Selling your travel trailer, RV or camper is not as easy as putting a “For sale” indication behind your rig and crossing fingers. Purchasing an RV is a huge investment that clients don’t take very lightly. This means selling it could take plenty of time, hence, “How to sell my travel trailer” or “how to sell my RV” or “how to sell my camper” are questions that have been giving some people sleepless nights.
The best way to sell it is to do it yourself. Using this method instead of hiring someone to do it for you will save you lots of money and put you in full control of the sale. This article will give you tips on how to sell your travel trailer and save money.
1. Deciding the Fair Value & Paying Attention to Competition
Just like cars, recreational vehicles depreciate in a similar manner but in larger amounts. The value depends on the make and model, the number of years among others. You can go to sites that advertise the year, make and model of your car to help you know the worth of your sale.
You’ll have to beat or match your competitors’ prices and ensure that yours is in a better financial, physical and legal condition than theirs, to sell yours quickly. If yours is damaged, smells bad, is outdated, or is upside-down financially, you’ll have a hard time selling it unless you are ready to reduce its price drastically.
2. Price it Correctly
Do not forget that a buyer’s definition of good condition is quite different from your personal definition. Since what the buyer thinks is what counts, your coach is only worth the amount he’ll be prepared to pay for it.
If you price it really high, it will languish and lose value but if it’s too cheap, it’ll sell faster and you’ll have lied to yourself financially. After figuring out the worth of your coach, choose a fair price which will enable you to sell faster but within a sensible period of time.
How To Determine The Price Of Your RV
Setting the right price can make or break your sale. There are a couple of ways to determine what is a good market value for your camper. One of the first places you can check is the RVT Price Checker. It searches its database of over 120,000 RVs for sale and it also checks the NADA guide.
Another resource you can use is the NADA RV Pricing Guide. This is a free resource and an excellent way to learn about the retail value of your RV.
When setting your price leave a little wiggle room to allow for a little bit of compromising.
3. Time Your Sale
When the price of gas is high, people will be less interested in buying, and the opposite is true for when gas prices drop. In a bad economy, selling is pretty difficult but in a good economy, people are most likely to buy since they can afford. Advertise in the first months of the year rather than during holidays since people are too occupied to go looking.
4. Prepare it for Viewing
RVs sell even better when staged, even a camping trailer can be staged nicely. You need to wash and empty the basement storage, keep utilities connected, ensure all systems work, get rid of your personal items, make all the repairs, replace worn out or stained items, keep the fact sheets and pertinent brochures available, hang a few brightly-colored towels inside the bathroom, raise the blinds and play soft music.
You’ll also need to put a tiny plant in a brightly-colored container inside the bathroom, start the furnace or put on the coach’s AC depending on the weather, have some freshly baked cookies and hot coffee on the kitchen’s counter, leave a bouquet of flowers (silk) on the kitchen table. Don’t forget to degrease and pressure-wash the generator and engine.
If you need to spruce up your RV or just need a thorough cleaning check out this article I wrote on maintaining your travel trailer. It includes lots of cleaning tips for you to follow.
- Remove any personal belongings from the RV: Just like selling a home, you want to make it easy for a buyer to picture themselves in your RV. Having your personal photos, knick-knacks, etc in your RV makes it difficult for your buyer to do so.
- Thorough cleaning: This might be the time to hire a professional carpet cleaning or residential cleaning company to give your RV a thorough cleaning. This eliminates any smells you might have gotten used to, as well as, area cleaned you might have missed or don’t want to deal with.
- Complete needed repairs: If anything is broken or needs to be replaced do it now. If something is broken and you have not fixed it be prepared to be offered a lower price since the buyer will want to negotiate the repair cost into the price.
- Gather up your RV paperwork: Find any paperwork you have for your camper. This includes warranty, owner manuals, etc. that you received when you purchased your RV. If you don’t have them reach out to the manufacturer or dealer to see if you can get copies.
