How To Safely Buy An RV

How To Safely Buy An RV

If you have seen the advertisements for used RVs for sale or even new RVs for sale, the marketing can be appealing. With just one in-person or online tour, you may already be planning your next cross-country trip.

Do not skip out on doing some homework first, though. Before you buy your next travel trailer, choose safe ways to make such a long-term investment. For some people, buying a new RV is an option. For others, a used camper is their best bet.

Here are a few of our recommendations for making sure your next RV purchase is hassle-free.

Determine your ‘why’

rvs for sale With so many types of RVs, we recommend that you start this purchasing journey by learning a bit more about why you want this type of vehicle. This helps to guide the type of RV you prefer and other features that you would consider as must-haves. Understanding this goal will help you stay within budget and in line with your vision.

Before considering financing, save money, improve your credit score, and check out current interest rates. When it’s time to buy, be prepared. Knowing your “why” will also help if you need to negotiate the price. It’s important to know the things that will make it easy for you to walk away.

Know the history

If you see a used travel trailer for sale, you may be in for a great deal. However, it’s worth your time — and money — to have a professional inspection. Here’s another tip: check the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). With this search, you can learn about accident history, damage, or recalls.

If you’re buying the used camper from the RV dealership, be sure that their mechanic gives you a thumbs up before you sign an agreement. If you choose to move forward with a private seller, find a local RV shop that can perform the inspection. Here are some things to consider: water damage, excessive wear and tear, and system issues.

Take a closer look

lightweight travel trailers Even if the RV meets all of the items on your wish list, don’t forget to do a thorough check of the interior and exterior. Before agreeing to the purchase of a travel trailer for sale, confirm the bill of sale and have an outside inspector. We recommend taking a closer look at the following areas:


Be on the lookout for issues like mold, which can be caused by water damage. Also, check the status of the caulking to see if you see any signs of mold. If you see mold, the caulk is most likely not doing its job.

Rust or corrosion

Look at the screws in the exterior trim. If they are not rusty or dirty, this is a good sign of their condition.

Roof and ceiling

The roof on your RV should be firm and stable. In fact, you should be able to walk on it. Your ceiling should appear to be just as sturdy. Look for any signs of water damage or sagging. Also, do not buy a unit with patches on the roof. That is obviously a sign of damage that occurred to the unit.

Walls and floors

Apply some firm pressure to your interior and exterior walls. There shouldn’t be much give. Next, look at your floors and search for any gaps. We also recommend that you do a few jumps. Does the floor feel stable?

Choose escrow

Protect yourself while making big purchases from a private seller. We suggest using escrow. It protects not only the seller but also the buyer. The seller won’t have the fear of giving away a vehicle without payment. The buyer is protected from handing out money for a vehicle that is different from what was advertised. is a licensed escrow service. It protects both parties. Money is not released until both parties have met the terms of the agreement. For out-of-state purchases, using escrow is another way to protect your interests. Here’s how it works:

  1. Agree on terms
  2. Buyer pays the price of the RV
  3. Seller arranges for the RV to be shipped to the buyer
  4. Buyer inspects the RV for acceptance
  5. Upon approval from the buyer, the seller receives the payment

Out-of-state buying

Don’t be intimidated about buying out-of-state. There are a few additional tips that can help make the process easier and safer if you see used campers for sale. One of our biggest suggestions is to start local. This means connect with a local mechanic and use their service to inspect your vehicle. You want to do this huge step before making an offer. Here are some other tips:

  • Purchase insurance before you schedule for your RV to arrive.
  • Be prepared to accommodate your new RV in a storage space if you don’t have enough room on your property.
  • Take another look at your RV once it arrives. Find a trusted RV specialist to do a thorough look-over.
  • Once you make an offer, escrow your funds.

Private seller buying

Here are some suggestions to protect you from fraud if you see used RVs for sale.

It starts with trust

Mutual trust between both parties will make the selling process much easier. Before agreeing to purchase an RV, spend some time getting to know the private seller. Ask around and do some research. An RV purchase is no small amount. Be comfortable with your next steps.

It must be paid out

Do some homework to guarantee that the RV is not currently being financed. Ask the seller directly about any loans. Remember, you will not have the title to the RV until the vehicle is paid in full. Don’t be afraid to ask for an updated statement from the lender that will clearly outline the status. If the seller says everything has been paid, ask for documentation.

It must become yours

If you have established trust with your seller, you may not be unsettled if they share that they are still paying on the loan. As a buyer, you are trusting that they will send the proof of ownership when the loan has been paid in full. Before they send the title, remind them to sign the back of the document so that you can then transfer the title into your name.

We’ve given you some pre-purchase guidelines. Here are some other best practices:

Consider renting — then buying

If you are not sure, don’t say “yes” to making a big purchase. Instead, rent an RV before committing. You can test out a particular model that you’ve been admiring, ask questions, and be much more at peace about making this type of investment. If you choose this option, here are a few things to consider:

  • Does the RV provide enough space?
  • Do you like the bathroom?
  • How do you feel about the layout?
  • Are you comfortable with this price range?
  • Are you pleased with amenities?
  • Do you feel comfortable driving and parking the unit if it is a motorhome?
  • Do you feel comfortable towing the rv?

Purchase the correct type of insurance

You will not take the traditional car insurance route with this purchase. RV insurance and roadside insurance are specific to RV owners. For people who purchased the wrong type of insurance, there has not only been an inconvenience but also financial consequences. RV insurance covers the RV camper, but this does not include the items inside. Understanding these details in advance will help you become more confident about your ownership and insurance coverage.

Know the height limit

We have all seen it — the vehicle that has gotten stuck under an underpass. While attention-capturing, this mistake can also cause serious damage to your vehicle. Before you pack up for your first trip, have a clear understanding of the height of your RV. Feel free to take a look at the route to see if you could run into any issues. If you have any questions, your dealership or private seller should provide the dimensions. From antenna repair to replacing a roof-mounted air conditioner, plan now to save money.

Understand how to use the RV

When you pull up to the campsite, be confident that you can handle your RV well. This includes understanding the ins-and-outs of your new vehicle. While you may think things are pretty similar to a car, don’t make this assumption. Trying out the systems of the RV without instruction can lead to frustration — and costly damage. Before you leave the lot with your RV, ask for a thorough walkthrough. Ask questions and seek resources for additional user questions.

Have enough towing capacity

When you think about towing, you cannot just think about the weight of the vehicle. It is critical to consider how much you are RV weighs and how much it is able to tow. There should be a good margin between those two amounts. This helps to put less strain on your transmission. It also allows you to safely and responsibly tow other vehicles. Learn more about your lightweight travel trailer.

Buy the right type of RV

Oh no! Your RV is too tall to enter the family reunion’s campground site. Similar buyer’s remorse situations can happen without proper research. From the size of the RV to the type of amenities, do not make the mistake of buying the wrong type of RV. Comfort and storage are also important factors for buyers.


Nothing is more important than service when buying a new travel trailer, fifth wheel, toy hauler or motor home. You have to make service your number one priority. Ask these questions:

  • Can you service me when I am on the road?
  • Can you service me if I have to move or camp out of state?
  • Will you charge me for doing service work? Or will you do it based on what the factory is paying?
  • Do I get a free loaner RV if mine is unusable?

If your local dealer cannot answer yes to all of the above, then you need to consider buying from RVWholesalers where the answer to all of the above questions is YES!

The team at RV Wholesalers is excited for you to hit the road with your RV. Doing homework in advance, working with a trusted RV specialist, and using escrow are safe ways to begin this new journey. We are here to help you make the best decisions.