Renting to Own an RV: Pros, cons, and is it right for you?

Interested in purchasing an RV but aren’t sure if you’ll like the lifestyle? Can’t afford a down payment on a new RV from a dealer? Renting to own a camper just may be your solution.

New RVs can easily cost over $100,000, making both the upfront and monthly costs very high.

On top of buying a camper, you will also be responsible for maintaining and storing your rig, which can be expensive and intimidating for a new RVer. 

Because of this, there are many good reasons to consider renting instead of buying outright. But first, what is a rent to own RV agreement? 

A rent to own RV agreement allows you to lease an RV and apply a portion of that rent to the purchase value of the RV. Once the RV is paid in full, it’s yours! 

Unsure if this option is right for you? Keep reading to learn how to rent to own an RV, the pros and cons of renting, and whether it is the best decision for you. 

How do I rent to own an RV?

There are a couple of options if you’re interested in renting to own a motorhome or camper trailer. Many RV dealers will do rent to own contracts.

Typically, this is in-house financing and you must apply to see if you’re eligible.

Many times, there is no credit check involved, but renters still have to provide references, information on income, and their social security number.

Similar to a car, the term of the RV rental loan is usually 48 to 60 months. Be sure to read the fine print, however; interest rates tend to be high when credit isn’t an obstacle. You’ll want to make sure you’re getting a good deal! 

You’ll also be able to find many owners who want to start receiving monthly payments for their RV.

Start by searching listings such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.

There are plenty of private owners who are willing to negotiate a rent to own contract. Just make sure you spell out the fine details in a way that works for you.

You’ll want to arrange a realistic monthly payment that you can afford, in addition to your travel costs. After all, what is the point of an RV if you can’t afford to travel?!

You’ll also want the contract to specify who is responsible for things like maintenance, repairs, and storage.

If you end up being responsible for these costs, you’ll want to factor them into your budget as well.

A great aspect of renting to own is the ability to negotiate responsibilities; if maintaining an RV sounds daunting to you, you may want to arrange for the seller to take on this responsibility.

It may mean higher monthly payments, but that is the beauty of renting to own. 

Benefits Of Renting To Own An RV

There is no doubt, the concept of renting to own is popular for a reason.

It offers a wide variety of advantages for all parties involved: the lessee can start receiving monthly payments immediately for their rig (and perhaps make extra money on interest), while the leaser can jump into a rig and hit the open road with very little upfront costs.

Let’s dive into all the advantages of renting to own an RV, and why it may be a perfect option for you! 

1. It’s a great way to try out the RV lifestyle.

You’ll be able to ease into RV life without the responsibility of maintenance, storage, and insurance, especially if you start with a short-term rental.

Short-term rentals are a great option if you’re only planning on traveling a few weeks out of the year.

They’re also excellent if you are a total newbie and just want to dip your toes in. 

2. You can avoid hassling with banks.

Typically, banks will not provide a loan for an RV that is 15 years or older.

This can be a major obstacle for people who want to try out the RV lifestyle but are not ready to spend thousands of dollars on a new rig (let alone maintain it!).

Therefore, if you are in the market for an older style, or simply want to spend less, this may be a great option for you. You’ll also have many more RV styles to choose from!

3. You can negotiate with motivated sellers. 

Private sellers are much more motivated to come up with an agreement than banks are.

With banks (and even some dealers) there is very little wiggle room to come up with an agreement that works on your behalf.

Hashing out the details with a private owner who wants to start receiving those monthly payments will give you much more weight in the negotiation.

This gives you much more room to create a contract that works for you!

4. Fewer upfront costs than traditional methods.

Buying an RV outright will set you back thousands of dollars, while traditional financing requires a large down payment and high monthly payments (especially because you’ll be limited to newer RVs).

If you don’t have thousands of dollars just sitting in your bank account ready to spend, a rent to own option may be just the ticket to begin your adventures.

Usually, there is a small down payment or no down payment at all. You’ll also be able to negotiate your monthly payments, ensuring this venture is something you can afford.

