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Buying an RV comes with its pros and cons. Sometimes the excitement of going out in a mobile home or travel trailer can blur the reality of the situation. Then when the costs of RV ownership, maintenance, and more kick in, you could find yourself in a stressful situation. Check out what you need to know before going all in. 

What you need to know before buying an RV 

Just to be clear, we aren’t saying buying an RV is a bad thing at all. It’s a great way to go camping and save on vacations. However, RV ownership can come with a few unique surprises along the way. 

towing a tralier RV camper with an SUV
Towing a camper RV trailer | Camper Report

RV Share mentions that if you’re a beginner, don’t sweat it. It’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed. That’s why there are a few tips to help you tackle some of the unknowns regarding the camper lifestyle. 

1. Consider a used RV 

You’ll notice when you start considering your RV options that these vehicles aren’t cheap. Some new RVs can cost as much as a house. While there are plenty of ways to save, you can avoid the cost of depreciation with a used rig. 

Paul Ostrom, age 67, of Sandpoint, Idaho, walks outside his RV, parked at the La Posa long-term visitor area in Quartzsite, Arizona
RV | Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

With a brand new recreational vehicle, it’s possible to lose 10 to 20 percent of its purchase price as you drive off the lot. A used RV can maintain its value a little longer, especially if it has been well taken care of. 

Plus, with a used RV, the previous owner might be able to explain how it performs and share their best maintenance advice. New options could come with unknown defects. But used RVs may forego factory warranties and perks. Also, you will want to get a clear history of the vehicle’s condition before buying it. 

2. RV maintenance is necessary 

You can’t just park your RV at home and leave it until your next adventure. Before buying an RV, know that they require time and money for proper upkeep. Along with regularly changing the oil and replacing the tires, the inside of the RV needs work too. 

The appliances need to have their seams and seals checked. The slide-outs may start leaking, the engine could break down, and more. Water damage is one thing in particular that can quickly ruin your rig. 

But on a positive note, experienced travelers will be happy to help you with maintenance tips you can do yourself. Find a trustworthy mechanic to help too. Creating a regular maintenance schedule is the best way to keep things in the best shape. 

3. You need to store your RV 

Your RV will need a place to hang out when you aren’t using it. It also requires proper protection from the elements while it’s in storage. Dirt, dust, and age-related damage may occur if your RV isn’t kept under a cover. 

A Nissan camper van on display
A Nissan camper van | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

The Forest River r-pod Is a Great Lightweight Travel Trailer

If you don’t have enough space to properly store your RV at home, you can consider using an RV storage facility. However, some places that provide storage space under cover can be expensive. 

It may be cheaper to store your rig in a regular parking lot, but that could still cost a few hundred dollars each month. Use this archive of RV storage facilities by state and city to find the best option.