After the popularity of our buying a RV guide, we thought we would tackle the other side. After all, every time someone buys something, someone else has to sell something right?
So it is time to sell your dated motorhome, travel trailer, fifth wheel or pop up camper. Maybe it is time to upgrade or perhaps your RV’ing days are behind you. Why is buying so much more gratifying than selling? When the time comes that you decide “I need to sell my RV”, it can be a frustrating process.
Many of the difficulties people face when buying a RV are present when we decide to sell one. Should we trade in, sell privately, or maybe consider a broker? All great options depending on your particular needs. Frankly, the only person qualified to tell you that looks back at you in the mirror. Chances are if you are reading this then this isn’t the first time you had to figure it out on your own.
“Sell My RV” Steps
There are few core steps that you need to consider when the decision to sell your RV. We will offer additional information on each of these below. All of these play a role in getting top dollar for your RV, finding qualified buyers, and making the process of selling a RV as painless as possible.
The 4 main steps in the “Sell My RV” process:
- Prepare your RV to be sold
- Make an objective appraisal and figure the realistic fair market value of the RV
- Make a decision on how you want to market your RV (Dealer, Classifieds, Sign in the Window, etc.)
- Be Ready to Sell (Figuratively and Literally)
Prepare Your RV to be Sold
Get It Showroom Clean
Not many folks line up to buy a RV in lackluster condition. It is very important that you have your RV in tip top shape for potential buyers. The presentation is everything. The RV should be clean, free of odor, repaired, and be up to date on maintenance. We always like to think that it needs to be in the condition that we would be willing to buy it in. Visual defects and anything besides a neutral scent in your RV are the biggest catching points for most folks. If you want to avoid sending buyers running then consider having the carpets and upholstery professionally cleaned if this is an issue for you.
Get the Paperwork in Order
With the influx of new RV owners in the market today, chances are you may be getting a newbie to purchase your RV. That means they will rely upon all the original appliance, accessory, and user manuals that came with the RV. They should be organized and collected if possible. Having a clean title is also important. Be sure to have all your ducks in a row to provide a clean title to the buyer at closing.
Preparing a summary of the maintenance and costs over the years you have owned it is also a great idea. Include a log of actual miles towed if you have a trailer. Also consider sharing fuel economy and any expected future maintenance in this summary. This shows the buyer you cared for the RV and also shows the investment you have made in your rig.
The paperwork has a funny way of earning a buyers trust and ensuring you get top dollar for your RV
Make an Objective Appraisal of your RV
This is can be one of the most deterring factors in selling a RV. Choosing the right selling price can be emotional and a stressful decision. Keeping in mind all the timeless cliché’s like “it is only worth what someone will pay” and “what is your price if you strip away the emotional premium”, what is your RV ACTUALLY worth to a buyer?
This is the first thing a buyer will see and most, if not all, will make the decision whether to inquire about your RV based on the price you set. It doesn’t matter if you are talking about real estate, cars, or RV’s, setting a price that is above the fair market value virtually ensures waiting an awfully long time to find a buyer. Perhaps never. Consider the cost ownership, depreciation, loan payment, and insurance over a long sales period. It many cases it will SAVE you money to sell at an attractive price.
That being said, you don’t want to price your RV too low. You are entitled to get every single dollar that your RV is worth. To find the comfortable middle ground will require some research.
Many folks look at NADA Guides, eBay, and craigslist for comparable RV’s and what they have sold for. Some even ask their insurance company, bank, or RV dealer for a more formal appraisal. If you want to get serious about finding the right price then you should look over our fair market value guide.
It isn’t easy to come to terms with the fact that your RV which you paid $50,000 for a few years ago may only be worth a portion of that, but that just may be the case.
Where Can I Sell My RV?
You have to figure out the best way to find a qualified buyer to pay the right price for your RV. The best way to stack the odds in your favor is by creating a strategy. How much will you spend to get your RV in front of the right people? Do you want to deal with the countless emails and phone calls that come with doing it yourself? What will you do to differentiate your RV from all the others?
Sell Your RV by Yourself
If you make the decision that you are the only person for the job of selling the RV then so be it. You have many outlets to market your RV and connect with potential buyers.
Though this may not get your RV in front of as many eyes, it may connect you with motivated buyers that aren’t interested in using the more modern methods of finding a RV.
