Thinking about getting into RV'ing, wondering about cost

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vito55

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Obviously there is a huge range of cost even for a specified type of RV, but I am wondering what to expect what I start looking at RV dealers in the next few weeks. I'm thinking about a modest sized 5th wheeler, just for my wife and myself, and want to limit myself to a reliable brand, quality vehicle. I guess I am thinking that something in the 27 feet length or so would probably be what we want, and just want to know a ball-park figure of what to expect in cost for a new RV. A few casual friends mentioned sticking to what they call high quality companies like Winnebago and Montana. I know that in addition I will need an appropriate tow vehicle, and think I need to allow about $45,000 for a good diesel pick up with sufficient power to pull a good sized 5th wheeler (or will it cost me much more than that?). And how much less is the RV likely to cost if I find a well maintained used model? Just looking for a place to start.
 
That is a pretty broad question. The long and short of it is, It will cost as much as you are comfortable spending.

On a new unit, (depending on your haggling skills) you can get from 25 to 40% off MSRP. If you shoot for 30-35% and get it, you done good.

On a used unit, look on NADA RV and use that as a loosely based guide. You can also go to PPL Motorhomes website. They are a consignment lot and on their site is a page of sold units with prices. It will give you an idea of what the market is actually bearing right now.

So, there are too many variable to give you a $$ figure. You and I can both walk into the same dealer and buy the same unit and pay 2 completely different prices. That is just the way it works.

Steve
 
First time RVer, dont have a tow vehicle, never been camping?
Go rent a motor home for a week and see if you like the lifestyle.
Then, forget dealers.  Start shopping on places,like craigslist looking for a tent trailer.  These can be pulled by a lot of modern cars and medium sized SUV's.  are inexpensive and will allow you to get the full meal deal.  In other words, figure out if this is for you or not without going for broke the first time.  It will also give you an opportunity to figure out what your likes and dislikes are on the cheap.
I see so many people do what your thinking and then for lots of reasons the RV sits parked for years because they simply dont like camping.  What a waste of resources on a depreciating asset.
Start small, start cheap.  Work up as you find what works for you.  If you dont like it, selling an inexpensive used unit is far easier than taking a bath on an expensive new unit
 
Yeah, I'm with Donn.  Buy a small, inexpensive used RV and go use it.  If you like it, buy a bigger one.  New ones depreciate like the Liberian dollar the first few years.  If you buy new and find out this isn't for you, you're gonna take a huge financial hit when you sell.  If you catch the bug like most of us have, you will find yourself buying a succession of RV's.....each one fitting your needs as your needs change over your life. 

Skip the dealer, hit up Craigslist and get your feet wet.  Or like Donn mentioned, rent one first.  Yeah, the older one will have some things that likely need to be sorted first, but here's a news flash....so do the new ones.  Quality control in the RV industry is a joke....even new ones usually have some lumps.  Besides, we can walk you through most repairs. 
 
+3 on renting or buying smaller first for a couple reasons.  First, why make the much larger expense of a bigger rig before knowing if the RV lifestyle is for you?  Also by renting or buying smaller, you will have the opportunity to determine your needs in type of and size of unit.  Finally, it will also give you valuable  towing experience with a smaller rig.
 
You can find a new 27' Palomino Puma 256RSB fairly well equipped in the range of $16K to $17K. Now, this is certainly not a high end 5er, but it is good looking, comfortable, and seems to be surprisingly well built.

We bought one last summer. We have taken one six week trip (Montana, Wyoming, & Utah), and one seven week trip (Florida). So far, we have not had to take it in for any repair work at all. My only complaint was that they somehow managed to get a substantial amount of sawdust into the fresh water tank.

Joel
 
I'll go with the group; buy small and older initially and don't assume a fifth wheel is for you either. We started out looking at fifth wheels, wound up with a 22 ft. Flair (1996) MH that we paid 16k for and haven't looked back.

We've been happy with each of our three motorhomes, but priorities have changed a lot since the first one. You simply don't know what you want when you start looking.

JM2C

Ernie
 
rvdreams.com post monthly cost for a fulltimer.  Look where you can save from their budget. 
 
