RVs can be a lot of work and a lot of expenses, but it all pays back to you when it comes time to sell your RV.
Whether you’re selling your RV because you want to move up in the RV world, you’re ready to move on from the RV life, or you just want to make some extra money it’s important to make sure you’re getting the top dollar for it.
Fortunately for you, I’m going to let you in on all of the secrets to getting the top dollar when selling your used RV.
Have All of the Paperwork Ready
Alright, as part of getting the paperwork ready for selling your RV, we’re going to start with getting the numbers. I know I’ve mentioned this before in my article about buying a used RV, and it’s the same for selling one: NADA (the National Automobile Dealers Association) is your best friend.
Before putting your used RV on the market, you’re going to want to check that you have a good starting price for it which will typically be based on the fair market value for your specific RV.
If you’ve read my other article on buying a used RV, you’ll know that NADA is a good place to get this information. You can also check out the Kelley Blue Book and just pick a good middle price.
On top of making sure you’ll be starting with the right numbers, you’ll probably want to be prepared with lots of different paperwork for and about your RV. This includes a personal log of miles, repairs, and upgrades as well as a vehicle history report that will list any past owners and detailed service records.
Usually, you can order a vehicle history report online as long as you have the VIN number for your RV available. The report will then list the past ownership, maintenance, title history blemishes, past damages, accident history, etc. A couple of places to get vehicle history reports are CARFAX and FAXVIN.
Also, if you are in a state that requires emissions checks, you should be sure to have proof that your RV passed the smog check because it will come in handy when it comes to doing the title transfer.
Speaking of title transfers, that is another form you should be ready for once you are ready to finalize your sale. A title transfer is just a document that ensures that the title of the RV will be successfully transferred over to the new u=owner under the correct name and information. However, this is not required in all states, so be sure to check with your local DMV to see if it is necessary.
Another important document will be the bill of sale, which will basically document the transaction between the buyer and seller with contact information from both included.
Once you have all the paperwork ready and prepared for when the actual sale comes, you can move onto picking when to actually sell your RV.
Sell Your Used RV at the Right Time
Alright, are you ready? This is going to be the easiest yet most important thing to remember when trying to get the top dollar for your used RV. The time of year, condition of the economy and gas prices matter when selling your RV.
Wait for the Gas Prices to Drop
Think about it. Do you really think that people are going to want to buy an RV when gas prices are super high? RVs can be real gas guzzlers and be really tough on the budget when gas is at a higher price. Just that idea alone could easily be the deal breaker between someone convincing themselves that it’s okay to buy an RV.
Just remember, if gas prices are high, people are less likely to buy, but when gas prices are low, you’re good to go.
So, if you want to sell your used RV, I definitely recommend waiting until the gas prices drop down at least a little bit because people will think that they’re getting a steal even though RVs do tend to take a lot of gas just because the gas prices are so low.
Now, an important thing to keep in mind is that you probably shouldn’t wait for all the way through all of the warmer months for the gas prices to drop. Put your RV up for sale as soon as you see the gas prices being even a couple of cents cheaper because it may be your best chance if you’re trying to sell during the summer.
Why is this important? People are also more likely to buy during the warmer seasons when they’ll actually want to use their RV that they just bought.
Pick a Warmer Season to Sell
Okay, to all of those people who live in the more tropical or warmer areas, this tip probably won’t mean so much to you. But… to those of us who have to dress up like Eskimos during the winter, it is very important to sell your used RV during the warmer seasons and months.
Seriously, besides those who live in their RV full-time, who is really going to be going out on RV adventures when it’s cold or even snowing outside? Or at least my personal RV season ends when it starts getting into the colder months of autumn.
Anyways, people are typically more likely to be in the market for buying RVs when the weather starts to get warmer because ideas of nice camping trips, adventures, and vacations start filling their minds–and what better way to carry out those vacationing dreams than through an RV.
That’s when you want to jump on the RV selling bandwagon because you’ll end up being the answer to someone’s dreams. Also, it’s much harder (in my opinion, at least) to say no to buying any form of luxuries when vacation time comes around.
