Class B RVs or van campers are motor homes built by automotive companies to offer leisure to users. Their small size comes in handy in camping expeditions, festivals, or road trips as they offer comfort and convenience to the user’s home while on the go. Class B RVs (recreational vehicles) sometimes are more expensive than Class C RVs because of their compact nature and very popular.
The vehicle is customized by motorhome creators who build it on a van’s engine. The most popular vans used for RV conversions are the Ford E series, Chevrolet vans, Ram Promaster, and the Mercedes Sprinter. The original body can be customized to accommodate little extensions, adding windows, doors and use RV manufacturer parts to create the inside. Class B RVs are the smallest of the RVs available on roads, similar to a conversion van, and come with all luxuries to be there in a home; Fridge, shower, entertainment system, TV, cooking area, microwave oven, and more. Some even have extra luxuries like slide-outs in order to give you extra space.
Class B RVs may seem cheap because of their small size. This is not the case since most of them have features like those found in bigger RVs. However, Class B RVs are much tighter and with little space and some come with extra customized cabinet work attached to the van’s side. This costs a little extra, usually in the range of $90000-$140000 when you buy one new. The upside though that any auto shop is capable of servicing a Class B RV and no need of hiring specialized services since they are really just built on an “average” van.
My first RV was a van which I bought used. I loved it and fell in love with the RV lifestyle driving that around. Now I have a 28′ Class C RV which is more spacious for my longer stays. If you plan to travel more, Class B RVs are great choice. If you plan to stop for months at times, you will probably want to upgrade for a larger size.
Begin doing your research. The more RVs you see, the better placed you are in getting the one that meets your needs and budget. RVs come in different models, prices, conditions, and interior layouts. There are different sites that advertise used RVs, for example, Craigslist, eBay, RV trader. They give buyers the RVs full specifications. You can also search online using NADA guides for prices. When driving around places, you may find others parked on the side with For Sale signs.
Go to a dealership and test drive a couple of class B RVs. You might fall in love with one right then and there, but please don’t buy it when you first visit! Go home to think about it.
You can also get friends or relatives who have purchased RVs previously to help you in the process of buying yours. They come in handy in identifying the correct van for you.
When you search privately, contact the seller of the RV you are interested in and ask them to have the RV ready for a checkup. Ask them to fill it with propane, have some water in the water tank, and let you plug it into an electric outlet. Test drive it. If the RV is too far, make sure that a local specialist can go and check the unit for you before you drive hours and waste your time.
Checking the unit physically gives you a rough idea of what to expect when you check another unit. There are little things making a difference in an RV. See my RV buying checklist
RV insurance costs normally less than a regular car’s, but some companies don’t cover RVs. Get some quotes. This might be important in the overall budgeting process.
Other Things To Check:
- Find out about the fuel economy of the car
- Check outlets and turn on all devices to test.
- AC, Fridge, Microwave, TV, DVD player
- Test all the lights
- Turn on the water system, see if the water pump works properly
- Check the bathroom and shower
- Turn on the burners and the furnace
- Test all the lights
- Check for water damage and the roof
- If you have a generator, test it
- See all storage and doors if they close properly
6 Tips To Buy Your FIRST Class B RV
- Buy something you can afford! Don’t get into a huge debt before knowing what you are getting yourself into. Buy something older, something that is easy to pay off (possibly something you can pay right off), and learn about it. Use it. Go on weekend trips. Find out if this is really what you want and you can handle it before you are getting stuck with something you are not using and a huge debt.
- Search for your used RV in the wintertime! Many people want to avoid paying for storage and fixing broken things, change oil, or tires. I got my van in November from a private seller who did not want to spend any money on the RV anymore! You can get great deals this way!
- When you search on Craigslist try different locations. You can hop from one location to another with a click. Maybe in your area, there won’t be anything interesting but you might find a good deal within driving distance. What’s a 6 hours drive for a great RV that costs $15k less than it’s worth? That’s the deal I got.
- If the location of the RV is too far or you know nothing about RVs, I suggest hiring Lemon Squad’s RV inspection service. It might not be cheap but it’s worth it. A professional will check out your RV before you buy it, they will send you pictures, they will test everything so you will know what you are buying.
- An RV that has too low mileage and was stored most of the time is not necessarily a good thing. An RV is like a home, continuous usage might help to keep things in a good working condition. You might find a good fixer-upper but you need to know how much it will end up costing you in the end.
- Don’t be afraid of rental units. Rental units may have larger mileage but they have been well taken care of. Out of my 3 RVs 2 were rental before I purchased them and I had no issues with them. I know of people who purchase brand new RVs with lots of problems.