Selling a camper with an outstanding loan is legal and possible if you follow the due process. First, determine the current fair market value by checking the pricing guides and comparable models for sale online. Next, choose your preferred sales method, either a private sale or trade-in to a dealership. However, you must compensate for any outstanding loan or debt.

Use an escrow account while closing the deal to securely exchange money and title paperwork. Finally, arrange to sign over the title and satisfy the lien by paying off the lender’s remaining debt. 

I went through the hurdle once, so you don’t need to. This guide will give you the key things to know when selling a camper with outstanding debt. Follow these steps, and you will not only handle the lien properly but also legally transfer the ownership of your camper. 

Can I Legally Sell A Camper With A Lien Against It?

The short answer is, yes, you can legally sell a camper even if you still owe money on it to a financial institution or another type of creditor. However, you need to account for any remaining debt on the camper or RV.

How To Sell Your RV With A Lien On It

Thousands of people sell financed RVs yearly by following the steps I will outline. Just carefully follow all the procedures and ensure you pay the outstanding debt owed to the financial institution and meet their previously stipulated conditions.

Here are some steps you need to take to sell an RV you owe money on:

Step One: Determine Your Camper’s Fair Market Value

Determine Your Camper’s Fair Market Value

Determining exactly how much you owe accurately is one of the most important steps in selling any RV with finance owing on it.

This ensures that you have enough capital available to repay the original loan, and the third-party buyer also gets a good deal. If you price the camper you are selling below the fair market value, you might not recoup enough capital to repay the original loan fully. 

If you attempt to sell the camper for more than the fair market value, any potential buyer might be put off. This could send them directly to a competitor camper being sold or even a dealership that’s offering a better deal.

Right off the bat, it’s important to note that there is a major difference between the fair market value you can try to sell a camper at and the original base price you purchased it for.

The base price is what you borrowed from the institution. It includes the cost of the camper itself, along with the registration fees, insurance fees, and taxes, minus any down payment you put into the equation.

This base price was the initial principal of the loan before interest. To determine the remaining amount of the lien placed against the camper, you must look at your most recent statement.

Somewhere on there, you will find a term like “Remaining Balance” or “Remaining Principle.” This amount must be paid back to the financial institution as part of the resale process.

Are There Guides With Published Camper Prices?

The good news is that more and more estimators and companies are coming out with pricing guides like the NADA.

Even Kelley Blue Book has offered pre-owned RV prices for some choice models. Just bear in mind that these are only rough estimations, and you should see them more like a first place to start rather than the be-all, end-all definitive guide for determining the asking price of your camper.

Conditions like mileage, as well as necessary maintenance, can all be factors that affect the underlying value. So, it’s best to turn to our old friend, the internet, and look up comparable prices.

You can start with a website like RVUSA, which features a lot of popular RV specs as well as ads from private sellers. You can enter your own make and model into their search engine to find some comparable models.

This will help you determine a fair asking price for your motorhome, fifth wheel, or travel trailer, as well as give you a better understanding of what your prospective buyer is seeing during their own shopping process.

Step Two: Choose How You Want To Sell Your Camper

Choose How You Want To Sell Your Camper

Selling to a private party has higher profit potential, though it takes time and can be wrought with frustrations.

Selling to a dealership or on consignment is much more convenient, though likely to leave you with less profit, which might mean having to pay money out of your own pocket to satisfy the outstanding debt on the loan.

Some dealerships will offer consignment selling, though this takes even more money away from your bottom line on the camper sale.

Selling A Camper On The Private Market

Right off the bat, when you post your original ad in the newspaper or online, remember there is still an outstanding lien on the camper.

However, the rest of the ad still needs to be compelling. Do highlight any special features, upgrades, mileage, overall condition, and maintenance records (if any). This will filter out a lot of spam question calls that you might otherwise receive. But do expect some dry leads that don’t pan out.

So, don’t expect to sell a pre-owned camper with a lien on it quickly. This is a week if not months-long process.

Selling A Camper To A Dealership

Going to a dealership to sell, trade in, or trade down on your camper is the easiest way to sell a camper with a lien.

However, it’s also the option that is least likely to yield a profit on the sale.

A trade-in or a trade-down through a dealership means they are taking the pre-owned camper off your hands at a stated price.

In general, the higher the base price is on the new camper you buy, the more the dealership will give you for the camper you are trading in.

They are making another sale, and chances are they can still turn a better profit for themselves on your older camper in the works.

This might be a great option if you want to upgrade or downsize as your family travel needs to change.

