How To Sell an RV - Best Practices and Tips
Table of Contents:
- CHOOSING YOUR AD
- PREPARE YOUR RV FOR SHOWING
- INFO AND TESTIMONIALS
- COMBINING AD MEDIUMS
- SPREADING THE WORD
- MEETING POTENTIAL BUYERS
- COMPLETING THE SALE
- ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
A little time and effort is all it takes to get the best price possible for the sale of your RV – motor home, travel trailer, fifth-wheel, park model, folding trailer, truck camper, camper van, truck or tow car. Selling your own RV may be the best way for you to get top dollar. Numerous resources exist to let potential buyers know that your RV is for sale. Some are rather obvious and some aren’t, but all are effective tools to help you complete a successful sale. Here are some Valuable Sales Tools to help you get Top Dollar for your RV.
Creating an Effective Ad
Choosing Your Ad
The first decision you'll need to make is which ad package to select. One of the biggest deciding factors is how long you'd like your ad to run. If you'd like top dollar for your RV, or you're concerned your RV might not be in high demand, you may want to choose a "Run 'til It Sells" ad, which ensures you won't have to buy a new ad if your RV doesn't sell right away. On the other hand, if you expect to get an average price for your RV and you're fairly confident of a quick sale, you may want to consider running your ad for less time.
Make sure you also look at the details of what's included in your ad package. Higher priced ads usually include additional features that help your ad stand out, as well as extra run time.
Setting the price is one of the most important steps in effectively selling your RV. A price set too high may delay your sale, and a price too low, cost you in missed revenue. It is important to take a quick survey of the current RV market, to determine what a comparable RV is listing for. Find the high, low and average prices of a certain RV based on the values in our current listings, using the RVT Price Checker. Also, use the Nada Guides database to determine average selling prices of RVs just like yours.
Entering Ad Info
A well written ad should accurately highlight the most important (and compelling) features of your RV. RVT.com ads give an UNLIMITED text description field, so no need to leave anything out. With online sales, more description is typically better then less. A well written ad will result in more qualified buyers and a quicker sale.
As far as your RV details are concerned, you're only required to enter your RV's year, make, model, mileage and engine (motorized RVs), length, price and type. If you haven't already used our pricing tool, you may want to do that now. If you have a few extra minutes, we highly recommend entering as much information about your RV as possible. Taking 20 minutes to create a better ad now often means you won't have to answer as many questions later, and you may get a higher sale price. Entering more details about your RV may also give you more qualified leads. Your RV will have a better chance of matching buyer's searches. So if you have a generator or an awning on your RV, be sure to mention those options. If you don't have time to complete any other details, feel free to skip the other sections. Once you've created your ad, you can always come back later to edit it.
A well written ad should accurately highlight the most important (and compelling) features of your RV. RVT.com ads give an UNLIMITED text description field, so no need to leave anything out. With online sales, more description is typically better then less. A well written ad will result in more qualified buyers and a quicker sale. Points to include:
Explain why you're selling the RV - This is one of the most common buyer questions, so be sure to answer this in your ad.
Define forms of payment - Let people know up front what payment you will and will not accept (e.g., "will not accept foreign money orders"). Don't take personal checks, and make sure you verify certified checks or money orders with the financial institution where they were issued. To learn more about acceptable payment forms, visit our Fraud Protection page.
Disclose prior maintenance - A well-maintained RV (especially applies to motorized RVs) is a sought-after RV. Give prospective buyers added peace of mind by letting them know you took diligent care of your RV; it's even better if you have the maintenance records to back up your claim.
Disclose issues that might need fixing - Why wait to see if prospective buyers find a problem that they know you would have known about? Honesty can help avoid souring the deal.
Put the Potential Buyer "in" the RV - Creating a good ad that a buyer relates to can make the difference between a quick profitable sale and just getting rid of the RV.
Be honest - Don't waste your time or a buyer's time by being evasive. Be up-front about any declarations to the RV title (motorized) or any major damage in the RV's history. If the buyer discovers this info through an RV history report check, he will feel you misrepresented the truth and may no longer want the RV.
Use proper punctuation and capitalization - Capitalizing entire words or sentences is difficult to read and makes it seem like you're YELLING at people. Using slang can also drive people away from your ad.
Mention modifications - If you've added features to your RV that aren't part of its standard options, be sure to mention them in your description. For example, if you've added an extra TV, solar panel or back-up camera, you may attract buyers searching for those extras.
Give warranty information - If your RV is still under warranty, the warranty is transferable and you have the paperwork, list what type of coverage your RV has and for how long. For example: 1 year left on powertrain warranty; 15,000 miles remain on structural warranty; and 5 years remaining on roof skin warranty.
If your warranty requires a transfer fee, you may also want to mention whether you're asking the buyer to cover this or if it's included in the deal. Some manufacturers don't offer the same warranty coverage for second owners, so be sure to check your documents.
Set your negotiating terms - Be sure to mention if your price is firm. RV ads commonly use the following terms for pricing: firm, obo (or best offer), negotiable or must sell. These can be easily added as the 'Caption Header' when setting up or modifying an ad.
Photos give buyers their first impression of your RV and oftern help them to decide to contact you for a viewing. To quicken your sale, consider purchasing an ad with 3 or more photos.
The first photo should be a sunny-day shot of your cleaned and polished RV in an attractive outdoor setting so potential buyers will start imagining themselves using the RV. Include several pictures of the exterior from several angles. Extend awnings or slideouts to show them off. If your RV offers massive “basement” storage, shine a light inside and show it. Inside your RV, potential buyers want to see the cockpit, main living area, bedrooms, kitchen, bath and any special or added features. Include a photo of any feature that makes your RV stand out. Buyers want to see what they are buying.
