I bought my “New-2-Me-RV” in July of this year(2016) and it’s been a blast! I’m loving every bit of it!
Quick background, I had been looking at RV’s for a long time and knew one day I would pull the trigger and get one. Turns out, this is the year that I did and if you follow my YouTube channel, you know I’m enjoying myself.
My rig is a 2004, Itasca Spirit. There was just something about this one, that called out to me and after several years of looking, I knew this was it. Inside, it was all very clean, not a lot to do. Wait… there was the television that came with it and I did have to remove that!
Even before I bought my RV I had been looking at other RVers online who had purchased their own and in most cases renovated them. Now I bought a rig that was in decent shape, not a lot needed but I did have in the back of my mind that after I, “lived in” mine for a while, I would start to do some interior projects of my own.
Scouring the internet, I found countless examples of folks doing work on their RV’s and for me, one of the best examples of RV renovation I found were Mike & Jenny with, “Duet Justus.” They took a 1989 Yellowstone Camino Classic and renovated it to make it their own and it really looks amazing. You have to take a look at the before and after on their “YouTube” page to get a full sense of what they accomplished.
Recently, I got a chance to sit down with Mike & Jenny and talked about a lot of different issues when it came to renovation and it was so helpful. Here are some excerpts from that night:
(Did you have a price point in mind when you bought your RV?)
(What is the one RV renovation you’re most proud of?)
Now as I looked at their channel and what they did, along with several others, I started to think more and more about what I’d like to do with mine. I also started to think about resale and wondered if I did renovations, if and when I upgrade rigs, would I be doing more harm or good for the resale?
So, needing some insight, I went to several of the people I follow online to get their take on whether or not I SHOULD renovate or keep things basic and then just save to upgrade to another unit.
“Kimberly” at “RVTailgateLife” got into the RV world with a 1990 Winnebago Chieftain. She uses it primarily for tailgating… and if you want ANY advice on how to tailgate right you have to follow her! Her blog is great and you don’t even have to go to a game to enjoy some of her RV secrets.
One of her big projects on her rig was upgrading her television, something I totally understand. Take a look at her before and after pics and her post about it.
Still I’ve been cautious about doing anything major to the rest of the rig yet, “newbee jitters” probably. Kimberly… an RV veteran, says she had no concerns about doing upgrades or if they would affect the resale value of the RV.
“Not one single bit. First, I am most likely to sell to a fellow tailgater. Second, even if we send it to the RV junkyard, it wasn’t worth much to begin with. So while I have it, I’m going to do what I want with it.”
Along the same lines, Chris of “RV Done Yet” knew right away they were going to be doing major renovations.
“Absolutely! We bought our rig for $500 in May of 2016, (actually traded a utility trailer as partial payment, so we really only paid $300.)The roof (interior only) had been damaged during snow removal, the weight, broke a cross beam, breaking a portion of the interior ceiling.
We knew this when purchasing and thought this would be an easy fix! The interior was very brown and dated, all very easy to paint!”
So clearly folks seem to be leaning towards getting out the old screwdriver, hammer and paint to spruce up their RV’s. Brain Gore from, “Goin RV Boondocking,” has a really good article on the subject of RV remodeling. He went through a lot of what I’m going through regarding, “Do you save and trade up or do the work on what you have and make it better?” He did the latter, with gusto!
“We can take this old rig, and with a little Frugal RVing in mind, we can shine it up and renew it to be our own ‘Custom RV’ that will serve us for years to come.”
In his article, “RV Remodel or Custom Built What Can You Afford?” Not only does he go through the pros and cons of renovating or upgrading, he talks through his decision to do the work himself.
What’s particularly helpful is that he has links to everything he did. This was a very interesting article and also added more fuel to the fire that maybe I need to get off my butt and do a reno. (Reno… can you tell I watch a lot of HGTV?)
But on the other side of the coin, “save and just upgrade to something you want,” has fans as well. Josh and Kali from, “The Freedom Theory,” another really good fulltime couple and RV channel, shared their take on the whole subject in a YouTube video called, “RV Remodel Advice [Is it worth it?]”
In the video, Kali talks about their rig and that fact that she’s happy with it now and loves her tiny home, however,
“Moving forward I would say that I would not remodel. I think the only thing I would do is potentially paint the walls. But I would want to find an RV that really suited our needs and suited our style that involved way less of reorganizing.”
And there’s the rub… should I just find another RV? Kali is totally honest in her video and it’s good advice. It’s not all bad, but it does make you think harder about whether or not I should tear into a perfectly good RV and customize it.
So a lot to think about when it comes to this decision. I’m not 100% sure which way to go. I’m the kind of “RVJedeye” that likes to get a lot of information, weigh things out before making a final decision. Talking with all of these folks and reading their articles and following their channels was a big help and major thanks to everyone who helped out with this article and the advice was great.
The one thing I can say though, to a tee, everyone was happy with doing their renovations, even if they looked back at them now and might have made different choices.
“Do what makes you happy or makes the RV better for you to use. Don’t worry about the resale so much – in older RVs, your renovations are probably going to make it better for a lot of people on resale anyways. Also, renovations are often a lot cheaper than upgrading to the “perfect” RV anyways. So even if you lose out on resale, you’ll end up better than buying something new to fit your needs.”
Clearly, I have a lot to think about! If you were me… what would YOU do?
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Special thanks to all who helped out with this article:
Mike & Jenny Justus
“Goin RV Boondocking”
Josh & Kali
“The Freedom Theory”
“RV Done Yet”
Great article RVJedeye!
If you have the time and can shop frugally! It’s not that difficult! Google ideas!
It was definitely a learning experience, and I’d happily take on the challenge again in the future!
Chris you did a great job on your rig and I hope people check out your work!