5 Tips on How to Sell Your RV to a Dealer


sell rv to dealer

Have you been considering selling your RV?

We’re a husband and wife-owned RV dealership operating across all the Western States. We are also proud to be the #1 rated RV dealership in Boise. So, we know a thing or two about selling RVs.

We’ve put together our top five tips for people who are considering selling their RV. Read on to learn more! 

Tip 1. Choose How To Sell Your RV Very Carefully

According to recent reports, RVs are becoming more popular. Especially with younger people who are keen to explore nature. That makes it a great time to sell your RV.

But perhaps you’re wondering where to sell an RV? Should you choose a dealership or make a private sale at home? 

Choose Carefully.

We strongly recommend reading this detailed guide before you make any decisions. It could mean you make much more money from your sale! 

There’s also the option of sale via consignment, which we talk about later in this guide. But for now, let’s talk about dealerships vs private sales.

It’s a common mistake to think a private sale will lead to you making more money because of not paying any dealership commissions. Private buyers are looking for a cheap, fast purchase, and they are usually less interested in the technical checks, warranties, and quality levels that come at a slightly higher price from a dealership.

The question then, to ask yourself is what type of buyer you want to attract for your vehicle. Someone looking for a cheap, fast purchase, and maybe it’s a fixer-upper, or someone looking for a quality RV that has been well maintained.

The second type of customer is going to walk into a dealership and buy a used RV from a business that they trust and respect. 

Dealerships Like Ours Are Trustworthy

If you do decide to sell your RV to a dealer, it’s faster and easier than most people expect. Dealerships like ours, typically have a high level of expertise and they know the market very well so they can quickly assess how much your RV is worth. 

Dealing with private buyers can be stressful as deals can often fall through. We’ve heard terrible stories about cashier checks being given that didn’t cash, therefore requiring the police to hunt down RVs that were effectively stolen.

Private buyers also tend to go in with the lowest possible offer and try to manipulate negotiations to their advantage, but a professional dealership never does that. They know the price an RV is worth for resale and how much a customer would pay. 

If you choose to go with a dealership like ours, ensure they have a good website and a network of buyers. They may even find a buyer out of state for your RV. That’s a lot harder when you’re trying to make a private sale. 

Keep Taxes and Registration In Mind

Did you know RV prices can vary by state?

They certainly do! Choosing to go with a dealership means you have access to real RV sales professionals who can leverage their knowledge to get the best possible price for your RV when they resell it. 

As a side note, sales tax on RVs is paid based on where an RV is registered, not where it’s licensed or where it was bought but where the person registered it.

If you’re trying to sell an RV but still making loan repayments on it, selling to a dealer can make paperwork much easier. RV dealers have plenty of experience, so they can help with paying off bank loans and exchanging title paperwork for ownership of the vehicle. 

Imagine You’re A Buyer

Looking at this from the perspective of an RV buyer. Would you buy an RV from a private seller? Go through all the hassle of paperwork and also try to get them to help you transfer ownership deeds?

It’s easier to just go to a dealership, right?

Dealerships like ours are RV sellers’ best friends when things get tough. If you have changed your lifestyle and no longer use your RV for a reason such as an injury, driving it all the way to a dealership lot might be troublesome. 

Dealerships like ours will help you out by coming and picking it up from anywhere in the USA. We’re always open to special requests and conversations about how we can help you sell your RV.



Tip 2. Prepare Your RV For Sale As If It’s A Home

Potential buyers might not be spending a lot of time in your RV because they’re hiking, fishing or hunting. 

However, the time they do spend in it will be time spent using it as a home. So, to get the best price for your RV, there are some checks and investments you can make personally before you negotiate a sale price with a dealership or for a sale via consignment.

Black book prices are pretty much what most dealers will go with but they can’t negotiate a price down that much if your RV camper van is in pristine condition. The more wear-and-tear an RV has the easier it is to lower the price a dealership is willing to pay for it. 

