The process of selling your RV can be stressful and time-consuming.
So, we created this complete step-by-step guide, from preparing your RV to finalizing the sale, to help you sell your RV fast and for the most money possible!
1. Prepare Your RV for Sale
The first thing you should do once you decide it’s time to sell your camper, travel trailer, motorhome, or any type of RV is, of course, prepare your vehicle for sale!
Repairs & Maintenance
Perform a walk-through of your camper, testing each feature to ensure it works as designed. Make sure all of the light bulbs are working, plumbing works, any appliances are working as they should, etc. Once you have your list, go ahead and replace faulty bulbs and fix any other broken features.
If there are items that you physically can’t fix or you won’t be able to recoup the cost of fixing them, you can offer an allowance to the buyer to help pay for the repair. For example, if the carpet needs to be replaced, you can offer a $500 allowance to the buyer to help pay for the new carpet. This way, the carpet won’t be a sticking point and deter buyers, plus they get to choose brand new carpet of their liking.
Lastly, any service that needs to be performed, like oil changes, etc., should be completed before putting it up for sale.
Tip: When it comes to fixing your camper, think about the condition of the camper that you’d be willing to buy and try to achieve such a state.
Clean It Inside & Out
Cleaning out your camper is rather crucial if you’re looking to score a good deal. It should be tidy, presentable, and close to new condition as you can get it.
- Start by cleaning the camper’s interior. Remove all your personal belongings from the vehicle so that potential buyers are able to easily picture themselves in the camper.
- If needed, shampoo the carpets or get them professionally cleaned. The goal here is to get rid of any odors that could be lingering inside the camper.
- After the inside is cleaned out and wiped down, it’s time to move to the exterior of your RV. Be sure to remove any oxidation from the RV and give it a nice polish.
It should go without saying that a clean, new-looking camper will sell much faster (and for more money) than a dirty and used-looking one.
2. Figure the Best Selling Price
Setting the right price is one of the most critical steps to sell your RV. This decision can be both stressful and emotional to make, so it’s important to remember that you need to keep things reasonable.
Instead of thinking about the emotional value of your time in the vehicle or the money that you originally paid for it, try to consider its actual current worth. This way, you’ll be able to set a fair price for both you and the buyer.
The price on your ad is the first, if not the only, thing a potential buyer would look at to decide whether or not they should inquire for extra details.
So how do you know the best price?
For starters, avoid going above the fair market value, or you may be waiting for a long time before you even get a bite. And you may be forced to lower the price anyway since no one is willing to pay that amount.
In many cases, selling at a bargain price proves to be money-saving. This is when you consider the extended cost of ownership, depreciation, and insurance over a long sale duration.
However, this doesn’t mean you should set your price too low.
To achieve the best price possible and expedite the sale of your RV, do a quick search for the average selling prices of campers like yours on websites like RVTrader and get the NADA RV Value for your motorhome or trailer.
If you’re still having trouble figuring out a price, you can try the approach of some sellers who turn to their insurance companies, banks, or RV dealers for a formal appraisal.
Lastly, do a quick search for similar models for sale and see what they are going for. If you want to sell your RV as quickly as possible, then you’ll want to at least be in the same ballpark, if not beat their price. You might not get as much money, but you’ll get a faster sale, and you’ll be saving on the costs associated with keeping the RV in your possession while waiting for a buyer.
3. Best Time to Sell Your RV
Just like real estate, the RV market has its own seasonal trends that can impact the speed and profitability of your sale. Understanding these trends can help you determine the best time to sell your RV.
Understanding Trends in the RV Market
The RV market is influenced by several seasonal and other factors. Here are some key trends to consider:
- Spring and Summer: These are typically the peak seasons for RV sales. As the weather warms up, more people start thinking about outdoor adventures and family vacations, making it a great time to sell.
- Fall and Winter: Sales tend to slow down in the colder months as fewer people are looking to buy. However, there are still buyers out there, especially in warmer climates where RVing is a year-round activity.
