Follow along as we show you step-by-step how to get free and accurate NADA RV Values for any motorhome or trailer.
How to Get the NADA RV Value Step-by-Step
Understanding the value of a recreational vehicle is important whether you are buying or selling. The National Automobile Dealers Association, more commonly referred to as NADA, offers a detailed guide to help you estimate the value of various types of RVs, including motorhomes, trailers, pop-up campers, and more.
Important: The NADA Used Car Guide was acquired by JD Power in 2015 and is now called JD Power Car Values. That said, everybody still calls it the NADA guide, so that’s what we’ll refer to it as in this guide. Old habits die hard, I guess.
Here is a step-by-step guide to obtaining the NADA RV value:
Step 1: Navigate to NADA’s RV Value Homepage
Start by visiting the NADA RV value homepage. Here, you will find different categories of RVs such as:
- Travel trailers (including fifth wheels)
- Camping trailers (smaller/pop-up trailers)
- Truck-top campers
- Park models
Select the category that corresponds to the type of RV you are interested in. NADA also offers valuations for tow vehicles, a resource you might find useful if you are also looking to value a tow vehicle.
Tip: I recommend opening the NADA RV value homepage in a new tab and following along with this tutorial.
Step 2: Select Your RV Make
Once you select your category, you will be directed to a page where you can choose from a list of motorhome manufacturers listed by NADA.
To save time, you can browse through the most popular manufacturers if your RV is of a popular make. Otherwise, you can explore a more extended and comprehensive list in a drop-down menu.
Step 3: Select Your Year and Model
Once on the manufacturer’s page, a list of various models will appear. You can filter these models based on the year and body style. Additionally, you can choose to hide or show specifications such as:
- Floor plan
- Self Contained
This step helps narrow down the specific details of the RV.
Step 4: Provide Your Zip Code
After selecting the appropriate model, you will be prompted to enter your zip code. This is necessary because RV trade-in values can fluctuate based on geographical location. The zip code ensures that you get a valuation pertinent to your locale.
Step 5: Adjust for Optional Features
Next, you will encounter a list of optional features that you can add or subtract based on the amenities present in your RV. Some of these features include:
- Air Conditioning and Heating
- Engine and Suspension Systems
- Jacks and Leveling Systems
- Miscellaneous Optional Equipment
- Slide Outs/Tip Outs
Adding features that are present and in good working condition in your RV can potentially increase its value. If unsure about the features, you can skip this step to view the baseline value.
And don’t forget to plug in your mileage if you have a gas-powered RV.
Tip: Only select the options that are in addition to “standard equipment” for your make and model.
Step 6: View the Suggested Prices
Finally, after all the necessary details are inputted, NADA will display the RV values, which include:
- Suggested list price
- Average retail price
- Low retail price
These pricing details can be valuable in setting a competitive sale price or vetting potential RVs you intend to purchase. It gives you a clear picture of the market, aiding you in making informed decisions.
Understanding NADA RV Value Estimates
You now have NADA’s estimated values for your RV. But what do these numbers mean?
Suggested List Price
The suggested list price is essentially the manufacturer’s recommended selling price for the RV when it was brand new. The manufacturer furnishes this value, and is generally assumed to be accurate. When referring to the suggested list value, you are looking at the pristine value of the RV, free of any wear and tear or modifications that might have occurred over time.
Low Retail Value
Low retail value represents an RV that has experienced a considerable amount of use, wear, and tear. The body might have dents and blemishes, indicating that the buyer will likely need to invest in some restoration work. Despite the apparent wear, the RV is expected to be in a safe running order.
Average Retail Value
An RV with an average retail value has a clean appearance free of glaring defects. According to NADA, this includes:
- Good condition of tires and glass
- Matching paint with a good finish
- Clean interior with wear that corresponds appropriately to the RV’s age
- Functional power options
- Mileage within an acceptable range for the year it was manufactured
The average retail value gives buyers and sellers a benchmark for an RV in decent condition, offering a fair balance between price and quality.
The trade-in value represents the amount a dealer is willing to offer you for your used RV when you trade it in for another vehicle. The NADA guide does not offer a trade-in value for RVs in its free version. However, we can still estimate this value.
However, we can estimate the trade-in value by subtracting 10% to 20% from the low retail value (I’d stick closer to 20%). Of course, this is simply an estimate and will vary wildly based on various factors, including the dealer’s policies, the specific RV you plan to buy, etc.
The only accurate trade-in value is the one the dealer gives you.
Limitations of the NADA RV Guide
While the NADA value offers a great starting point, it has limitations. Understanding these limitations can help you use the guide more effectively and make more informed decisions.
Values May Not Reflect Regional Differences
One of the limitations of the NADA RV value guide is that the values presented may not fully account for regional differences.
Yes, inputting your zip code does help partially account for regional valuations. However, the RV market can vary significantly from one region to another due to various factors, including climate, the popularity of RVing in the region, and local regulations – all of which are constantly changing.
