An RV can cost as much as a small home, so you want to know the costs and benefits before just going for it.
Let’s take a journey through the pros and cons of buying and owning a motorhome so that you can plan your next adventure.
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What we like about motorhomes
You have RV sizes to choose from
Motorhomes have diversity in terms of shape, size, and purpose.
Class A motorhome
- Length – 28 to 45 feet
- Sleeping capacity – 4 to 6 people
- Price – $100,000 to $400,000 (some Class A RVs can cost as much as $2 million)
Class B motorhome
- Length – 17 to 19 feet
- Sleeping capacity – 2 to 4 people
- Price – $40,000 to $80,000
Class C motorhome
- Length – 20 to 30 feet
- Sleeping capacity – 4 to 8 people
- Price – $50,000 to $100,000
Other RV types include:
Travel with the comforts of home
Some motorhomes have separate bedrooms, bathrooms, a full kitchen, and a dining area. So, you can deck it out with all the comforts of home.
Packing for a trip becomes almost too easy with a motorhome. You can leave your travel clothes and non-perishable in the RV so they’re ready for the next vacation.
Class A, Class C, and fifth-wheel motorhomes are great homes away from home.
Can I live in a motorhome?
Lots of people have taken up RV life as a full-time lifestyle.
The most important thing to consider if you are considering living in a motorhome is that you can’t just park it anywhere.
Always check your jurisdiction’s zoning codes before you set it up for a long-term living.
For the short term, renovations and fumigations are more manageable when you own a motorhome. You can walk outside to your second home and be just as comfortable.
You’ll naturally have more adventures
Most motorhome owners will tell you they are far more apt to get up and go on a trip when an RV is just sitting outside.
You don’t have to worry about making reservations or paying those ridiculous hotel taxes.
You meet new friends
The motorhome community is active and lively. As an RV owner, you’ll meet those with mutual interests everywhere you land.
You make long-lasting memories
A motorhome allows you to make memories that don’t include long waits at the airport or how bad the hotel was.
You and your travel companions enjoy making memories while you journey on the highway, meeting fellow travelers, and enjoying hidden treasure locations.
It can pay for itself
Since a motorhome begins to depreciate quickly, selling it for more than you bought is not likely.
But you can rent it out when you and your family aren’t cruising to offset costs and maybe make a little extra money.
Work and travel at the same time
A motorhome owner can grab the laptop, hop into the RV, and go. Can you imagine? Working while overlooking the Grand Canyon?
What we dislike about motorhomes
Sometimes it isn’t easy to drive
Motorhomes are enormous – they are homes on wheels. So, it makes sense that they aren’t as easy to drive as your standard sedan.
Some states require that you get a special class license to drive an RV, while others don’t. Always check for local and state requirements for driving a motorhome.
It depreciates like a regular vehicle
Like your car, an RV loses value the moment it leaves the lot.
A motorhome will never go for more than you paid for it. So the best thing you can do is get your money’s worth in adventures.
High initial costs
Regardless of Class, motorhomes are expensive. And because you finance them like any other vehicle, it means a pretty good-sized down payment.
You’re then picking up a monthly payment on the motorhome along with insurance, roadside services, WiFi, and so on, which adds to the overall monthly cost.
Regular maintenance isn’t cheap
Regular maintenance is required if you plan to get your money’s worth out of your motorhome. It includes tune-ups, tires, oil changes, etc.
And you’re not done. You still have to maintain the appliances inside the motorhome, along with the plumbing, AC, and heaters.
What are the most common problems with motorhomes?
- water leaks and intrusion
- broken appliances
- power management problems
- broken air conditioner
- tire wear
High fuel costs
A motorhome’s average gas mileage is between 6 to 14 miles per gallon. So, fueling it up before a trip will hurt a little.
But, many find that the fuel cost is still less than a hotel or a resort.
And then, you have registration fees
Like a vehicle, you must register your motorhome and get license plates.
In some states, the registration fee for an RV is as little as $12.75, and in others as high as $400.
Oh, and campground fees
You’ll have campground fees when it comes to parking the RV.
The cost to park your motorhome can range from $15 to over $100 a night, depending on the amenities and location.
The cost of storage
Storage costs aren’t a concern if you can store the RV at home.
But, if you have to rent an RV storage facility, it can cost as much as $250 a month.
Is it worth owning a motorhome?
Some say an RV isn’t worth the investment because it starts to lose value before it gets to the sales lot.
But if you want to make memories for the next 20 years (or 200,000 miles), it might be worth it.
Is owning a motorhome a good idea?
You should absolutely buy a motorhome if the pros outweigh the cons for you and your family.
You should probably test-drive an RV first. Better yet, rent one for the weekend and see if it’s a lifestyle you want.
Summing up the pros and cons of a motorhome
What are the advantages of owning a motorhome?
- Motorhomes come in all shapes and sizes
- It becomes a second home
- Owning an RV motivates you to take more vacations.
- You join communities and make like-minded friends.
- You can rent it out when you aren’t using it to help pay for the costs.
