My Buying Process, Part 1: The details

They say the devil is in the details, and when it comes to RV’s, the details can make a LOT of difference!

My buying process (and what I suggest you use, too!) is straightforward, and designed to insure that I know exactly what i’m buying or getting myself into. I firmly believe that this process should be followed for every single RV purchase, and you should not skip any of the steps!

My first step is to determine the type of RV I want to buy; a Motorhome, a travel trailer, a 5th wheel, a micro camper, or something else.
For what i’m doing now, I need a bumper pull travel trailer, and, I would like to have a toyhauler type.

My second step is to determine the specifications I need to stay inside. Since i’ll be towing this trailer with my truck, I need consider the limits of my tow rig.
I need:
1) To buy a bumper pull trailer, not a fifth wheel. My current truck could be setup for towing a fifth wheel, BUT, that means I have to get rid of my toolbox, and I lose a lot of storage space, which i’m not willing to do because I need that for work.
2) 10,000 lbs GVWR or less. My truck can tow up to 10,000 pounds via bumper pull, so I need a trailer that, when loaded with all of my stuff, doesn’t weigh more than 10,000 lbs.
While i’m a big fan of the 80% rule, i’m comfortable towing up to my maximum tow rating because of my experience, my setup, and my abilities.
3) I don’t have any size or length maximums, so I want to buy the largest trailer I can safely tow.

My third step is to determine what I want in a travel trailer, and which of those I would label as needs.
Since i’ll be using this for work, and since I usually come back to camp hot, sweaty, dirty, and tired, and since i’m 6’0 tall, a large shower is a MUST have for me. The standard sized camper showers are okay for a couple nights of fun camping, but for what i’m doing, I NEED a large shower. I also really like the large showers with the glass walls and door, since they’re just roomier.
Again considering my needs, I also consider a large enough coach with a minimum of one slide to be a must have, because when the weather is crap and i’m sitting in the camper instead of at work, with two medium sized dogs, I want to make sure we all have enough room to walk around without stepping each other.
I also need some kitchen space and some prep space since i’ll be cooking daily, and plenty of storage space for all my stuff work uniforms, work boots, and weather gear.
Once I have my list of ‘must-haves’ and ‘wants’, I move on to my next step.

My fourth step is to write out my list of ‘dealbreakers’, the things I will absolutely not tolerate or accept in an RV for any reason whatsoever.
At the very top of my list is water damage; I don’t have the time or space to tear down and rebuild an RV properly that’s been water-damaged, so i’d just rather not get myself tangled up in that right now.
Next up is anything that’s not ready to camp in. Again, my lack of time for fixing stuff is the driving force here, so anything that is missing the A/C unit, needs new flooring installed, or needs the water tank replaced are all off my list.
Another hard pass for me is smokers… if the unit has been smoked in, I don’t want it! The tar from the nicotine gets into everything, leaves a sticky mess, and coats EVERYTHING.
An RV that’s had it’s toilet pooped in is okay though, so long as the place is clean. 🙂
If you’re financing through a lender, you may also have limitations of how old, the condition, the type of title, and so on.

Now that I have all of these steps completed, I get to searching! With my specifications, criteria, and limits all written down, all I have to do is compare the RV listing to my lists, and if it passes all of them, I make a time to go look at it!


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