Popular RV YouTubers Share Pitfalls to Avoid When Buying an RV

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Close up of RVs at a dealership

Buying an RV can be both exciting and terrifying at the same time. It is important to approach the process cautiously to avoid potential pitfalls that could turn your dream into a nightmare.

Luckily, our friends, Kyle and Renee, over at Happily Ever Hanks, shared pitfalls consumers should avoid when buying an RV. Don’t step foot on a dealership lot without first arming yourself with this information.

Grab yourself a pen and paper so you can take some notes. Let’s get started!

Who Is Happily Ever Hanks?

Kyle and Renee are the husband and wife team that make up the popular YouTube channel Happily Ever Hanks. The couple started their epic adventure in 2017 after deciding to become full-time travel nurses. They fell in love with the lifestyle and wanted to share their adventures and lessons with others.

They launched their YouTube channel in 2020, which experienced tremendous growth very quickly. People fell in love with and were inspired by their spunky and energetic personalities.

They have a unique ability to roll with the punches and not sweat the small stuff, which are extremely useful qualities for full-time RVing.

Is It Hard to Finance an RV?

Before we dive into the tips, it’s important to address this important question.

Unfortunately, while the process for financing an RV is similar to a vehicle, it’s not nearly as easy. Many financial institutions label RVs as luxury or non-essential purchases and are more hesitant about financing.

First, you need to have your credit squared away before applying for financing. Use a service like Credit Karma to get a snapshot of where you stand. Most lenders like to see credit scores above 700 for RV loans. While it’s not impossible if you’re between 600 and 699, it’s not nearly as easy.

When looking at your financial situation, consider your solid debt-to-income ratio, employment history, and any red flags on your credit history. Late payments, accounts in collections, or bankruptcies are all red flags lenders do not want to see.

Lenders are stricter regarding who they lend to and what they finance. They want to know that the RV you’re financing is worth what you’re paying, especially if it’s several years old. Terms for these loans may require larger down payments or higher interest rates. 

Kyle and Renee’s Tips for Buying an RV 

Happily Ever Hanks shared with their viewers some great tips to avoid RV pitfalls while shopping. We wished we had these tips in 2017 when we were RV shopping. Let’s look at their advice so you can avoid making a costly mistake.

Know Your Purpose

Kyle and Renee remind shoppers about knowing the purpose of their RV purchase. This is because the needs of weekenders and full-timers are drastically different. 

Most weekenders spend as much time as possible outside of their RV. On the other hand, full-timers can spend consecutive days inside their rig, especially when mother nature doesn’t cooperate.

If your goal is quickly covering as many miles as possible, a massive towable RV may not be the best idea. Additionally, if you plan to only use your camper for a few weekend trips each camping season, you don’t likely need all the bells and whistles.

Those who plan to be stationary or travel full-time in their rig will benefit more from the increased features.

Do Your Research

Once you know your purpose, it’s essential to do your research. You can never tour or look at too many RVs.

Take into consideration the features and quality of the materials used for construction. Ultimately, you want to get the best bang for your buck.

While researching, list items you want and need in an RV. For example, many large traveling families need a bunkhouse or multiple bathrooms. Additionally, some people enjoy cooking outside, making an outdoor kitchen essential. The more RVs you see, the easier it will be to construct your needs and wants lists. 

Set a Price Point

After researching, you must set a price point before stepping on a dealership’s lot. If not, it will be easy for the sales team to mesmerize you with the fancy features and luxury comforts some rigs provide. 

Say how much you want to pay for a camper, not the dealer. In our experience, nine times out of 10, the dealer will opt for the more expensive option.

You could make a costly mistake by allowing a dealer’s unbiased opinion to sway you while shopping. This could result in you overpaying or buying a camper incompatible with your camping style.

A person holding the keys to their new RV at a dealership

Know Your Weight Ratings

Knowing your weight ratings is essential while RVing. This includes the weight ratings of the RV and your tow vehicle. While many dealers will help you confirm compatibility between your tow vehicle and the trailer, it’s ultimately your responsibility.