- You can work remotely while overlooking the ocean.
What are the disadvantages of owning a motorhome?
- Not everyone can drive a motorhome.
- RVs begin to lose value quickly.
- The initial investment is huge.
- You must do regular maintenance, which comes with a high price tag.
- It isn’t cheap to fuel up the motorhome before every trip.
- Some states have a high RV registration cost.
- You will have campground fees. But they are cheaper than hotel rooms most of the time.
- You must store the motorhome offsite if you don’t have private property.
Are motorhomes expensive to maintain?
Let’s break down the cost of maintaining a motorhome.
- A monthly note on the motorhome
- Gas – $1,300
- Insurance – varies and starts at $125 a month
- Regular maintenance – $100 a month
- Utilities – $100 to $300 a month
- Camper storage – $30 to $400 a month
- Campsite fees -$15 to $100
More FAQs about Buying a Motorhome
What are the disadvantages of owning a motorhome?
The disadvantages of owning a motorhome include potentially uncomfortable or limited beds and mattresses, restricted cabin space for movement, and inadequate storage compared to a traditional home. Additionally, as previously mentioned, the ongoing expenses associated with owning a motorhome may incentivize individuals to spend all of their vacations and breaks exclusively in their motorhome.
What is the life expectancy of a Class A motorhome?
The life expectancy of a Class A motorhome can vary depending on several factors. However, typically, a well-maintained vehicle can last for around two decades. On average, Class A or Class B RVs or motorhomes can have a lifespan ranging from 10 to 20 years.
Why not to buy a Class A motorhome?
Class A motorhomes are not known for their fuel efficiency, and refueling them can be quite expensive due to their large fuel tanks, which can range from 50 to 250 gallons. Additionally, these motorhomes can be inconvenient for everyday tasks as they are too big to easily unhitch and drive to the store.
Are motorhomes hard to maintain?
Motorhomes are not particularly difficult to maintain, but they require a different approach compared to regular cars. Unlike cars that need regular maintenance every 3,000-5,000 miles, motorhomes often spend a lot of time sitting idle. To ensure optimal performance, it is essential to conduct seasonal oil changes to keep all components properly lubricated and running smoothly.
Is it hard to sell a motorhome?
Selling a motorhome can be challenging for private sellers due to various factors such as repairs, advertising, and negotiating the terms of the sale.
How many MPG does a motorhome get?
The average gas mileage of a motorhome varies due to several factors, including the size of the motorhome. On average, a diesel motorhome can achieve approximately 30 miles per gallon, while a petrol camper or motorhome typically ranges from 8 to 10 miles per gallon.
Is it smart to live in a motorhome?
Living in a motorhome is a wise financial decision. Opting for an RV lifestyle entails downsizing and owning fewer possessions, resulting in significant savings on various fronts such as clothing, toys, and tools. With limited space, you also cut down on utility expenses and home improvement costs if you own a traditional house.
What problems do motorhomes have?
Motorhomes often experience water leaks, which are almost unavoidable during RVing. Even the most durable, advanced, and well-constructed RVs will eventually succumb to the effects of the elements. Regrettably, water damage can result in significant harm to your motorhome.
Do motorhomes have good resale value?
Motorhomes do not have good resale value due to their rapid depreciation, which can pose challenges for those attempting to sell a used RV. Various factors impact the depreciation of a camper, and having a grasp of these factors can assist in preserving the value of your motorhome.
Is it worth it to buy a motorhome?
Buying a motorhome is not a financial investment. While certain vintage models may hold value, the majority of motorhomes depreciate over time. However, owning a motorhome can be seen as an investment in a particular lifestyle. To offset costs, you can consider renting it out through platforms like Outdoorsy or RVshare when you’re not using it.
What time of year is cheapest to buy a motorhome?
The cheapest time of year to buy a motorhome is in October or November when motorhome dealerships offer discounts to clear their remaining stock from the summer season and prepare for the upcoming peak season.
How many miles per gallon does a motorhome get?
The average fuel mileage for motorhomes is typically around 30 miles per gallon for diesel motorhomes, while petrol campers or motorhomes usually achieve a range of 8-10 miles per gallon.
What to avoid when buying a motorhome?
To avoid making mistakes when purchasing a motorhome, it is important to consider the following factors: choosing the appropriate size, not dismissing used RVs, conducting thorough research, taking into account the towing vehicle, considering the height of the motorhome, asking sufficient questions, obtaining the correct insurance, and avoiding rushing the purchase.
What is the average life of a motorhome?
The average life of a motorhome is approximately 20 years or 200,000 miles, whichever comes first. However, the actual longevity may slightly differ between individual vehicles. While some motorhomes may last for 10 to 15 years, others have the potential to endure for as long as 30 years.
How many miles do motorhomes usually last?
Motorhomes usually last around 20 years or 200,000 miles, whichever comes first, but this can vary depending on factors such as the class of the motorhome and the level of maintenance it receives.
Are motorhomes high maintenance?
