Are you ready to upgrade your existing RV ? or perhaps you need a different type of vehicle for a specific purpose? How can you tell what your RV is worth now? And How do you go about valuing your RV?
If you are selling any used vehicle, there can be a concern that you may not get the ‘best deal’ you can, so it’s worth shopping around to get a general feel for the value of your RV.
You will also have to consider the time of year that you are selling, as the same vehicle can be valued at a higher or lower rate at different times of the year.
What is my RV Worth?
An easy place to start is with your local RV dealership. If you are trading up, then you can get a good idea of how prices are now by talking to your local dealer.
Before you go to your local dealer, it is a good idea to do some research first, so you have a good idea of what your RV is worth. Some websites will offer on-line valuations or at least give you a reasonable low to high values for your RV or motorhome model.
You may not want to go to your ‘local ‘dealer at all. Some of the big-name dealers in this market may be many miles away, so you need to consider whether taking your RV to them will pay off, sometimes it can. If you are looking for a professional appraisal of how much your RV is worth, then this might be a good option for you. The appraiser will be unbiased, as they will not be the buyer or seller.
The RV Consumer Group is a good resource to use; they provide ratings on each RV model and the expected depreciation rate. However, bear in mind that this site will be quoting wholesale prices, not retail prices.
If you are trading up to a better-used model, you may find that you are getting a better deal if you decide to sell your used RV privately.
How much does an RV depreciate per year?
It’s no surprise that any motor vehicle has massive depreciation the moment you drive it off the forecourt. A new RV will lose about 20-25% of its sale price immediately. If you did not get the best deal available for your RV when you purchased it, you could find that the immediate resale value is a lot less than the initial depreciation value.
Some websites will quote the fair market value. This can give you an idea of what the RV was worth when it was new, so you can then factor in depreciation. If your RV has been well maintained and it’s not too old, this should give you a good starting value for what your RV is worth today.
Prices can vary a lot from state to state and also at different times of the year.
If this statistic upsets you, then the story only gets worse. camperreport.com has done a great study into RV and Camper Van depreciation, and they advise that buying an RV that is five years old and has seen medium use is the best option.
At the five year point, you could see the value of your RV depreciate by as much as 50% compared to new. After five years, the value of a used RV seems to slide down dramatically.
You should also consider how well your unit has been maintained. Did you make sure that your RV or Motorhome was winterized each year? And what additional maintenance did you do?
It seems that the rate of depreciation is more closely linked to the year of the motorhome and not the mileage the motorhome has done. It is easier to check the engine than to see how well the unit has been maintained. Water damage, rust and corrosion are the biggest cause of failure for older RV’s and Motorhomes.
There is little difference in the depreciation value of Class A motorhome compared to a Class C motorhome, they both depreciate at about the same rate.
As we have seen, after the first five years, the value of your motorhome is likely to be about 30% to 50% of the original sale price. Once you have a vehicle that is ten years old that figure has doubled, so a ten-year-old motorhome is likely to have lost at least 60% of its original value.
While some more specialized vehicles hold their value better, travel trailer and fifth wheel trailers depreciate at roughly the same rate.
There are a lot of on-line sites that will offer a ‘value’ for your RV, but that does not guarantee that you will receive that price. Anything for sale is only ‘worth’ what someone is prepared to pay for it.
Kelleys Blue Book no longer publishes RV valuations, but instead, you should look up the NADA Guides for some information on how much your RV might be worth.NADA Guide
What Factors Affect the Value of your RV?
The current demand for your type of RV will play a big part in its value. RVShare.com publishes a list of things to keep an eye on to ensure that your RV retains as much value as possible;
- The integrity of the roof. If it’s not going to keep you warm and dry, then it’s a non-starter
- The integrity of seals and moving parts. Water damage is one of the most common and fatal problems for RV’s of all ages. Prevention of water damage may seem like a lot of extra work, but it is so important to prolonging the useful life of your RV or motorhome.
- The solidity of your RV’s frame. How well made is the frame and how well insulated is your RV?
What does not add value to your RV is the number of gadgets you install. Most buyers want to personalize their RV, but what adds value to one may not be the same for all.
It is worth going to a reputable dealership to have your vehicle valued. These firms know RV’s and will give you a lot of good advice about the value of your RV. They will market and sell your RV for a commission.
