Embarking on an RV remodel can be an exciting, fun, and rewarding undertaking. The finished results can be dramatic!
However, biting off more than they could chew and/or unforeseen circumstances have turned many RV remodelers’ dreams into nightmares.
Right now, before you embark on ANY RV rehab project, take a little time and do the #1 most important thing a lot of folks neglect (and later regret), and also ask yourself these important questions:
1. Is this RV worth fixing up?
Or is this RV worth remodeling to the extent of what you want to put into it?
If you are dealing with a low-priced, poorly made, starter RV, it might not be worth investing much more into.
When looking for RVs to remodel, it’s smart to seek out quality brands with good bones.
That’s the way I felt about my Komfort trailer shown in the photos on this page.
I knew the brand well, as my ex in-laws had one as did a number of friends back in my circus days. I liked the aluminum frame and the overall quality of this brand. I also loved the unique layout of this particular trailer.
However, the interior was worn and stuck back somewhere in the 1970s. Whatever Komfort paid their engineers and builders was clearly taken out of the salaries of their designers. But I digress.
As the trailer itself was in good condition and I got it for a fair price, it was worthy of an upgrade. On the other hand, had this been a poorly made trailer in need of more than just cosmetics, I would have thought twice about it, which brings us to question two…
2. What besides aesthetics needs fixing?
If you are going to remodel an RV, now is the time to fix any other problems, both interior and exterior. Take a full inventory of any issues including plumbing, electrical, appliances, awnings, broken locks and latches, etc., and add them to your RV remodel plan.
3. What are the goals of this RV remodel?
No, I am not going all self-help on you. This question will have an impact on every aspect of how you remodel your RV.
When I started my project, I wanted to have a space where I could do Zoom meetings with clients or shoot my YouTube videos without it necessarily looking like I was in an RV. I also needed to make space for the essential items I needed to take along.
Someone whose goal was to make sleeping space for six kids, or who wanted to tote along two kayaks, could have easily made it happen in this identical trailer, but they would have had an entirely different plan than I did.
4. How much money will you need to remodel the RV?
When people ask me how much does it cost to remodel an RV, that’s like asking how much does a car cost? It depends!
We’ll talk more about budgeting for an RV remodel in a future article. But for now, give yourself a ballpark idea of how much you plan to spend and match it against question #1.
5. How much time are you willing to put in?
RV remodels always take more time to complete and cost more than expected. It’s kind of like a Murphy’s Law for RVers. Let’s call it Byam’s Law!
If you have unlimited time and space to tinker on an RV remodel, this won’t be important. But if your family is actually expecting to go camping at some point in the foreseeable future, you might want to realistically examine this question, which brings us to our next query…
6. How long do you intend to keep this RV?
If this is the RV of your dreams that you intend to keep forever, it will merit investing more time, money, and effort into than one you may want to sell soon.
If you do plan to sell, keep in mind that potential buyers will not always value your RV remodel improvements as much as you do.
Remodeling an RV can (but not always) lower its resale value. If selling the RV for top dollar is in your future plans, think twice before painting or doing BIG changes.
The same goes for making big changes for yourself. They may or may not always be worth it.
For instance, I plan to replace my current trailer with my dream Airstream as soon as I am able to afford to do so. I don’t see this current trailer being a super long-term investment for me. Likewise, instead of installing an expensive solar system in it, I bought this portable solar generator that meets all of my needs except the A/C. Yes, that solar generator was still a BIG investment, but it will go with me when I level up to my next RV.
7. Can you do the RV remodel work yourself or will you need help?
An RV remodel does not HAVE to be a DIY project. There are more companies than ever specializing in these unique skills. If you have the necessary funds, let someone else do the work and bring your vision to life.
If you have the skills and time do to it yourself, have at it.
Or do a hybrid of both.
I had time but not a lot of skills, so I enlisted the help of a friend with painting and handyman experience and we worked on my RV remodel together. Win/win!
Get the big picture first
Sort out these big-picture RV remodel questions before beginning. Next time, it’s time to start planning for RV remodel success. See you then!