Motorhomes require regular maintenance, similar to cars. To ensure your motorhome remains in excellent condition, you can expect to spend approximately $1,000 to $2,000 per year on maintenance, although this cost can be reduced if you choose to perform some of the maintenance tasks yourself.
Do motorhomes hold their value?
Motorhomes do experience depreciation in the first year after being sold brand new. However, they generally retain a significant portion of their value when resold later. The extent to which they hold their value depends on factors such as their condition.
What do I need to know before living in a motorhome?
Before living in a motorhome, it is important to know that choosing the right RV is crucial. No amount of preparation can fully prepare you for the experience. Be prepared for a lot of maintenance and challenges in keeping your active dogs entertained. Additionally, it is important to note that WiFi may not be readily available and the cost of living in a motorhome may be higher than expected. Lastly, you will likely find that you do not need as much stuff as you initially thought.
What do I need to know about buying a motorhome?
You need to be aware of important factors when purchasing a motorhome. First, ensure that the RV lifestyle aligns with your preferences. Next, evaluate the additional expenses associated with owning an RV. Then, determine the type of motorhome that best suits your specific requirements. Consider whether to buy a new or used motorhome. It is advisable to purchase from reputable RV dealers. Lastly, have a clear understanding of your desired features and specifications when searching for a motorhome.
What is the best time of the year to buy a new motorhome?
The best time of the year to purchase a new motorhome is typically during late fall and winter. This period sees fewer shoppers and less competition, allowing for increased negotiating power. Additionally, favorable deals can be found just before the release of new RV models, during times of higher gas prices, and at RV trade shows.
Which Class A motorhome is the most reliable?
The Newmar Kountry Star, the American Coach American Tradition, and the Entegra Coach Cornerstone are widely regarded as some of the most reliable Class A motorhomes. These models are known for their exceptional reliability, impressive features, and positive feedback from owners.
How often should a motorhome be started?
The motorhome should be started once a month and run until it reaches normal operating temperature, which is about 225℉. After reaching this temperature, it is recommended to let it continue running for 30-60 minutes.
How many miles is too many for a used motorhome?
Generally, a used motorhome with anywhere between 100,000 and 200,000 miles could be considered to have high mileage. Whether or not an RV in this mileage range requires some repairs or maintenance depends on its previous care and maintenance. Similar to any vehicle, the level of wear and tear on its parts is likely to be less if it has been well-maintained.
Why not to buy a new RV?
The reason to avoid buying a new RV is that you will experience a rapid and significant loss of value as soon as you finalize the purchase and take it off the dealership lot. Despite no physical alteration, the RV becomes classified as a pre-owned vehicle, resulting in immediate depreciation that can reach up to 20%.
What is the downside of RV life?
The downside of RV life is the limited storage space, which requires full-time RVers to adopt a minimalistic lifestyle due to the constraints of available cabinets and closets in most RVs.
What is the life expectancy of an RV?
The life expectancy of an RV, motorhome, or travel trailer depends on several factors, but typically a well-maintained vehicle can last for around two decades. On average, Class A or Class B RVs or motorhomes have a lifespan of 10 to 20 years.
Why are people quitting RV life?
People are quitting RV life because of the increasing number of RVers, which has led to overcrowded campgrounds, higher RV prices, and a lack of privacy.
Is it realistic to live in an RV?
Living in an RV is a realistic option for many Americans, with over a million individuals choosing to do so full-time. These RV dwellers often report increased happiness and improved relationships as a result of this lifestyle. However, it is important to note that living in an RV may not be suitable for everyone. It requires having adequate space, compatible companions, and a favorable financial situation.
Is an RV a lot of maintenance?
An RV requires annual and seasonal maintenance, similar to a car. To ensure your RV remains in excellent condition, you can expect to spend approximately $1,000 to $2,000 per year. If you choose to perform certain maintenance tasks yourself, the cost can be lower.
Is living in an RV stressful?
Living in an RV can be stressful due to decision fatigue, which often shatters the idyllic dreams people have of full-time RV living. Many individuals underestimate the overwhelming stress that comes with constantly making decisions, leading them to feel overwhelmed and ultimately giving up on the lifestyle.
Can an RV last 30 years?
An RV can last up to 30 years with proper usage, but it greatly depends on how well you maintain and take care of your camper. If there are issues like roof leaks, wear and tear, or water damage, the longevity of the RV will be significantly reduced.
Can living in an RV cause health problems?
Living in an RV can potentially cause health problems due to the possibility of formaldehyde off-gassing. This is particularly common in newer RVs, as off-gassing typically occurs within the first year after manufacturing. Although not life-threatening, formaldehyde off-gassing can result in various symptoms that may be mistaken for allergies and make you feel unwell.
Should I live in an RV in retirement?
Living in an RV during retirement can significantly reduce your monthly expenses, allowing your savings to stretch further. However, it’s important to consider the overall financial implications, as owning an RV and traveling can be quite costly. Evaluating your individual circumstances and examining the complete financial picture will help determine the feasibility of this lifestyle choice.