5. Present it Nicely
No one will be impressed by a couch that is in a junk or dirty yard. Most people will be attracted to it if it’s sitting near a lovely home that has a manicured lawn.
You need to present what you are selling in an attractive area, not in a place that looks abandoned. You can drive it to a park that has prospective buyers, you can place it temporarily in a beautiful campground or park it on the driveway of a friend that has a nice home.
Staging your RV makes it look inviting to a prospective buyer. Here are some simple things you can do to make your RV inviting and livable to anyone who wants to see it.
- Place an RV mat at the entry steps. You need to buy one here is the one I recommend. It’s available on Amazon for a reasonable price and it’s reversible.
- Add vases of cut flowers in a couple of places and/or scented candles.
- Style your dinette table with a 4-person setting that includes a set of great looking dishes and folded cloth napkins. These best RV dishes might work for you.
- In the bathroom add potpourri, and a clean un-used soap to the soap dish. Make sure the bathroom mirror is sparkling clean.
- Pets and odors: Beware of pet odors so remove the dog bed if you have one.
- Remember to keep any decor or staging simple and appealing to a wide range of tastes.
6. Use Cost-effective Advertising Methods & Prepare the AD
Use online options for advertising rather than print advertising since it’s very costly. Online reputable options will offer a good opportunity for potential clients to view your advert. You can post indications for sale on the window with phone number and pricing.
Use a nice camera to take photos from all angles and store them on your computer. Choose the best ones for your ads. Keep your ad simple and use lists instead of wordy descriptions. Ensure your ad is correct and grammatically right. Store this in the computer in case of any edits.
Do place a “For Sale” sign on your RV. I recommend these for sale sign available on Amazon because they let you write in the make, model and year which is helpful to the prospective buyer.
One of the first things you’ll need to consider to get top money for your RV is the ad. A crappy ad is not going to generate the interest that attracts buyers. I’ve seen this all too often in the Facebook Marketplace. Someone will post an RV for sale and they include 1 photo and a minimal description that tells you absolutely nothing about the RV. You don’t want to do that.
You want a well-written ad the detail the following:
- Explain why you are selling your RV since many buyers ask this question
- Highlight compelling features of your RV
- Add your RV year, make, and model
- Explain how you will accept payment (cash, certified check, wire transfer, etc). Whatever you do, DON’T ACCEPT PERSONAL CHECKS.
- If you have been meticulous about maintaining your RV disclose that. If you have maintenance records include those as well.
- Be honest and disclose issues that need fixing.
- Don’t lie or be evasive when describing your RV. The buyer often checks the RV history and if they find something you failed to disclose chances are your sale will not happen.
- If you have modified your RV mention those modifications in your ad.
- Use proper capitalization in your ad description. AVOID CAPITALIZING ENTIRE WORDS OR SENTENCES. This makes it difficult to read.
- If your RV is still under warranty or has an extended warranty include that. Be careful as some warranties are not transferable. Check with the manufacturer regarding your RV warranty.
- Make sure you price your RV correctly and disclose if your price is firm or negotiable
7. Post a Video
Posting a video is a nice idea especially if you’ve got the pieces of equipment to do so. You’ll lose watchers if you start a video explaining why you’re selling. Just talk about your couch. Watch the video before posting it on several sites for full exposure.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, however, including crappy photos doesn’t help and can hurt your chances of a sale. Most phones made today have excellent cameras so there is no excuse for taking good photos. They don’t have to be perfect. Make sure you do the following:
- Take exterior photos during the day, early morning to late afternoon work the best. These times of the day minimize harsh light.
- Take several pictures of the exterior from different angles.
- Extend slideouts and awning so buyers can see them clearly.
- Show off storage and outdoor kitchen if you have them.
- Interior photos should be well-lit and focused.
- If your RV has features you want to be noticed include a photo of them
- A video is worth a million words so include one.
- Give your prospective buyer a video tour of the outside and inside of your RV.
- Have a friend help. They hold the camera while you do the tour and talk about your RV.
