Sell your RV for top dollar
Tips for preparing your RV for sale
Time to upgrade your RV?
You could take it to your local RV dealer and be swept into the bargain of the day, allowing them to have your old RV several thousand under what it is worth.
Or you could choose to sell it yourself.
This can be both a challenging and frustrating experience.
I have owned more than five RVs over the years and in every case I was able to use them for one or more years and sell them at a profit. In some cases I made thousands of dollars. So owning an RV does not need to be an expense if you shop wisely and use a few of my selling tips.
First of all, and the most important, is detailing. As you use your unit over the months and years it develops bumps, stains and scratches that you never see or grow to accept. A general good cleaning is not enough.
Get some colored felt pens, touch-up paint and upholstery shampoo. You should replace anything that shows signs of use. Spend time on the things that you would not normally clean; for example, the tires and wheel wells. The tires should be black but not shiny. SOS pads will do the job there. Under the hood or inside the storage compartments is also important. See what you can find that will remove the signs of wear and age. Try to avoid the use of spray paint, because that looks like you are trying to cover up something. However, I will sometimes use a flat finish clear spray. I have even used hair spray in the past. All of this is not going to cost you much and will make your unit stand out from the rest.
Next, do some decorating: silk plants, bowls of plastic fruit. Perhaps even set the table with a couple of wine glasses.
Now you need photos. If you do not have a good camera, borrow one from a friend. You could even buy one with the money you are about to make on your RV.
Take pictures of everything that is nice. For example, if your unit has chrome wheels or chrome mirrors, take a close-up.
A brochure is also a good idea. Just print off some of your photos and staple them together with a description and contact information. This is what you give the people who come to see it and do not make an offer. As a shopper, you tend to forget which unit had the features you liked. Your brochure keeps your unit with them as they shop. If your detailing was good, they will be back or phoning with an offer.
Time to advertise
The more places you advertise it the better. I have found when you are advertising at the same place as a thousand others, your chances of finding a buyer are limited. I find the best results when I advertise where there is not much competition. Put a photo with description on every post-it board you can find. Put a sign in the window if you are in an area that gets a lot of traffic. Believe it or not, have a garage sale. That will draw many people to your house. As they are going through your junk, they spot the unit for sale and ask about it.
Be aware of the scams. If it sounds too good to be true, it is a scam. They are often long, convoluted stories about wanting to buy your unit unseen; you just need to pay some money that they will pay you right back.
Making a deal
Never price your RV at what you want to get. Surf the internet for similar makes and models. You will see the prices vary quite a bit. You are unlikely to get the highest price, so pick a number somewhere in the middle and go with it. Not many will pay your asking price, so add a bit to deal with the negotiation.
They will almost always make an offer a little lower than you expected. So I usually come back with: “We will split the difference.” It works every time for me.
The test drive is something that I have a problem with. If I am selling a large class A motorhome, taking it for a spin is not an option until we have made a deal. The deal is, of course, subject to a test drive. I am not a good passenger when a stranger is driving my motorhome, but I have managed to get through that a few times.
I hope my tips help you on your next sale.
The Next Chapter
Ed Boothman retired when he sold his successful website development company in Alberta. He and his wife Gail spend their summers at a lakeside cabin and their winters in a diesel pusher motorhome, the fifth RV they’ve owned.» View all The Next Chapter columns