You have decided to enjoy the RV lifestyle, and like many people you ask - where do I start? This article is designed to answer many of those questions you may have.
- How do you plan to use our RV? Primarily on freeways and surface streets? Or maybe it will be driven on the gravel or dirt roads of a forest setting or even some sandy beaches.
- Diesel or gas power? If you are planning on cross country or trips throughout the West in mountainous areas, you should consider diesel power. If your usage is on the East coast with relatively flat terrain and shorter distances, gas power is the norm.
- Do you want slide-outs to increase the interior space?Or can you maximize living space with awnings and screen rooms?
- Do you want a luxury interior or do you take a more utilitarian approach?
- How many people should the RV accommodate? Comfortably, of course.
- Do you plan to use the kitchen frequently, or will it be only for quick meals or used at the bar?
- Check the bathroom to be sure you can move freely about the stall and shower.
- Adequate storage space is a must for those who have lots of gear or will be on the road for a long period of time. In some cases, it may be more important to eliminate an add-on you don’t need that takes up valuable basement storage space.
- Ease of access to engine compartments and all other systems access should always be a consideration. For example, how easy is it to change the generator oil?
- Does it have adequate exterior lighting and security features? Are switches and alarm panels easy to access? One should be in the sleeping area, for example. It may make sense for the basement and mechanical areas to be alarmed also.
- If pre-owned, has it gone through a rigid certified Pre-owned inspection? Is the manufacturer still in business?
- Make sure you do a thorough test drive, in different weather conditions if possible to see how the rig handles in rainy conditions or high winds. See how it handles on the highway in the open and around town in tighter, more restrictive spaces. What is the visibility like in these conditions? How well can you see at night?
- Is financing a consideration?
Sterling Acceptance has many long-term relationships with recreational lenders that offer attractive rates and terms on the purchase of new and pre-owned RVs. The best rates are available on those seven model years and newer, and financing is readily available on RVs going back 10 model years. Sterling Acceptance does offer financing on some diesel coaches up to 15 model years old; special rates and terms apply.
If you do wish to finance your RV purchase, we recommend you get pre-approved with Sterling Acceptance. Once we receive the completed loan package we generally have a loan decision in 24 to 48 hours. You will be in a better position to negotiate your best deal knowing your loan is already in place. Loan approvals are good for 30-60 days from the date of approval by the lender.
The standard terms for an RV loan are 15 years for loans of $25,000 and above, with 20 year terms offered on loans of $75,000 and over. Down payments range from 10-20%, and many lenders offer rate discounts for larger investments. Keep in mind the more money you put down now, the better your equity position when you are ready to trade up or sell your RV. It is a simple case of "Pay me now or pay me later."
If your RV has eating, sleeping, and bathroom facilities it may qualify as a second home, allowing you to deduct the mortgage interest expense. Check with your accountant and/or financial advisor to see if financing makes sense for your situation.
RV insurance is a specialty field. You want an agency and company that understands RVs and can provide broad coverage at a fair price. Sterling Acceptance has licensed insurance agents on staff and would be happy to get a competitive quote for you.