What You Need to Know About Selling Your RV

Updated on October 31, 2018
TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

I am an RV enthusiast with more than 50 years of experience owning, traveling and living in recreational vehicles.

Many people think that selling their RVs themselves is a simple matter of throwing an ad into the paper and waiting for the phone to ring.

This may seem a good idea, but people who do this sometimes wait years before buyers come knocking. Some never do sell their units.

The longer an RV sits, the more it deteriorates and the less it will be worth. This is why an owner should do everything possible to sell his coach quickly and why he needs to educate himself in order to do so.

Reading articles that have been written by people like me who have successfully sold their own units over the years is one of the fastest and easiest ways for private RV sellers to get the information they need and then apply it to their situations.

Helpful advice for people who want to sell their own recreational vehicles, save money and avoid problems.
Helpful advice for people who want to sell their own recreational vehicles, save money and avoid problems. | Source

Overview

The Best Way to Sell Your RV Yourself is a helpful article I have written that goes into great detail about the various aspects of self selling.

If you read it as well as this one, you'll get an excellent and detailed overview of the most important things you need to know when selling your own unit.

Pricing Basics

The most important thing you will need to do is put a correct price on your travel unit. How to Know What an RV Is Worth will show you how to do this.

If you want to get your coach sold, you will have to forget your emotional attachment to it and how much it has cost you to own, repair and upgrade it.

Unlike a house, extras in an RV mean nothing to a buyer, even if that buyer might be a dealer!

I’ve heard many private sellers complain that potential buyers are trying to “rip them off” by offering much less than they are asking.

While this may be true in some cases, most of the time people are offering what they think a unit is really worth based on its age, brand, condition and its NADA value.

You need to make sure that you price your unit correctly if you want to sell it quickly.

Financing Problems

It is very difficult to sell a coach that has been financed, especially if the amount of money you owe the bank is more than your RV is worth.

Most people prefer to purchase a unit that has a clear title. If you cannot provide one, you are likely to have problems.

How to Sell Your RV When You Owe More Than It’s Worth shows you what you can do if you are in this situation so that you get stuck owning a coach you no longer want or need.

Advertising Tips

One of the reasons that professional marketing companies exist is because they know how to word ads in ways that attract buyers and post photos that are clear, effective and make the points they want to present.

  • If you look at an ad that lists every single amenity a coach has, you’re not going to read it.
  • If you look at an ad that gives you just enough information to make you want to know more, you’re going to call to ask questions of a seller.

Also, using terms such as “must sell”, “selling due to illness” or “selling for a friend” will bring in plenty of low ball offers but none that you will want to accept.

Demanding that your price is “firm” is also not a good idea. Buyers are always looking for a deal, but if they think you’re not going to budge, they won’t even bother to pick up the phone or send you an email.

This being said, you need to make sure that any advertisement you place is written in a friendly tone and doesn't give away too much information.

Presentation

When people do contact you, they don’t want to hear the term “for its age”. This negates anything you may have told them about the condition of a unit. They don’t want to be left guessing because they won’t want to waste their time trying to find out what you mean by using that term!

A better choice is to state that you’ve taken good care of the coach (and have the maintenance records to prove it), that it does have a few minor problems (which you can help them with) but over all looks good and runs great.

  • When people show up and see that you haven’t been honest, they’ll quickly disappear.
  • If you are honest, they are much more likely to want to do business with you because they will trust you.

Furthermore, even though your coach may not be new, buyers will expect it to be clean and with everything in working condition.

You have to remember that an RV is something they will be living in, so they will want it to be sanitary and odor free.

As with all product sales, presentation is everything, so pay attention to what you say and do if you want to get the sale.

Good photos reveal a great deal about travel units such as color, brand and level of attractiveness.
Good photos reveal a great deal about travel units such as color, brand and level of attractiveness. | Source

Documents

Never assume that you should wait until you have a buyer before you have your paperwork in order because you might get lucky. The very first looker might be a qualified buyer. If you’re not ready for him, you could lose him.

