The value of anything boils down to what someone else will actually pay for the item. Supply and demand are fickle forces. Ever try to purchase a space heater from the local market during an extended freeze? You get the idea.
Supply and Demand
Baseball cards are often listed as rare and valuable collectors’ items and people who own them think that their collection is a valuable asset. But if there’s no demand (meaning no one is willing to pay the price for those baseball cards) they are actually worthless.
You’ve probably heard it said that everything has a price. But sometimes the price is two or three times the perceived value—and sometimes it’s nothing. Years ago, we owned a typesetting machine that originally sold for more than $20,000. It worked very well, but then the world changed. Typesetting machines were replaced by computers, and overnight the value of that machine went from $20,000 to nothing. We finally paid someone to haul it away as scrap metal.
A RV follows the same trend. Your travel trailer is worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. If the demand is high, it’s worth more. If the demand is low, it’s worth less.
RV Demand is High Right Now
RV wholesale shipments are expected to hit 350,000 units in 2024, according to the Winter 2023 issue of RV RoadSigns, the quarterly forecast prepared by ITR Economics for the RV Industry Association. The good news is that demand for preowned trailers is also high. That means that your used travel trailer may attract many interested buyers. You might be able to sell it for more today than you could have sold it a few years ago. Consequently, if you’re in the market to sell your travel trailer, right now might be the best time to do that.
There are several ways you can obtain a current valuation on your travel trailer, so you’ll know how much it’s worth before you try to sell it.
Ways to Determine What Your Travel Trailer is Worth
Here are a few ways to pursue that inquiry.
- Check out Craig’s List for similar rigs of the same age with the same features. The geographical region in which you are trying to sell your RV may impact its value, so checking local inventory on Craig’s List might help you determine a fair price.
- Search eBay for the same information. This is a broader database so if you’re in a remote location the eBay comparisons might not be as accurate.
- You can also check the national inventory through RV Trader for comparable trailers of the same age and type. Doing this type of research gives you great comparable prices. But remember the listed prices are what the seller is asking for—not what someone else has agreed to pay. It’s like looking at comps for a house.
- You could contact a local consignment firm and ask them for a valuation, but consignment companies are apt to give you a lower figure for your RV or trailer. That’s because if you let them sell it, they are motivated to get it sold quickly, which is easier with a low price.
- You could contact a wholesaler but selling your travel trailer to a wholesaler will be the lowest price of all. If your travel trailer is very old or has been sitting for years and now has serious structural damage, a wholesaler may be the only way to get it sold. However, this is probably not the best option.
- You can do your own research using JD Power’s NADA (National Automobile Dealer’s Association) valuation tools for RVs. In this application you input the details of your trailer’s brand, age, and features to receive what is basically a blue book type of valuation. The precision of that valuation may not include the current market trends or the current demand.
- Finally, you could contact National Vehicle. This firm will do the research for you, and send you a written valuation to provide a current and accurate value for your travel trailer or other type of RV. You can use this information to sell your rig privately, or to be better informed as to what you could expect to get for your rig as a trade-in.
Knowing the Value is Only Half the Challenge
If, however, you want to sell your trailer and would like some help doing that, National Vehicle will help you do so. For a small fee they will create an ad for your trailer, publish it in both the US and Canada in the most searched databases, and field inquires. They will also help you negotiate a sale, arrange for financing for the buyer, and arrange for an inspection. Finally, National Vehicle will facilitate the transfer of funds into your bank account, and arrange for the transportation after the sale.
National Vehicle goes beyond just providing you with a value for your RV. They will act as your representative to facilitate the sale. After all, isn’t that why you want to know what your travel trailer is worth?