The term “recreational vehicle” (RV) covers many types of units, from toy haulers to modified busses, and a motorhome is just one of these types. Motorhomes can add a lot of pleasure to their owner’s life, providing a secondary home on wheels that can be used anywhere it can be driven, whether on a camping trip in the mountains or a nationwide trek. To some, these vehicles can even serve as a primary home. If you’re thinking about buying one, you have a lot to consider.
If you are new to the world of recreational vehicles, there are probably more types of motorhomes than you ever realized. There’s the Class A, which is bus-like, and is what most people probably think of when they picture an RV. These are the top of the line models that have the most to offer. While they are the most luxurious, they are not without drawbacks, as they are hard to maneuver because of their massive size, and the safety and fuel economy leave a great deal to be desired. The Class B (a campervan) may be better for safety, fuel economy, and price.
There’s also the truck-like Class C, Class B+ (essentially a cross between the B and C), truck campers, popup campers, travel trailers, teardrop trailers, hybrid trailers, fifth-wheel trailers, park models, toterhomes (semi stretched out and turned into a motor home used to pull a large enclosed trailer), truck conversions, and toy haulers (a travel trailer RV with a large opening and ramp door). Each of these miscellaneous types has their own features and specific uses. They are worth researching if you are unsure of the type of RV you wish to purchase.
The type of motorhome you need and the features you want ultimately come down to how you plan to use the vehicle. Do you intend to accommodate a large family? Are you a retired couple looking to take short trips or cross-country treks? Are you going to live in it or just use it for vacation? Do you want just the bare-bones amenities or are you looking for luxury? These are all questions you need to consider and keep in mind as you shop.
You need to evaluate how much space you actually want. Think about how many people will be using the vehicle. How big is your family? How comfortable will they be in close quarters? Size also plays into safety and driving issues, so you’ll have to consider these things.
What kind of sleeping arrangements do you expect to utilize? Different models offer different sleeping accommodations, and you’ll need to consider what’s going to make everyone comfortable. How big are your various family members? Will some be sleeping outdoors? It may not be a bad idea to measure the beds before purchasing.
Consider the features of the kitchen. To do so, you’ll need to think about the kinds of meals you expect to be preparing. Different appliance options are available, including microwaves, convection ovens, and conventional ovens. In some cases, it might make more sense to opt for more storage rather than a conventional oven. Similar considerations must be made with the bathroom. Do you want a bigger one with a tub, or would you rather have that space used in a different way? Keep in mind, RV water heaters hold far less than those used in houses.
Some motorhomes have slide-outs, which are basically rooms that slide out of the side when the RV is parked. This can increase the space of the living area, but it can also add substantially to the price. Is it worth it to you?
It’s nice to have things like re-configurable dining areas, accessible bathrooms, flip-up counter extensions, adjustable televisions sets, a lot of windows, etc., but ultimately it’s a balance between lifestyle and affordability.
Beyond simply figuring out what you want, you’ll of course have to figure out what you can and are willing to spend. How much you pay will obviously vary considerably depending on what type of model you elect to get and what extra features you add. Regardless of which route you take, it’s not going to be cheap.
K. Stephen Busick of the Family Motor Coach Association says although motorhomes are similar to automobiles in some ways, they are also homes. “They have plumbing, 110-volt electrical systems, and heating and cooling systems, plus complete kitchens, baths, and sleeping areas,” he says. “Motorhomes have to endure earthquake-type forces every day when they are driven down less-than-perfect roads. Driving through a rainstorm often subjects them to hurricane-force rains. Through all of this, they are expected to stay together, not leak, and to function properly immediately after being taken out of storage. When viewed from this perspective, it’s not surprising that even entry-level coaches often cost ‘more than our first house.’”1
How to finance a motorhome
When it comes to financing a motorhome, you’ll want to watch out for some common mistakes such as taking the selling price at face value (they’re often inflated), not checking your credit score, and buying more than you can afford. Nevada State Bank offers competitive financing2for new or used motorhomes, and provides pre-approvals and a convenient, automatic payment option.
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2. Subject to credit approval. Terms and conditions apply.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of ZB, N.A.
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