Tips on Purchasing Used RVs and Motorhomes for Sale

Here at Want Ad Digest, the Northeast's prime classifieds business with ads listed both online and in print, we can provide for you all of the additional information you'll need to purchase a used camper or RV online. We are covering the following here: The many advantages of owning your own camper, why you should buy used over new, why you should go with Want Ad Digest specifically, different types of campers and RVs and how to choose which model is right for you, reputable brand names to stick with, and questions to ask the seller about the vehicle for sale; we also provide links at the bottom of the article to other helpful websites with camper and RV information, such as how to prepare the vehicle for winter storage.


On average, 1,000 Americans buy an RV every day. Used campers and RVs are bought and sold in a variety of markets: physical auctions, internet auctions, and classifieds all play an integral role in the exchange of used campers. Some may shy away from looking at used campers and RVs for sale online because of the excessive number of sites that sell them; many are not user friendly, and the buyer wants to ensure that they are purchasing their new vehicle through a trusted source. Here at Want Ad Digest, you can search for the type of RV or camper you are looking for in one well trafficked location.

Remember when searching through our database that terms such as campers and RVs can often be used interchangeably. If you do not find what you are looking for try a different name, such as “motorhomes for sale by owner,” “used RV for sale by owner” “used van campers for sale,” or even “recreational vehicles for sale by owner.” Additionally, you can search by location, such as “small RVs for sale Albany NY” or “RV trailers for sale by owner MA.”

First of all, why should you look into used RVs for sale by owner? Well, factor in the cost of flying where you would like to go - airline tickets, car rental, eating out, etc. If you have a timeshare, you are obligated to go to that one destination every time you want to take a vacation. If you have a camper, you can save money on things like airline tickets and eating out; you only have to eat out if you really want to. Furthermore, you will be able to sightsee and view much more than you could from the window of an airplane. Of course, if you are looking at used campers for sale by owner then you can be assured you are saving money by going with a private seller

Owning an RV ensures quality family time where kids can spread out and utilize space, which results in less arguments. You can take advantage of optimal cleanliness - use your own toilet, your own sheets, cook your own food, etc. Take your time. Make stops at your own discretion, as frequently or infrequently as you wish.

Most importantly, the biggest advantage to buying a used camper specifically is depreciation - brand new RVs lose about 15% of their value during the first year, and about 10% the following year. The only real drawbacks to owning an RV is having adequate storage for it, and paying for gas (which you would be doing anyway with any vehicle). Of course, small campers for sale will cost less and require less storage, but you do need to keep in mind how many people you are going to be accommodating.

So, you have decided to take advantage of the many benefits that owning your own camper has to offer. First, it is important to be aware that there is a wide range of types and sizes of RVs, and for each of them there is a considerable range of prices. Perhaps you would be more interested in looking at small camping trailers for sale or a small RV for sale instead of something too large. Indeed, small RV campers are an excellent choice to look at it in campers for sale.

Slide in campers for sale are very popular today, and they refer to campers for sale that are loaded onto, or attached to, the chassis of a pickup truck. Many slide in campers for sale come equipped with kitchen and bathroom features. The other main reason why slide in campers for sale are used by many camping enthusiasts today is because truck campers can be loaded and unloaded fairly easily, and those taking advantage of slide in campers for sale will be able to use their truck as well as the camper.

Unlike in the automobile business, which has condensed into about half a dozen manufacturers, there are currently dozens of RV manufacturers. Regardless of what type of camper you are interested in, it is recommended to stick with major brands and avoid those that no one has ever heard of. A few major RV brands are Keystone, Coachmen, and Jayco.

RVs are divided into two main categories, each of which can be subdivided into more specific classifications: towed RVs and motorized RVs. Towed RVs include travel trailers, fifth-wheels, folding camping trailers, and SURVs (sports utility recreational vehicles). The smaller travel trailers are designed to be transported behind the average family car that is properly set up for towing; there may not be a lot of lounging or bathroom space. The larger travel trailers are among the most popular RVs out there, and are fully equipped with a wide range of price levels depending on the accommodations.

Fifth-wheels have become more popular in recent years. The primary benefit with these RVs is extra-stable towing. The main disadvantage is the way that the hitch takes up space in the bed, which takes away from potential extra storage.

