Whether you are nearing retirement, or own an online business where you can work anywhere there is an internet connection, the idea of living the RV lifestyle, where you can make home anywhere you can find a parking spot, sounds pretty awesome. But, like anything that sounds awesome, it is always important to think of all angles before jumping in without a thought. Because every lifestyle has its benefits and drawbacks, and you have to determine if it is the right one for you. And then, there is the issue of actually purchasing your vehicle, which is no small investment. Here are just a few things to think about if you are pondering hitting the road full-time.
Test the Waters First
The importance of this cannot be overstated. If you have never spent prolonged periods living in an RV, it is not a good idea to just jump into this lifestyle. This is particularly so if you are planning on selling your house to pay for your new abode on wheels. A lot of experiences sound great when we are just fantasizing about them because we are only thinking of all the great things.
But, there are lots of things that you may find not-so-great, and you have to experience them first hand to determine whether you can live with these challenges. Your will be living in a much smaller space, and that can take some getting used to, especially if you are sharing it with another person. If you and your partner are the type of people who really value privacy and alone time, living in an RV may not be ideal.
Renting an RV for a bit and spending some time in it is a worthy investment. And pay careful attention to the experience, particularly the things you don’t like about it, and remember you will be experiencing these things indefinitely. Honestly assess whether all the great thing about this lifestyle are enough to make the ‘bad’ stuff bearable, for you personally.
Choosing Your RV
It is crucial you do extensive research, and give a lot of thought to your wants and needs before you begin shopping for an RV. If you are planning on buying a new one in particular, you don’t want to be vulnerable to aggressive and pushy salesmen pushing you towards a vehicle that is not a good fit for you. Being clear on what you want will protect you from this.
Educate yourself about all the different vehicles; carefully study floor plans. Consider what type of traveling you will be doing, and where you think you will be stationing the vehicle most of the time. Again, really think about what you want and need. If you really like cooking, a larger kitchen area would be important, while someone who doesn’t probably would be fine with a smaller space.
Whether to buy used or new really depends on several factors. Generally speaking, anyone considering RV-ing full time would probably be better off buying a new RV with a full warranty. This will be your new home after all. Should you go with used, you may still be able to get some sort of warranty or service plan, either from the dealer or a third party company. If you do go this route, you must read over the contract thoroughly so you know exactly what is covered and what isn’t. You also need to know where this service plan will be accepted should you need any work done on the vehicle.
If you will not be paying cash outright for your RV, you have to bone up on financing options. Most loans are from 10 to 15 years, but think about whether you want to spend that much time making payments. If it would take you 15 years to pay off the loan, you might want to look at cheaper vehicles. Usually, you can write off interest on loan payments—check with your tax professional. Try to put at least 20 percent down, though most dealers allow for 10 percent. Securing a loan on your own rather than getting financing through a dealership might also be a better idea as it may help you avoid extra charges that you may be told are necessary, but actually aren’t.