TIPS ON SELLING YOUR RV
Yikes …… thinking about selling that ole’ RV of yours? Buying an RV is a lot more fun than selling one. I can think of more exciting things to do other than selling an RV. In our case, we had so many great memories tied to the RV that the thought of selling it became an emotional roller-coaster for us. The best way we found to deal with the emotional/detachment part for us was to have a different one to look forward to.
New RV …… New Destinations ….. New Memories …… sounds good to me! Those were the things we tried to focus on in order to let go of our fun-ship RV – aka Sweet Bessie!
Below we are going to share some of our tips on getting the most amount of money for your RV. We have bought and sold RVs – both professionally and privately over the years and have learned a few things that we’d like to pass on to those wishing sell their RV, too. Obviously, we don’t claim to know everything – we want to merely share what has worked well for us over the years. Hopefully, these selling tips will help you, too.
SELLING YOUR RV
Well, I guess the first thing you need to think about is whether you want to sell your RV yourself, or let someone else sell it for you. If you have the time and don’t mind dealing with the public, selling it yourself will net you the most money (in most cases). If you do not want to mess with it – we write about consigning your RV a little further down the page.
For now, we will primarily focus on selling your RV yourself. Even if you decide to consign your RV – you’ll still need to do some of the obvious things mentioned below.
1. Put Some Lipstick on the Pig!
Your RV is not going to come close to selling for full price if it’s dirty inside and out. If you’re feeling energetic – you, of course, can clean it yourself. Or, if you’re not into doing manual labor – there are plenty of RV detailers around that will gladly help get it in tip-top shape. If you’re fairly computer literate you can easily find someone on craigslist – or ask around for a good, reliable detailer.
Having a clean RV inside and out can make a HUGE difference in the amount you’re able to get for your RV – it can literally mean thousands of dollars to you in the end. If you decide to take the challenge and clean it yourself – there are a couple of products we highly recommend. We like to use ‘protect all’ products. They are pretty affordable and easy to work with. Plus, they get the job done with minimal effort.
It’s best to work from top to bottom, so start with the roof and work your way down. If your RV has a rubber roof then we recommend the Protect All 67032C Rubber Roof Cleaner – 32 oz.
Once the roof is clean – then you’ll need to start on the sides of the RV. We use the Protect All All Surface Cleaner. This product also works great and is easy to use.
If the outside of your RV is made out of white fiberglass – getting the dreaded black streaks off can be a real hassle. What we have found that works the best for getting rid of the black streaks is Star Brite Premium Cleaner Wax with PTEF 16 oz. It also puts a great shine on that old fiberglass making it look like new again.
2. Fix It
You probably already know this, but if your RV is in need of repairs – you’re going to lose a lot money on the sale if you can’t get everything working properly. Sometimes you can find a local RV technician on craigslist who’ll work for a reasonable amount. Again, it’s important to take care of the repairs prior to listing for sale.
3. Price it Right
If you price your RV too high your RV might be parked all season without a buyer and it could depreciate even more. On the other hand, if you price your RV too low you might have left money on the table (money that I am sure you could put to good use – like donating to this site). We’re kidding! Joke ………… Joke
So, how much should you sell your RV for? What is a good price to ask? Keep reading and we will share what has worked for us in the past to get top dollar. Remember – selling an RV needs to be a win-win for both the buyer and seller (and their bank) if they are financing. If it is a win-lose then no one is happy and your deal will go south on you sooner or later (especially if the buyer is financing). Your buyer may be willing to pay full price (until they go to their bank). Once their bank or credit union gets involved it is like selling the RV all over again. If you set the right price in the beginning the banks or credit unions won’t be a problem.
NADA Guides To establish a fair price for selling your RV – first you need information. Let’s start with NADA. Most folks have heard of NADA and their pricing guides. They provide a free online guide at: https://www.nadaguides.com/RVs.
The NADA Guide is where most banks and dealers go to establish a suggested retail price. Banks use NADA’s high retail price to establish the amount they will loan on an RV. The retail price that is given is usually pretty high, but it is a good place to start. Remember the term “guide” in the NADA guide. It is not the actual price your RV is worth – that is why they call it a guide. The price your RV is worth is the highest price a willing buyer is willing to pay. If there are ten other RVs similar to yours in the area – no buyer is going to pay you more than what the comparable RVs are selling for (no matter what the NADA guide says).
