV to be new and blowing a lot of money.

-Don- Everglades, FL
 

enewmen

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Joined
Dec 8, 2021
Posts
3
Location
California
Thanks for the good advice. Finding a used RV just to spend less and better understand what I really need later sounds like a good idea. If I don't have the cash, I can't afford it. The problem is (I guess) there are fewer choices with older RVs, but I'll also take Oldgator's advice and bring the wife along and see how she likes it. I'll also try to find a used one that "looks" new because my wife is concerned about looking new/clean/safe/etc.
In this case, I'll need to do lots of regular searching until an RV like that is near my area.
 
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Isaac-1

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Dec 3, 2016
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Location
SW Louisiana
I can't help with the west coast part of things, then there is the covid camping craze which has depleted inventories everywhere. In normal times I would suggest visiting a large consignment dealer like PPL in Texas where you can see dozens or hundreds of used RV's on one lot, walk through as many as you can and discuss what features you like and don't like, after that go back through with an eye towards build quality, and finally consider condition of the finalist.

Regardless of what you buy, I can tell you after you have lived with it for a bit, you will find things you hate about it, that never occurred to you to consider when you were shopping, and things you thought would be a BIG DEAL, when you were shopping that you later realized you could care less about.
 

Rob&Deryl

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Mar 27, 2017
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On the road from mid NH
You mention AutoTrader. Look at RVTrader.

Go look at a few that you think you might like. Go inside and sit a while. See what the beds look like. You should be able to tell if your kids will fit. Imaging sitting there for several days while it rains. Where will the family be sitting and what will they be doing. Don’t bring checkbook or credit card. Always go home and think. Back to RVTrader and see what similar models are selling for.

If you are not willing to drive a few days to buy the right unit you won’t like driving for a few weeks to see the country.
 

donn

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Nov 8, 2009
Posts
5,033
Wait till spring. With the spiraling inflation and gas prices I see the RV Industry set to taking a big fall in the near future. Too many people in the last year or so have run out to buy RVs to "get away from the crazies" only to discover the RV life is not for them.
 

enewmen

New member
Joined
Dec 8, 2021
Posts
3
Location
California
@Gary_RV, Isaac, and Rob&Deryl, your posts gave a good idea of what to expect. It looks like I'll be doing a lot of driving around getting ideas on what the RVs "feel" like and a likely long drive to pick one up.
It also seems just ordering a new model from a local dealer is not common.
 
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Feb 2, 2005
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75,313
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At my Silver Springs FL home
Visit lots of RV sales lots and look at dozens or even hundreds of RVs. Yes, tiresome and after awhile they may become a blur, but it is necessary to develop a feel for what is available and what will work for you. After you have seen a bunch, start listing things you like and don't like - basically build a "must have" and "like to have" list. And also a [hopefully short] "showstopper" list. Once you have that, you can narrow the field and determine if you can buy local or maybe have to shop nationwide.

One of the major newbie mistakes if to conflate RV shopping with car shopping. It's is not at all the same. RV shopping is house-hunting. You need to assess size, layout, appliances, utilities, and even furnishings. Factors such as bed space, kitchen usability, storage/closets, etc. are crucial.
 
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