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What to Look for When Purchasing an RV

Updated: Jun 17, 2022

I love our RV and the RV lifestyle my husband and I have chosen, however, there are a few things we wish we would have known to consider before living out of an RV full time. The layout is perfect for us and makes it feel very spacious, which is the reason we chose it, but there are a few little things we still wish we would have known to consider. Here are a few things I wish I would have known about RV living for beginners:


Heat in the Winter

As you may have noticed from our last blog post, Full-Time RV Must-Haves for Beginners, we have some pretty chilly winter days despite having the warmest winters in Canada, so being able to properly heat the RV is a big deal.


Our propane furnace is underneath the bunker room, at the back end of the RV and keeps that room nice and toasty warm by pumping strong, hot air into the room. However, by the time the heat reaches the front end of the RV the air coming out of the vents is cool and not very strong at all.



When our very nice and handy RV repair guy was here removing our stove so we could get new counters put in, he informed me that there is a specific type of vent that you can get which allows you to customize the pressure from one vent so more air is pushed up to the other end of the RV to keep the air pressure even. I didn't know there was such a thing and I really wish we would have known that during our record-breaking cold snap our first month of living in an RV. These are just not things you think about when you have never lived in an RV before. Our first blog From Condo Living to RV Living Full Time: The Decision explains how we came to the decision to live full-time in an RV only a few months ago; at the very beginning of the winter. Ohh Wow! Were we in for a surprise our first month. My husband will get into those details in a blog coming soon.


Things that Should have Come Included


When purchasing your RV, make sure your hoses come included with the price. We were not aware that hoses were not part of the deal and only found out on moving day, after our RV was delivered when we attempted to connect the sewage and plumbing. The RV technician informed us then that they should have come included with our RV, but sadly, they did not. We didn't know it at the time, but this was about to become a huge issue for us only a couple weeks later. If you read our post Full-Time RV Living Must-Haves for Beginners, you know all about it. We ended up spending a significant amount of money on new hoses and lumber to level our RV when we should have been unpacking and moving in instead! Another silly Newbie RVer mistake. You really don't know what you don't know.. Oops!



Leveller

Who knew that new RVs don't come included with a built-in leveller, anyways!? . Some RVs come equipped with automatic levellers while others do not. If an RV does not come equipped in you will need to buy slats of wood or something else that can withstand the weight of your RV. These go under your RV tires to make sure it is completely level as an uneven RV can cause a lot of problems, such as with your fridge but with other things as well.



Furniture and Beds

Once the kitchen table and couch have been converted into beds, our RV can sleep up to ten people. … I suggest converting these into beds and trying them out before making your purchase. We, as newbie RV buyers, did not even think to do this and were surprised at how uncomfortable and small these beds were. The kitchen table that turns into a bed makes no sense at all because mattresses aren't usually broken into eight pieces? Clearly, neither of us has had much experience with RVs to understand that this could be an issue but for us it doesn't matter as we will never need to use them. For others, however, this could be a deal breaker, so make sure to check it out.


Storage

If you have a lot of stuff you don’t want to part with, I suggest making sure there is enough storage to store everything you refuse to leave behind. We have lots of storage inside and outside of the RV which has made our lives a lot easier and kept the inside free from a lot of clutter and looking cramped. More details on that in our blog The Pros of RV Living vs Condo or Apartment.



Countertops

When we were RV shopping we were stuck between two RVs. We liked the layout of one but loved the cosmetics of the other, less functional RV. In fact, the countertops were so important to me that we were going to go with the less functional RV layout just for the nice, stone countertops. When we mentioned our dilemma to the company with the more functional layout, they promised to throw in countertops and have them changed to quarts included in our price. This made our decision super easy! Thank goodness I wouldn't budge on this because apparently oil from a plug-in can damage plastic counter tops! In the picture above you can even see where it stained the whole side of. the bathroom counter! Good thing they will soon be changed to quarts soon! (They have since been changed and look fantastic, I will be posting about that soon!)


Double-paned Windows

Our RV does not have double-paned windows but I was told that was something I should have considered before buying our RV. I have since done some research and there are conflicting opinions on this as they can add weight which can be problematic if you are towing your RV, some people have said that having double paned windows did not keep the cold out, but did help with noise, while others have sworn having double paned windows kept them much warmer in the winter. So I guess it comes down to doing some research of your own and making informed decisions based on your own personal needs.


Oven Size

Our kitchen is perfect for us but one thing we didn’t bother to look at, because we were not aware we needed to, is the size of our oven. We have often cooked our turkeys for Christmas and/or Thanksgiving dinners to bring it over for dinner, but unfortunately we will not be able to do that anymore with our puny, little oven! Had we actually thought to look inside the oven we may have requested to throw in a slightly bigger oven too..


Plants

If you love plants like I do, you will definitely want to make sure that there are enough places to put them, have somewhere else to put them like your office, or perhaps decide that you have to have to let some go as I also did.


This might seem obvious, but for me, parting with some of my plants was the hardest thing about moving into our RV. Since I cannot have an indoor jungle inside my home anymore, I have decided to keep some of my smaller succulents, and the plants love their new home! We have LED lighting at the top of our RV which is a nice feature. I was initially worried about my succulents not having enough sunlight and dying, however, the exact opposite happened! My succulents have grown more in the last three months of living in an RV than they did in a year living with South facing, floor to ceiling windows. Amazing!! So, if plants are important to you, make sure you have LED lights and enough space to keep them.


Fifth Wheel Tri-Pod

Although my husband and I find it funny and we can’t help but crack up each time our RV shakes wildly with the spin cycle of our washing machine, I am pretty sure it’s not great for the RV. It's shaking is so strong that the dishes start clanging to the beat of the spin cycle and I am always so tempted to run outside and see if you can see the whole RV shaking wildly from the outside! Our washer/dryer is currently out of commission until a part for the door comes in, but as soon as we receive it I am going to take some videos and post them here because it really is hilarious! In all seriousness though, consider getting a tri-pod for your fifth wheel so everything stays level and washing your clothes does not turn into a fun ride at the amusement park; however fun it might sound. At Christmas time you can wrap some outdoor lights around the tri-pod and, voila! You have a Christmas tree at the front end of your RV! Decorating made easy!


Bathrooms

Now, I know bathroom use in an RV is a big topic and worry for folks. For more detail on bathroom use read our blog Things to Consider with RV Bathrooms. But for now, I’ll just stick to the basics.



Showers with Hot Water

If you like long showers, make sure you have a water/hot water saving button on your shower head or if you aren't concerned with hydro consumption you might want to consider getting a tankless water heater.



Bathroom Heater Vents

Heater vents in the bathrooms are a good thing to ask about if you will be living full time in your RV in the winter.


Bathroom Size

Make sure the bathroom itself is big enough to do your face/shower/hair routine. I personally had to make some slight adjustments with these things which I will get into more on the RV bathroom.


My husband and I have only been living the RV lifestyle a few months and these are the things that have come up since we have been living in an RV full time. I am sure more things could pop up so I will continue writing about them as the issues arise.

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