Therefore, while the NADA RV value guide provides a general estimate, it is advisable also to consider the specific dynamics of the regional market where you intend to buy or sell an RV.
Unique Features May Not Be Accounted For
Another limitation is that the guide may not fully account for unique features and customizations that an RV might have. RV owners often add features or make modifications to suit their preferences and needs. These additions can range from high-end interior designs and fixtures to other features not listed in their option section.
Consequently, an RV with high-value additions might be undervalued if solely relying on the guide for pricing.
Seasonal Influences on Value
The RV market is not immune to seasonal fluctuations. Different seasons can influence the demand for RVs and their value. For instance, the demand for RVs tends to increase during the summer when people are more likely to go on road trips and vacations.
Understanding the seasonal influences on RV values can help in timing the purchase or sale of an RV to get the best deal. It is a nuanced aspect that the NADA RV value guide may not fully capture, and being aware of this can aid in making a more informed decision.
Other Market Trends
Apart from regional and seasonal influences, other market trends can affect the value of RVs. These include economic factors such as inflation and interest rates, as well as trends in the automotive and housing markets. Changes in consumer preferences, influenced by factors such as fuel prices, for example, can also play a role.
The NADA RV value guide may not be updated frequently enough to reflect rapid changes in market trends. Therefore, while it is a valuable tool, it should be used in conjunction with other resources and up-to-date market analysis to get a more accurate estimation of an RV’s value.
Using Other Sources with NADA RV Values
The NADA RV Value is a good starting point, but integrating insights from other sources can offer a more rounded perspective.
In other words, you can improve the accuracy of your RV valuation by complementing the NADA guide with other reliable resources.
Complementing NADA with Expert Appraisals
Expert appraisers bring a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of the current RV market. They can assess the RV’s condition meticulously, considering aspects such as:
- Mechanical condition
- Interior and exterior condition
- Unique features and customizations
- Market demand and trends
By seeking the services of a professional appraiser, you can obtain a detailed report that considers a wide array of factors, potentially uncovering value points that are not explicitly covered in the NADA guide.
Checking Local Classifieds for Comparison
Local classifieds can be a goldmine of information for understanding the real-time market value of RVs in a specific region. These platforms often feature a wide variety of listings, offering a glimpse into the ongoing rates for different RV models.
To make the most of this resource:
- Analyze listings of RVs similar to the one you are valuing
- Note the condition and features highlighted in various listings
- Observe the pricing trends over a period to identify any patterns
By comparing the information derived from the NADA guide with real-world data from local classifieds, you can gauge the market more accurately and set a competitive yet realistic value for the RV.
Comparing with RVTrader.com
RVTrader.com is a prominent platform in the RV industry, hosting a vast array of new and used RV listings. Utilizing this platform for comparison can offer several benefits:
- Wide Spectrum of Listings: RVTrader.com features a broad range of RVs, from travel trailers to motorhomes, offering a rich database for comparison.
- Detailed Information: Listings on the platform often come with detailed information, including features, conditions, and photographs, facilitating a thorough comparison.
- National and Regional Insights: The platform provides a view of both national and regional markets, allowing for a more comprehensive market analysis.
RVTrader.com can provide a deeper understanding of the current RV market and help fine-tune the RV value derived from the NADA guide.
What is NADA?
NADA stands for the National Automobile Dealers Association, a prominent organization in the United States that provides data, analytics, and valuation tools for various types of vehicles, including recreational vehicles.
Established in 1917, NADA has been a leading resource in the automotive industry, offering a wealth of information to assist consumers and dealers in making informed decisions regarding vehicle transactions.
In the context of RVs, the NADA RV value guide (now the JD Power RV Value) offers detailed valuation data that helps determine the current market value of new and used RVs based on factors such as make, model, age, condition, and additional features. The guide is a valuable tool for buyers, sellers, and enthusiasts seeking insights into the RV market.
How Often are NADA RV Values Updated?
NADA RV values are updated on a regular basis, weekly to monthly, depending on the data set, to ensure the most current and accurate information is available to users. These regular updates take into account the analysis of over 20 million vehicle transactions per year to provide a reliable and up-to-date resource for RV valuations.
Can I Trust NADA RV Values?
Yes, you can generally trust NADA RV values as they are derived from a comprehensive analysis of millions of sales transactions and have become the gold standard of automotive valuation. However, while NADA RV values are a great starting point, it is always recommended to supplement this information with other resources, such as expert appraisals and market comparisons, to get a well-rounded view of the RV’s actual market value.
Is There a Blue Book for RVs?
Contrary to common belief, there are no Kelley Blue Book RV values. While they are a reputable source for information and valuations on automobiles such as cars and motorcycles, they do not extend this service to RVs. For RV valuations, the NADA guide remains the go-to resource.