If pictures say a thousand words, video a million. Showcase your RV by including video on your RVT ad. Video allows you to give buyers a personal guided tour of your RV. Enlist a helper to man the camera while you chat about your RV's best features. Practice a few times until your delivery is smooth. Open cabinets, storage compartments, refrigerators, etc. Let the buyer peer in all the nooks and crannies and don’t neglect the nitty gritty like water and sewer controls/hookups.
All RVT.com videos are automatically loading into YouTube, and viewed by interested RV Shoppers, across the internet.
- How to Create Dynamite Ad to Sell Your RV Fast
- Add Video to Your Online RV Ad for a Faster Sale
- How to Sell Your RV - by Bob Gummersall
Preparing Your RV
A clean RV is easier to sell, and you'll get a better price for it. Clean the RV inside and out, consider shampooing the carpets and polishing the exterior. Visit our blog's "RV Maintenance" section for several articles on RV cleaning - click here.
Now that you've cleaned the RV, you've likely come across some areas that need minor repair. Replace burnt out bulbs, replace broken light covers etc. Most trailers have a black or off-white bumper and hitch. Consider sanding and spray painting these parts, it's surprising how much better it will make your RV look, and with relatively little cost and effort.
Location, Location, Location:
If you don’t live in a high traffic area, you may want to find such an area to display your RV for Sale. Consider asking friends who live or own businesses in high-traffic areas and who might be willing to let you park your RV on their lot for a certain length of time.
Print a “For Sale” Sign:
This is one of the simplest sales tools and also one of the most effective. Place one or two For Sale signs in easy-to-see locations on your RV. Buyers of used RVs often live within a few miles of the sellers and pass by their homes on a regular basis. Sign Up for a Free User Account! Once you have you can print off a For Sale Sign.
Print a Window Sheet:
This handy sheet placed in the window of your RV answers most questions posed by potential buyers regarding the various features of your rig, and also provides space for you to include your phone number, e-mail address and other contact information. Simply click on this RV Window Sheet link, print it out and fill in the blanks.
Cost Effective Advertising
J.D. Powers and Associates Reports:
“More than 80% of buyers now use the Internet to shop online for a used vehicle” and “Internet shopping provides prospective buyers with the opportunity to search through enormous amounts of specific vehicle information without ever leaving home, allowing for a more efficient medium of matching buyers with unique used vehicles in the market. In light of this, (vehicle sellers) should expect the Internet to continue to increase in importance among used-vehicle shoppers and adjust their online presence accordingly.”
Online ads cost MUCH LESS than newspaper ads. Our online ads allow up to 24 PICTURES that would cost hundreds of dollars in print. Online ads also reach a larger audience (Nation-wide and beyond) and they let you communicate with potential buyers via e-mail. Many of our customers have become ‘happy campers,’ after selling their RVs to buyers several states/provinces away. Visit our Testimonials page to see what our customers are saying.
We Recommend a Combination Online / Newspaper Ad:
Once you have placed your ONLINE ad, you can advertise your unit in the local newspaper, allowing the buyer to go online and view 12-20 pictures. This is an inexpensive way to expose local RV Buyers to YOUR UNIT, as placing color photos in print is far too pricey. Just a SIMPLE, INEXPENSIVE WORD ad in the “RVS FOR SALE” section, make it BRIEF like the following example:2003 Winnebago Class C, 25 ft,
Slide out, Loaded, One owner, Low miles
View at www.RVT.com ad# 1234567
(your phone number could be optional)
The interested party can then view ALL the information and pictures ONLINE, and contact you by phone or email.
Spread the Word:
Word of mouth does wonders to help you find potential buyers. Some of the best and quickest used vehicle sales occur when the seller knows the buyer or the seller knows someone who knows the buyer.
Meeting Potential Buyers
Be prepared before you meet with your first potential buyer, it’s important to know what your RV is worth in today’s market. Start by using the RVT Price Checker - Find the high, low and average prices of a certain vehicle based on the values in our current listings.
NADA RV pricing guide is also a good way to look up the retail value of your RV (it’s a free service).
You may want to leave a little room in your price for bargaining. Keep the negotiations open. Don’t say “yes” or “no” too quickly to any offer unless it’s entirely unrealistic. Many people negotiate for a used vehicle without knowing its actual value and only want to haggle down the price.
Be honest. You may be legally liable if you misrepresent your vehicle. Tell the potential buyer everything about the vehicle you didn’t include in your ad. If a buyer complains about a scratch, mark or stain, you may want to remind them that some wear-and-tear is normal for a vehicle of that age and mileage. Every used rig has scratches from road debris, and this is accounted for in the asking price.
Be patient. Most likely, you won’t sell your RV overnight. Often, it takes weeks or even months to make a sale. Whenever you get frustrated during the sales process, just think of what you’ll do with the extra money you’ll have for selling your rig on your own.
Completing the Sale
Bill of Sale:
Use a sales agreement that describes your vehicle and spells out the sales price. State that the buyer is purchasing the vehicle “as-is,” with no warranties. Keep a signed copy for your records. Use the free bill of sale offered on this site as your basic bill of sale or as a guide to help you create your own.
Transfer the Title
If you still owe money on your rig, you’ll need to pay the balance in full before the lien holder will release the title. Meet your buyer at the bank and complete the sales transaction. To release you from any possible liability, inform the Department of Motor Vehicles in writing that your vehicle has been sold.
Helpful Articles From RVT Blog & Article Library
Visit our RV Blog for RV traders and the RV Lifestyle to find more helpful information to get your RV SOLD! Article titles include:
- Listing RV for Sale Is as Easy as Counting to Five
- New RV Selling Resources Help Sell Your RV Fast
- Watch RV Ad Video to See How Video Can Sell Your RV