Lucinda Belden is the Program Director for MyRVRadio and a travel writer and advisor who has lived the RV lifestyle since 2019. She specializes in topics such as fulltime RVing, working full-time while traveling, traveling with toys, and unique location experiences.
Remember buying your first RV? When you get your RV ready to sell, it’s time to think like an RV buyer again. My tips will help you do that.
How to Show Buyers Your RV is Ready to Sell
First, remember what you looked for when you wanted to purchase a new RV? Think like you are that RV buyer again. This mindset goes a long way to help you sell your RV. A couple of things most of us already know to do is clean the RV and make minor repairs so it is in decent shape. But here are some more in-depth things you can do to show your RV is well taken care of as well as get top dollar for your RV sale.
So how can you sell your used RV and get the best price? Whether you have a camper, motorhome, trailer, or van, here’s how to create the best RV selling and buying experience.
First, Know When to Sell Your RV
If you sell during an off-season time for RVing in your area, RV values will be low. That’s because buyers are looking for a bargain RV price at that time. Don’t sell then. Know when RVers are getting ready to start traveling in your location. Then get your RV ready to sell, and you can get a better asking price.
The best time to sell an RV depends on each state and even the city where your RV is located. For example, if the RVers in your area mostly travel for ski trips, you might want to start your sales process in the shoulder season of winter. If most of the RVers in your area are summer vacationers, try selling in late winter or early spring.
Next, Pay Attention to the Economy and RV Values
Is the market flooded with people trying to sell their RVs? You will not get as good a sales price if you sell your RV at the same time as everyone else.
Also pay attention to the sale of items that RVs or RVers require. For example, is there an RV parts shortage? Or are you selling a diesel when diesel fuel prices are extremely high? Then it may not be a great time to get your RV ready to sell. However, if you have a small RV van that gets great gas mileage, you can use that as a selling point.
Make sure RV values are strong, and the RV sales environment is in high demand for your type of rig.
Then Decide Which RV Upgrades Boost the Selling Price
You must balance the cost of RV upgrades with the amount you think you will get in return for doing them. For instance, I once knew a lady who had painting done inside her RV, new floors put down, new window treatments, etc. She spent about $5,000 expecting to get that back in the sale of her RV.
She got into redecorating instead of thinking about used RV values for her particular rig. She could have done all those upgrades for under $1000 and used the remaining monies to put on a new RV roof. When she did get her RV ready to sell, and it sold, she lost thousands of dollars.
Minor interior upgrades are important. But structural repairs get you a lot higher RV resale value.
How to Stage Your RV Sale
When someone is looking to buy your RV, they want to see themselves in that RV. Not you. The same principles of selling a stick house apply here. To get your RV ready to sell, consider removing features that appeal to a very narrow niche of people, such as:
- Get rid of sentimental items.
- Take down photos and personal items.
- Give RV buyers space to imagine themselves in your RV. That means removing extra chairs, pieces of small furniture, stacks of books or tools.
The buyer needs to see what space they will have to work with when they own the RV. They can’t do that when every nook and cranny is filled with your stuff.
If possible, stage your RV in a beautiful RV park or treed location.
Letting the buyer see where they can take their RV is a is a nice touch. This is also a great time to have all the slides and windows open. You want them to experience the openness of your RV.
Decide Where to Advertise and Sell Your RV
There are a lot of options for selling your RV. Deciding where to advertise your RV sale depends on how much time and effort you can give the project. If you don’t have much time, consider how much you are willing to pay an RV sales broker to do the work for you.
The best places to advertise and sell your RV include:
- Online RV sales site
- A “For Sale” sign with the RV in your hard
- Selling through an RV dealership
- An independent RV sales consignment broker
Get Your RV Sale Paperwork Ready
Even if you sell through an RV broker or other third party, there is some paperwork you need to go through with them so they can sell your RV. Expect to put together all RV ownership records into one file.
Collect all RV licenses, warranties, and legal documents. If you kept a record of all your major repairs and upgrades, this is great to include. It shows you took care of regular RV maintenance, and what RV features you installed.
If you decide to sell your RV by yourself, be aware of dangers when selling your RV. Meet in areas open to the public. Do NOT permit them to test drive as you are liable for any accidents that may occur.
Decide on Your RV Selling Price
When you get your RV ready to sell, it’s not a time to consider how much you love your RV or how much effort you invested in ownership. Refer to RV values tools like NADA Guides to come up with a basic idea on a sales price, but don’t rely on this number alone.
The nice thing about NADA Guides is it gives you a dealer price and an individual sale price. So, if you plan on working with a dealer, you have some idea of your RV value and where to start negotiating an RV selling price.
The next thing you will want to look at is RV upgrades you made. These do not always translate into charging a higher price. But they can help you stand firm on your sales price. Research online and see what other RV values look like in your area. Leave yourself a little room for price negotiations too.
Be Prepared to Negotiate Your RV Sale
Whether it is through a dealer, or you sell your RV yourself, you need to know what you will negotiate on and what you won’t. Sometimes not including everything in your RV selling price but mentioning other items you’ll throw into the deal leaves wiggle room to keep the price the same but offer lucrative bonuses to the buyer.
For example, you can sell your RV without the generator.
When an RV buyer wants to negotiate, stay firm on the price but offer to throw in the generator at no extra charge. Or offer to pay for an RV wash and fill up the tank (maybe that is $500 total), instead of knocking $2,000 off the price.
Pay attention to what is most important to the buyer and use that as a point of negotiation. Be creative – sometimes meeting them halfway on your RV value can be cheaper than actual price reductions.
RV Ownership Investment Pays Off
You have put blood, sweat and tears into owning your RV. Those don’t always translate into dollars when making a sale. But they do show you have done a great job in taking care of your RV. That is valuable to a future buyer. Don’t hesitate to be proud and show off all the work you have done. The effort does pay off when you sell your RV.