How to Sell a Camper with a Lien (The Right Way)

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The process of selling a camper can be a bit tricky. And selling a camper with a lien on it just adds more complexity to the process.

But, don’t worry. The process is actually a lot simpler than it seems (and a lot more common than you might think).

If you’re looking to sell a camper with a lien, you’re in the right place. Here’s everything you need to know, along with some valuable tips for an easier sell.

Find Your Campers True Value

This is by far the most essential step you should take if you’re thinking about selling your camper.

Knowing the true value of any item is what allows both the buyer and the seller to meet on fair ends. However, this doesn’t always happen because, in a lot of cases, people don’t have a grasp on the fair price or market value of what they are selling.

did you know Did you know…

The Fair Market Value (FMV) is when both parties are unrelated, they know all the relevant facts, neither party is under any obligation to buy or sell, and all rights and benefits inherent in the item must have been included in the transfer.

If you price your vehicle below market value then you stand to lose money, but may get a quicker sale.

Conversely, if you price your vehicle above market value, you might make more money, but it may take longer to sell. Plus, you need to account for any costs it takes to maintain ownership of the vehicle while it’s waiting to sell.

So, it’s really up to you and the urgency to sell your vehicle. But, finding that sweet spot will help you sell for the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time.

How to Determine the Camper’s Value?

Some people think that their camper’s value is what they paid for it. This includes its base price, registration fees, insurance fees, and taxes. They also add what they’ve put into it in terms of any regular maintenance, upgrades or repairs.

We all wish that the evaluation process is that simple. However, it’s not the case, as there are other factors that are responsible for determining the value.

The quickest way to get an estimation of your camper’s worth is by using a price guide like NADA. You should compare it with a similar unit, including the brand, the model, and the manufacturing year.

However, you need to know that this can only give you a rough estimation. There are other qualities that cause the price to vary remarkably. This includes mileage, mechanical condition, location, and overall conditions.

Sometimes, you’d find a camper that’s in a very bad condition and another one that’s in great shape and with low mileage. However, they both ask for the same price. That’s why it’s crucial to assess your camper based on its value and not just how much it costs.

By checking more campers of similar conditions as yours, you’ll get a better estimation of where your camper stands. Never rely solely on an estimation from a fellow camper, a friend, or used car dealers.

Figure the Difference in Financials

Once you’ve determined sensible market value, you now have a better idea of how much your camper can make.

Now, it’s time to compare it with the amount of money you owe.

Unlike the previous step, where you could go by rough estimations, this one is a serious matter that should never be left for appraisals. By knowing the exact amount of money you owe, you can draw a connection with your camper’s estimated value.

The difference between the two values should give you an insight into the amount of money that’ll be gained (or lost).

If your camper is worth less than what you owe, you’ll most likely be losing money on the sale and it can complicate the selling process.

Sell Privately

When you’re looking to sell a camper with a lien due to financing, you have two main options.

The first option is to sell it through the private market, while the other is to go through a dealership. Each one of these processes has its own pros and cons.

If you’re not in a hurry and don’t mind following a more complicated process, you could opt for a private sale.

With private sales, you’re more likely to make a higher yield selling your camper rather than through a dealership.

While listing your camper for sale, it’s recommended to leave a note that there’s a lien on it. Additionally, you need to create a compelling ad to attract more buyers.

Even if you prefer to go through the hardships of selling privately, you should still get a quote from a dealership. This will again help ensure you have a fair price and, more importantly, ensure that you don’t mistakingly sell your travel trailer for less than what a dealership would give you. Trust us, you don’t want to take the harder route for less money!

Stand out Among Competitors

Every year, more than 355,000 campers and recreational vehicles of all kinds are sold. In this fierce competition, you want your camper to stand out among the crowd if you need it sold for the right price.

Also, by having your camper in an unrivaled condition, you’ll make sure that you get a fair offer to cover most of the potential losses. In some cases, you might even come out with little cash in hand.

If your camper is a new model, clean, and well kept, you’re going to get more private buyers and hear better prices at the dealerships. However, if the camper is severely damaged or heavily oxidized and dirty, you’re going to have a hard time getting rid of it unless you ask for an extremely low price.

Securing the Deal Using an Escrow Account

If you want to add an extra layer of security during the transaction process, you can use an escrow service.

When using the escrow method, the purchaser deposits the sale money in an escrow account, which is only released to the seller once the title transfer has been completed and the lien released.

This service requires extra fees, however, which are usually split between the buyer and the seller because it protects the interests of both ends.

Completing The Sale

You can finish the sale by arranging a meeting to get the title signed over to the buyer and the lienholder’s debt paid off. The debt can be satisfied by either the seller paying it off or the debt being transferred over to the buyer.

If you don’t have the funds necessary to pay off the loan (even after the sale of the vehicle), then some banks offer a bridge loan. A bridge loan is basically a new loan that will cover the difference from what you are selling the vehicle for and what you owe.

If the debt is being transferred to the buyer then expect a transfer fee that varies according to the bank or lending institution. But, since it ensures a secure transaction for all parties, it’s generally welcome by the buyers and sellers.

One of the upsides of going through a dealership is that you don’t have to worry about setting up this meeting between all parties. Instead, the dealership can easily assume the lien debt by issuing a letter to the seller who then gives the letter to the lienholder.

Sell to a Dealership

If selling privately doesn’t seem appealing, then you can go for an easy sale at the dealership.

Selling to a dealership is a much easier process as it removes a lot of the complications that come with selling a camper with a lien.

However, you usually make less money if you choose the dealership path.

Dealerships employ professionals who know all the finer details about the process of selling with a lien. That’s why most recreational vehicle owners go for the dealership option when they decide to sell.

Since they have a lot of experience in the process, they know how to handle all the legal and governmental issues and paperwork that comes with selling a vehicle.

Additionally, they may already have direct contact with your lending entity, whether it’s a person or a company, or a bank. Not only that, but they also arrange for other technicalities such as mechanics and towing companies, if needed.

The process usually starts with the dealer making a thorough investigation of your RVs condition and coming back with an amount that they feel is fair trade-in value.

It’s important to note that you should never accept any offer that’s below the estimated trade-in value of your camper.

However, if the dealer offers you a fair price, and you decide to go with it, the process takes off from here, starting with paying off the lien holder.

Once the lien holder is paid off, they’ll release the title to the dealership. It’s good practice to stay in contact with the lien holder throughout the title transfer process. If there’s any money over the loan’s balance, the dealer will give it to you.

Additionally, before you hand over the keys to the dealer, ask the dealer to give you a written certification that the loan balance is paid off.

Other Options

If selling your RV (be it a camper, motorhome, etc) isn’t an option at this time, you do have a few other options to consider.

Trade Down

If you need to get out of your existing camper, but don’t want to give up on the camper-life or camping altogether, you may be able to trade your existing model in for a cheaper, more affordable solution.

Essentially, after trade-in, they would tack on the amount still owed onto your new loan and then spread out the payments over a longer time frame to keep the monthly amount due down.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always an option since a bank won’t typically loan out more money than what the vehicle is worth. Plus, you may find yourself in the same financial position down the road.

Rent It Out

Another rather interesting option is to rent out your RV when you’re not using it to help pay it down so you can then sell it. This also provides a unique opportunity to turn a poor financial situation into a profitable one.

Renting RVs has become extremely popular in recent years. How you decide to rent it out can vary, but websites like make it easy to list your RV and get it in front of millions of eager eyes. They handle all the payments and deposits, offer roadside assistance, and have one-on-one rental coaching to help you get the most out of your rental listing.

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