Perhaps the time has come to downsize or upgrade to a new RV. While this can be an exciting time, it can also leave you wondering where you can sell your old RV and get the most return on your investment?
For some people the answer is easy, and they simply choose to trade in their old RV at the dealership where they are buying the new one.
Though this isn’t always the most cost-effective option. Especially when you consider that a lot of RV dealerships base their trade-in offer on the price tag of the new RV.
If you are downsizing, this can leave you short on the total value that your old RV deserves.
So, how do I sell my RV and where should you go in order for a quick sale (or good deal)?
To really understand all your options and find the best ways to sell your used motorhome or camper, we are going to have to dig a little deeper.
This includes the various methods as well as just how much time each option might take.
Where Is The Best Place To Sell My RV?
If your goal is to make as much money as possible, here are 8 of the best ways to sell your RV to get top dollar.
1. Selling Your RV On A National Website Like RVtrader, RVUSA etc
If you are looking to sell your RV on a national level, then a website like RVUSA and RVtrader might be one of the most cost-effective ways to host an ad.
Though chances are good there might be some distance between you and a prospective buyer.
This means if you are in Seattle, Washington, and the interested buyer is in Miami, Florida, the chances of a successful test drive and closing the deal are relatively low.
Though your chances of finding an interested party online is relatively high.
When you are advertising and trying to sell your RV online, via a national website, you can expect it to take a lot longer to finally close the sale.
You also will inevitably spend a significant amount of time answering questions and writing e-mail exchanges with people whose interests might dry up at a moment’s notice.
2. Selling Your RV In An Online Auction
Online auction sites that eBay are incredibly popular. It is also a great way to get competitive bids from parties that you know are interested.
In the past, there was the concern that you might not get enough money for your RV or other properties sold on eBay.
Though you now can set a “Limit” where the item simply will not sell unless the highest bid is over your stated limit. Just make sure that the limit you set is realistic.
3. Put your RV online on RV Forums
Internet forums are a great place to connect with people who have similar interests, ask questions, and engage in ways that aren’t compromised by physical distance.
A lot of RV forums have sales boards where you can start a topic specifically about selling your RV, complete with pictures and descriptions.
Other members can then ask questions and even submit offers for you to consider.
The great thing here is that you know the individuals are interested and will ask informed questions.
Though just like selling your RV on a national website ad, proximity can be an issue.
It’s possible that you can find someone who is modestly interested a thousand miles away, rather than connecting with someone who is very interested two towns over.
Some RV sales forums request that you note if the ad is being “Cross Posted” on other sites.
This spares an interested party from feeling like the RV was sold out from underneath them during the negotiation process.
Noting that your ad is cross-posted on multiple sites might also encourage swift action by interested parties.
4. Sell Your RV On Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace
Websites like Craigslist and the ever-growing Facebook marketplace have helped a lot of people maximize the exposure of the things they are selling.
Though it’s also very easy for your ad to get buried by other local ads selling things that might not even be in the same niche as your RV.
If you are going to advertise on a local website, then you need to take more of a “Carpet Bombing” approach by posting your ad on as many local sites as possible.
Then check the rules of each site to see how often or how many times they allow you to “Bump” your ad back to the top of their listing.
This will help maximize your local exposure as well as increase your chances of a successful test drive or tour that converts into a sale.
5. Selling Your RV As A Dealership Trade-In
RV dealerships are well-versed in the art and science of negotiating a trade-in value. Right off the bat, most RV dealerships will offer to buy your old RV for around 10 to 20% less than the NADA “Book” value.
This difference in margin is how they make money off the eventual resale of your RV. It also compensates them for the space your old RV will take up on their sales lot.
This means that going to the RV dealership is never going to turn you the maximum profit on the resale of your RV.
Though you do gain some advantageous wiggle room if you are “Upgrading” to a larger or more expensive RV.
RV dealerships and RV salesmen know that they have a larger profit margin selling you a new RV with a higher price tag.
Thus they are more willing to offer you closer to the book value if you are moving up.
If you are downsizing, because the kids are grown, or you’ve changed your camping style to be more modest, then chances are good that the dealership will give you an offer that is significantly under the NADA book value, as they are turning only a minimal profit on the deal.
The other thing you need to ask yourself when selling to a dealership as a trade-in compared to selling online to a private party is just how much your time is worth?
Selling to a private party online might take weeks to close the sale, and you might end up spending dozens of hours fielding fruitless messages and e-mails.
When you sell your RV to a dealership, you can usually complete the transaction in a single day.
The fact that the dealership takes care of 90% of the forms also saves you a lot of time and headaches.
6. Selling Your Camper On Consignment Or An RV Broker
This is one of those gray areas that some people love and some people hate. Just like when you sell your house, selling an RV on consignment means that some third party is representing you.
It also means that they get a percentage of the sale, and depending on where you go, there might be fees involved.
Many RV dealerships offer consignment services, where a professional sales staff will work actively to try to sell your RV.