Consider Waiting for the Economy to be Good
Speaking of luxuries… It’s always easier to convince yourself it’s okay to spend money when the economy is doing better. So, if you can, try to wait for the economy to be in good condition before selling your RV.
I know it can feel impossible at times when waiting for such a thing to happen, but they do happen, and selling your RV right when things start going well for the economy can be very beneficial.
Seriously though, people will be more comfortable and more likely to buy luxurious items, like a nice RV if the economy is doing well compared to the penny pinching that will likely happen when the economy is doing poorly.
As that is, the economy can be a tricky gamble and sometimes it isn’t quite waiting for because sometimes you’ll end up waiting forever. Do your best to be patient, but don’t let this last tip for selling at the right time stop you from selling your RV ever.
Prepare It to Be Sold
Alright. Now that you know the top secrets for timing your sale perfectly, we can move on to preparing your RV for the sale. Even if you completely skip over the timing part just because it’s not working for you, you absolutely have to remember to prepare your RV first before even putting it up for sale.
Just because it’s a used RV does not mean it has to look, smell, and feel like one. It will take some time, but you’re going to want to put in all of the work you can handle to make sure your RV is in tip-top shape, squeaky clean, and looking nice before you try to sell it. It will be a bit of work and time, but it really will help you to sell your RV and even get the top dollar for it.
It’s Time For a Deep Cleaning
Is it time to sing the clean-up song? No? Okay, we’ll get right into it then. Right before you start trying to sell your RV is a perfect time to give it a deep cleaning. This means more than just cleaning up the clutter, vacuuming the floor, and changing the sheets.
It means scrubbing the windows, vents, counters, tabletops, inside and outside of cabinets, and even the bathroom. That’s right. You’re going to have to have to put some elbow grease into it (unless you get a professional cleaner to do it for you, of course). You should also be sure to vacuum, mop, and maybe even have the upholstery and carpets cleaned. Also, be sure to clean the outside as well.
I know it sounds like a lot of work, but it will definitely make a better first impression when a potential buyer comes in to take a look and finds it to be almost as clean as a brand new RV.
Another benefit of deep cleaning your RV before selling it is that you end up getting rid of any weird smells it might have had. I know, it sounds crazy, right, that your RV could have a weird smell.
Remember those air freshener commercials where it shows what the homeowner smells and it shows a normal room as they walk in, and then guests walk in and it shows them smelling a port-a-pot?
It’s easy to get used to a weird scent if it’s been there long enough for you to just adapt to it as the new normal. I mean, I would assume you’d have to try really hard to get your RV to smell like a used pit toilet, but the chance for a weird smell is always there.
Most likely, if there was a strange scent, the deep cleaning should take care of it, but it can also be a good idea to have a friend or neighbor who hasn’t spent a lot of time in your RV to come to take a whiff just to be extra sure.
Another part of the deep cleaning process should include looking closely for anything that might need to be fixed up, patched up, or repaired. This is also a good time to make sure your RV is up to date on any maintenance it might be in need of.
Once you’ve finished the deep cleaning process, you can move on to the fun part of preparing your RV to be sold. Or at least I think it’s the fun part.
And Then You Can Make it All Pretty
Maybe it’s just a girl thing, but if something that you plan on buying looks nice and pretty, it tends to be more exciting. Now, by making it pretty, I don’t mean that you have to call in all of your princess friends to get their lovely animal friends to make it look magical.
(Apologize to Snow White and Cinderella for me if that was your plan.)
No, you don’t have to go that far; I’m just suggesting that you give it a more appealing look by giving it even a homey sort of feel. You can do this by opening up the windows and blinds to brighten up the inside and let in some fresh air.
Extra hint: Opening the windows will also make it feel like there’s more space in your RV, making it seem bigger and roomier.
You could also try to decorate a bit. Don’t put out any personal decorations, of course, but hanging bright hand towels in the bathroom and placing a bouquet of flowers on the table could really give it a nice touch.