At the very least you should prepare

A detailed list of what your coach has in terms of design, mechanical items and amenities. For example, you might want to include information such as:

  • What brand is it?
  • What brand and strength of engine does it have?
  • What year is it?
  • How long is it?
  • How many miles are on the engine?
  • Does it have an inverter or generator? If so, how many hours are on them?
  • What is the age of the tires and what brand are they?
  • Did you live in it or just use it for travel?
  • What things come with it? (a tow bar, sewer cleaning equipment, cookware, etc.)
  • Does it have full body paint?
  • Is there basement storage?
  • What type of roof does it have?
  • Is the body aluminum or fiberglass?

These are questions knowledgeable buyers will ask, and if you don’t know the answers, to them, they will think you are not knowledgeable about your own coach or are trying to stall them.

You should also have a sales binder and contract on hand that you can fill out and have people sign immediately if they say they want to buy your unit.

Contact your local DMV to find out what you need as far as legal paperwork. Each state is different, so you want to make sure you have everything on hand before you advertise.

You should also find out what your liability is in the event something goes wrong. For example, it is illegal to sell a motor home that has a hole or crack in the windshield or tires that are in poor conditions because these are safety hazards.

If your buyer has an accident due to problems such as these, he can sue you, and he would win!

Money Issues

Never, ever close a deal unless the buyer gives you cash. This applies to down payments as well as purchase prices.

There is a lot of fraud when it comes to buying and selling these days, especially when it comes to high ticket items. Accepting anything other than cash puts you at risk.

You may be wondering how to do this, but it’s quite simple. Tell your buyer that you must have a nonrefundable cash deposit of at least $1,000 before you will sign a binder or sales contract.

  • If he wants your coach, he’ll provide the cash.
  • If he can’t afford to buy it or is playing you, he won’t.

When it comes time to settle the deal, have your buyer contact his bank to tell them he will be making a large cash withdrawal and ask them when it will be ready. Go to the bank with your buyer, count the money and sign the contracts, making sure that you have copies of everything for yourself.

Although carrying a huge amount of money around temporarily can be nerve wracking and depositing it legally can be a hassle, demanding cash is the only way you can protect yourself.

If you don’t believe me, ask the manager at your bank about this issue.

Selling an RV Takes Time, Effort and Patience

If you want to save thousands of dollars by selling your RV yourself, you’re going to have to do some work and also make sure you understand the basics.

It can take awhile to sell a unit even if you do these things because there is a great deal of competition in today’s recreational vehicle marketplace.

The least amount of time it ever took my husband and me to sell a coach was three weeks. The longest time it took was three months. However, that was before so many people started to self sell.

You will have to be patient, and you will have to be available, but the end result of your efforts likely will save you a small fortune.

Good luck!

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Sondra Rochelle

    Comments

    Submit a Comment

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sondra Rochelle 

      2 weeks ago from USA

      I get it. Each situation is different, and sometimes you just have to lose. Sorry that was the case for you.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 weeks ago from UK

      We accepted the loss going through a dealer because we felt that attempting to sell privately would have left my mother in a vulnerable position.

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sondra Rochelle 

      2 weeks ago from USA

      Yes, giving your coach to a dealer to sell for you is an option that works for some people, but the point of this article is that if you sell a unit yourself, you won't have to lose so much. Dealers charge a great deal to sell for you, so the losses can be much bigger.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      2 weeks ago from UK

      When my Dad died over 10 years ago we were left with a VW camper van less than 2 years old. He had always assured me that his camper vans were an investment and would increase in value. I was very dubious. We were not in a position to do a private sale. Leaving my elderly mother to see potential buyers was not an option. So we contacted the dealer who agreed to pick it up and resell it. Needless to say we lost several thousand pounds off its original purchase price and the dealer probably did quite well out of it.

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile imageAUTHOR

      Sondra Rochelle 

      2 weeks ago from USA

      Thank you. Glad you liked it.

    • poppyr profile image

      Poppy 

      2 weeks ago from Tokyo, Japan

      What great advice. I believe this can be used for any type of vehicle, not only RVs. You're clearly an expert in the subject!

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