Tips to Get Your RV Ready to Sell

Peggy Sue the Pop Up right before her sale.

Making the decision to sell your RV is a big one and how to do it is an even bigger decision.  You may get way more selling your camper on your own rather than trading it at the dealership.  I would recommend this route if at all possible.  This is especially true if you have done a big remodel.  It can be a lot of work, but you can do it!  So, what did I do to get Peggy Sue ready to sell?
First, unless you are selling a fixer-upper that you just want out of your yard or off of your property, a little elbow grease can add up to big bucks.  So, take the time to get your rig in tip-top shape for sale.  Time and effort is money, and you are about to cash in on your hard work. 

I had put a lot of work into our pop up camper.  I was not willing to just trade her in.

Before you get busy getting cleaned up and cleaned out to sell, start with these five things:
  1. Find out how much your RV is worth.  Check with the NADA RV Values for your camper.
  2. Keep or create a spreadsheet of all of your expenses that went into the remodel or upkeep of your RV.  This could be adding a new canvas to a pop-up, a new ac or awning.  Don't leave anything out!
  3. Make sure you have a title in hand.  If you don't have one, I would encourage you to obtain a clean title by going through the proper channels in your state.  Sure people sell campers without a title all the time, but they can be a sticking point for others.  And it just makes an easier transaction if you have a title in hand!
  4. Locate the actual VIN number on your RV.  Take a photograph and know where to direct the new owners when the camper sells.  Some DMV's will ask to match the VIN on the actual RV to the title.
  5. Have Bill of Sale that you can type in your information to hand off to the new owners when you make the transaction.
Make it easy for the new owners.  

Determining a Fair Price

There are lots of factors that go into the sale of an RV besides just the NADA Value assigned to your rig.  If you are selling a camper 'as is' with little or no work, the NADA Guide will be your best bet for determining a price.  

However, if you have lovingly restored an RV, a spreadsheet of all of your expenses can really help you out.  I calculated a price for our pop up camper based on what all I put into our camper.  Take into account fabric, trim, paint, counters you redid, a new canvas or any other work.

We had camped in our camper after we completed our remodel, so I used my spreadsheet with all expenses and totals and depreciated this total by 30% to determine an asking price.  While our pop up was 2001 Jayco Qwest, she had a brand new canvas, new heat/AC, and brand new awning.  I had also redone the countertops, cushions, and curtains.  There was a new fridge, LED lighting and lots of other perks.  In many ways, it was like getting a brand new camper!  While I couldn't price her as a new camper, the price was not the same as just a NADA value for a camper her age.  

Finally, take into account what items you plan to include with the sale.  I included any items that were specific to that camper that I wouldn't need in our new one.  These items included things like my Coleman Camp Oven, compact bakeware, dual hitch extender, Pop Up Gizmos for the bunk ends, a porta potty, grey water container and storage boxes for clothes.  I also threw in the hoses and the bedding.  There was very little the new owner would need to do to take their first camping trip.  

I included items like my hanging pantry that I used over my sink.

This folding cabinet was given to me from a friend for our camper.  I passed this on to the new owner as well.

The solar bunk end covers were also a product that was very specific to our pop up camper.  So, I included these in the sale as well!

We decided to include the hoses as well!

I sorted through every single thing and made sure to only keep the things that I would need or use with our next camper.  Everything else was tossed or included with the sale.  I felt like I was making it really easy for someone to buy this camper and head out to camp.  

Just know that what is important to you may not be important to your next owner.  Some items may be selling features to you but they may be moot points to a buyer.  Price your camper with some wiggle room and be ready to negotiate.  Most every buyer is going to want to counter your asking price.  So, price accordingly.  

Get Everything Cleaned up and Organized

I pulled everything out of the pop-up and sorted through every cabinet.  As I went, I took a vacuum cleaner and went over every surface to ensure that everything was clean from dust and debris.  Then, I wiped everything down with Thetford RV Kitchen and Bath Cleaner.  

Go through every drawer, nook, and cranny so that you will have the things you need and can pass on necessities to the new owner.  Have things like your keys, owners manual or any other items in an easy to reach place.  

If you have a manual for your camper, put it in the drawer and pass it along to the new owners.  Make sure that they know it is there!

In the drawer, I organized and cleaned out for items that I felt like the new owners would use.  This included things like the clips for the bunk ends so that they were handy.  I also made sure that they had matches.

The vacuum cleaner was a big help in getting everything cleaned out!

If you have supplies that you used to remodel like countertop covering and molding, gather these items up to provide to the new owner.  We had several things that I put into a bag to pass along for patches and repairs if needed.  There is no point in keeping these things.

These were items from the remodel that I thought might be helpful for patches.

I even had a tube of lap sealant that would be good to include.
I sprayed the cushions with Febreeze and aired them out in a sunny spot to make sure that everything was fresh.  I also washed the mattress coverings.  The bedding was also washed and packed into containers.  I would also encourage you to check the filters and clean your fresh and black water tanks if you have them.  

I made sure that the bedding was totally clean.  This included taking off the mattress covers and washing them.

Be sure to clean your AC filters before you sell your RV.

Exterior Maintenance Check

Check your seals and re-caulk in places where you feel like it is needed.  I touched up some of the exterior paint in places that needed a little work.  I even did a good all over exterior wash to get everything spic and span!  

Check your tires - including the spare.  While you are at it, make a list of any work you have done in the past year.  For example, I had the wheel bearings packed just a few months ago.  Making a list of recent maintenance will allow you to pass this information on to the new owner.

I did exterior touch-ups like caulking before the sale.

I also made touch-ups on the paint job on the exterior of the camper.

Listing Your RV

Once your RV is ready, list it for sale.  I used Facebook Marketplace, e-Bay, a MailChimp email blast and word of mouth.  We ended up selling to a friend.  But, selling an RV online is rather easy.  It is especially easy if you have a prized camper that you have restored.  In the end, I had people lined up to purchase this camper.  

Give a detailed description.  State your price.  Tell what all you are including in your sale.  Take great photos to show all of your work.  Your camper will sell itself!

It took a lot of time, but Peggy Sue was finally ready to  sell!

Don't feel like you have to do a total remodel to sell a used camper.  If you want to sell a basic camper that is not being used, just do it.  There are tons of DIY enthusiasts that will jump at the chance to buy a camper on the cheap.  A little money in your pocket is much better than just letting a camper rot beyond the point of sale because you don't want to just let it go for a good price.  

Seal the Deal

To help you with this task, I have created a Prep to Sale RV Checklist for you to use.  I've also created a recent maintenance list so that you can check off and hand this to the new owner when you sell your rig.  This keeps the new owners from guessing at what needs to be done and when.  When your RV Sells, type complete a Bill of Sale to hand to the new owner.  

On the day that your transaction happens, have your Bill of Sale and Title in hand ready to hand the new owners with the keys along with the location of the VIN number on the actual RV.  Provide the new owners with a list of helpful hints.  Type up a list of tips, give a step by step set of instructions on how to set up or anything else you think would be beneficial.  And even go over these things with the new owners.  Be a professional.  After all, you are!

Take your time and don't rush through this process.  If you are patient, you can get the best price for your RV.  It is a great way to have the down payment for your next camper.

Have you sold an RV before?  Maybe you have some tips and ideas to help someone else.  I'd love to hear from you.

Until next time...

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