Recently, I decided to revive this blog from the dead and I've started to post more regularly. Before that, it had been stagnant for about a year.
Interestingly, I checked my stats before I did anything and I noticed something interesting...
Around April 2020, the traffic to this site began to increase. All by itself without me doing anything at all. Of course, the traffic increase wasn't huge, but considering the blog was dormant, it was interesting.
Could this be because of COVID-19?
Is there an increased interest in RV ownership because of the COVID-19 global pandemic?
Sure seems so. In fact, here's an interesting video on the trend from CNBC:
I think this makes perfect sense. After all...
- People are getting stir-crazy sitting at home.
- An RV is a great way to get out there but still maintain your social distancing
- Traveling by RV means you can avoid the hassle of air travel and hotel rooms
- People may be feeling financially pinched and RV vacations are usually far more economical than the air/hotel route.
I personally think that the US economy is likely to remained slowed for awhile - if not get worse. It is even quite possible that we see a deflation in real estate prices eventually. This combined with job losses means we could see an increase in foreclosures.
Could this mean we may even see an increase in people living in RVs? Either because they have no choice or because they choose to downsize? I think it is quite possible.
But, I have some advice for anybody thinking about buying an RV right now...
Please Be Smart About Buying An RV
As the CNBC video talked about, most RVs are built in Elkhart and they're having a hard time keeping up with the demand. This means rushing to build them and a drop in quality.
For those of us who've been RV owners for awhile, this might not even seem like news. I have seen a noticable decline in overall build quality for years now.
I've lost count of the number of stories I've heard of people having their brand new RV sitting on lots awaiting warranty repairs for months on end. The whole time, the rig is unusable and you're still having to keep up with those debt payments.
I've never understood why most people seem to want to go out and buy brand new. As I covered in my article on new versus used (see Buying an RV: New Versus Used), there's some definite things to be aware of here:
- New RVs depreciate FAST. You are literally burning your money, in my opinion, when you buy a brand new RV.
- New RVs are not more reliable. They break down and need repair often MORE often than the used ones. You might like the feeling of security of having a warranty, but you won't enjoy having your rig sit there unusable for months just because they have shoddy build quality.
- You are likely taking on new debt to buy a new RV. Which makes poor financial sense, in my opinion.
In an economic downturn, I don't think it is particularly smart to take on a big pile of new debt in order to buy an RV. I know the interest rates are low, but it still makes little financial sense. You should be trying to get out of debt right now, not the reverse.
I think RVs that are 10+ years old are far better purchases. You get far more for your money. If you need to finance, it will be harder since most banks won't give you an RV loan on a rig that old. But, there are still ways to do it and it will usually still be a much smarter purchase. If you can, pay cash.
Not to mention that, in a lot of cases, the older RVs are just better built! It obviously depends on the manufacturer, but I've seen it in a lot of cases. Not only is the overall quality often better, but previous owners have often debugged the issues FOR you!
I've got a checklist you can use to evaluate a used RV. It is aimed primarily at motorhomes, but much of it will still apply to a towable.
You can grab it here...