- Trade Shows and Expos: RV trade shows and expos, which the bulk of take place January – March, can also drive up interest and sales.
- Economic Factors: The state of the economy can also impact RV sales. For example, during economic downturns, people may be less likely to make large purchases like an RV.
Why Early Spring Might Be the Best Time to Sell
While there are buyers in every season, early spring often emerges as the best time to sell your RV. Here’s why:
- Buyer Interest: As mentioned earlier, buyer interest tends to ramp up in pre and early spring. People are starting to plan their summer vacations and are looking for RVs.
- Better Prices: With increased demand, you’re likely to get a better price for your RV in the spring.
- More Time for the Buyer: Selling in early spring gives the buyer plenty of time to get their new RV ready for the summer travel season.
- Tax Refunds: Many people receive tax refunds in the spring, which they may use to make large purchases like an RV.
4. Choosing the Right Platform for Selling Your RV
There are several ways you can put your camper up for sale. You can sell it yourself locally, online, or through an RV dealer.
Here’s a breakdown of each method:
Of course, you can decide to be the only person involved in putting the camper up for sale and landing a deal. There are various outlets and platforms where you can market your camper locally. Here are a few tips for selling your camper as quickly as possible if you decide to sell it yourself locally.
Put it on display
It’s not always enough to park your camper outside the house for buyers to come knocking at your door.
If you don’t already live in one, you may need to display your camper in a high-traffic area so that lots of potential buyers can see your RV and get in touch with you.
Consider reaching out to friends who happen to live or own businesses in high-traffic areas, and ask them to let you park your camper there for a while.
Hang a window sheet
A window sheet is a handy tool that you place on the windows of your camper to make the sale easier. Think of them as a “For Sale” sign on steroids!
This sheet should include the answers to the most asked questions by potential buyers. Think of it as an FAQ section that covers the different features of your camper and other important information like miles, year, model, and so on.
Window sheets are also a good chance for you to add your contact information, such as your phone number and email address.
Other ways to show off your camper locally include:
- Parking the camper in a high-traffic area with a “For Sale” sign.
- Use local RV parks and campgrounds to pass around ads or flyers.
- Use local magazines or periodicals.
- Spread the word by letting people know you’re selling your camper.
If you want to expand those local boundaries, then you have the option to sell your RV online. Going online will allow you to reach a larger audience of buyers, which should make the sale much faster to complete.
There are a few different ways you can sell your RV online, with the most popular being:
- Selling your RV via classified listings, such as RVT.com, RVTrader, National Vehicle, Facebook Marketplace or in Facebook groups, and Craigslist.
- Selling your RV at an online sales auction. For example, eBay motors.
- Selling your RV through RV forums.
No matter which avenue you take to sell it online, you’ll need to write a good ad. A good ad can make all the difference in how well and how fast you sell your used camper.
Creating a Winning Online Listing
If you want to write an effective ad, it should highlight the most compelling features and selling points of your camper. The more information you enter in the description field, the better your chances of securing a buyer. This helps them feel that your ad isn’t a scam.
To help you write a strong ad that’ll make things move faster, here are a number of points to include:
- Mention the reason(s) you’re selling – this is a very common buyer question, so save time by providing an explanation in your ad.
- Highlight the best features of your RV – it’s important to highlight the best features of your RV. These could include any upgrades you’ve made, such as solar panels or new appliances, unique design elements, or high-end amenities. Be sure to provide detailed descriptions of these features, explaining their benefits and why they add value to the RV.
- State the acceptable forms of payment – it’s always best to make it clear what payments you will and will not accept. This way, both parties can avoid inconvenience because buyers will know upfront what you want. For example, if you don’t want to accept foreign money, then be sure to include such a statement.
- Be honest – being shady or evasive will only serve to waste everyone’s time, including yours. Be straightforward and open about any issues or declarations related to the camper. If the buyer discovers certain defects through a history report check of your vehicle that they didn’t already know about, then they may lose interest altogether.
