Tips, tricks and advice for selling your camper, motorhome or RV
So you’ve finally decided to sell your camper van, motorhome or RV. It can be tough to come to this decision considering all of the great memories you and your family have made in your travel home on wheels. You want to make sure the next owner will take good care of it, but you also want to get the highest asking price possible to help fund future adventures.
What steps do you take first?
Thanks to the internet, selling a vehicle is a lot easier than it used to be — when your best bet was to place an ad in your local newspaper’s classified section and hope that someone saw it. The internet allows your ad to be seen by millions of people, instead of a few thousand.
But lots of people are selling vehicles online these days, so getting yours to stand out can be a challenge. So let’s talk about what you need to do to get your rig ready to sell.
By following the seller’s tips and tricks we will outline below, you’re bound to be rid of your rig in 2 shakes.
Tip #1: Clean it, then clean it again
Be sure to deep clean your RV before taking pictures and posting your ad. Also, be sure to remove your personal belongings because you want potential buyers to picture their own stuff in the rig, instead of looking at your knick knacks. You should also go ahead and fix anything that’s broken, and take the rig to a qualified RV repair center for an inspection.
Servicing the rig before putting it up for sale helps increase its sale value and is compelling to prospective buyers. That way, when someone is considering whether or not to pull the trigger and buy your rig, they will appreciate that the vehicle is all set for their first adventure. Plus, you’ll feel better about leaving a clean, ready-to-travel rig in the hands of a new owner.
Tip #2: Consider the timing
Most people looking to buy a rig will start doing so about a month before camping season starts, which can be as early as March or as late as May, depending on where you’re located in the country. For optimal value and a quick sale, try to have your rig photographed and your ad online a month before camping season kicks off.
If you’ve just finished your camping season and have decided that owning a camper van isn’t right for you, try to get it listed as soon as possible as the sales surrounding RVs and campervans dwindle in the colder months. Or consider waiting until it warms up a little and interest picks up again.
Tip #3: Stage it for pictures
Taking flattering photos of their campervan or RV is where many folks go wrong when selling their rig. For starters, be sure that your rig is clean (inside and out) and then take high-quality pictures of the staged interior. Borrow a good camera from a friend, if necessary.
As for staging, we suggest making it look ready for camping—or better yet, take it to a campground for the photo session.
Another professional tip is to light up the inside. You can make the vehicle seem larger on the inside if you use lots of bright light and light-colored decorations, as light gives the illusion of being bigger inside. This can help to counteract the tendency of camera photos to compress a space so that it seems smaller than it really is.
When it comes time to snap those pics, try to adhere to the following photography best practices:
- Photograph the rig at mid-day, when it’s as bright as possible outside. Use a light to help brighten the interior photos. Well-lit pictures bring out the details and colors.
- Use widescreen (or wide shots) as much as possible. This technique helps the rig feel larger than it may actually be. Use up-close shots for areas of the camper you want to bring attention to.
- Use the most modern smartphone or camera you have . The better quality the photos, the more likely it will stand out in the online listings and your rig will sell fast.
- Thoroughly clean your RV, and stage it. A tidy rig is a welcoming rig.
- Don’t forget to photograph any damage or flaws so that the buyer knows what they’re getting into. Buyers will appreciate that you were upfront and honest about these, rather than waiting on them to discover them for themselves when they come to look at your rig in person.
- Lead your listing with your best photos. Put the best pictures first, and be certain to get a great shot of the overall rig and use that as the first image, then provide more detailed and closer images as well.
Tip #4: Be upfront about flaws and issues
While you understandably may be more inclined to talk about the rig’s unique selling points and cool features, it’s also important to be upfront with any issues or flaws you know about—whether they were there the day you bought the rig or you yourself are guilty of inflicting the damage.
It’s also a good idea to provide every shred of paperwork you have on the RV in order to let the buyer know what maintenance you’ve done (and what needs to be done).
Tip #5: Share what you love about the rig
While it’s wise to be upfront about flaws and why you are selling, don’t hesitate to talk about what you love about the RV, as well as what features and capabilities have worked best for you and your family. Explaining what you liked about the rig can help a potential buyer understand the vehicle’s value and possibly give them ideas about how they can best use the available space.
Tip #6: Be smart about the asking price
Last but not least, don’t just slap the first price that comes to mind on your rig—or worse, try to blatantly scam someone by charging far more than the vehicle is actually worth. We recommend doing some research by reviewing websites like NADAguides or RVTrader’s RV Price Checker to understand how much others are asking for RVs similar to yours.
If there’s little to no information about your specific rig, or yours is just so custom that it’s impossible to compare to other RV sales, a common rule of thumb (as long as your camper isn’t a VW Westfalia bus or other rig with a diehard fanbase) is to take the price you paid for it, consider the years and miles you’ve logged, and put a price on it that’s three-quarters to two-thirds of what you paid.
Depending on the market (such as during the COVID pandemic), you may be able to get what you paid for the rig due to high demand, even despite the miles you put on it. But remember that generally, an RV—like most other vehicles—is not an appreciating asset.
Tip #7: Be patient
Try not to stress if your campervan or RV doesn’t sell within the first week or month that it’s listed. An RV is a niche vehicle and a big investment for most folks. The longer it’s listed online, the more eyeballs will see it and consider a life of adventure using your rig.
For many folks, it can take anywhere between 2 and 5 months—or longer—to sell their campervan or motorhome, and longer than that if it’s a travel trailer. But, it’s also not unheard of for a well-made van or rig with a cult following to sell within 24 hours, so you never know. Be prepared for anything.
Have you considered selling to a dealer?
At Classic Vans, we are mostly known for always having an impressive selection of new and used Class B camper vans for sale.
But did you know that we also buy used Class B and Class C RVs?
If you want to skip the hassle of selling your rig on your own, then consider submitting your information to our dealers so that we can get to work on sending you a fair offer price. We can help take the guesswork out of selling your camper van!
If you’re in a position to buy or are wanting to trade-in your current rig for an upgrade, then stop by our lot in Hayward, CA or browse our website to see what we have in stock. Classic Vans is a family-owned and operated dealership specializing in camper vans, handicap-accessible vans and full-size conversion vans.