If you are in the market to buy a new or gently used RV, or are considering selling your RV and want to determine current RV values, you need to do your homework before shopping, buying or selling your RV.
You first want to begin by calculating the Fair Market Value (FMV) to avoid overpaying or underselling.
In this article, you’ll learn some tips to help determine the value of your RV taking into consideration factors such as internal and external wear and tear, mileage, upgrades, add-ons, and overall market demand.
New RV Values
If you have a new RV you are considering buying, it can be difficult to determine the Fair Market Value.
You simply won’t have the same information and knowledge on the RV as the dealer has.
If you don’t know what the dealer paid for the RV, you can’t determine if the selling price is reasonable.
If finding the wholesale price for the RV you have your eye on isn’t possible, then there are still ways you can search to see what other buyers are paying for the same RV with similar features.
The RV Consumer Group (RVCG) provides RV ratings information, and is a resource that some RVers use to find out about quality, safety, and value of various RV models.
Aside from that information they also provide the average price paid for each particular model, the average list price, and even an expected depreciation schedule.
Using Depreciation to Determine RV Values
Another tricky way of determining the price you should pay for a new RV, is by reversing the depreciation on the cost of a similar used RV.
You can reverse the depreciation of a used model (preferably one only a few years old) to get an estimate of what a new model should cost.
You can get the depreciation schedule from RVCG as mentioned above, or you can calculate it manually.
For example, assume that you have calculated a certain RV model that is a few years old should have 30% depreciation.
You find a used RV for $100,000, but you want to know what the fair market price is for a new model.
Take the used selling price and mark it up up by the depreciation percentage.
In this case you take the $100,000 sales price and divide it by the .70 (100%-30% depreciation) to arrive an acceptable fair market price for the new RV at $142,847.
There is a handy Excel spreadsheet to compare the depreciation of a USED RV to a NEW RV available for download here.
RV Values Guesstimation
If you find yourself out shopping for an RV, and begin negotiating without having previously done your homework on the fair market value of the model you are shopping for, there are a couple of key themes to keep in mind.
MSRP’s are commonly marked up by the dealer, in some cases as high as by 40% – depending on the model and brand.
As a buyer, if you assume that the ticket price is marked up a fair bit, you may decide to negotiate down to a smaller markup. Keep in mind though that most RV dealers wont dip much below 5-10% – even if their life depended on the sale!
Figuring Out the Worth of Your Used RV
The question “What is my RV worth?” will be top of mind when you are a seller trying to find a reasonable asking price for your RV.
If you’re a buyer you’ll want to know the other side of that question, “How much is this RV Worth?”
If buying from an individual this can be a challenging process.
If you are a seller who is trying to determine a selling price you need to look at a combination of the current market, current statistics, and the condition of your RV.
For a quick and easy answer, sellers can look at the National Automobile Dealers Association Guides, the NADA Guides, to determine their RV’s Fair Market Value (FMV).
While this is not always the most reliable method of determining a selling price, it is convenient and easy.
You could also use the RV Blue Book.
If you use the guides to help determine your asking price, focus on the “Low Retail” or “Used Wholesale”, instead of the higher numbers, which are often far less realistic.
The same would go for buying or selling a car if you are more familiar with that.
RV Values By Tracking Real Selling Prices
Online Resources for RV Values
Finding the actual prices people have paid for the RV you are considering is easily the most accurate way to determine RV values.
eBay has a very neat feature that allows you to search for completed sales to get a feel for what RV values are looking like for your make and model.
There is a tutorial here on how to use this feature. We highly recommend it.
You can use these resources to find what others feel their RV is worth.
Use a Dealer or Insurance Agent
You can also contact your local RV dealer or insurance agent, who will run a thorough assessment of the RV for you. They have processes for their own interests in pricing RV’s.
It never hurts to get a few opinions on pricing.
Use an RV Appraisal Service
As a last resort you could work with a RV appraisal service.
If you’re serious about getting a customized appraisal for the value of a RV then perhaps you should contact the folks that insurance companies, attorneys, and manufacturers use to price RV’s.
Utilizing a professional will get you thorough research and real time pricing with comparisons of similar models sold across the country.
RV Values Wrap-Up
It’s inevitable that you’ll come across prices that seem too high or too low.
In many cases this’s just either a poorly informed seller or buyer. Other times they may have structured their financing in such a way that leaves them under water.
Keep this in mind as you interact with people. They may not have much bargaining room on their price and they may not be able to take less than they’re asking.
Armed with the right pricing data, the process of selling or buying an RV gets much easier.