- Mention prior maintenance – buyers of used campers are always attracted to well-maintained vehicles, especially if it’s a motorized model. So, it’s a smart idea to mention that you took care of your RV, and it gets even better if you include maintenance records to back up your words.
- Disclose warranty information – if your vehicle is still covered by a transferable warranty and you have the paperwork, make sure to list such information along with the expiry date of the warranty. Also, don’t forget to mention whether or not there’s a fee for warranty transfer. If you’re asking the buyer to pay for this fee, you need to make it clear.
- State your negotiating terms – if your price is firm, make sure you mention this in the ad. To make the process smoother, RV ads usually use terms such as firm, OBO (or best offer), negotiable, and must sell.
- Include visual representation – this is particularly beneficial for online ads. Consider adding high-quality photos or video walk-throughs.
Sell or Trade-In to an RV Dealership
This may not grant you the best deal out there, but it’s the fastest way to sell your camper and secure some cash. Almost all RV dealerships will buy your used RV through an outright purchase, or you can even trade your old model for a newer one.
The trade-in option can be particularly appealing if you’re planning to purchase a new RV, as many dealerships offer trade-in programs that can make the process seamless and fast.
When you sell or trade-in your RV, the dealership will assess its condition and market value, and then offer you a price.
Here are some key points to consider when working with an RV dealer:
- Convenience: Selling or trading in your RV at a local dealer can be a convenient option. The dealership handles all the paperwork, and you don’t have to worry about advertising, showing the RV to potential buyers, or negotiating prices.
- Speed: If you’re looking to sell your RV quickly, this can be an efficient option. Once the dealership makes an offer, the process can move quite rapidly.
- Value: Dealerships need to make a profit, so the trade-in offer might be lower than what you could get from a private sale. It’s important to research your RV’s value beforehand so you have a realistic expectation of what it’s worth.
- Negotiation: Just like when you’re buying a car, there’s often room for negotiation in a trade-in. Don’t be afraid to negotiate the trade-in value of your RV. You likely won’t be able to negotiate a direct sale.
- Condition: The condition of your RV will significantly impact its value. Dealerships will consider factors like mileage, age, wear and tear, and any necessary repairs when determining the value.
What’s the Best Way to Sell an RV?
The optimal platform for selling an RV depends on your priorities, such as speed of sale versus potential profit. Selling to a dealer is generally the quickest option but often yields a lower selling price as dealers aim to buy at wholesale prices. Auction platforms can also expedite the sale but come with varying fees and less control over the final price. Personal sales through specialized RV websites, social media marketplaces, or local classifieds usually offer the highest return but require more effort in terms of marketing, negotiations, and handling paperwork.
5. Meeting with Prospective Buyers
When it comes to selling your RV, meeting with prospective buyers is an important step in the process. This is your opportunity to showcase the best features of your RV and convince the buyer that your RV is the right choice for them.
However, it’s also important to prioritize safety and be prepared for negotiations and test drives.
Safety Tips for Showing Your RV
When showing your RV to potential buyers, safety should be your top priority. Here are some tips to ensure a safe and successful viewing:
- Meet in a Public Place: Always arrange to meet potential buyers in a public place. This not only ensures your personal safety but also provides a neutral location where the buyer can comfortably view the RV.
- Bring a Friend: If possible, bring a friend or family member along with you. This can provide an extra layer of security and can also be helpful when demonstrating features or answering questions about the RV.
- Remove Personal Information: Before showing your RV, make sure to remove any personal information such as maintenance receipts, insurance, or registration information from the vehicle.
- Stay Alert: Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t hesitate to end the viewing.
Handling Test Drives and Negotiations
Test drives are a common part of the RV selling process. Here’s how to handle them:
- Go Along for the Ride: If a potential buyer wants to take a test drive, go along with them. This allows you to answer any questions they might have during the drive and ensures that they handle your RV with care.
- Set Boundaries: Before the test drive, set clear boundaries. Let the buyer know where they can drive and how long the test drive should last.