When we price an RV to sell, we first go to NADA and find the suggested high retail price, as well as the suggested low retail price, for the particular year and model we are trying to sell. There will be about a 15% to 20% difference between these two prices. Again, it’s important to remember they call this a ‘guide’ for a reason. Their prices can be way off from what your RV may actually sell for in your area.
TIP – Once you have determined NADA high retail and low retail – we suggest printing it out to share with your potential buyer so they know you didn’t just make up an asking price out of thin air. Next, we’ll check out PPL Motorhomes online. PPL motorhomes is one of the largest consignment RV dealers in the USA. They allow the public (at time of this article) to view what all of their RVs on consignment have actually sold for.
This is not a guide – it’s actual ‘sold’ prices. They also share the condition of the RV on their site. This is extremely valuable information. It can be very sobering after reviewing the sometimes inflated NADA retail prices and then seeing what people have actually paid for an RV similar to yours. Sometimes, if it is a popular RV and you’re selling during the busy RV season, the PPL ‘sold’ price might be closer to the NADA retail price. We utilize their site all the time when we’re in the market for an RV, or we’re trying to sell an RV. It’s a great site.
We’ve included some links to PPL’s ‘Sold” pages:
Diesel Motorhomes Sold https://www.pplmotorhomes.com/sold/diesel-motor-homes.htm
Class C Motorhomes Sold https://www.pplmotorhomes.com/sold/class-c-motor-homes.htm
Fifth Wheels Sold www.pplmotorhomes.com/sold/fifth-wheel-trailers.htm
Travel Trailers Sold www.pplmotorhomes.com/sold/travel-trailer.htm
Note: If the above links don’t work – then just google “PPL motorhomes sold” with the type of RV you have and the sold page will come up for your particular RV. Once you find comparable RVs – write down the amount they sold for.
Next, we search e-bay for similar results. If you have an account with e-bay you can easily view how much RVs have sold for. Usually, the e-bay ‘sold’ price at auction will be the lowest price you’d likely ever get for your RV.
We like to know this price merely to have in the back of our head the wholesale – (lowest, bottom dollar) amount folks are willing to pay. Sometimes (very rarely) you can get bidders who’ll fight/bid on an RV, which can run the bid up. If you’re lucky enough for that to happen, you might end up with a decent price for your RV.
However, it has been our experience that e-bay is great for buyers and not-so-great for sellers – especially on the high-ticket items. We primarily use it to establish a lowest possible price in the event we had to immediately sell/dump the RV. So, it’s worth checking out RVs that have sold on e-bay. Write the sales amount down, too. Again, just for comparison purposes.
Online Marketing Sites
We’ll also check out some of the online RV marketing sites and search for similar RVs for sale.
We always search on craigslist to see if there are any RVs similar to ours that are for sale in our immediate area. Figure it can’t hurt to know what our local competition is and determine if our price is too high or too low. Again, write down the information, or print it out for future reference.
Next, got to RVT.com and find out what RVs are selling for that are comparable to yours. See more information on RVT.com below.
RV Trader Online
Another source is www.rvtraderonline.com. Same thing – it allows you to search for RVs so you can get an average selling price. Write down or print the information out.
Once you have done your homework you should have a pretty good idea of what your competition is like. You should also have a pretty good idea as to the amount you should set your sales price at (probably somewhere below high NADA retail and low NADA retail).
When it’s all said and done – the PPL motorhome sold price is probably the best indicator of what a fair and actual sales price would be for your RV. We always set our sales price a little higher than the amount we’re willing to accept because we’ve found most cash buyers want to feel they got a deal and most don’t want to pay full asking price – no matter how low you’ve set your price.
Remember, most buyers are pretty internet savvy and have shopped around some – they have a good idea what the RV is worth and how much they are willing to pay. Smart buyers will already know the NADA. If a potential buyer plans on financing – hopefully they’ll have a pre-approval on a loan through their bank or credit union.