5. Having bad credit is no longer an issue. 

If your credit score is holding you back from having the life you’ve always dreamed of, you may want to consider renting to own an RV.

As mentioned before, RV dealers may skip the credit check altogether, and private owners rarely do their own credit checks.

This is a great option if you’ve found yourself with a stable income and a thirst for adventure, with only your past holding you back. It may help to build your credit, too! 

6. You can pay it off early if you’d like.

Similar to buying a home, you can choose to make bigger monthly payments or pay it off altogether.

In some ways, you get the best of both worlds; you can ease into RV life by leasing, but also have the luxury of paying off your rig early! The ultimate win-win. 

Reasons To Avoid Lease To Own An RV

Of course, every situation has its downsides, and renting an RV may not always be the best option.

These agreements can have disadvantages for both the leaser and the lessee, especially if the contract is lacking in details. 

Now, let’s discuss all the reasons why you may want to think twice before renting to own camper or motorhome. 

1. Beware of high interest rates and bad credit scams. 

We all know that there are people who try to take advantage of others, especially those with limited resources.

For this reason, you should be cautious of bad credit scams and high interest rates when looking for an RV.

Make sure to read the contract carefully to avoid falling into a scam. Even if the person or dealer has good intentions, they may try to compensate for the risk of leasing the RV by hiking up the interest rate.

Thus, it is very important to calculate the total cost you will pay for your RV (including interest). 

2. You are responsible for maintenance and repairs unless the contract says otherwise.

As mentioned previously, rent to own contracts can be a fantastic way to ease into RV life.

However, unless the agreement states otherwise, you may find yourself suddenly responsible for much more than you expected.

Imagine setting out on the open road in your newly leased motorhome, when suddenly the check engine light comes on.

Did your contact spell out who would cover repairs? If not, you may find yourself making high monthly payments AND paying for maintenance. 

3. Many times, you are dealing with private owners.

While this can be a great aspect of renting to own, it can also be a cautionary tale.

If neither of you has written a rent to own agreement before, creating a legitimate contract can be a learning curve.

You’ll want to make sure every detail is included. You’ll also want to make sure the paperwork is legal and holds up in the event of a dispute.

There is nothing worse than going through the rounds of negotiations just to find out your contract is worthless. 

4. Depreciation.

As I’m sure you know, travel trailers and motorhomes depreciate just like cars.

And while I thoroughly believe that RV life is a fantastic investment in your happiness, it is not always a great financial investment.

For this reason, you should consider the true value of your rig and how much it will be worth by the end of your agreement.

You may find yourself paying high monthly installments for a rig that just isn’t worth the price. 

5. You may end up paying more than the RV is worth.

This is another important factor to consider when deciding to rent to own.

Between interest rates and other fees, you may end up spending far more than the RV is worth in the first place.

Because of this, you’ll want to calculate the total amount it will cost you and compare that number with the value of your rig.

Ask yourself: is the ease and flexibility of renting to own worth paying a little (or a lot) more than the purchase price? 

Is Renting to Own an RV right for me? 

Here we come to the final and most important question: should you rent to own? The answer will depend on a variety of factors.

Are you in a situation where you can afford both monthly payments and travel expenses, but can’t necessarily afford a large down payment?

Are you new to RVing and feel hesitant about taking on the total responsibility of owning a camper?

If your answer is yes, renting to own may be a perfect opportunity for you to quickly get into a rig and start exploring.

However, if you are positive you’d like to dive into the RV lifestyle and can afford a large upfront payment (and still have the cash to travel), you may want to consider more traditional methods.

It is no secret that paying more upfront will save you money in the long run.

Additionally, you’ll want to consider your budget, the type of RV you want, how often you want to travel, and how comfortable you feel taking on the responsibilities of RV ownership.

There is no doubt, renting to own is a fabulous way to slide into RV life, but it is not necessarily for everyone. 

Now, we want to hear your thoughts! Have you ever rented to own? What do you think are the most important factors to consider? Tell us in the comments below!

Last Updated on by Aaron Richardson

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