If you are the kind of person who loves the great outdoors, you probably have daydreamed about owning a recreational vehicle, better known as an RV, for a while now.
An RV allows you to travel wherever you want and as much as you want in the United States. You can drive to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon at a moment’s notice, or drag your surfboard to catch the waves on the beaches of Malibu. If you want, you can visit every state in the mainland, making a stop on all the tourist attractions on your way, while living comfortably in your RV.
But, is it a good investment? Will you really be able to make full use out of it?
Do You Know What You are Going Into?
It is easy to imagine all the fun you will have and all the adventure that you will head to when you think about getting an RV, also called a camper van. However, what you also have to consider before you even start eyeing campers for sale is the cost of the upkeep.
These types of vehicles are not cheap. They are typically priced several thousand dollars upfront. Although second-hand units are a little more affordable, they are still quite expensive to maintain.
First, you are going to need a space in your property where you can park your camper van. Ideally, there should be a roof or some sort of cover over it. Leaving the vehicle exposed to environmental elements, particularly to the rays of the sun, would cause it to deteriorate quickly. The roof of an RV will be quite expensive to repair.
Second, you also should run the generator periodically. You do not want it to sit idly for far too long, especially if there is gasoline inside. Gasoline has a shelf life of only 30 days. If left unused, it will break down and damage your generator.
An RV will require constant care and attention from you. If that is something you cannot give, you may want to hold off buying until you have more free time for it. If you don’t, you would be flushing your hard-earned money down the drain because you would be watching the vehicle break down right before your eyes.
What if You Want to Sell in the Future?
Most people buy an RV with the intention of selling it in the future once they are no longer capable of using and caring for it. If this is how you see your future, too, then you would not be disappointed. When you buy the vehicle new, it will lose a significant percentage of its value. The same thing happens when you buy a car. Its cost does not appreciate over time. It depreciates as soon as you make the purchase and drive it around.
However, you can still get decent money out of it, as long as you have taken good care of it.
Spending money to renovate it would also help you sell it faster and at a higher price.
Should You Buy New or Used?
There are pros and cons in buying either a new or used RV.
For a new unit, you can be assured that the vehicle will perform at its optimum. You would not have to worry about or spend money on repairing a broken component. There would not be any surprises. Everything will work as expected.
The downside of it is its value depreciates significantly after purchase. You cannot expect to get your money back when you sell the camper van in the future. The upfront cost of purchasing a new unit is also a lot more expensive than going for second-hand.
A used RV, on the other hand, is a lot more affordable upfront. When you decide to sell in the future, you would not absorb the brunt of the vehicle depreciating. Its value is much closer to the amount that you paid for. For example, if you got the camper van for $15,000, you can sell it for $12,000.
However, used vehicles have problems. Even if they were well taken care of by the original owner, it will go through normal wear and tear. Expect to do some repairs, which may not prop up before or immediately after you close the sale.
So, is it worth the investment? The answer is, it depends. An RV is an expensive purchase, whether you buy new or used. It will also be expensive to maintain. After a few years of use, you would not be able to resell it for a lot of money even if you spent a lot renovating and caring for it.
However, camper vans are great investments if you love adventure. In the long run, traveling in it will cost less than going from hotel to hotel. Plus, kids love it. If you have young children in your family, you can take them camping whenever and wherever.