There are several ways to show off your RV locally for free or for a nominal fee:
- Park your RV in a highly trafficked area with a FOR SALE sign
- Use local periodicals or magazine classifieds
- Use your local campgrounds and RV parks for flyers or ads
- Word of mouth – Don’t underestimate the power of the social network. Let people know you are selling your RV on Facebook, Twitter, and at social gatherings, etc..
Sell My RV Online
This method will surely reach an audience that is significantly larger than anything you can do locally. This is the dominant way that most RV buyers search for their next RV. People will travel across states and even board planes to pickup cars, boats, and RV’s they purchase online. You will need to take photos, have access to a computer on a regular basis, and have email to make selling online work. Putting your RV online takes a attention to detail, detailed information about your rig, and overall a compelling presentation to attract prospective buyers. See our guide: Sell My RV: Tips for Selling with a Classified Ad to get more information on writing a great classified ad.
There are three primary ways to sell your RV online:
Sell My RV in the Classifieds – A few of the most popular
Be sure to see our guide on how to create a winning classified ad.
Sell My RV at a Online Auction
Sell My RV in the RV Forums
- There are dozens and dozens of RV forums out there for nearly every manufacturer, type of RV, and RV organization. This can be a wonderful way to let like minded folks know that you have a RV for sale. Most RV forums and message boards have a section devoted to selling your RV. See our list of RV Forums and Message Boards.
Each of these services has their own pro’s and con’s. Each either are provided to you at no cost or for a fee. Make sure you know the cost before listing your RV.
Sell To RV Dealer
To make the sale quick and relatively painless, many folks just sell to a RV dealer. Some people trade in if they are looking for a new rig, others may just work a deal to sell only. The reality is you have to be willing to accept a lower price than selling it yourself. It isn’t always as big of a deal to clean and prepare your RV for sale if a RV dealer is going to buy it. They tend to go over it with a fine tooth comb anyway. If the RV dealer wont buy your RV they may consider putting it on consignment next to their inventory. They typically take a pre-determined selling fee for consignment which is well worth the price to those who want to avoid marketing, answering inquiries, and dealing with tire kickers.
Sell Your RV Through a RV Broker
Think of they relationship that a real estate agent has with a home seller. You can get similar attention from a RV broker. Someone there to walk you through the process, handle inquiries, and find you qualified buyers. There are RV brokers all around the US usually operating independently. Working with a qualified RV broker can make the process of selling your RV a breeze. Some charge a percentage of selling price while others charge a flat fee. Choose the option that suits you!
Get Comfortable “Selling My RV”
This may seem obvious but there are many factors in the selling process that many RV owners struggle with. Many people have trouble parting with their RV, feeling comfortable with the selling process, or choose do so at the wrong time.
RV Selling ProcessJust like with real estate, timing is everything in the RV business. Perhaps not in the warmer climates but in most areas the seasons dictate the rate of a sale and the price. The spring and summer months are traditionally where most of the RV buying activity takes place. Though RV’s do sell during the winter, it usually is slower going and doesn’t always result in getting the best price.
If you choose to sell your RV yourself, then every opportunity for sale will begin with a phone call, email, or text message. Expect many people to contact you and that you will find many are not good leads. Even so, treat every inquiry as if they were standing there with cash at the perfect selling price. After all, if the prospective buyer finds you hard to deal with how interested will they be to continue to the process? This is a key way to build trust with your future buyer.
Use the initial contact you have with a prospective buyer to qualify them as a good lead. Try to find out what is most important to them, their RV experience, and their realistic price range. Consider offering to let the prospect to come view the rig, take them for a test drive, and possibly let them do a trial camp in the RV.
After they have viewed your RV and you get the impression they are interested it is really up to you to encourage the buyer to make an offer. It helps if you are not shy about the price but also that you aren’t visibly offended by what you perceive to be a low offer. A offer is just a starting point. If they make the gesture of an offer, that shows they like your RV. Don’t give up on someone just because you don’t like the price. Simply ask “What is it about the RV that makes you feel like you cant pay near the asking price?”. Identify what is motivating the low offer which could lead to a renegotiation.
Selling a RV is no walk in the park. It can be a source of enjoyment under the right circumstances and mindset. If you have taken the time to prepare your RV, price it right, list it in the right place, and can handle the selling process you should find it much less daunting than any horror stories or notions you have about finding a new home for your RV.
Our goal here was to make the choice to “Sell My RV” less of a frustrating chore. We hope you picked up a few tips to better prepare you to sell your RV. If you later sell your RV we would love to hear about it. Please share with us in the comments section below!