Get an Expert Valuation

No one would dream of selling their home without getting an expert from a realtor to come and inspect the property for a valuation. Treat your RV the same. Get a real expert from a dealership like Leisureland RV Center to evaluate how much it is worth.

We’ve heard of dealerships just refusing to buy RVs if their condition was too poor. This might seem unreasonable, but they are dealerships, not a mechanics business.

We’re different because we also make repairs and buy and sell parts. If you do have an exceptionally old RV it’s still worth getting it valued though. It could be rare or considered vintage in which case restoring it could lead to a lucrative sale. 

You should also consider when to sell an RV. There’s certainly some seasonality to successful sales and higher pricing strategies. Springtime is a great time to sell an RV. Try selling it in the dead of winter and you may not have as much success. 

In any case, we recommend preparing the RV for sale.

Clean It Thoroughly

If you want to get the best price for your RV from a dealership it’s a good idea to do a deep clean and make it look as close to new as you possibly can.

If it’s too difficult to clean the RV yourself, why not hire someone else to do it. You could hire a regular domestic cleaner for the inside and a car wash company for the exterior.

Stage the interior like you would if you were selling a house but keep it minimal.

Aim to make it neutral, clean, tidy and like a show home at an RV exhibition. There’s no need for flowers in vases or throw cushions but if you can make it look ready to take home from a purchaser’s perspective that’s perfect. 

Ensure You Have All The Paperwork Ready

No one loves paperwork but it can make or break a sale, so ensure you have all the papers for the RV ready when you go to negotiate a price for it.

You should ideally have maintenance records if there are any, plus ownership title deeds, manuals, and anything else. If you have loan paperwork and want to do a trade-in or part exchange take those too. 

Be honest at this stage because if you don’t you’ll only delay the process. Let’s say you have a vintage RV in beautiful condition but inherited it from your grandpa so you don’t have ownership deeds. Write it all down and sign it and go to any meetings prepared with that information.

Control Your Emotions

If you made a lot of happy memories in your RV selling it is going to hurt but try to stay in control of your emotions.

To make the most money from an RV sale it’s important to separate the feelings from the sale. Define your goals for the sale, write them down, and aim to achieve them.



Tip 3. Consider A Trade-In If You Want a New or Used RV

If you want to sell your RV because you’re planning to make an upgrade and get another used RV instead, a trade-in might be the best decision for you. A trade-in only works if you’re going to save money though. 

There’s no point in trading in a vehicle that has lost value if you’re still paying off the loan for it. You could even end up with two loans to pay and only one RV. 

Every year you hold on to an RV, it depreciates in value and a vehicle that started out $60,000 can lose $10,000 on that sticker price in just the first year.

Only Consider a Trade-In If It Makes Economical Sense

If you have a really desirable model though and would like to get a larger, but older model without spending any money, a straight trade of a small but newer RV for an older but larger one might work well for a growing family.  

New RVs might seem like a desirable purchase but they actually cost a lot of money and depreciate in value so fast that used RVs are often more popular.

A trade-in only makes sense in some cases, most notably when someone owns their RV outright and wants a different (newer or bigger), higher-priced model instead. Then, a part exchange with part payment from your old RV makes sense. 

Great RVs From Defunct Companies Do Exist

We sell RVs made by a range of manufacturers but some of them have closed their doors for good.

Some of the brands we sell include Alfa Leisure, a company that made great RVs but has sadly closed down due to the 2008 recession, and Carriage RV that is also no longer trading. While it might seem like these older models aren’t so desirable they can still fetch a good price and maybe worth trading in.

Coachmen RV is still making some great trailers and they are popular for a part exchange. Their models are also very popular to buy new because their resale values tend to be good. 

When it comes to other brands, trade-in value varies a lot. 



Tip 4. Learn More About Black/Blue Book Prices

Having a basic understanding of any market is essential when you want to make a profit or a good sale in that market. 

Obviously, dealerships like ours are expertly positioned to make the most money from sales and we have a lot of customers coming to us to browse for a new or used RV.

