I’m always surprised when people say they wish they could make some change to their RV so it would better suit their lifestyle but won’t because they are afraid of reducing its resale value. I always tell them not to worry about that because whether they bought their rig new or used, it lost a lot of value the minute they drove it off the dealer’s lot.
When you sell or trade an RV in with a dealer, unless it is totally trashed he doesn’t really care if you pulled out the sofa and replaced it with two recliners or if you installed a desk or computer workstation where a chair was. He’s going to give you the lowest amount you will accept based upon the RV’s wholesale book price. And by the way, that also applies to anything you have added to an RV. Did you put $5,000 worth of solar panels on the roof, enlarge the battery bank and install a pure sine wave inverter? I hate to tell you this, but the dealer usually isn’t going to give you one penny extra for all of it. In his mind, book value is book value.
Given all that, what do you have to lose by making any changes to your home on wheels that will make it work better for you? Not a thing, except at trade-in time, if you ever plan on trading the rig for something else. And then the upgrades, such as a solar power system, can be moved to your new RV.
So what are some of the most popular RV upgrades? I already mentioned solar panels, an inverter/charger, and a battery bank. If you are going to do a lot of dry camping they are nice to have, but be aware that at best, solar is an expensive supplement to a generator. Unless you plan to spend a lot of time living off the grid, there are better ways to spend your money, in my opinion.
A desk or computer workstation is a very popular upgrade and more and more RVers are pulling out sofas and chairs to install custom made units. When we got our Winnebago Ultimate Advantage it had two recliners and a small cabinet on the curb side behind the passenger seat, and a wall-hung dining table. We removed them and had Caryle Lehman at Focal Wood Products in Nappanee, Indiana build a pair of workstations, a bookcase, and a table that pulls out to seat four people but can also be pushed in for more room.
Some RVers desire convenience features that didn’t come with their rigs. Recently our friends Charles and Chris Yust of C&C RV Insurance installed a Fisher Paykel dishwasher in their diesel pusher and love it. Actually Chris insists that Charles got one. She says she didn’t want it, but since he is the dishwasher….
Another very popular upgrade, and one that is on our “To Do” list, is replacing our motorhome’s fluorescent lights with LEDs. They provide a brighter light, do not create heat like fluorescents do, and use very little electricity.
Several people we know have replaced their RV’s carpeting with laminate flooring, which is easier to maintain and keep clean. It’s another project we’d like to do one of these days.
A couple of years ago we replaced our motorhome’s original window shades with Levolor wooden blinds from Lowes, and we love them. No more broken cords, no more sagging blinds, and the Levolors do a great job of keeping out the light. We were afraid they might be noisy going down the road, but that hasn’t been an issue.
A more expensive upgrade, but one that is still a lot less expensive than buying a new RV, is a new paint job. Our friend Michele Henry at Phoenix Commercial Paint turns out some amazing work. Here are before (top) and after (center) pictures of a Travel Supreme fifth wheel she worked her magic on, and the bottom picture is our friends Mike and Elaine Loscher’s 2003 Winnebago gas powered motorhome after it left Michele’s shop.
Yet another popular RV upgrade, and another one on our wish list, is replacing our Norcold RV refrigerator with a residential unit. A lot of RVers we know have done the swap and every one of them is glad they did.
Terry also keeps threatening to replace the original cooktop in our rig with a range/oven combo, but then she thinks about how much storage space she would be losing and second guesses herself. Time will tell on that upgrade.
What are some of the upgrades you have done or are considering for your home on wheels?
Are you looking for something to read? Here are three offerings from author friends of mine that you might enjoy. Today only (Tuesday) Sharon Delarose’s kid’s book Caterpillar Rhyme Time is free on Amazon. How do you feel about poetry? Drummer Dancer The Lyrics contains the complete lyrics from Steven Thomas’ acclaimed autobiography I was a drummer she was a dancer-a true love story and is free on Smashwords. And Suzie O’Connell’s recently released Twice Shy is a romance that is getting a lot of positive reviews from readers. And speaking of reviews, folks, please leave an honest review on the books you read, especially by us independent authors. It’s the best compliment you can pay us and really helps us succeed at our craft.
Thought for The Day – Education should be a continuing, never-ending process.