And… my personal favorite… though this is something that you’ll do only when you have potential buyers coming to look at it, you could even place a fresh plate of homemade cookies on the table.
Store-bought cookies work well too; just be sure to take them out of the packaging, and the potential buyer will never know the difference.
Best Places to Sell Your Used RV
Hint: It’s a trick question; there is no one place that is the best to sell your RV. If you really want to make sure it actually gets sold and you actually get the top dollar for it, you’re going to want to post the sale to multiple places.
Unless you’re selling it to a dealership; then they will take care of all of the marketing, negotiating, and sale making for you. We’ll get into that in a bit.
Overall, you can either sell your RV completely on your own through word of mouth, ads, or flyers; online through RV sites and forums or online auction places; or through a dealership.
Selling Your RV on Your Own
Selling your used RV on your own isn’t actually as scary as it sounds because you have a lot of ways available to you to get the word out there that you’re looking for someone to take your RV off your hands.
Selling it by word of mouth, or just by talking to people that you know who might be in the market for a used RV is always a good option because you won’t be making any guesses as to whether you can trust the person as a potential buyer.
Along with word of mouth, you can also make posts on social media. I’ve actually been seeing a lot of posts on community pages about different types of RVs for sale. You’ll just have to be in charge of making sure that your post(s) get seen and staying in contact with anyone who is interested. Unlike word of mouth, you likely will not know the person already and it will be up to you to decide if they’re trustworthy and worth your time.
Then, there is also the typical way of marketing your RV for sale by putting up flyers in campsites, camping stores, grocery stores, and anywhere else you’re allowed to post flyers.
There’s also the handy dandy “for sale” sign. The thing about this method is that there’s always the chance that people won’t necessarily pay much attention to the flyers or take them seriously, so it’s important that you make your flyers stand out and seem memorable.
Another option for marketing and selling your RV all on your own is posting the sale in magazines or classified ads, but this seems to be a less common thing.
Try Selling Your RV Online
I know that posting your RV for sale on social media is technically selling your RV online, but I’m talking more about selling it through official RV sites, online auction sites, and RV forums.
Honestly, putting your RV up for sale on any of these sites is probably one of the best and easiest ways to reach a larger audience, practically ensuring that your RV will definitely be seen.
As far as selling on official RV sites go, RVTrader.com is always a good place to go. It’s quick and easy to post your RV for sale, it can be left up for sale for anywhere between two weeks and a year, and you have professionals ready to help you make sure you get only the best and safest sale. Sure, you have to pay a little in order to sell your RV on their site, but it is affordable and completely worth it.
Other options like eBay or Craigslist are great for reaching a large audience as well, but they will also require a fee for selling it on their site, and you’re also assuming that you will definitely get bids on your RV. However, the bidding option is nice because they can only bid as low as your starting price, and if multiple people are interested in your RV, the bids can only go upward from there.
Selling your RV on RV forums is also a great option to get it out into the public, but beware those RV old-timers who will try to get your price down to something much lower than you deserve just because they try to convince you with their “knowledge and expertise” of all of its flaws. If this is a concern of yours, you could also consider getting a professional appraisal done for your RV, so you have official evidence to prove them wrong.
Consider Selling it to a Dealership
Maybe you’re not so comfortable with the idea of taking on all of this pressure to find the right person to sell your RV to for the best price. Honestly, putting yourself out there and trusting yourself to find the best buyer that will take the best price can be really intimidating. If this is the case, selling it to a dealership is an excellent option.
Not only will the dealership save you from the hassle of marketing, dealing with inquiries and potential customers, having to negotiate, and making the final sale but selling to the dealership usually means that you don’t have to do such a deep clean before selling it. The dealership takes care of that for you, but you should probably still do at least a basic clean.
Basically, all you will have to do is agree on a price with the dealership, which can sometimes be lower than desired, and then the dealership will put the RV on consignment next to their inventory, and they’ll sell it just like that.
How easy is that? Sell it to the dealership, and poof, it’s off your hands and out of your mind.
Similar to trying to sell your RV online, however, they will charge a fee that you will have to pay in order to have them sell it for you.