Read More: 8 Best Places To Sell A Used RV Or Camper For Top Dollar

Private SaleGet the highest sale price- More control over the process- No dealer fee or commissionsTime-consuming to find buyers- More hassle dealing with visitors and negotiating- Have to handle advertising and paperwork yourself
Trade-in to a dealershipFast and convenient- No need to find buyers- Dealer handles paperworkLittle negotiation on trade-in value- Dealer fee reduces profit

Selling A Camper On Consignment

If you are a busy person and don’t want to deal with the time and mess of selling a camper to a private party, you can put your camper on consignment with a dealership or a consignment sales specialist.

They will take a piece of the profit with them, and that piece will depend on how long it takes for them to sell the camper.

This is only really an option for someone who is very short on time and only owes a small amount on the original camper.

Step Three: Compensating For The Outstanding Debt

Compensating For The Outstanding Debt

Once you have a good idea of the fair market value of your camper, you can start comparing that number to the amount you still owe on the camper.

The financial institution you borrowed the money from will want repayment, or in some cases, they might let you transfer the load to a qualified buyer.

However, you should never assume that this is a slam dunk certainty.

If the fair market value or the offer price of the third-party buyer is less than what you owe on the camper, you may need to come up with money out of pocket to repay the loan fully.

If the offer price exceeds what you owe on the loan, you may walk away with a tidy little profit.

Step Four: Closing The Deal With An Escrow Account

Closing The Deal With An Escrow Account

Escrow adds an additional level of security during the transaction process. In this method, the purchaser essentially deposits the money for the camper in an escrow account, which is only released to the seller when the title transfer is completed and the lien card is released.

This does incur some additional fees, which are sometimes split between the buyer and the seller because it protects the interests of both ends.

Step Five: Closing The Sale & Dealing With Paperwork

 Closing The Sale & Dealing With Paperwork

The sale can be completed by arranging a meeting to get the title signed over to the buyer and the lienholder’s debt paid off. The debt can be paid off either via the seller paying it off directly or the debt being transferred to the buyer, assuming they are qualified through the lending institution.

If you don’t have the capital to repay the loan after the sale, you might need to secure a bridge loan first. This is essentially a new loan covering the difference between what you are selling the camper for and what you owe.

If the lending institution doesn’t offer one or you don’t qualify for a bridge loan, then you will need to come up with the remainder out of your own pocket.

StepDescriptionKey points
1Determine fair market valueCheck NADA guides or RSUVA for comparable models.- Notice the difference between purchase price and current market value.- Check the remaining balance on the lien statement.
2Choose sales methodPrivate sale takes time but yields more profit.- Trade-in to the dealership is fast but yields low profit.- Consignment through dealers yields the least profit but is suitable for busy RV owners. 
3Compensate for outstanding debtIf sale price > debt, you need funds to cover the difference. – If sale price > debt, enjoy your profit.- You may need a bridge loan
4Use an escrow accountBuyer deposits the payment in an escrow account.- The payment is released to the seller once the paperwork is completed. 
5Complete sale and lien paperworkArrange a meeting to sign over the title and pay off the lien.- Seller pays the debt or transfers it to the owner. 

Are There Other Options For Selling A Camper Or Pre-Owned RV?

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There are a few other ways to sell a camper or pre-owned RV. This includes leasing it to a private party as part of a contract for deed. However, not all states allow this with a financed property.

Another option to consider is to rent the camper through a third-party website like Outdoorsy. This is a great way to make a fair profit when you aren’t using your RV.

Then, you can use the money made by renting the camper out to pay down the load or to cover the difference if a bridge loan isn’t available.

What Is A Lien Release Card?

A lien release card is a simple card issued from the lending institution that states you have met your financial obligations to them. You have paid off the loan, and the title is clean for transfer to a potential seller.

You might also need to provide a lien release card to an insurance agency to downgrade your coverage to just liability.

What Is A Lien And How Does It Work?

Anytime you finance something of great value, such as a home, vehicle, RV, or another valuable piece of property through a loan, the financial institution that carries the debt will place a lien against the property.

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This includes the name of the lender as well as a certificate of title as a lienholder.

A lien is a legal right on some property granted to a creditor. It essentially acts as a definitive obligation to repay the loan over time. If the stipulations are not followed, the financial institution may seize the asset that is the subject of the lien.

Once the loan has been fully repaid, the lien holder’s name is removed from the title, and the legal owner can sell the property in question without complications.

Regarding campers and RVs, liens are issued from a financial institution that lent you the money to purchase the RV. There are special responsibilities that come into play when you try to sell a camper you owe money on or is NOT paid off, as the outstanding debt needs to be repaid to the financial institution in one form or another.


This guide outlines everything you need to know to sell your camper while still owing money on it. The key steps include determining your camper’s current value, choosing the suitable sales method for your needs, handling any existing lien, and completing all the paperwork. With transparency and great marketing, you can sell your camper and use the income towards new adventures.