Negotiations are also a key part of selling your RV. Here are some tips to navigate this process:
- Know Your Bottom Line: Before entering negotiations, know the minimum amount you’re willing to accept for your RV. This will help you negotiate confidently and ensure you don’t accept an offer that’s too low.
- Be Prepared to Walk Away: If a buyer isn’t willing to meet your minimum price, be prepared to walk away. Remember, there are other potential buyers out there who may be willing to pay a fair price for your RV.
- Be Patient: Negotiations can take time. Be patient, and don’t rush the process. A successful sale is often the result of careful negotiation and patience.
6. Finalizing the Sale
Once you’ve found a potential buyer for your RV, the next step is to finalize the sale. This involves preparing the necessary paperwork for transfer and ensuring a safe and secure payment process. These steps are crucial to ensure a smooth and legal transaction.
Preparing the Necessary Paperwork for Transfer
When selling your RV, it’s important to have all the necessary paperwork ready for transfer to the new owner. Here’s what you need to prepare:
- Title: The title is the legal document that proves ownership of the RV. You’ll need to sign it over to the buyer.
- Bill of Sale: This document outlines the terms of the sale, including the purchase price, the date of the sale, and the names and addresses of the buyer and seller.
- Maintenance Records: If you have them, provide the buyer with records of all maintenance and repairs done on the RV. This can give the buyer confidence in the condition of the RV.
- Odometer Disclosure Statement: Some states require this document for motor vehicles, including RVs. It verifies the mileage on the RV’s odometer.
- Release of Liability: This document protects you if the new owner gets into an accident or incurs parking tickets before they’ve registered the RV in their name.
Ensuring a Safe and Secure Payment Process
Securing payment is the final and arguably most important step in the RV selling process. Here are some tips to ensure a safe and secure transaction:
- Cashier’s Check or Money Order: These are the safest forms of payment when selling your RV. They are guaranteed by the bank and can’t bounce like a personal check.
- Wire Transfer: This is another secure form of payment, but be sure to verify the transfer with your bank before handing over the keys.
- Escrow Service: If the buyer is out of town or if you’re selling the RV online, consider using an escrow service. This third-party service holds the buyer’s money until they’ve received the RV.
- Cash: You know the saying, “Cash is king”. However, it can be risky due to the possibility of counterfeit bills. If the buyer insists on paying in cash, verify the bills at your bank.
Remember, selling your RV is not just about finding a buyer and agreeing on a price. It’s also about ensuring a smooth and legal transaction, which includes preparing the necessary paperwork and securing payment.
Where Can I Sell My RV Fast?
The fastest way to sell an RV is typically through a dealership that specializes in RV sales. Dealers are often willing to make an immediate offer and can handle much of the paperwork, making the process quick and relatively hassle-free. However, it’s important to note that selling to a dealer will likely result in a lower selling price compared to selling it privately.
If you don’t have an RV dealer locally, there are companies like Transwest that will buy your RV for cash and will pick it up after finalizing the deal.
Does Camping World Buy Used RVs?
Yes, Camping World does buy used RVs. They’ll even pay top dollar for your RV at one of their dealerships closest to you. Outright purchase is a good option if you want to sell your camper quickly.
You can also list your RV for sale with Camping World through their RV consignment program. This is similar to selling a house through a real estate agent; Camping World will handle all the official paperwork for you, and you’ll get the most cash with no hassle in exchange for a certain cut.
Will RV Dealers Buy Used RVs?
Yes, almost all RV dealers will buy your used RV through an outright purchase. This may not get you the best possible price, but it’s the fastest way for you to land some cash.
Is There a Blue Book for RVs?
There is no Kelley Blue Book for RV valuations. There are other websites, however, that provide pricing and model comparisons, with NADA Guides being the big one. Good Sam and RV Trader have RV valuation tools, as well.
How Do You Sell a Camper When You Still Owe on It?
If you still owe on your camper, you will need to pay off what you owe first so that the loan company can transfer the title. Contact your lender for the exact details. If you have a lien placed on your camper, check out our guide on how to sell a camper with a lien for more details.