You are currently viewing Finalizing Decision for Best Used RV to Buy – Identify Scams – Extended Guide

Finalizing Decision for Best Used RV to Buy – Identify Scams – Extended Guide

In the previous article of Considering buying an RV for the first time – Complete Guide, we focused on how we can identify our purpose to buy an RV, many sorts and styles of RV’s available in the market with their features, some basics of boondocking, and much more. Now, we will dig into it furthermore in this article along with how to get a better price and what are the pros and cons of buying a new RV and/or deciding for best used RV to buy as well as how to identify scams.

Below are some tips & tricks which help you with your planning and deciding on an RV.

The buying decision.

You have a lot of choices when it comes to owning an RV.

First thing first, if you’re dead set on purchasing a new RV, you should go straight to a dealership that sells the vehicle you want. You can also buy on the websites of manufacturing companies, which may be the best option if you want to customize your RV with certain features with some design ideas.

On the contrary, you may find it at a dealership, if you plan for best used RV to buy, it sounds like low quality when it comes to automobiles, but I bet you that it costs less and with some good research, you may have more luck online and find several options and sites to find an RV that suits your special needs and wants. You can shop for used RV’s on many websites but concentrate on websites that let you filter available RV’s according to different configurations, so your search can be narrowed to what you want and need.

Attending RV shows or exhibitions is one option you may not have considered yet. But this can be an excellent option for bargain hunters who are unsure of what they want. An exhibition display helps you to compare features and pricing by allowing you to see and compare many different offers from several companies all in one spot. Exhibitions often give excellent offers that you won’t find anywhere else for the best used RV to buy.

Let’s understand one factor completely, it will ultimately cater to your buying decision.

- Should you buy a new RV or an Old RV

When you get to the buying stage, you should think about whether you are looking for the best used RV to buy or want to buy a brand new RV. Each has its upsides and downsides.

Buying a new RV.

Upsides Downsides
You get a brand new, gleaming RV right off the factory floor. You are the first and only person to have used it.
They are way more expensive than the used ones.
It’s fresh and comes with a lot of warranties.
If you want to add some extra facility, it costs extra and of course not cheap.
You can design your own custom build, selecting everything from the size, facilities, from seat fabric to the exterior color, and many more.
They often come with flaws that are yet to explore and hence not fixed. You will have to take care of all that.
The first hand always comes with the latest technology such as engine, auto parts, materials.
Insurance for the new RV can be pretty costly.

Buying an old RV or used RV.

Upsides Downsides
Much less expensive unlike new, and you can still shop around for a good deal.
Limited amount of choice for you out there.
Already taken care of the flaws. That means it is fully functional.
It’s a time-consuming process to find the perfect match for your lifestyle.
You can redesign and make your customization at low costs.
Unless you brought an RV from a reputed dealer, you will not have any warranties left.
For the used RVs, signing up for insurance is usually cheaper compared to the new one.
Damage to the vehicle may be misrepresented by the vendor (don’t forget to read our scam section in the blog).
Some campsites may not allow it because of their rules & limitations.

If you want to know what I think or what will I do during my decision-making time, I’ll always go for the best used RV to buy and if required, I will make some alterations as per need. 

A much more cost-effective solution is to build your RV. It does, however, need a significant amount of time and effort, which some people may not have or desire to commit. There’s no embarrassment in it; it’s just a matter of personal preference.

How much does an RV cost?

The cost of purchasing an RV depends on the type and features you want to install. Now again, purchase cost may differ if you are going for the best used RV to buy or want to buy a vehicle and build it or a newly complete built RV. 

For example, a decently equipped camping trailer you are pulling behind your car or truck could come at around $10,000. A drivable motorhome will most probably cost roughly $100,000, with the most up-to-date models and with the latest technology and luxuries spending can be around $300,000 or more. Naturally, these are the brand new RV prices and you can save a lot by looking for the best used RV to buy. 

I have an amazing video to share in terms of RV design and its cost if you are considering buying a second-hand vehicle and building on it. –

From a SKOOLIE into a HOME On Wheels all for 10000$ & 6 months work | Self Converted School Bus Tour.

Credit – AlternativeHouse

- Finance

A loan for a motorhome or trailer, either from a dealer, your bank, or a third-party lender, can be used to finance most RVs. The funding options vary according to the amount, credit score, loan value, and other factors you plan to put down. You can get a lower interest rate if you can get finance from your bank and have good credit. Third-party lending institutions will probably charge higher interest rates.

