Buying an RV vs renting an apartment (the ultimate guide)

In this blog post, we will talk about the differences between buying an RV vs renting an apartment. We will focus mainly on life in an RV since living in an apartment is well-known to most of us. 

Buying an RV vs renting an apartment 

We will start this article by saying that, if you are alternating between buying an RV vs renting an apartment, renting is cheaper. Below are the suggestive prices for an average RV:

  • Class A: $ 130,000
  • Class B: $ 120,000
  • Class C: $ 90,00
  • Caravan: $ 15,000
  • Saddle: $ 45,000

Nonetheless, we have to agree that both  RVs and apartments have their cons and pros, and although many think this is the ideal home even for the long-term, there are some points that you have to consider before making any big decision. See the table below for differences between living in an apartment and living in an RV. 

Living in an apartmentLiving in an RV
A lot of spaceLimited space
More amenitiesFewer amenities
Water and electricity when you need itLimited water and electricity
Washing & Drying Machine No Washing Machine or Drier
Full bathroom and running hot waterBathroom with chemical toilet & cistern to be emptied
Security and privacyMore insecurity and less privacy
Limited outdoors spaceHuge terrace with different views

Usually, renting an apartment requires the first and last month’s rent plus an insurance deposit, which can be substantially less than the thousands of dollars it would take to buy an RV.

Rather than committing that money to a home that may not be appreciated for many years, it could be more financially beneficial to rent. In fact, in metropolitan areas like New York, San Francisco or Seattle, it is much cheaper to rent an apartment than to buy an RV, according to CNN Money.

Buying an RV vs renting an apartment: Community benefits

Many apartment complexes, especially large ones, are equipped with swimming pools and gyms. This saves you money or a gym membership. In more exclusive communities, you may find valet parking and porter services, such as people walking your dogs or picking up your clothes from the dry cleaner. An apartment building that takes pride in the community could host a pool party and game nights for its tenants. 

Because it is difficult, almost impossible, to separate some services for each rental unit, some services may be included in the rent or charged at a small added fee. Some buildings offer basic cable TV as a bonus, while others might provide heat, garbage service, or water. These amenities will be harder to have in an RV.

The offer that exists today in the market can be very varied. Because it is already a constant that many people invest in a recreational vehicle to go on a trip with their family or as an alternative means of earning money (We will talk about that another day).

If you have never driven in a recreational vehicle, we suggest that you try to rent one for the weekend. That will help you make a good decision.

If the decision has already been made or one of your friends suggested you buy an RV, we have some recommendations for you.

The ultimate guide for buying an RV

Below, we prepared a list of things to consider, so that it is a good starting point and helps you make the best decision when it comes to buying an RV.

  1. The first and most important thing is to be clear about how many people will live in the RV. It is not the same to buy a small van as an RV with three rooms and two bathrooms.

Before evaluating your budget, ask yourself how you are going to use it. If it is to make long trips or for sporadic weekend outings. You, more than anyone, know the tastes of each person in your family. So the design and size will revolve around the opinions of all who will enjoy it. 

  1. What do you want to buy? Evaluate your real needs. Establish an honest dialogue with all crew members. Involve them in the purchase.
  1. Comfort is a priority. Each space must be carefully checked. The bathroom should be a priority. An RV without a bathroom is not an RV.
  1. Seek help from a mechanic. The engine is the lifeblood of any vehicle. Make a thorough review of both the engine and its transmission. A cursory check can be very expensive.
  1. Evaluate that you have enough space for each team member to have their own space. That includes pets.
  1. Calculate the proportion of drinking water that you store in the internal tanks. You may one day decide to go to spend summer in a distant place, which someone showed you in a photograph. Autonomy is very important.
  1. An RV without a bathroom is not an RV. It is a “wooden box on wheels”. So, if you don’t have one inside, think that the ¨call of nature¨ does not wait and if you are parked in a difficult place, you or your family will stop enjoying the trip. 

But don’t worry, the aftermarket offers a number of portable toilets to suit all tastes and budgets.

  1. Having a kitchen space is vital to reduce food costs. Remember that the same things you eat regularly at home will be the same as you eat on your trip or if you want to live full-time in an RV. Do not think that because you leave the city your budget has to increase by eating in restaurants.

The kitchen has to be functional. (Propane gas stove- 3-way refrigerator- Dishwashing area and preparation area).

  1. The structure of your motorhome must be in perfect condition. Remember that it will be your family’s home and yours. Safety must be above anything else.

Try climbing onto the roof of the motorhome to assess the conditions. 60% of second-class vehicles show obvious deterioration in their structure, due to water leaks that were not detected in time.

Evaluate the state of doors and windows. It must have an element that avoids being easily opened (see this article on safety in an RV).

  1. Unless you are an experienced mechanic, have the engine checked by an expert, doing compression and force testing.

Check the condition of the Batteries, unless they are new, you may have to make an extra investment, to ensure the comfort of your family.

Check that you do not have annoying leaks in the grey or black water tanks. Oversight may be worthy of a serious fine for contamination on public roads.

Check that the title deed or the title card, which expressly says that it is a recreational vehicle (RV, Motor home, Caravan, Camper or temporary housing use). Many people retrofit old trucks and convert them into RVs without proper review or approval by the relevant authorities.

  1. Check the tires. It may be that, at first glance, they do not have any problems or it may appear that they do not have any wear. Many of the mobile homes have remained immobile in their owners’ homes, awaiting the arrival of their new owner. So an unused tire is just as dangerous as one that is heavily worn. The explosion in the sun causes it to crack.
  1. Go inside, open and reach into the multiple drawers. The purpose is to assess for moisture damage.
  1. Check the condition of the electrical connections. Test all lights and see that the clean water and grey water reading sensors are working properly.
  1. If possible before purchasing an RV, purchase a device that measures propane gas leaks.

The bottom line

Remember that buying an RV does not have to be a concern. Think of all those times when you can go out with your family and enjoy a beautiful place. Your responsibility is to choose the best on the market. The cheapest is not always the most advisable. 

These are some of the recommendations to keep in mind if you are thinking of buying something that will become your second home. The opinion of your family is very important. Involve them in planning activities so that everyone is happy with the final decision!

Please let us know if you have any comments or questions about the content. 

FAQ on Buying an RV vs renting an apartment 

What do you have to take into account when buying a motorhome?

When buying a motorhome, you have to take into account so many things that it is best to involve each member of the family in the process. Give each person precise instructions. Do an eye check of the tires, electrical system, the condition of the furniture, etc. 

How much does a motorhome cost?

The costs of a motorhome depend on whether they are pre-owned, new, large, luxurious, simple, etc. However, an estimate (from a used one to a new luxury one) is between $ 15,000 USD to $ 100,000 USD.

How to charge a motorhome?

To charge a motorhome, first unplug all electrical appliances, including the power converter. If you park your motorhome during cold weather, remove the battery. Use an external battery charger to fully charge it.



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