Will Living in an RV Be Cheaper Than Owning a House?

Jake Michaels
October 26, 2020
4:53 pm

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Car on the curb

Living in an RV full-time sounds like an exciting adventure. Every day, you can wake up to different sights and scenes. There is nothing to tie you to one spot when you live in an RV. The entire world is your own backyard.

That is why many people are adopting a nomadic lifestyle. In the United States, one million Americans left their homes and decided to live in an RV.

Life in an RV is different from what most people are used to. Because of constraints in space, they do not own a lot of stuff. They can only bring essentials whenever they travel.

They also do not have traditional jobs that shackle them onto an office desk like many Americans. They work remotely or only if needed.

For some people, this kind of lifestyle is a necessity rather than a want. Buying a home is an expensive and often complicated process. To others, it is a preference.

How Cheaper Is It to Live in an RV?

Living in an RV is said to be cheaper than buying a house. The cost of real estate varies from state to state. In Louisiana, for example, the average cost of a house is $235,505.

RV dealers sell motorhomes and travel trailers for around $10,000, but the prices can go up to $300,000 depending on the style and features it offers. The RV itself will account for the majority of the expense, but a buyer can lower the cost by going for a second-hand unit.

Like a house and a car, a buyer can take out a loan to acquire an RV. However, the interest rates will be higher, so expect to pay more.

The buyer may also want to get a separate vehicle to tow the RV. A heavy-duty vehicle, like a truck, is necessary to tow a motor. An additional $40,000 may be required.

In addition, owners will have to get insurance for the RV. It is a huge investment and should, therefore, be protected. RV insurance costs about $300 or more per year.

rv camper by the lake

Utilities

Just like in a proper house, the household will need to install and pay for utilities to survive in their roving home. The cost of utilities is usually included in the parking fee. This includes water, electricity, cable, internet, and sewage. Guests are also free to use facilities, including shower and laundry.

The cost of parking in campgrounds and resorts is $30 to $50 per night, but those who intend to stay longer may get a discount. Staying in public land is free, but it does not come with all the benefits mentioned above.

However, living in an RV comes with an additional expense: fuel. Fuel is going to be the most expensive aspect of the nomadic lifestyle.

The price of fuel fluctuates, so the amount you need to fill your tank per month varies. An RV can go 8 to 20 miles per gallon, depending on whether it is towed or driven. Towing a travel trailer will obviously require less fuel than driving a motorhome.

The fuel cost can be decreased significantly by staying in one place for a longer amount of time and taking shorter routes.

Other Expenses

Then, other necessities would require more money. An RV requires regular maintenance to run as smoothly as the day it was purchased and to ensure passengers’ safety while on the road.

Before purchasing a unit, if it is used, buyers should hire an inspector. This will prevent buyers from spending more money on repairs in the future.

Those who live in an RV reported spending $500 to $1,000 per year on maintenance. RVs are bigger vehicles and are used as living spaces. Maintenance, therefore, will be different from having a car. Fixing major damage or defect would cost more.

Moreover, some gears have to be purchased in addition to the RV. If the owner is towing a travel trailer, the towing bar costs upward of $1,000. A hitch for a fifth-wheel camper, on the other hand, costs over $1,300.

The real people who live in RVs say that their monthly spending totals $1,000 to $2,000 a month. This already includes food, phone, clothes, healthcare, and miscellaneous.

Living in an RV would not be cheap. The costs are lower than owning a house, but expenses can still rack up, depending on your, your car, and your passengers’ needs.

Be prepared to spend tens of thousands of dollars in upfront cost, then another couple of thousands of dollars per month. Knowing how much exactly living in a recreational vehicle would be will help you make an educated decision.

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