To answer your question, I bought a used Montana Big Sky '02 in great shape 2 yrs ago- $22,000 and a '06 Chevy Duramax for $30,000.  Both were used and in very good shape.  You can get good quality TT and 5ers cheaper if your not in a  rush, but the trucks do hold their value and a Chevy is harder to find.  That doesn't mean that Fords or Dodges aren't good rigs, I just wanted a Chevy.  Good luck with your search.
 
It is very, very important to understand what you're getting into. I started out in a tent (1970s), moved up to a tent trailer (1980s), A Travel Trailer (1990s), a F550 and Lance 1120 Camper in the 2000s, and now a Class A. I love camping, I really love camping. But after having bought our Fleetwood Bounder 33U I discovered that I really hate driving the thing.

I am owning up to this because we just finished our first multi-state journey/camping trip and I am exhausted from the driving. I really wish I would have rented a Class A motor home before I bought the thing. I love all of the conveniences of the motor home, especially when dry camping and/or boon docking, I just hate driving the thing...

I suppose that after I have more than just a few weeks of traveling under my belt I might relax...but the thought remains that I might have made a critical and costly error.

Heed the wisdom from others...RENT FIRST-BUY LATER!
 
Oscar Mike said:
It is very, very important to understand what you're getting into. I started out in a tent (1970s), moved up to a tent trailer (1980s), A Travel Trailer (1990s), a F550 and Lance 1120 Camper in the 2000s, and now a Class A. I love camping, I really love camping. But after having bought our Fleetwood Bounder 33U I discovered that I really hate driving the thing.

I am owning up to this because we just finished our first multi-state journey/camping trip and I am exhausted from the driving. I really wish I would have rented a Class A motor home before I bought the thing. I love all of the conveniences of the motor home, especially when dry camping and/or boon docking, I just hate driving the thing...

I suppose that after I have more than just a few weeks of traveling under my belt I might relax...but the thought remains that I might have made a critical and costly error.

Heed the wisdom from others...RENT FIRST-BUY LATER!

OM,

What is it you don't like about driving the coach? For me, its one of the best pleasures of owning a motor home. Damn thing drives like a Cadillac! Awesome views! When we got our first starter motor home, we were hell bent for leather on the first few trips. We have listened and learned here. We're now on our third (and last unless we win the lottery) motor home. We have what we like and want. We're both retired now, so we can take our time. Limiting your daily miles is one of the best pieces of advice given here. We know that everyone can't do that, but it makes the best way to travel even better!

Stan
 
We started with a new 5th wheel and a new truck (F-250 Lariet).  While I've had a new Lariet (F-350, dually) before, never RVed before and so this is our first.  We bought new and I wish that we'd have bought one that was 3-5 years old.  It just never occured to me to rent one first.....never even heard of anybody that rents 5th wheels.

So your budget for a truck seems reasonable.  And again, if I had it to do over again, I'd try to find one that's 2-3 yrs. old.

If you've made up your mind about a 5th wheel, I'd suggest looking for a used Arctic Fox.  It's a good quality, affordable trailer that's well built and designed for all seasons.  Even if you go with a TT (travel trailer), I'd suggest the same make. 

We bought the Fox Mountain and while it's also built by Northwood Mfg. the same as Arctic Fox, it's only 5th wheels and they've only been building this line since 2011.  If you're bent on buying new then you may want to look at the Arctic Fox line as well as Arctic Fox.

Unless you're buying new, you would probably do better looking for a rig that's sold by the owner.....craigslist, etc.  You'll just get a much better deal.  I'd also caution you that dealership's sales people will tell you what ever they think you want or need to hear in order to make the sale.

You might also want to consider, once you have the trailer.....will you be staying in RV parks with full hook ups or boondocking (dry camping......no hook ups).  If you're going to be boondocking much, you'll need to consider the size of the holing tanks....especially the gray and black tanks.  You'll also need to consider if you plan to charge your batteries by generator(s) or by solar panel(s).  In either case, you'll probably want to convert all your interior lighting to LED bulbs so that they don't drain your batteries as quickly.