The interest on an RV loan, like any other loan, will add a significant amount to the overall purchase price. Along with making sure you can afford the monthly payments, think about the entire cost of bankrolling an RV and make sure you understand the numbers before signing the papers.

- Other expenses

Now that you are at the last stage of making a decision whether to look for the best used RV to buy or to purchase a new one. Other than its purchase price, one should always keep in mind how much van life can cost on daily basis or in other words what are the possible monthly expenses that one can come across. 

Let’s have a look in detail. 

  • Costs of maintenance and repairs. You’ll need to budget for oil changes, engine maintenance, cleaning, and other expenses in addition to winterizing and de-winterizing your RV each year to maintain it in good shape and free of wear and tear.
  • The terms “gas,” “propane,” and “fuel” are all used interchangeably. You’ll need gas to run your RV in addition to kitchen appliances, heaters, and other equipment. Because most RVs have poor fuel efficiency, gas will be a significant expense on any long-distance journeys you take.
  • Food costs will be another big portion of any RV trip budget, whether you plan to dine out or cook in your motorhome kitchen.
  • If you want amenities such as internet or cables, you need to include them on your monthly budget to pay out its rents or fees for plans.
  • You need to consider fees for parking lots and at campsites. Charges to park and hook up your RV vary depending on where you travel, especially during busy travel seasons like spring and summer.
  • Insurance, registration, and GAP protection are all included. A new RV’s insurance charges will normally be greater than a used RV which is a few years old.
  • During the off-season, storage is required. If you reside in an area where the winters are harsh, you’ll probably want to search for covered or indoor parking for your RV to protect it from the elements, which can be costly. Outdoor RV storage is also an option, but it will necessitate additional precautions to secure your RV.

Take a look at this sample monthly budget plan to get a sense of the recurring and hidden expenditures of RV ownership. Also, keep in mind that all of these expenses are estimates that will vary depending on your specific use, situation, region, and other factors.

    • RV Insurance: $150
    • RV Payments: $300
    • Campsite fees 1 trip in every 2 months:$200 (6 trips yearly) monthly $100
    • Hook up fees & propane: $60 per trip (6 trips yearly) monthly &30
    • Food and Household: $100
    • Phone/Internet: $125
    • Gas, fule, diesel: $150
    • Laundry: $40
    • Pet Food and Supplies: $80
    • Miscellaneous: $100

Approx Total Monthly Budget: $1175

Approx Total yearly budget: $14,100

The above-estimated budget plan has not included vehicle towing, breakdowns, and some extra detours.  Your expenses are depending on you and your lifestyle. Many van dwellers live with a minimum budget of as low as $500 a month. You can obviously control your expenses by cutting down some unnecessary costs like lunch or dinner at restaurants or fewer trips at campsites and by spending some nights at the national parks without any fees. Remember, if you are looking for the best used RV to buy, you may have to deal with unknown and unwanted maintenance issues in the future.

How to get a better price for an RV?

Getting the greatest deal on an RV is determined by a variety of factors.  Many of the pricing you see will be for the ‘base model,’ which does not include all of the modern conveniences and features that you might want for a more comfortable journey.

There are a few things you may do to get a better deal on an RV.

  • Having a broad mindset may help you to get a better deal. If you have a few models or set of amenities in your mind, you may have to pass up a wonderful price on an RV that is close to, but not exactly, what you want.
  • Maintain a close check on your bank’s auto finance rates. If interest rates fall, it may be a favorable time to invest.
  • In the off-season, it’s simpler to find a decent price than it is in the spring and summer when demand is high. This means fall and winter is the best time to check out some money sever deals on RVs.
  • The key factor for a better price is patients. You might have to wait for a while to find something really good but from time to time best deals come along. The savings in costs are worth waiting for.
  • Be attentive while cracking a deal. Remember that dealers are in business to make a profit; a few freebies won’t make much of a difference in the long run.
  • Many RVs come with designer labels, have some names that are more well-known than others. Don’t be swayed by the name; choose a camper that looks appropriate for you and has the features you want. Do some study on the camper’s base vehicle as well.
  • Do not make a rush decision on this. In my suggestion, you must start looking for readymade RVs a motorhome, or a trailer, and then start identifying what are the jobs that you can do to build it on the used RV. How much DIY kinds of stuff are needed and its cost. I bet you, if you are ready to put some effort and time, converting an RV into a home is the best deal you can ever sign up for. And also it is a fun project to carry.