What will buyers look for?
You need to look at your RV in the same way that a prospective buyer will.
There are several checklists available online, and they all recommend a really thorough inspection.
Items to bring with you on your RV inspection include the following;
- Notebook and pen
- Tape Measure
- Flashlight and spare batteries
- A Multi-tip screwdriver
- A small mirror to look under and around objects
- Tire pressure gauge
- A small tarp that you can lay on the inspect under the RV
- Rubber-soled shoes that will allow you to inspect the rook without damaging it
- Work gloves
- Wet wipes or rags to clean your hands after oil and transmission fluid levels.
The recommended checklist runs to several pages. You should walk around the vehicle and check the overall outside appearance. Check the condition of seals and caulking, look for rust lines that could indicate leaks. Any damage to trims, doors, windows screens? Look at vents and covers, check they are in good working order. Are all external fittings, handrails, mirrors in good condition?
If the unit has slideout panels, ask to see them working. Are these in good working order?
Ask about the age of the tyres and check the treadwear.
Does the engine start, if you don’t know much about engines you might want to order a specialist examine of all things mechanical?
Does the shower work, taps run well, are the drains working well? Does the generator run, does it make a noise?
Is the cockpit in good order? Do all the instrument panel lights work? Does the radio play? If you test drive the vehicle, you can check mirrors, brakes, seat upholstery and general comfort in the driving seat.
Inside you will want to check the overall floor plan and whether this meets your requirements. Look at the flooring, take up any loose area and check for water damage, drips etc. Are the windows and screens in good condition? Curtains and blinds in good condition?
You may want to replace the existing mattresses and upholstery but check under and behind these for signs of damp.
If the vehicle has a stovetop, does it work? How do the burners fire up?
Sometimes a well used and loved vehicle that meets your ideal specifications will be the better purchase option even if the mileage is higher than another model. You want to know that the vehicle has been used, not left standing for years.
Once you have found your make and model, you can research further by looking at reviews and comments from other owners. rvinsider.com collects thousands of reviews on travel trailers, motorhomes and 5th wheels vehicles. This type of information can give you a good overall picture of the RV model you are planning to buy.
The review ratings are scored by livability, overall quality, floor plan, Driving/ Towing, Factory /Warrant/ Support. There is then an overall rating score. You can also purchase used RV’s on this site, so it is another useful place to look for the current value of your RV or motorhome.
What can I expect to Learn from an RV Show?
Each year, recreational vehicle associations and RV dealers put on RV shows. Here you can see Rv’s and motorhomes displayed by class to give you an overview of what is available. Manufacturers will be showcasing their latest models, some of these will be a lottery win dreams! But you might also find something you hadn’t even thought of before.
It’s good to get ideas and to see what developments are being made in the market. If you have a used RV to sell, then this gives you a good idea of what completion you are going to have in the price range of the RV you are selling.
These shows can be a lot of fun. You may have to travel a fair distance to a show, but it will be well worth it, and you should plan to stay for a few days to get the most value from your visit.
It is a good idea to wear comfortable shoes. These shows can cover vast areas and if you visit during good weather, wear a hat and take water. The other essential to take with you is a checklist, a note pad and a pen.
Also, use your phone or take your camera and take lots of pictures of the inside and outside, storage areas and anything that you love.
I like to make a 10-12 point checklist and make notes! You won’t remember which model had which feature after you have evaluated several different models.
Your list should include all of the items you are not willing to compromise on. The layout is important for some. Insulation is another important factor. If you plan to use your vehicle all year round then how many winter features are included?
When you come to sell any used vehicle, it can be a concern that you are not getting a good deal. You do need to be realistic about the value of your RV or motorhome. Remember that is it going to be a buyers market. You can hold out for a higher price, but that gets you no-where if you wait too long, as the starting point for most used vehicle appraisals is the age of the vehicle.
Doing your research, getting a professional valuation and travelling to the best dealers is all worth doing.
If the RV you are selling has issues, its best to be honest about this upfront. As you will have learned, buyers will come armed with all the tools necessary to perform a thorough examination of your RV, as you would do if you were buying yourself!
Rvinsider.com Rvshare.com Pplmotorhomes.com NADARVAGuide Camperreport.com Rvtipster.com