Breaking Down the Average Price of a Class B RV
As the van life movement grows, Class B RVs are becoming more and more popular. These are essentially small motorhomes/ camper vans that are compact, economical, and easy to personalize. There are a lot of things that affect the Class B RV cost.
Class B RVs generally cost around $100,000, with a standard range of $80,000 to $160,000. The most expensive ones can be $300,000 or more, but it’s unusual to find one that’s this pricey. Some major factors influencing the price include the vehicle size, condition, upgrades, and whether it’s new or used.
Even though that $100,000 average price can be daunting, there are many ways to find a cheaper camper van. Below we’ll break down the cost of new and used Class B RVs, some factors that increase or decrease the price, and how the costs of pre-made camper vans compare to DIY conversions. Let’s get started!
New vs. Used Class B RVs
RV depreciation is a well-known phenomenon, and Class B models are no exception. Brand-new models instantly lose a good portion of their value as soon as they’re driven off the lot. Although this is unfortunate for those who want to resell their old vehicles, it’s great news for anyone who wants to buy an affordable camper van.
The average used Class B RV cost is around $65,000, which is much lower than the average for a brand-new model! The price will continue to drop with each passing year, although the first five years usually have the highest depreciation rate.
Of course, this is still just an average estimate. Camper vans maintain their value pretty well, and there are still plenty of Class B RVs that cost $100,000 or more. Although used vehicles are more affordable, you’ll need to look around to find the vehicle that gives you the best bang for your buck.
Compare the original MSRP to the asking price to see if the seller is offering a fair trade. In some cases, sellers will start with a high offer and lower it with little negotiation. A good tool that can help you estimate the worth of a particular model is the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) database.
This is basically the Kelley Blue Book equivalent for RVs, and it can give you a good estimated value for specific makes and models. The Blue Book might also give you some information about certain van types, so check out both of these resources.
You’ll also get a different experience if you go with a private seller vs. a used RV dealership. Private sellers are a good opportunity to find even lower prices, but the quality of the vehicle isn’t always assured.
You should always invest in a good RV inspection before buying from a private seller because you don’t want to miss any underlying issues.
Factors That Influence Class B RV Cost
Size can definitely affect the Class B RV cost because bigger vehicles always cost more than smaller ones. Plus, the bigger a van is, the more amenities it can fit. Large vans tend to have better kitchen appliances, varied bathroom designs, increased sleeping capacity, etc. All of these benefits come with a price tag.
Bigger isn’t necessarily better, so make sure you take stock of your personal needs before you drop money on a new vehicle. Sometimes a smaller van may suit you better than a large, luxury model. Plus, if the price is a concern, smaller camper vans will generally be more affordable.
This factor mainly comes into play when you’re dealing with used Class B RV models. A brand-new van is bound to be in great condition. A used model could have all sorts of issues, though.
Pay attention to cosmetic damage and any underlying signs that point to water damage, mechanical failure, or structural issues. A faulty van will definitely be cheaper, but it may be a moot point once you invest in all the necessary repairs. As mentioned above, a good RV inspector will be able to inform you of any major issues before you commit to a new purchase.
Once again, mileage can affect the Class B RV cost for used models. The more a vehicle is driven, the more likely it is to need repairs and maintenance. However, getting a camper with higher mileage will be less expensive than a new one with little to no mileage.
One of the biggest things that can drive up the price of a camper van is the type of bathroom it has. Customers tend to value full bathrooms more, so they’ll pay more for a model that includes one. It will be cheaper if a Class B RV only has a toilet or no bathroom. Wet baths drive up the price because everybody wants access to a toilet, shower, and sink while on the road.
So if you’re looking for a cheap model, try looking for ones with small bathrooms or no bathrooms at all. It might be an inconvenience, but it’s an easy way to cut the cost. If you want to have a wet or dry bath, prepare to pay extra for this luxury!
This may not be the biggest factor, but the manufacturer/brand of a camper van can influence the price. If you’re buying a van from a well-known and well-respected brand, you can expect it to come with a higher price tag.
For example, Winnebago and Airstream models are usually on the higher end of the price spectrum ($150,000+), while smaller brands like Vandoit and ModVans may be a bit cheaper just because they don’t have the same notoriety and need a good way to stand out. They’re still good quality but are more affordable, so they can compete with the larger brands.
Van Conversion Cost
Pre-made camper vans are all well and good, but what about conversion vans? These are standard vans that are gutted and retrofitted to become mobile living spaces. DIY van conversions are sweeping social media because of their unique designs. Many people love the idea of customizing their living space.
Initially, it’s much cheaper to buy a standard van instead of a Class B RV. You can buy a decent van for $30,000 – $50,000, but then you need to remodel it and pay for all the appliances, furniture, and custom elements you want to include. The price of a van conversion varies wildly because everyone has different budgets, levels of experience, and things they want to include.
There’s no surefire way to say how much a DIY van conversion will cost, but it’s a few thousand dollars at the minimum. Some people spend $15,000, while others when $30,000 or more. It’s not necessarily cheaper than buying a Class B RV, but it can give you some freedom on what goes in your van.
In a Nutshell
At the end of the day, you’re likely to end up spending about the same amount, no matter which course you take. All that matters is that you’ll be able to find or create the van of your dreams. As long as you have a vision in mind, you should be able to buy or renovate a camper van that will be perfect for you.