Other considerations.....thermal pane (dual pane, tinted) windows cut down on heating or cooling energy (translates to $$) and also works as a sound insulator.  With thermal pane windows you don't have the condensation issues in the winter like you do with single pane windows. 

A true "all seasons" trailer will have heavier insulation in the walls, ceiling and floors than a regular trailer.  Again this helps in cutting down on energy use in the summer or winter months as well as better sound proofing and more even heat (or cool) throughout the trailer.  A true "all seasons" trailer will also have the bottom enclosed/sealed off, plumbing ran through heated space under the floors, your holding tanks mounted in heated space (so that they don't freeze in the winter months), etc.  I say true all seasons because some mfgs. will claim all seasons (or arctic pkg. etc.) just because they've heated the holding tanks yet they haven't really increased the insulation barrier or R factor and don't have all their plumbing ran through heated space or not have thermal pane windows, etc.

I hope this has answered some of your questions and given you some of the real world considerations to think about before you pull the trigger.  Good luck in your search.
 
Last August, my wife got her first travel job as a nurse.  I am retired and she has a few years to go.  Part of her pay is subsidized housing at the location of the job. 

We thought we could do better if we bought a used TT and took it with us to live in.  We had never camped since we have been married.  I had always been against it as we lived in the country and I just couldn't see going camping and setting up 10' away form a possibly noisy neighbor. 

The job kind of got our thinking changed.  I have always been an avid Craig's List shopper and have managed to find some good deals on there from time to time. 

By the end of the month, I found three that we wanted to look at.  We bought the second.  We bought it  and put $1500 into it for new tires, hubs, bearings and brakes.  The inside was good and clean and in good shape. 

We already had a PU that we had bought the year before for $7500.  It was a Ford F-250 Super Duty 7.3 diesel.  We bought it to pull our sailboat. 

We left for her first job in late Oct in SW Virginia and got a mite chilly and down right cold when the region lost power for 3 days I bought a generator.

We survived and she finished her job in early Feb, we went home to Iowa with no new job set up yet, we left the trailer in a storage lot in St Louis until a Job came through.  The job came through in early Feb and we went to St Louis and grabbed the trailer on the morning of the 18th and were setting up in the Camp Ground in Lugoff, SC on the 19th and she was working on the 20th.

We are now ready to go  home and have already sold this trailer on Craig's list  and have bought it's replacement there as well.  We turn this one over to the new owners at our home place on the 2nd or 3rd and go and get out New one (to us) on the 5th or 6th.  It is a 2008 34' SunnyBrook, Brookside with two slides.  It was owned buy a couple in their 80's and was permanently set on their son's campground, for the past 3 years.  They were the second owner.  It has only gone down the road a couple of 100 miles.  Since it left the dealer, the first owner had it on a lot by the Mississippi delivered there from the dealer when it was new.

I guess what I am saying is STAY AWAY FROM DEALERS.  ALL YOU GET THERE IS RIPPED OFF.  Let some other poor soul absorb all the value loss when they get to smell that new Car smell.  For us, we just install a room deodorizer and we get that smell to and have saved $1000's.

We will recover almost every dime we spent on  the first trailer on delivery to the new owners.  That does not take into account that my wife was paid double  each month the costs of our lot rent and some times a lot more than that



 
parttymer said:
OM,

What is it you don't like about driving the coach? For me, its one of the best pleasures of owning a motor home. Damn thing drives like a Cadillac! Awesome views! When we got our first starter motor home, we were hell bent for leather on the first few trips. We have listened and learned here. We're now on our third (and last unless we win the lottery) motor home. We have what we like and want. We're both retired now, so we can take our time. Limiting your daily miles is one of the best pieces of advice given here. We know that everyone can't do that, but it makes the best way to travel even better!

Stan

I cannot put my finger on my uneasiness...the coach drives very smooth, and it takes the terrain in stride (for a 362 HP Ford V10). I suppose (well, I am hoping) that after I get a few thousand miles under my belt I'll settle down a little, and begin to enjoy the driving. As for the scenery, I can't speak of any of what we drove through, my eyes and attention are glued to driving.

After reading these forums, I pace myself to drive about 250-300 miles on a long day, under 250 miles preferably, as I am not in any hurry to get there or to leave once I arrive.
 
