Americans are travelers. We have a huge country that begs to be explored. And, with other travel options considered less safe due to the pandemic, and more expensive than camping, more individuals and families that hadn’t camped before are discovering camping for the first time. With this recent interest in camping is this the best time to sell a used RV? And, if so, what’s the best way to sell a used RV?

Reports on the RV industry across the board are very positive going into 2021.
And growth is predicted to continue into 2023.

Even before the pandemic the number of people camping was growing and it wasn’t just Baby Boomers. Millennials make up 38% of campers and households in the 35-54 age demographic are most likely to own an RV. All of this has converged to create a big demand for new RV’s. Dealerships are experiencing a huge surge in sales.

New RV Prices Send Many to the Used RV Market

However, the price of a new RV can keep many families from making a purchase. According to Camper Report, a camper trailer is generally in the $15,000 to $20,000 range. But of course, you need the proper pull vehicle which can add $30,000 and much more to the overall cost. A fifth wheel camper is a minimum of $35,000 up to $100,000 with the additional cost of a pull vehicle. And a new motorhome in any class generally will cost around $100,000 and could be much more.

Therefore, many that are venturing into camping for the first time, or upgrading from tent camping, may likely choose to explore the used RV market. Although there is no definitive sales data for used RV’s, it makes sense that demand is high now and may continue well into 2021.

How Will the End of the Pandemic Affect the Market?

There is no doubt that the pandemic has added rocket fuel to the already popular RV market. Sales of new RVs are setting records. Many of these purchases are being made by new RVers because camping is considered the safest way to vacation and to get away for the weekend. However, when the pandemic ends will many of these new campers decide to go back to staying in hotels and resorts? Logic says that some will and therefore it could create a big supply of used RV’s on the market.

Will a Struggling Economy Affect the RV Market?

Another consideration to make when deciding if this is the best time to sell a used RV is the economy. Millions of people are struggling to pay their mortgage and monthly rent payment. In August of 2020, 32% of Americans had outstanding housing payments.

In addition, the initial round of 6-month forbearance plans giving relief to many from paying mortgage payments ended in October. This will likely add to the number of Americans behind in their mortgage.

There have been a record number of small business closures and large company bankruptcies. The unemployment rate as of November was at 6.7% which is down significantly from 14.7% in April. But that is still nearly twice as high as it was in February (3.5%).

There are many other factors to consider when predicting economic trends moving forward into 2021. But it makes sense that things make get far worse before they get better.

So, Is This the Best Time to Sell an RV?

Given everything we have discussed above, and the fact that the best time to sell an RV statistically is the camping off-season, if you have an RV to sell, sell it now.

  • If you wait until the vaccine has been taken by more Americans and travel restrictions ease, you may see a glut of used RV’s on the market making it tougher to sell yours.
  • Used RVs are in high demand as we ring in the new year of 2021. But if economic conditions change, you may find there are fewer buyers for your RV.
  • Lastly, if you wait until the spring many RV buyers may have made their purchase in preparation for the camping season.

What is the Best Way to Sell a Used RV?

There are 3 typical ways to sell a used RV. Use a consignment dealer, trade it in for a new RV, or sell it yourself. Let’s explore all 3.

Consignment Dealer

If you don’t have the time to show your RV to prospective buyers, you may want to use a consignment dealer. The upside is that they generate traffic to their lot. They can also help you place a value on your RV. The downside is that you won’t be able to sell it any other way while under contract with the consignment dealer. There are costs involved in prepping your RV for consignment sale. You also won’t be able to use your RV. And, you’ll have to pay the dealer a fee.

Trade Your RV In

If you want a new RV this is your easiest and quickest option. But you will not get the best price. Dealerships simply will not pay you market value because they need to be able to sell it for market value while absorbing costs in doing so.

Sell Your RV Yourself

Selling your RV yourself may yield you the highest price and more than likely the highest dollars in your pocket due to the lower cost of sale. But it’s all about marketing. As in selling anything, the more eyeballs you get on your product, the better chances you have of selling it quickly and getting the price you want. Selling an RV is no different.

The market for RV buyers is Millennials and households 35 to 54 as mentioned above. These people are likely to search for an RV on the internet. So, that’s where you want your RV to be listed. You will get more people to look at your listing online than any other way.

Free Listings

You could put in a free ad on Craigslist. But understand the mentality of the typical person looking to buy an RV on Craigslist. The reason they are looking there is that they want a deal. If you’re willing to sell for below what your RV is worth, then Craigslist is a reasonable choice.

A Paid Listing on RVT.com

RVT.com gets 500,000 people to their site monthly who make over 3 million searches. Their ads cost as little as $35.00.

Search engines that are built into RV listing sites like RVT.com can help prospective buyers isolate their price range, the size of the RV they want, and the location of that RV. That way you can really stand out to the right buyer. From a price perspective, all you have to do is be competitive with other similar RVs to yours.

Helpful Tips on Selling Your RV Online
  • Get Your RV cleaned up. You'll need to take pictures and people will be coming by to look at it. The cleaner it is the more it seems that you took great care of it during your ownership. That will go a long way in helping you get the best price.
  • Take great pictures and take a lot of them. You can simply use your phone to take pictures. But if you don't have a great eye for photography, get someone else to take the pictures for you.
  • Keep in mind what may be important to a buyer prospect. Make sure you take pictures of the layout and features of the inside of the RV as well as the mechanical aspects of the outside. Find a floorplan of your RV and submit it as one of the pictures for your online listing.
  • Don't try to hide flaws. If your RV has a ding or the paint is faded somewhere, take a picture of it. In that way, your prospective buyer will feel more confident that you are a seller with integrity.

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