Though they get a heft commission, which is going to be on par with the 10 to 20% devaluation from the NADA book value.
If it takes more than a month to sell your RV, the dealership might also charge you a monthly fee, which further cuts into the return on investment from the sale.
Here again, you have to ask yourself how much your time is worth? When you sell on consignment the dealership or consignment agency is taking care of all the meet-and-greets, test drives, and technical paperwork.
They also have prospective buyers coming in the door or driving onto their lot on a regular basis, which increases the chances of a timely sale compared to the inevitable delays and drawn-out timelines of selling the RV yourself to a private party.
How Long Does It Take To Sell An RV On Consignment?
Selling an RV on consignment can take as little as one to two weeks to as long as several months.
Of course, the longer your RV is parked on a dealership lot, the more likely they are to charge you a monthly fee. All of which bites into your bottom line profit.
The amount of time it takes to sell an RV on consignment can vary by the season. Winter in the north is a typically poor time for any RV sales regardless of the platform.
Though spring and early summer tend to be the fastest time of year around the country to find interested buyers and close the deal.
Which of course, spares you from having to pay a lot of monthly consignment fees.
7. Display Your Camper With A “For Sale” Sign
If you live somewhere near popular outdoor attractions and tourist destinations, you might be able to sell your RV locally by placing a “For Sale By Owner” sign in the window.
To maximize the response rate and effectiveness of this approach, you should try to park the RV in a high-traffic area, which will get noticed more than simply sitting in your driveway or at the curb outside your house.
You can further increase your chances of getting noticed and getting positive inquiries by also posting ads on local sales boards.
8: Selling Local With Physical Ads
There are some people who have had some great success selling their RV “The Old Fashioned Way” by posting physical ads on free boards in the grocery store or putting an ad in the local newspaper.
Sometimes even a “For Sale By Owner” sign in the window is enough to get people to stop in, knock on your door, and go for a test drive.
Though this is often the exception rather than the rule. Most of these “Success Stories” come from places where RV travel and outdoor recreation are a popular pastime.
If you live in the suburbs far from outdoor attractions, RV parks, and campgrounds, then physical advertising is going to take a nearly prohibitive amount of time.
One possible option to consider with this approach is to inquire at local campgrounds and RV parks about posting an ad.
Many of them have advertising boards where they let people can advertise camping & RV-related items for free or a small fee.
This puts your RV ad in front of a lot of people who might be thinking about downsizing or upgrading from their own current RV.
Though just how motivated they are to sell and their available budget are complete variables.
Still, chances are good they are already familiar with the RV lifestyle and if they call or e-mail you, then they are showing strong interest.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Get The Most For Your RV’s Sale?
Right off the bat, condition certainly matters. So before you pull into a dealership lot or post that first online photo, you need to thoroughly go through your RV to give it as close to a “Showroom” appearance as possible.
This includes a meticulous cleaning, taking care of any outdated maintenance, and completing any necessary repairs.
Not only does this increase the potential asking and offer price, but it also increases your chances of selling it quickly and attracting truly interested potential buyers.
What Paperwork Do I Need To Sell My RV?
If your RV is bought and paid for, then you need to get the lien release card, or go to the local DMV to have them print you a clean title.
You should also get any warranty information and maintenance records for the prospective buyer to look over.
If you don’t have essential paperwork on hand, it can cause a delay in the sales process, and the prospective buyer might simply choose to look elsewhere.
How Do I Know How Much My RV Is Worth?
If you are going to sell your RV to a private party, then you absolutely need to have a reliable way to gauge the value of your RV.
Fortunately, organizations like the NADA do post RV value recommendations.
This is a great place to start researching the asking price for your RV before selling it.
You might also want to go to online sources like RVTraders and RV USA to check comparable ads for similar RVs advertised for sale on their site. This will further help you dial in just how much your RV is worth.
What Is The Best Time Of Year To Sell An RV?
A lot of people who are interested in RVs will buy in the spring and early summer. Late fall and early winter tend to be slow times throughout the RV industry.
Especially in the northern tier states. If possible you want to start the process of selling your RV in early spring to stay ahead of the local RV dealership’s promotional offers.
This will also give you the best chance of being able to offer and close the deal at a truly competitive price.
So, Where Should I Sell My RV?
There are a few different options worth considering when it comes time to sell your RV. The easiest is likely going to be selling your old RV as a trade-in to a dealership.
Though you will have to accept an offer that is 10 to 20% less than the NADA book price.
You will also lose any wiggle room in negotiating the trade-in offer if you are downsizing to a smaller RV with a lower price tag.
Selling your RV to a dealership is the best option if you are short on time and you are “Trading Up” to a more expensive RV.
If you have some time on your hands and you want to get the biggest potential return on your investment, then it might be best to sell your RV to a private party.
Using a combination of online local ads and perhaps a few physical ads in key locations like RV park and campground advertising boards will get you the most local exposure and the best chances of a test drive that turns into a fast sale.