- Practice makes perfect so practice a few times and try to move the camera as smoothly as possible. Avoid quick jerks of the camera.
- Open cabinets, storage compartments, fridge, etc. Let the buyer see them functioning properly.
- Video the cockpit area, dashboard, and controls as well.
8. Keep it Legal
You’ll need the help of an attorney if you do not have a clear title but if you do, you can utilize standard sales agreements and DMV paperwork to sell. Lenders don’t give out titles if liens aren’t paid and the sellers can’t pay without getting the money from the sale. Buyers won’t drive in an untitled unit but the help of an attorney will bring a sense of security.
9. Close the Deal
This is the most crucial part of the sale after taking the buyer for a driving test. Ask the buyer if they’ve any other question if they think it suits their purpose, what they’ve decided, and if they’re ready to make a deal.
How To Negotiate When Selling Your RV
When presented with an offer try to keep the negotiations open and don’t agree or disagree too quickly. If it’s a downright low-ball offer say no, however, if it looks like it’s an offer close to what you want then work with the buyer.
When negotiating don’t misrepresent your RV. Misrepresenting condition or features or outright lying may make your liable.
Above all take your time and be patient. Chances are you are not going to sell your RV to the first buyer on the scene. It may take weeks or even months to sell your camper. Don’t get frustrated and stay the course. If priced right a buyer will come along.
If the buyer negotiates, ensure you have the bottom price in your mind and take the offer if his/her offer is closer to yours. The moment you get a dated, signed, witnessed binder and cash, you’ve got a deal. Request a non-refundable down-payment since you’ll lose all potential buyers as you wait to close the deal.
10. Delivery Day
Accompany the buyer to the bank on the delivery day, the lawyer’s office and the DMV to ensure everything is done right. When the buyer drives it away, you’ll have lots of money with you, which is a good feeling, and the new owners will now enjoy the same benefits you enjoyed over the years.
How To Sell Your RV During COVID-19
If you plan on selling your RV during the COVID-19 pandemic you need to take precautions to safeguard yourself and the buyer.
As with most things for sale creating a good first impression is important to attract prospective buyers and maximize profit. To create that great first impression you’ll need to prepare your camper for sale. That means cleaning and de-cluttering. Here are some tips to get you started. In addition to prepping your RV by cleaning and decluttering as noted below here are some guidelines from the CDC to keep your RV clean and avoid a COVID-19 infection for your or your buyer.
- To disinfect hard surfaces such as countertops, toilet, sinks, etc. use and EPA approved household disinfectant
- To disinfect porous surfaces such as carpets, rugs, furniture, and drapes, first vacuum dirt, remove stains, and if possible launder with EPA-approved detergents such as Nu-Foamicide. If you can’t launder use an EPA approved product for porous surfaces.
- Take precautions when laundering. Do not shake dirty laundry. This decreases the chances of dispersing the coronavirus into the air. Try and use the warmest water possible without color bleeding your items. Check the label.
- Disinfect your hamper using any of the products above depending on whether they are porous or not.
- Clean and disinfect your RV daily. Take care to include door handles and knobs, light switches, control panels, your RV steering wheel is so equipped.
Additional Best Practices To Minimize The Spread Of COVID-19
When selling your RV you are going to come into contact with other people. To prevent the spread of COVID-19 when you are trying to sell your camper it is a good idea to follow CDC guidelines that will help prevent the spread. Here are things to do the CDC recommends. To see the complete list of guidelines and best practices visit the CDC website.
- Wash your hands often.
- Avoid close contact with people indoors and out. Stay a safe 6 feet apart.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth mask.
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Clean and disinfect as noted above
- Monitor your health daily. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, and other symptoms
The process of selling your coach sounds quite complicated but these tips have shown how simple the whole process can be. You just need to do things calmly and in an orderly way while ensuring the legal paperwork is right and that it serves your purpose. The other part is being honest while talking to potential buyers.