The RV resale market has been hot since 2020. But does that mean it’s time to sell your RV? Whether you’re looking to get out of the RVing lifestyle or planning to upgrade to a new rig, navigating the RV selling process can be intimidating—but knowing what to expect and how to prepare can help you have a safe, successful sale.
Trading in Your Rig vs. Outright Selling
Whether you’re trading in your rig or selling it, there are pros and cons to each option.
Trading in an RV
|Dealer handles all the paperwork and financial documentation.|
|Usually a quicker process.|
|No interaction with potential buyers.|
|The trade-in process and buying process are combined.|
|You’re likely to make less money than selling outright (though market conditions vary).|
|You’ll usually negotiate the sale price of your RV while simultaneously negotiating the buying price of a new rig, reducing your chances of getting the best deal.|
Selling Your RV Outright
|You can often make more money by setting your desired price and waiting for a buyer.|
|You get to see where your RV goes, which may be important if you’re sentimental about your rig.|
|If you’re upgrading, you can set your budget after you’ve sold your rig, knowing exactly how much money you have to put toward your purchase.|
|You’ll have to wait for a buyer, which could take time for pricier trailers or off-season sales.|
|You’ll have to communicate with potential buyers and arrange showings.|
|There are more unknown factors in the process.|
Where to List an RV for Sale
If you decide to sell your RV outright, you have several options for listing it. Here’s a look at two of the most popular places to get your rig on the market.
- Facebook Marketplace: One billion users interact with Facebook Marketplace, giving you direct access to potential buyers, free of charge. You create a sales listing full of information about your RV, including photos. The downside is that potential buyers know your identity, and there are scammers who use the network. Plus, you’re limited to buyers within your geographic area.
- RV Trader: Serious buyers often access RV Trader since it’s the largest website dedicated to RV sales, with 200,000 listings nationwide. RV Trader puts your listing in front of shoppers from coast to coast. However, this access comes at a price, with sales ads ranging from $55 to $200.
Tips for Listing Your Rig for Sale
Online Marketing Tips
- Start by listing your RV in the right season. Buyers are more likely to be looking at RVs in late winter through early summer.
- Thoroughly clean your RV and take care of any necessary maintenance before listing. Remove most of your personal items, as well.
- Take good, well-lit photos that give a sense of the layout and special features. Use a variety of angles for interior and exterior photos.
- Add as much specific information as possible, starting with the year, make, and exact model. Research the manufacturer specs online, so you can share the exact weight, length, and height. Also, if you can find the floorplan diagram online, consider linking to it in your listing.
- If there are known problems, be upfront, and make sure your price reflects any needed repairs. Buyers will appreciate your honesty and can make a fair decision on their investment.
- Be clear about what items are included in the sale. Trailer hitches, attached gear racks, and other equipment may or may not be included in your price. Avoid confusion by removing items you plan to keep before photographing or showing the rig.
How to Set a Price
- Research the sales market. Do a Google search for your year, make, and model to see what current listings come up. Check RV Trader and Facebook Marketplace to compare existing listings to your rig. Drive through a handful of dealership sales lots to check out the price tag on used RVs comparable to your model.
- Use the J.D. Power NADA Guide. This website offers used-vehicle appraisals for a wide range of RVs. You can add in selected upgrades and options as well to get a customized price.
- Consider what you financially want and need. Whether you’re paying off a previous loan or putting money down for an RV upgrade, you’ll want to consider these factors before setting an asking price.
How to Avoid Scammers When Selling Your RV
When you’re selling anything on the internet, caution is key. One way to help protect yourself from potential scammers is to remember that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you receive offers for hundreds or thousands over your asking price, that’s cause for a red flag.
Stop talking to anyone who asks for payment, even if they claim they’re paying you extra. They may pretend to pay you to transport or hold the RV, or they may send you a check that’s worth more than the sales price, with the understanding that you will refund the difference. These are all signs of fraudulent activity, and it’s advised to not proceed. Read more about fake check scams from the Federal Trade Commission.
Be selective about where and how to accept the payment. Cash is usually the safest, but it may not be practical for a large amount. Cashier’s checks are a secure choice since the funds are guaranteed by the bank instead of the individual. Bank drafts and wire transfers are also good methods. Also consider using an escrow service, which protects both buyers and sellers by holding the funds until the rig is transferred and both parties approve the sale. When in doubt, check with your bank and have them confirm the payment is valid.
Transferring Your RV to a Buyer
After you’ve sold your RV, it’s time to hand it off to its new owner. Handling the title transfer is one of the most important steps. Confirm the rules in your individual state to see what paperwork, signatures, and processes are involved. Then, clean out your rig and hand over the keys.
The cheaper the price, the more likely you are to lure a buyer. If you have enough equity and want a quicker timeline, lower your price.
Be aware of known scams. Meet at a bank to finalize the sale, and only accept secure forms of payment.
Check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to see if they have a printable form. If not, you may find templates online. Get signatures from both the buyer and the seller, and make a copy of the bill of sale for both parties.
If your title is not clear, you need to be upfront about that with potential buyers. The buyer may prefer to provide the pay-off amount directly to your lender. After the RV is paid off, it may take 2 to 3 weeks for the funds to clear and for the title to be released. If you trade in an RV with a lien, the dealership will handle everything.