Based on what we’ve learned – if a buyer is getting financing from their bank it’s ultimately the bank who’ll want to set the maximum sales/purchase price on the amount they’ll loan and it’s almost always based on NADA values. Often times a willing buyer is prepared to pay whatever amount you’re asking, but as soon as they head to their bank for their loan – the bank will say “it’s selling for too much.” Trust me – the buyer will come back and ask you to lower the price based on what the bank says. Many sales have been lost due to this when it’s a finance deal.
Some people love to negotiate and some don’t want the hassle. Sorry, for those of you who don’t like to negotiate – it’s just how the world works. If you’re uncomfortable with all this, perhaps you might want to consider putting your RV on consignment at one of the local RV dealerships. Sometimes it is better to let a salesperson deal with the buyers.
Selling your RV on Consignment
Selling on consignment can be a great way to sell your RV without the hassle of dealing with buyers. It can be frustrating if you’re trying to sell your RV and you are dealing with what we refer to as the ‘tire-kickers /lookie-loos/time-wasters’ (basically, folks who are not in a buying mode yet). They may merely be in ‘research mode’ and may waste a lot of your time. They may buy at some point. However, it could be months or years before they’re ready to take the plunge and buy an RV. We can speak first-hand on this because we were in ‘lookie-loo’ mode for nearly a year before buying our RV. We wanted to do our research and know that we were making the right decision – and we wanted to be sure we were getting a good deal. We think back about those poor sales people hoping to make a sale. Bottom line – if you decide putting your RV on consignment it allows you to let someone else deal with these folks. However, convenience comes with a cost when you consign an RV. When we last checked – PPL motorhomes charged a 10% consignment fee of the sales price. From what we’ve seen and heard it looks like they do a pretty good job and they sell a ton of RVs. Keep in mind – we have never personally used their services, nor are we affiliated in any way. We merely refer to their website when we’re in the market to buy or sell an RV. When we were in the consignment business years ago we’d agree to a 4% – 10% commission on the selling price. It really just depended on the RV and how fast we felt it’d sell.
There are consignment dealers who work off of guaranteeing you a fixed net amount and they take the rest of the money they get above that. We never did that type of consignment. Suppose you’d just have to be happy with the net amount if you go that route. But …… based on our experience it seems no matter how much you set your ‘net’ amount at – the dealer will call you with any offer they get (sometimes much less than the amount you wanted to net). They call this in the biz’ ‘getting a haircut.’ Of course, if they ask you to lower the amount you’ll net, you can always ask them to lower their commission. It’s all negotiatable.
Tips on How to Advertise your RV:
Craigslist – It’s FREE
With the internet there are so many ways to sell your RV. The online marketplace is full of advertisers more than happy to take your cash. One free one we use is Craigslist. It is great for local folks in your area. The only potential problem stems from living in a small town – there may not be enough people to market to if you live in a small city. We always start with craigslist because it’s free, but you may need to consider a few fee-based RV marketing sites as well in order to market to a much larger geographic population.
We have had good and bad results using RV trader (also known as rvtraderonline). RV Trader has a huge amount of traffic, which is good and bad. The good is there are a lot of folks coming to their site to find an RV. The bad is RV trader has a lot more RV dealers than other online marketing places and those dealers have huge advertising budgets that can afford to pay for premium placement advertising. Premium placement puts their ads above your ad – even if yours is at a lower price. Your one little RV ad can easily get buried several pages back in the search results (even if your price is well below all the others). In fact, it seems that you are actually penalized for having a lower price. Surprisingly, the lower the price the further down your ad will be in the search results by default. Of course, if the savvy internet shopper is well versed in shopping/searching on the RV trader website – they can re-sort the way the pages are loaded so it will bring up the lower priced units to the top. However, most shoppers don’t take the time to do that and rvtraderonline is well aware of that. Also, it costs more for an ad on their site than it does on other online sites. They also do not have options for running an ad that will ‘run until sold.’
We have had excellent results using RVT.com. They have over 80,000 RV buyers visiting their site each month and they are less expensive than rvtrader. Also, YOU CAN PURCHASE AN AD THAT RUNS UNTIL THE RV SELLS (A BIG PLUS FOR US!). Click here to get SELLING!
Best of luck in selling your RV!
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