Consider renting an RV, if needed.

If your goal is to just use an RV once in a while, it may not make financial sense to search for the best used RV to buy. The costs of owning may not be worth the investment if you only plan on taking a couple of trips a year.

If that’s the case, renting an RV rather than buying one would be a better option. This has a few advantages. There are the economic benefits–while RV rentals during high tourist seasons can cost hundreds of dollars a day, the cost of a rental will likely be insignificant when compared to the cost of an RV buying plus all the associated costs for a year.

If you’re new to the RV lifestyle, renting an RV might be a fantastic way to get a feel for it or check out a specific model or type before making a purchase. Consider this as a portion of your buying budget.

{Note} – Kindly read Considering buying an RV for the first time – Complete Guide. better understanding.

How to identify scams while buying a new RV or to look for the best used RV to buy?

There are some convincing indications to look out for while inspecting a vehicle, whether you consider best used RV to buy or a brand new van to convert it into a motorhome.

One of the biggest scams going on in the market is internet photos and videos. Some people believe what they have seen on the internet and make online transactions. This is the most common kind of scam in which people are drawn too easily. Remember whatever you see on Instagram, Facebook, or any other online media, it attracts you the most not because that van or that RV is actually built beautifully but because it’s a photo effect that attracts you. You can not touch or feel the material that has been used for the conversion but in the video, it looks luxurious. For an instance, take a PVC pipe and spray it with glossy copper paint, add some warm white bulb at both the corners and click a photo with an amazing camera, it will appear as if you made this light out of a real coper bar, how luxurious?

- Things to Look Out For to buy used converted van Or a Brand new one.

  • If the van’s bonnet/hood is already heated when you turn it on, it’s having difficulties starting. It’s possible that the owner arrived seconds before you, but it’s more probable that he or she had to leave it running so that it would start the first time.
  • Remove the driver’s seatbelt and inspect it for signs of wear and tear. You can’t mask the signs of use on a seatbelt, even if the previous owner tampered with the mileage clock.
  • While the engine is running, place your hand beneath the exhaust pipe. If you see a lot of black, sooty specks on your palm, there’s an underlying problem you should avoid.
  • Examine the van’s underside to ensure that (A) all of the pieces and components you’d expect to see are present (no holes where the fuel tank should be, for example), and (B) nothing is coated with peeling rust.
  • Look for any areas that appear to have been painted over and are doubtful. These are more than likely rusted places, and while some rust is OK, you don’t want to acquire a car that will cost you a lot of money to repair.
  • Ensure that the former owner has a history of all replacement parts and any vehicle MOT/services.
  • Read all the vehicle-related paperwork to ensure fees, payments, or taxes(if any) are outstanding or not. 
  • Finally, if you think that to inspect you are not enough because of lack of technical knowledge, ask some of your friends who are sound enough to do this job or you can ask a professional for an inspection. 
  • “Even if there’s no visible water damage in the usual spots like floors and ceilings, mold on the interior of an RV is usually a good indication of leaks or other water problems,” RVShare says.
  • Examine the corners of the roofs and floors, as well as the corners and caulk around the fixtures in the bathroom. Open your closets and wardrobes and shine on a lamp to observe whether mold grows. Mold is frequently detectable by its scent, but if the closets or cupboards feel unusually warm (warmer than the rest of the RV), there’s a high possibility it’s developing there.
  • Check for corrosion and rust by opening all of the external panels. Also, give the walls a shove.
  • Remember to inspect the tires, as a blowout in an RV may be considerably more dangerous than in a car. This is one of those cases where age outweighs looks, so verify the age of the tires on the RV you’re interested in, even if it’s brand new.
  • A test drive is one of the best ways to get a feel for the RV if you have the opportunity. Request a test drive with the seller there to address any queries, and have the seller do some of the driving so you can get a feel for how the RV travels as a passenger.
  • Look for any noises and vibrations or other issues that you might not be aware of while driving. Test-drive the car on a variety of roads, especially at high speeds on a highway, and in traffic to find out how RV behaves in such situations, particularly its breaks.

- Dealing With Dodgy Dealers

Nothing is more irritating than being pushed into a purchase by someone who can detect unskilled driving. Many people experienced this, but they quickly lost their opinion and change their overconfident tone when the friend they brought along, disclosed that he or she is a mechanic. All the terms from ‘dealing for dummies’ will be hurled at you. ‘You won’t find anything better, ‘you’re getting a great deal here,’ ‘you and this vehicle were made for each other,’ and so on.

