One unexpected result of COVID was the run on RVs. It shouldn’t have surprised us that others might be in similar situations (based on some of the groups we’ve joined, it seems quite a few families may be hitting the road) or that people might see camping as a safe way to still enjoy some of summer. Needless to say, the spike in sales definitely impacted our camper search.
When we started looking, we were dead set on purchasing a used camper and spending a little time and money to make it our own. However, the floor plan we desired (a separate room for Little Bird and actual doors) seems to be a popular one, and every time a used one appeared, it seemed to be gone just as quickly – or it sat for obvious reasons. After traveling around western PA looking at several used campers, we made our way to a dealership with the intent to only look at used. We knew we had limited time and the used campers they had to offer were the best in under 250 miles. We arrived with the intent of looking at two, but as soon as the salesman saw our reaction to the first one (water damage, LOTS of work ahead), he honestly told us we would not like the other option.
I had done some research on the dealership and knew there were a couple new campers that fit everything we were looking for. So as we were chatting, I surprised Will when I asked to see a couple new ones – with specific makes and models in mind. We looked a couple that day and fell in love with “Catalina Cate” on our second visit to the dealership. We weighed the pros and cons, and for us, it made so much more sense to buy new for several reasons.
First, cost. Although we certainly paid more up front for new than we would have for used, we did not need to make any drastic changes to the interior or exterior – it was move-in ready and we knew everything worked before we took it off the lot. In retrospect, we realize it could have been incredibly easy for us to blow our budget on a used camper by simply removing wallpaper and finding water damage or other unexpected surprises.
Second, warranty. The new campers we looked at all came with warranties that we would not have gotten by buying used. We had budgeted ongoing repairs and maintenance into our monthly numbers, but what we couldn’t account for was how much time these things would cost. Granted, things can (and will) still go wrong, but we feel much better prepared to tackle a problem in our camper since we know her whole history.
Third, time. It turns out that everything with a 1-year-old takes a lot longer than you think it will, especially when you’re doing them on a time crunch because you thankfully have someone to watch said 1-year-old. By buying new, we got back a huge chunk of time that would have been necessary for us to get a used camper road-ready. In every used camper we looked at, there were many changes we would have needed to make. Instead, we essentially just had to move in and add a few personal touches.
We understand the draw of buying used – depreciation, ongoing maintenance and upkeep, etc., but we feel very blessed that we were able to find our camper and make her part of our adventure.