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Many dream of finding a free RV. The prices for RVs have skyrocketed over the last couple of years. But the quality isn’t getting much better. What you’ll pay for a new RV in 2023 is far from the price of the same RV ten years ago.
You might have better technology and some upgraded appliances, but there won’t be many differences in the flooring, cabinetry, and furniture.
So you might want to find a free RV, an older, run-down model that someone just wants taken off their property. If so, we have some tips for you.
From where to search to how much it will cost, let’s look at what you might find when searching for a free RV.
How Much Is an RV?
RVs range in price as widely as houses. You can find a new entry-level travel trailer for $30,000 or a fifth luxury wheel for over $200,000.
And the difference in motorized RVs is similar. A budget-friendly gas Class A may cost $185,000, while a new diesel pusher may cost over $400,000. Plus, you can get top-of-the-line models like Tiffin’s Zephyr that cost $800,000 to $900,000.
So from pop-up and truck campers to toy haulers and Class C motorhomes, you’ll find a wide range of prices for new RVs.
Can You Get a Free RV?
For many people, an RV can cost as much as their house. They just don’t have the money to buy a new RV. Even used RVs can cost a pretty penny, depending on the type and condition.
So for folks wanting to adopt a camping lifestyle with a minimal budget, a free RV is the only option. Although you might have to do some searching, it’s possible to find a free motorhome or trailer. Let’s find out how!
5 Tips to Find a Free RV
If you want a free RV to fix up and make your own, you’re not entirely out of luck. But there will be costs involved in the repairs and upgrades. So don’t forget to factor in those costs when considering an RV in the first place.
1. Work for an RV Relocation Company
Every camping season, travelers rent an RV from Outdoorsy, RVShare, or a private party. Sometimes they rent one for a round-trip adventure, but other times they rent them for just a one-way trip.
Then RV relocation companies return the RV. Transfercar is one of the most popular. Getting hired as one of these drivers will allow you to see the country without having to pay anything for an RV.
Generally, you’ll have to drive a few hours a day, but then you can enjoy sightseeing along the journey. Imagine driving an RV from Arizona back to Montana.
You could stop and explore Zion National Park for a couple of hours, catch a show in Las Vegas, or visit a popular brewery in Denver.
You also don’t have to worry about maintenance or repairs. Just enjoy the journey and look forward to the next one.
2. Use Facebook
You can find about anything on Facebook. A free RV is no exception. You can join free RV groups where people post dilapidated, run-down motorhomes or trailers they just want taken off their hands.
Feel free to post specifically what you’re looking for. You can also search Facebook Marketplace. If it’s not free, you can likely find cheap RVs that might fit your budget.
Keep in Mind: Are RV Facebook Groups Doing You More Harm Than Good?
3. Use Craigslist
Like Facebook, you can use Craigslist to search for a free RV. The advantage of Craigslist is you can also place an ad. Explain that you’re willing to come to pick up the RV.
Many owners don’t want to spend the money paying someone to remove a broken-down motorhome. So if you’re willing to travel, you could have a few options.
4. Scour Your Community
Is there a motorhome just sitting in someone’s yard in your neighborhood?
Have you passed a trailer going to work that hasn’t moved for the last three years? If an RV has flat tires with grass growing two feet tall around it, you could try to work out a good deal, even a free deal.
It might take some bravery to knock on someone’s door, but if you explain that you’re looking to renovate an RV and will take theirs off their hands for free, you might have a taker.
5. Negotiate Trade of Goods or Services
Although this might not be considered completely free, you can also negotiate a trade of goods or services for an RV. Spread the word that you’re looking for a free RV. Explain that you can work as payment.
Maybe you’re good with computers and can provide an in-demand service like bookkeeping, web development, or database management.
Maybe you can offer a free taxi service for someone who doesn’t like to or can’t physically drive. Look at what you can provide and make a deal.
How Much Does an RV Remodel Cost?
Just like RVs themselves have a wide price range, so do renovation costs. If it’s a complete overhaul, you could spend a lot more than if you simply upgrade furniture and replace the floor. If you get a free motorhome, the RV is likely in poor condition, and you’ll have to do substantial work.
It might cost $5,000 to get it in working condition just to take it out on a weekend camping trip.
If it has structural damage, mold, or water leaks, you could spend tens of thousands of dollars to remodel it. But a $250,000 Class A motorhome for $20,000 is still a pretty good deal.
Keep in Mind: We Sold Our RV in Under 30 Days! Here’s How We Did It
Are There Any Dangers to Finding a Free RV?
Anything that you get for free comes with risks. As mentioned above, a free RV won’t be in good condition. You don’t know where the RV has been or how well the previous owner cared for it.
The biggest concern is mold, which can cause serious health problems. If you’re willing to deal with this challenge, check every nook and cranny of the RV for signs of mold and water damage. You’ll have to pay for a mold removal service to eliminate the problem before you occupy the RV.
You also want to ensure the RV gets legally transferred to you. Complete the proper paperwork and pay the registration fees to ensure you own the RV.
The previous owner will want liability protection for any problems you encounter. So ensure the RV is legally yours before spending hundreds and thousands of dollars on a remodel.
Is a Free RV Worth It?
If you don’t mind the sweat, tears, and hard work involved in an RV renovation, a free RV can be absolutely worth it. A $35,000 travel trailer may only end up costing you $5,000. But the work is time-consuming and expensive.
Plus, you don’t know what problems you’ll encounter. So be prepared for frustrations and disappointments along the way.
But once your remodel is complete and your free RV is safe to occupy and hit the road, you’ll relish the time and money you spent to make your dream a reality. Would you consider renovating a free RV?