If you feel coerced into making a purchase, take a step back and walk away. They may attempt to convince you that it is being looked at by others and that they are considering making an ‘over-the-top’ offer for it, or some other rubbish, but don’t fall for it.

Follow your instincts rather than your feelings. Even if your heart is set on the van in front of you, your instincts will tell you whether or not it is the appropriate vehicle for you. I’m not sure how it knows everything all of the time, but it does.

The suitable van will appear eventually, and it’s better to wait a few months for the perfect vehicle than to risk being duped by someone looking to make a fast buck.

- Vehicle History Report.

You may get an RV history report online if you’re still not convinced and want some extra peace of mind. There is generally a modest fee, and you will need the vehicle’s registration number to access the service.

The vehicle identifying number, or VIN, on an RV, may be used to look up its history, just like it can on a used automobile. The report often includes facts on whether the vehicle has ever been damaged, rebuilt, or stolen, as well as the manufacturer’s requirements and recall letters, depending on the vehicle’s history and the data available. 

A report like this might assist you to judge whether the dealer’s story regarding the RV or van is accurate.

- Requesting Unnecessary Information

Before you take a test drive, some dealerships will ask to see your driver’s license and social security number. They could even ask for a copy of your documents. while you’re out driving around in your new RV, they might be performing a credit check on you and sending information to the lenders they partner with.

This is not only unethical, but it might also harm your credit rating without your knowledge. If a dealer insists on having a duplicate of documents, give them one that you created yourself. Make it plain that you don’t approve of credit checks, and find a courteous way to urge them to stay out of your personal affairs.

- Scams related Rebates

Other frauds involve promises of rebates that were supposed to arrive some weeks after a consumer purchased an RV, only to be told later that the rebates had fallen through. There was no rebate in some situations, while the dealer kept the rebate in others. If the dealer provides a rebate, double-check that it is applied to your purchase price before you sign the contract. If the rebate does not go through, he is the one who loses out, not you. It can only promote honesty or diligent follow-up to ensure they receive their refund. It’s a win-win situation if it doesn’t fall through.

- Beware of fake advertisements

Someone posts bogus ads on the internet offering to purchase RVs. They have you when you fill out the contact information form. They only require a valid email address and phone number. They profit by selling your information to other fraudsters as part of an email list. They seldom, if ever, respond to your request.

It is a scam to post a false ad on a public website and to sell your personal information is not legal. For $500, they may sell a large number of excellent emails to fifty different firms, which would then spam you with fraudulent emails and phone calls. The majority of this is done legally and offshore.

Final views - the conclusion.

Once you are out there looking for the best used RV to buy or considering buying a new one, your buying decision majorly depends on these two aspects. Do not rush into a decision that you regret later first know your purpose to get into such a lifestyle and look for pros and cons for the best used Rv to buy and for a new one as well.

Before you make a purchase you must be clear with your budget and final price of an RV. Having said that, you also need to have an approximate idea of how your van life will cost you monthly and what are maintenance issues will come if you are considering the best used RV to buy. Remember, it is good to have a test drive with your new van life by renting your dream RV.

For scams – 

Although it is unpleasant to consider that you must distrust every RV buyer or seller, it is the only way to protect yourself from scammers.

Not everyone is out to steal from you, but a lot of them are. This is because the RV sector has become a prominent target because of the large sums of money involved in buying and selling RVs.

Even though we now have the technology to identify any fault at the time to buy used converted van, the underlying statements from the past still hold true:

  • If something seems too good to be true, it most likely is a scam.
  • Never give strangers your personal or financial information.
  • Never buy something without seeing it first.
  • Before you conduct business with someone, be sure you know who you’re dealing with.
  • Before you conduct business with someone, be sure you know who you’re dealing with.

Scam victims are either unaware of how to defend themselves or are too irresponsible to take the required precautions.

Scammers depend on these things and misuse them all the time to steal people’s money.

Beware of such scams out there to buy used converted van.

{Note} – Kindly read Considering buying an RV for the first time – Complete Guide. better understanding.


I am a travel enthusiast, blogger, entrepreneur, Brand Designer, and much more. Van life fascinates me to know that people love to explore the world with their tiny mobile homes. I want to build one soon. In my journey to build a motorhome for me & my wife, I want to share all the related knowledge and the best resources to grab for smooth van life. Happy to have you onboard.!

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