(In terms of resale value)
If you own an RV, chances are that you have modified something about your RV since taking ownership. From upgrading your batteries, to buying solar shades to protect the interior, or even replacing an outdated TV with a newer, fancier (and hopefully bigger) TV. The aftermarket options for RV upgrades, modifications and customizations are endless. Just like improving your home, or customizing your car or truck, you get a better return on your investment with certain modifications or upgrades. We will look at some improvements that you can make to your RV that will increase resale value, and some of the modifications that are less beneficial when it comes to resale value.
Below are a few areas where investing in your RV will go a long way for your enjoyment and when it’s time to sell your rig.
It’s an age old saying – and for a good reason. All drivers are concerned about their safety and the safety of their passengers. Driving a motorhome is a completely different experience than driving a car or truck, it is a house on wheels after all. Motorhomes do not handle like passenger vehicles and are much harder to control during evasive maneuvering. Due to the shape and driving dynamics, motorhomes are much more susceptible to rollovers, wind conditions and can cause the driver to feel on edge while driving. Suspension upgrades that improve the handling or comfort of your motorhome, are always a good investment. Part of the fun of owning a motorhome is enjoying the journey just as much as the destination and you want to make sure you get to your destination safely, and comfortably.
If you have a gas RV or a heavy-duty truck for pulling, one of the upgrades you can make to your rig is adding a Liquid Spring suspension system to your motorhome or truck. Liquid Spring is unique suspension upgrade that uses compressible fluid to stiffen or soften the ride of your vehicle in real time while driving. This means that when you are cruising down the road, the suspension is softer for a more comfortable ride, and when you are turning, the onboard computer recognizes that the vehicle is maneuvering and will stiffen the ride. For more info about this incredible product, click here. The best part is, Ultimate Collision is an authorized dealer and installer for this product.
Tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) are another great way to make sure that the tires on your RV are safely inflated. Depending on the brand and model, some will even tell you the pressure of your tow vehicle tires and have an app to monitor on your phone. The added benefit of properly inflated tires is longer tire life, and better fuel economy.
Another great upgrade is Bluetooth locks. Most modern vehicles have keyless entry and it makes life so much more convenient. Carrying keys around is a pain and if you ever lose your key while you are out camping, it will undeniably rain on your parade. Your family, fellow campers and future owners will all thank you for this upgrade.
Technology, especially going green.
We live in a wireless age and there is app for almost everything. Upgrading outdated technology in your RV can be a big added bonus for the next buyer and make the RV more enjoyable for you. Here are a few upgrades you can make that will most likely save you money in the long run.
Solar Panels – The beauty of this upgrade is that there are so many options to create a solar set up that fits your needs. You can go minimalistic and do this upgrade for less than $500, or create your own off the grid solar power bank to last you weeks, it will be pricey though! I recommend assessing the frequency of how much you use your motorhome and accessibility to hook ups to make this decision. For example, if you are a weekend warrior and only use your rig for 2-5 days at a time, just buying 1-2 panels, a controller and upgrading your batteries will most likely be sufficient and not break the bank.
Smart Devices – Here is a list of devices that can be upgraded to smart devices to make life more convenient: thermostat, water leak detection, temperature monitor, TVs, Cameras (if your RV doesn’t have them already). Upgrading to any smart device that allows you to monitor critical systems while you are in the RV or away is a good investment. Temperature controls are especially important for travelers with pets.
Make that kitchen sparkle
Just like updating your kitchen at home is a great return on investment, updating your RV kitchen will pay off as well. You can also do this upgrade without racking up a huge bill. Do your walls and cabinets look dingy and outdated? A fresh coat of paint can take care of that problem. Adding a new backsplash will also give the kitchen a whole different feel. Lastly, if you have appliances that are looking worn out, or beat up, replacing these with items with new appliances will make your rig more appealing. If possible, try to add more storage space, or find creative storage solutions for groceries and small appliances.
RVs have limited space and because of this, people are forced to pack light. This means a more frequent need to wash clothes. Unlike at home where laundry is at your disposal, options on the road are more limited. The first option is a laundromat. This option is not ideal because it takes up valuable time while traveling. The second is finding a campsite with this amenity. This is a better option because you can do laundry while at your campsite and don’t have to hassle with finding a laundromat and working it into your schedule. The last is doing laundry at, or in your RV.
Like the other upgrades, there is a few different directions you can go with this upgrade. The first would be to install hookups for your laundry and also an exhaust vent for the dryer, and plumb in drainage for the washing machine. Any way you slice it, this is an expensive upgrade, but it is a convenience that people who travel for extended periods of time, or live in their motorhome prioritize highly.
There are portable washer and dryer options available on the market. You can individually buy a portable washer and dryer in the hundreds of dollars range and although these units will be smaller, they are portable and can be stowed when not in use. Making a custom storage option for the machines when not in use would be a great amenity for you, and the next buyer.
What not to do…
Now that you have gotten a crash course in the most beneficial upgrades for an RV, let’s talk about some modifications to avoid.
Personalizing your rig on the outside – Add-ons that you may feel as valuable, are not always seen that way by others. Some examples of modifications that could be harmful to resale value are custom graphics/paint (even stickers which could damage the paint when removing), removing factory vinyl graphics, custom lighting like lights that illuminate under the RV (under glow) and try to avoid adding any holes or mounting anything that doesn’t need to be there, as that could lead to a potential water intrusion point.
Customizing the inside – While doing any modifications or improvements on the inside of your rig, try to stay with a neutral color pallet and make any furniture upgrades or replacement look as factory as possible. Also, try to avoid replacing furniture with a different shape or color. Many times, people are shopping for an RV based on the floor plan and if you stray too far from the original design, your rig may not be as desirable to someone else. Larger TVs or improved electronics are usually welcome, just make sure you don’t have to make any major modifications to accommodate any upgrades.
Repairs and services – I’m a DIY guy, and always encourage the DIY spirit. However, always know your limits when working on an RV. Just like with your car, servicing the chassis critical for getting longevity out of your RV. If you have the tools and space to service your RV’s chassis, then great! If you do not – always make sure you are taking RV to a certified service shop to do any maintenance. The same goes for repairs in the house of your RV. It really pays to be handy when owning and RV and some small items will pop up that you can probably handle. However, if something major like a water leak, slide issue or electrical problem appears, it’s usually best to trust a professional technician that knows how motorhomes are built and operate.
Remember – always keep service records and receipts for maintenance this will not only help you keep track of what you have previously serviced, but will also provide peace of mind for the next buyer that they will be buying an RV that has been cared for.
Best of luck with your RV modifications and upgrades and safe travels!