Basic Considerations Before Buying an RV

By: Andrew Elliot, Vice President, Private Banking Relationship Manager
Some say there’s no better way to escape the hassles and routines of daily life than to hit the open road in an RV. Camping grounds and national parks have been bursting at the seams the past year or so as families escaped from cities and hometowns in search of more secluded, beautiful natural surroundings. 

Buying a RV
RVs provide a way for people to get out of their houses and into the open air, especially with concerns about traveling around the country on crowded airplanes. Americans depend on all makes and models of RVs as their ticket to safe personal spaces while traveling our nation’s highways and backroads — and not just for weekend trips. Working and attending school remotely — along with widespread access to wireless service — allows families to camp for weeks without missing a beat in their jobs or education.

With the variety of RV vehicles and customized features available to buyers, the number of factors surrounding this major purchase can quickly drive up the overall cost of an RV. You should weigh your decisions carefully. Here’s some guidance for important first steps in the process, before you fork over the money and hit the open road with your family.

CONSIDER WHAT KIND OF RV YOU WANT TO BUY
If you’ve begun to shop for RVs, you know there are many different types and models to choose from: campervans, folding camp trailers, towable pop-up campers, truck campers, fifth wheels — not to mention luxury motorhomes of all shapes, sizes and price ranges. Ask yourself the following questions:
  • How much money do you want to spend?
  • How often are you planning on using the RV?
  • Where do you plan on traveling — close to home or far away?
  • What features do you want to include in your RV?
  • Do you want an RV you can tow with your current vehicle or a luxury motorhome?
  • How will you use the RV? Are you a rustic, off-the-beaten-path camper, or do you prefer to stay at established campsites along your route?
  • How long do you plan on keeping the RV? Will you trade up in a few years?
RV sales prove Camping is Popular

DO YOUR RESEARCH
Just like buying a car, it pays to do your homework. Because of the incredible demand for RVs right now, it’s important to get a good idea about what you’re looking for to meet your needs and fulfill your wants before you visit a dealership. These suggestions may help:
  • Do initial research online — the internet is filled with informational sites, advertising and videos. 
  • Rent several types of RVs before you buy. 
  • Do a couple of test runs. Make sure you’re at ease driving or hauling an RV and that you and your family enjoy the overall experience. 
  • Visit local trade shows to view new RVs and learn firsthand about the latest features available on all types, models and sizes.
  • “Window shop” for options you want to include in your RV and make a list.
  • Talk to other owners to see what they like and dislike about their RVs. 
  • Study RV floor plans to select designs that complement your lifestyle and budget.

BUY LOCALLY
If possible, it’s probably wise to buy your RV from a local dealership when the time comes to purchase it. Why? Because you’ll likely visit the dealership again in the future for routine maintenance or if a problem arises with your RV. 

“We always encourage folks to buy locally, within a comfortable driving distance of their home,” says Phil Ingrassia, president of the National RV Dealers Association. “RVs are homes on wheels, and they do require maintenance, and things can rattle around and get broken. If you need service on any of the systems in the unit, like the electrical or plumbing, you’ve got a dealer you’ve done business with who can help you out.”²

OBTAIN THE PROPER INSURANCE
Just like you would with a new car, get insurance on your RV before you drive it off the lot. Again, do your homework and shop around for a policy that offers the best coverage for the lowest premium cost.

PAYING FOR YOUR RV 
Should you decide to finance an RV rather than paying cash for the vehicle, we can help. Because an RV may end up being your family’s “home away from home,” home equity lines of credit are one attractive option. We offer a home equity line with no bank fees at closing,3 and interest rates are at historic lows. As an alternative, a refinance cash-out mortgage may be a solution, contingent on the terms of the existing first mortgage. Contact Commerce Trust Company today for more information. 

¹ Kampgrounds of America, Inc., “Fresh Data Indicates Camping Interest To Remain High in 2021” and 2021 Annual North American Camping Report, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/fresh-data-indicates-camping-interest-to-remain-high-in-2021-301273611.html, and https://koa.com/north-american-camping-report/, April 21, 2021.
² Business Insider, Liz Knueven, “How to buy an RV, from choosing the right type to finding the best financing,” https://www.businessinsider.com/personal-finance/how-to-buy-an-rv#, October 24, 2020.
³ Insurance must be carried on property securing this loan. Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, and Colorado residents incur no fees or closing costs. Oklahoma residents are required to pay state mortgage tax of no more than $.10 per $100 of mortgage filed; no other fees or closing costs apply.
The opinions and other information in the commentary are provided as of September 1, 2021. This summary is intended to provide general information only, and may be of value to the reader and audience. 
This material is not a recommendation of any particular investment or insurance strategy, is not based on any particular financial situation or need, and is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified tax advisor or investment professional. While Commerce may provide information or express opinions from time to time, such information or opinions are subject to change, are not offered as professional tax, insurance or legal advice, and may not be relied on as such. 
Data contained herein from third-party providers is obtained from what are considered reliable sources. However, its accuracy, completeness or reliability cannot be guaranteed. 
NOT FDIC INSURED | MAY LOSE VALUE | NO BANK GUARANTEE
Commerce Trust Company is a division of Commerce Bank. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Elliott Commerce Trust Company
Andrew Elliott Vice President, Private Banking Relationship Manager Commerce Trust Company 
Andrew is a private banking relationship manager for Commerce Trust Company. As a member of the private client team and an experienced, tenured private banker, he and his dedicated client support staff are responsible for ensuring each client’s experience with Commerce Trust exceeds expectations.

His specific responsibilities include management of our clients’ day-to-day banking, cash management, and credit needs, while also helping them navigate the wide array of our financial services to find the solutions that best fit their needs. Andrew joined Commerce Trust Company in 2011.

Andrew is a former member of the Lee’s Summit Rotary Club and also a board member of the Blue Springs Education Foundation. Andy works closely with several HCA hospitals in Kansas City, including Research Medical Center, Centerpoint Medical Center and Lee’s Summit Medical Center. Andy also serves on the Lee’s Summit Advisory Board of the Truman Heartland Community Foundation.