You are retired and your children have moved out. You’ve been wondering what you will do with your empty bedrooms. The house has become so quiet and maintaining it has become a strain on your resources. And then you see the ad screaming at you: Class B Motorhomes for Sale! Just like that, you get an inspiration. You are going to rent your home to a younger family, and then invest in a home on wheels. This will probably be your third largest investment – after your house and college tuition for the kids.
Unfortunately, there is limited information on what you should expect from a motorhome. You thus find hundreds of Class B Motorhome buyers spending thousands of dollars trying to improve what they were promised was an awesome home on wheels. Well, not anymore. This is a complete guide on what you need to look out for before you sign on the dotted line of your motorhome purchasement agreement.
What is a Class B Motorhome?
From a casual observer, a Class B motorhome is just an oversized van. The van’s interior is however customized to provide enough headroom, kitchen, bathroom, living area and fold-over beds. It is basically a home on wheels that is sometimes referred to as camper van.
A Class B motorhome is constructed by either raising the roof or entirely replacing the roof. Among the motor vehicle models that are common with the motorhomes are Isuzu NPR and Ford Trader. The motorhomes weigh as much as 4500 kilograms and measure up to 6.4 meters long.
In some countries such as Australia, you will find camper vans customized from vehicles such as such as Toyota Hiace. In the US and Canada, bigger trucks such as Fiat Ducati, Ford Transit, Iveco and Mercedes Benz Sprinter are increasingly being used to create motorhomes. Among the famous manufacturers of motorhomes in the US include; Airstream, Roadtrek, Coachmen, Pleasure Way, Sports Mobile, Midwest Automotive Designs, Winnebago and Leisure Travel.
How To Choose a Motorhome
There are two categories of motorhomes that you can buy from the market. These are; old, but refurbished motorhomes and new motorhomes. Each one of these presents different challenges to those that buy them.
Understand Your Personality?
Before you settle on a Class B motorhome, you need to ask yourself what your personality is. The technical questions will become few once you understand yourself. Go ahead and make a table just like this before you even go out shopping for a motorhome. It will help you make a better purchase.
|Do you host many guests?||Your motorhome should be large enough to host your guests.|
|Do you like living in the wild?||You must have enough room to store food and clothing.|
|Do you have children (or grandchildren) who visit you?||You will need extra beds on your motorhome.|
|Do you enjoy cooking?||Your motorhome will need large kitchen.|
|Do you enjoy reading?||You will need proper lighting in your motorhome.|
There are a number of some more practical questions that you will need to ask yourself before you settle on your refurbished or new motorhome.
|Where are you going to park your motorhome if you are not full timing?||Is your garage large enough to host a fully equipped garage?|
|How well can it hold its own in snow or sunny conditions?||Look for things like air conditioning, engine and tires age etc.|
|What are the HOA restrictions?||You need to know the Home Owners Association rules and regulations in your area/state.|
|What is the size of the beds?||How big are you? Are the beds on the campervan large enough to host your large frame?|
|How big is the storage space in the motorhome?||Storage facilities such as fridge, under van bunkers etc. will come in handy if you are leaving home for a long period of time or when you cook more than you eat out.|
|What is the interior layout of the motorhome?||Is it a diesel or gas engine? Does it have a reasonable head clearance, twin bed, kitchen and bathroom layout etc.|
Make a List of Must Haves
Before you set out to buy a motorhome, make sure you have a list of all the things that must be part of the package. Obviously things like beds, bathroom and kitchen will be there, but you need to drill down to specifics
Mileage and Safety
The motorhome mileage will determine its resale value should you decide to dispose of it in the future. Obviously, the lesser the mileage, the safer the car will be since things such as air conditioning and engine conditions wear and tear over time
Reputation of Manufacturer
Buying a motorhome from a reputable manufacturer will be your best insurance against buying defective campervan. For one, they offer warranties and guarantees on all the vehicles they sell. They also have a stock of high quality spare parts that can be bought off shelf from authorized dealers.
Consult Other Class B Motorhome Owners
Before you commit to owning a Class B motorhome, visit nearby parks and look for owners with similar models and ask them what they don’t like about that particular model. If you can have yours fixed before you buy it, you will be avoiding a lot of additional expenses. Ninety percent of motorhome owners will be happy to share their experiences. Another important source of information is blogs owned by Class B motorhome owners.
Ease of Operability
How easy is it to operate the motorhome? In this case, you will be looking for things such as pitching (hooking) to picnic sites, driving on snow, maneuvering on parking lots etc. How easy is it to improve the campervan with things such as solar panel, boosters etc.?
Look for Class B Motorhomes on websites such as RV trader, eBay, and Craigslist to establish the general prices of motorhomes with similar facilities. Since recreational vehicles come in varying interior layouts, two Class B motorhomes may have very different prices. Explore websites such as NADA Guides to know the ideal pricing for your campervan.
The motorhome will be your ‘home-on-wheels’ and you are thus well advised to check whether the previous owner had insured it. You will then need to check with your insurer to see whether he insures recreational vehicles. There are insurance companies that don’t. If he doesn’t, you can get several quotes before you get the one that offers a product customized for your needs.
You will probably be travelling over long distances with your motorhome. Almost all gas stations in America have diesel pumps and diesel happens to be cheaper than gas. If you are looking to make your motorhome a permanent home, perhaps you should start by ensuring it is a diesel engine.
Common facilities in any recreational vehicle include; AC, fridge, microwave, TV and DVD, burners and furnaces, bathroom and shower, generator for alternative source of energy, water pumping system etc. Check against this check list to see that all the facilities have been fixed.
Quick Tips for First Time Class B Motorhome Buyers
Buy It Only If You Can Afford It
Do not get into a huge debt by buying an RV that you cannot afford. Get a used Class B motorhome and first learn how to operate it. By buying a cheap home on wheels, you will be figuring out whether you really love this sort of lifestyle before you get stuck with servicing a huge loan on a new RV.
Buy It During Winter
Most Class B motorhome owners try to sell their vehicles just at the onset of winter because they want to avoid storage fees, fixing broken parts, replacing old tires and re-oiling. You are likely to get an awesome deal at around November.
Do Your Pricing Research
If you are shopping on Craigslist for example, you need to search several locations. Imagine driving 6 hours to get an RV that costs more than $10,000 less…it is possible that there is nothing interesting in your area but there is a great deal in a different city.
Hire Motorhome Inspection Service
Getting a professional to check out the conditions of the RV will go a long way in saving you unnecessary costs long after you have signed the purchasement agreement.
Beware the Low Mileage Lie
Just because a motorhome has a low mileage and has been stored most of the time is not an indication of good condition. Continuous usage of machines always necessitates keeping them in good condition. If your motorhome seller has not been using it regularly, he might not have been motivated to keep its servicing up-to-date.
Rust is the best indication of disuse and potential problems with the engine of a motorhome. Rust on the roof is an indication of a leaking roof. If you notice rust on an RV that you want to buy, insist on seeing the condition of the engine.
Whether you are looking for an old Class B motorhome or a new one, the above buying tips will apply. Make sure you acquire something that you will not regret 3 months later.