I don't want to hijack the thread but for OscarMike. Might I suggest you take a driving course to help you feel more at ease. If your eyes are glued to the road my guess is that your not looking far enough ahead. The shorter the distance ahead you focus ther harder it is to keep straight and centered without having to constantly correct the wheel.
For the original poster, no matter what you think it costs add 20%. You will probably want things like GPS, grill, lawn chairs, tool chest, etc.
 
Cap'n Steve said, "The long and short of it is, It will cost as much as you are comfortable spending."

I would say, it will cost MORE than you are comfortable spending.  LOL!  Doesn't just about everything?

It's like any hobby-getting into it may not be that expensive.  In college I bought a motorcycle for $1100.  Took out a loan on it.  Could afford the payments, but then I had to get a helmet (2 if I wanted to pick up chicks!) leather jacket, leather gloves, riding boots, rain suit, saddle bags, etc.  That was difficult to afford then.  I probably spent more on the "stuff" than I did on the bike.  I know I did in the long run.

A motto I have, said tongue-in-cheek, is if you have an RV, you better be rich or handy.  I'm handy, so I don't have to pay to get things fixed. 

A lot of great advice here- stay away from dealers, buy used, rent first.  Craigslist is a great resource.  Also, to help with comparison pricing, you can check out rvtrader.com & sites like that.  It might not be the final price, but it can give you a feel of what you pay for certain features.

Good luck and welcome.  I hope you love it as much as we do.
 
peteduffy
quote:
A motto I have, said tongue-in-cheek, is if you have an RV, you better be rich or handy.  I'm handy, so I don't have to pay to get things fixed. 

I am neither rich, but some I am slightly handy (DH doesn't know what a hammer looks like so...), but I am trying to gather intel prior to jumping in as the OP is doing.

How handy do I need to be?


 
Personally, I think you are making a mistake to buy a new trailer considering it is your first time. There is a pretty good chance you won't like/use it as much as you think, or you will like it a lot and want something different/bigger. A 27' 5er is on the small side the average is probably mid thirties. If either of these scenarios plays out you will be selling it, if you buy new you will be looking at losing a bunch of money on it. If you buy used and buy it properly you should be able to sell it for about what you have invested.

Part 2 is get more tow vehicle than you think you may need. Good luck.
 
I went the opposite route from most on here. I went new for financing reasons. I went independent dealer for service after the sale. I went as small as possible with the basic amenities I needed  - a 14ft with bed, sofa, sink, refer, stove, toilet and shower. I also never intend to sell. If I want to upgrade, this is going to become a room on wheels at my daughter's for when I visit her.

About the only thing I would change - I didn't intend to camp in the winter, so didn't get all weather or 4  seasons. For the reasons JCZ mentions, I will do that if there is a second one in our future.
 
Aunti-

Depends on how much you want to do vs. how much you want to pay other people.  It also has a lot to do with you comfort level regarding tackling projects. 

E.g. if you want to add a solar panel, you can learn to do it yourself, pay someone else to install it, or go without.  IMHO, a project like this is well within the scope of many people who are moderately handy.  The internet contains a wealth of information.  But for something like this, one should have a thorough understanding of what is involved, the risks that are present, etc.  This is an electrical project, meaning if you mess it up, there are significant risks, from a small zap to damaging your batteries to frying your appliances to burning down your coach.

It also depends on how much time you want to put into projects, and really, whether you like doing that sort of thing.  I'm the type of person who would rather take apart something that is broken (it's already broken so I can't mess it up any more), learn how it works and try to fix it.  I also have the free time to do this, and I have the tools.  But I know people who would rather pay people for just about anything.  I've actually had people pay me to change light bulbs which could have been reached with a chair.

The thing that gets me is the inflated price for EVERYTHING on an RV.  An oil change on an F250 with the same engine as my F53 motorhome will be about half the price.  A generator service is $129 on sale, but you can change the oil, filter, spark plugs, air filter, plus do all the checks, for a third of that price.

Check out Bob Livingston's book on RV maintenance, and see if you're comfortable doing several of those types of things.
 

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