Can You Flip RVs For A Profit?
In recent years, we’ve seen a massive trend of people buying homes, refurbishing them, and selling them for a profit. While this tends to work fairly well for brick and mortar homes, some people have started to wonder if it’s worthwhile to start flipping RVs.
In order to flip an RV, you must buy a used model, put money into the restoration process, and try to sell it for a higher price. In many cases, this is not feasible because used RVs are intrinsically worth less than new ones, even if they are in good condition. However, if the model is vintage, or if the repairs are fairly cheap, it is possible to make a profit.
In this article, we’ll break down some details of RV depreciation, the cost of remodeling, and some potential ways to make money on flipping RVs. It’s not an easy job, and there’s no guarantee of success, but it may work out if you do it properly.
Depreciation is the worst enemy of anyone who wants to resell their car or RV. As we’ve all heard, vehicles lose value the second they’re driven off the lot. In the case of RVs, you’ll often lose 20% of the initial value out of the gate. For something that costs thousands of dollars, that’s a significant loss.
As the years go on, the RV will lose more and more value. For the first few years, they will remain fairly stable (around 20-30% depreciation from the original price), but once you hit 10 years, the value is going to tank. You could lose 50% or more of the value by this point (although some models retain their value better than others).
The point is, once an RV has passed a certain threshold, you can buy it for a much cheaper price. An RV that once cost $100,000 might cost $50,000 after 10 years or so. If you’re interested in flipping RVs, it’s certainly easy to find used RVs on the market. There’s also some room for negotiation, depending on the condition it’s in.
The new problem is finding a buyer once you have remodeled an RV. If it’s already several years old, the value is going to be hard to make up. Even if it looks great, that structural wear and tear will still be there. This is especially true for motorhomes because in addition to the living space, the vehicle itself needs to be in good shape.
In order to make a profit, you’ll have to sell it for more than you bought it for, plus the cost of any repairs you did. In our example above, let’s say you bought a $50,000 RV and did $10,000 worth of repairs on it. In this case, you’d have to sell it for at least $60,000 just to break even.
Finding a buyer will be hard, especially when someone can buy a slightly newer model for this same price. Making a significant profit will be even more difficult. For the time, work, and money you put in, flipping RVs is often not worth it.
Remodeling costs and complications
Another thing you have to consider is the repairs and remodeling process. Most RVs are designed to hold up for several years, but if they develop issues, they can be tough to fix. Some RVs that are available for sale have problems so huge, the owners decided it was easier to just get rid of them.
Water damage is one of the biggest drawbacks of buying a used RV. It may not always be immediately noticeable, but water damage will eventually weaken the structure, lead to mold and rot, and require expensive repairs. In some cases, the only way to treat water damage/rot is to completely disassemble the RV and replace the damaged sections.
There are also mechanical and electrical issues that require help from specialists. Even cosmetic updates can be expensive, especially if you plan on replacing kitchen appliances or the siding of the RV.
The cost of these repairs can add up quickly, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to make it back. Depending on how bad the damage is, the average remodeling costs can be between $1,000-$5,000.
Some issues are too big to fix on your own, so there’s a possibility of sunk cost that can’t be made back. Once you’ve bought the RV, it’s your problem to fix it, use it, or resell it.
How to make money flipping RVs
If you really want to start flipping RVs, there are a few things you can do that will increase your chances of success.
First of all, see if there’s anyone who is willing to pay you to remodel their existing camper. This way, you won’t have to buy it yourself. It’s not exactly flipping at this point, but you will be getting paid to remodel RVs with someone else covering the cost of repairs. This method might be difficult if you haven’t remodeled campers before. But if you have plenty of experience under your belt, there’s a good chance that you can find clients.
Look for vintage models
Vintage campers have a certain charm to them that’s difficult to find nowadays. You can often find them for a cheap price due to their age. These might be hard to make road-worthy, but if you get a cute vintage camper that looks great, people are often willing to buy it.
Follow current design trends
Keep an eye on what’s currently popular in the RV world. See if you can add any unique features. Try to include attractive design elements like patterned fabric, natural wood accents, and updated appliances. If you need inspiration, social media is full of aesthetic pictures of RVs and vans.
Do it for yourself
If you love the idea of remodeling but aren’t sure if you can make a profit, consider just doing it for yourself. You can buy a used camper, make it into your perfect RV, and use it for years to come. This is a great way to make a personalized camper and you won’t need to worry about the rising depreciation rate.
Flipping RVs is a bit of a risky gambit, but it can be done if you’re smart with your purchases. Just keep your eye on what’s popular and try to find models without a lot of damage. This is a good starting point!
For more tips, check out this YouTuber who explains how she makes money flipping RVs on Facebook Marketplace:
One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and much more.
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