Folding camping trailers are "pop up" campers that can be collapsed for easier storage and transportation. There are designed to be easy to set up, store, and use - you just may need to purchase a cover to protect the folding camping trailer from the elements. This is another camper term that can go under a different name, so if you don't find folding camping trailers for sale by owner right away, try searching for pop up campers for sale by owner as well.

SURVs are separated into motorized and towable RVs. Motorized consist of all of the elements of a typical motor home, along with the ability to haul additional things in a garage built into the rig; this garage area can also be used for sleeping or for recreational purposes. Towable SURVs also have a section of space inside reserved for a garage style storage area, and can be towed behind motorcycles or bikes.

Motorized RVs include Class A, B, and C motorhomes, truck campers, and custom coaches/buses. Class A motorhomes are the most expensive all of the RVs. The driving and living compartments are linked together; the motorhome is built on a stripped truck framework where the driving area is a key part of the interior. One drawback besides the expense is that the RV Consumer Group rates Class A motorhomes as having more structural problems and safety issues in the event of a crash. Class B motorhomes, AKA camping conversion vans, often start out as full-sized vans, then later have an RV interior installed; they are easy to maneuver. A Class C motorhome begins with a cab and has the RV body attached.

Truck campers are designed to be towed by a pickup and can include an extensive range of equipment levels. Some are incredibly low priced, very basic campers that basically just protect you from the elements, with a bed and some cabinets. Others are more pricey because of additional features that can be found on any fully equipped RV. Truck campers are easy to handle, and leave the pickup free to haul a boat or some other recreational vehicle. Finally, custom coaches or buses are similar to Class A motorhomes, but can be even more prestigious. These are very large, luxurious motorhomes that are fixed with the newest features.

Before getting started browsing through classifieds for used campers for sale, visit a nearby campground or RV resort and talk with some of the owners. Find out what they like and do not like about the types of RVs that they own. You can save money by buying used, but also by going with a smaller unit, or opting out of some more expensive options - talk to current camper owners to find out what they recommend. Do your homework beforehand so that you can best match your needs and interests with the right RV for you.

Questions to ask yourself beforehand: How will you use the RV? It should take you where you want to go and let you do what you want to when you arrive at your destination. When will you use the RV? If in the summer, you may want air conditioning, if in the winter, heat. How many people do you need to accommodate? Do not get an RV so large that it will not be accepted where you want to take it, which brings us to, where will you use it? Smaller, rural areas would warrant a small RV for sale, as would national parks. If you are planning on living out of your camper for weeks at a time you may need a larger vehicle to accommodate the living arrangements.

Questions when looking at a camper for sale by owner: Why are they selling the RV? Ask about anything that they did not specify in the ad, such as is there a history of smoking in the camper? Also, ask if you can spend the night in the RV prior to purchasing it, in addition to test driving it. When doing this, ask yourself if you could imagine living in this vehicle for an extended period of time. Ask the seller for proof that the RV has been inspected by a qualified mechanic, or have one do so before the exchange.

When inspecting the camper for sale by owner in person you will want to take a look at water, electrical systems, air conditioning and/or heat, appliances (fridge [requires a three hour waiting period to ensure it is working properly], stove, oven, microwave), generator, exterior (dents, scratches?), leaks, lighting, tires, TV/cable, roof (rust or cracks?), and is there a vehicle battery?

When you have done your proper research, purchased a used RV or camper online that you are satisfied with and that meets all of your needs, you will want to check out camping sites. The atmosphere of camping sites can very greatly from remote and rural, to those that are quite easily accessible with grills and picnic tables at your disposal. You can often, although not always, except restroom facilities of some sort at camping sites; however, laundry, showers, and things of that nature will vary depending on the site and you will want to find out about these things beforehand so that you can pack accordingly. It is common courtesy to arrive at a campsite prior to dark falling - this is not only for the obvious reason that you could disturb sleeping campers, but you may also not have adequate lighting to park your RV in an acceptable place to camp.

Take your time when researching campers for sale online. Whether you are looking at small camping trailers, small RV trailers, slide in campers for sale, or small camping trailers for sale, you want be sure to purchase a vehicle that you will be happy with and utilize for many years to come. Again, there is a wide range of types of campers for sale available and many factors to consider before making that exciting purchase. Good luck, and happy travels!

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