Exceeding weight ratings on your tow vehicle or RV is incredibly dangerous. You want to factor in the weight of any gear, equipment, or other cargo you plan to bring.

The “cargo carrying capacity” refers to how much cargo you can safely add to a trailer. Always make sure you stay within the ratings for each vehicle.

Pro Tip: What Is a Good Tongue Weight? Let’s find out!

Learn RV Lingo

Kyle and Renee also encourage their viewers to familiarize themselves with RV lingo. Dealers will use terms like “dry weight,” “pass-through storage,” and “four-season ratings” to wow you. 

Without a proper understanding, you could buy into some common sales terms that aren’t as great as they sound.

Take a look at our article on how to decode common RV lingo. We share a long list of common terms and descriptions to help you see through fancy words during sales pitches.

This can help you to be an informed shopper and avoid experiencing buyer’s remorse.

Consider Floorplans and Sleeping Options

When shopping, you must consider as many floorplans as possible. Manufacturers typically offer several different floorplans to fit various situations. You want to ensure it works for you and those RVing with you.

Don’t overlook the fact that everybody is going to need a place to sleep. Most campers provide multiple sleeping spaces, but this might require converting a couch or table.

In those instances, you’d lose the functionality of those items when using them for sleeping. So ensure you take the time to consider all of your options.

Close up of a bed in an RV

Test Functionality of Floorplans

Kyle and Renee also encourage viewers to test the functionality of any floorplans or layouts they’re considering. You need to consider some different scenarios that might happen while inside the camper.

They suggest extending the recliners and testing how easy it is to move around and navigate the camper. Some setups may require you to retract the footrest to get through or access certain areas.

Depending on the floorplan, this could help you discover hidden inconveniences that may be deal breakers.

Check Storage Options

We’re glad Kyle and Renee remind viewers to check storage options. This area is easy to overlook during the shopping process.

Unfortunately, many manufacturers fail to consider how much you’ll want to bring with you. As a result, it’s not uncommon to hear complaints about trailers providing too little storage.

Consider the size of the storage under beds, in cabinets, and in any closets. Failure to do so could result in you needing to leave some of your favorite camping gear or items at home during your adventures.

Even some of the largest RVs tend to offer minimal storage, so make sure you avoid this pitfall while shopping.

Inspect the Bathroom

RV bathrooms can be tiny and make it hard to do whatever business you need to do.

As a result, you must take the time to test it thoroughly. Climb in the shower and pretend you’re taking a shower, move around the space, and, as crazy as it sounds, sit on the toilet. 

Some RVs come with plastic toilets that feel flimsy. It can feel like you’re gambling any time you sit on these plastic thrones. You want to feel comfortable with the space, especially if you want to avoid sketchy campground bathrooms.

Keep in Mind: Our RV bathroom remodel is finished! Take a look at how we took upgraded our Dated bathroom

Consider Slides and Accessibility When Closed

Another fabulous tip from Happily Ever Hanks is to consider the slides and how much access you’ll have when closed. Accessing your refrigerator, bathroom, and bedroom with the slides closed can be incredibly convenient.

You may appreciate the ability to quickly jump in and use the restroom while fueling up at a gas station. You can also grab a snack from the fridge or climb into your bed at an overnight stop where you don’t want to unhitch or set up your camper.

Don’t Get Distracted by Shiny Objects

One of the final pitfalls Happily Ever Hanks warns shoppers about is getting distracted by shiny objects.

Dealers will talk up things like outdoor speakers, entertainment centers, and how just about everything inside a camper has some lighting.

Unfortunately, these tend to become more annoyances than conveniences eventually. They admit there are many features they thought would be fantastic but that they ended up rarely using.

A group of friends spending time drinking outside of their RV

Use These Tips from Happily Ever Hanks When Buying an RV, and Give Them a Follow for More Helpful Content 

Happily Ever Hanks offers viewers some very useful tips for buying an RV. By applying their tips, you can be a more informed shopper and avoid major pitfalls during your experience. 

We love following Kyle and Renee’s adventures and learning from them. Do yourself a favor, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and follow them on Instagram and Facebook. You’ll laugh and learn from this couple along the way.

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