Knowing the black/blue book prices for your RV before you try to negotiate a sale is a great way to put yourself in a strong position for negotiation. For most vehicles, you might have heard of the Kelley Blue Book. 

It’s a guide that lists the value of new and old vehicles and has been used by the vehicle sale and resale industries since the 1920s. 

The NADA RV Guide

However, while it’s a standard within the vehicle sale industry overall to use the Kelley Blue Book, it’s not used for RVs. Instead, there’s something called the NADA RV Guide. The NADA RV Guide stands for National Automotive Dealers Association Recreational Vehicle Guide. 

While a Kelley book is mainly for cars, the cool thing about the NADA guides is that they span lots of other vehicles including boats, classic cars, trailer homes, and most crucially for us, RVs. 

NADA guides will provide you a low, high, and average valuation for the make and model of RV you want to sell. That means if someone tries to give you a critically low price you can tell them you know what it’s worth. You’ve seen the NADA guide prices.

We run a very professional, fair, and ethical business so we always offer fair prices (accounting for a resale profit, obviously) whenever we buy used RVs. We also love seeing people who sold us their used RV again when they come back, later on, to get a new used vehicle for an expedition or an exciting trip. 

Take RVTrader Prices With a Pinch of Salt

The sort of people who love RVs is usually very adventurous, warm-hearted, and smart. So being an RV dealer, and buying from and selling to that sort of person, is a great job to have. We make sure we do it properly. 

In addition to NADA guides, you can also check RVTrader.com. Don’t be tempted to sell there though. It’s an online classified website that has over 160,000 listings. Chances are if you compare the RV trader price and the NADA guide price you’ll get a good idea of how much your RV is worth, but it’s still best to talk to a dealer like us. 

We don’t recommend selling on RV Trader. We’ve already explained that in Tip #1. Stick to experienced dealerships like us because we have a superior standard of customer (who wants quality and value) and we offer warranties, guarantees, long-term relationships, and support.

Also, some rare, vintage, or exceptional models might be able to fetch more money than the NADA guide prices simply because they have become popular with digital nomads or are even being used for glamping businesses. 

Your old RV’s new home could be on a trendy campsite or become home for a computer programmer who is enjoying the Appalachian trail. They might be willing to pay a few bucks more simply because they have fallen in love with it.


Wonder Twins

Tip 5. Find Your Trailer’s Expensive Twin

Negotiating on price is going to be a high priority for you if you’re looking to sell your trailer or RV. 

Black book prices are important and so is the condition of the vehicle but look at how much your model is fetching across the USA to see what you can really expect to make from a sale. 

When you’ve found a good example of the same model and condition being sold somewhere else, base your price negotiations on the example. But, do bear in mind that for sale to a dealership or via consignment your business partner is going to want to either make a mark-up or earn commission on that. 

Check USA-Wide

If you want to sell to an RV dealer a trick they probably use is to buy RVs from states where they’re considered less locally valuable and sell them in states where they can make much more money. 

Sometimes this is even achieved through a reseller network, where dealers in the states that love RVs buy used vehicles from dealers in less profitable areas. 

By finding an RV that looks just like yours (model, year, condition) and then saying to your local dealer you know how much this is being sold in another state, you will show them that they could make a similar final price in that state too. So, it’s an incentive for them to give you a great offer.


Bonus Tip. Choose a Dealership You Can Trust!

LLRVC Awards Pic

We’re Leisureland RV Center and we’re a family-owned, detail-oriented, experienced, and friendly dealership you can trust. We’ve been in the industry for a long time and are proud to run the Number.1 rated dealership in Boise. 

There are a lot of reasons to choose us but here are just a few. 

RV Financing

We’re more than just an RV sales business. 

We can help with RV, trailer, and campervan financing too! We’re proud to have helped a lot of customers who are interested in camping, photography, hiking, fishing, and travel to explore and enjoy the great outdoors with RV financing from Leisureland.

RV Repair Services

Our repair services are popular because we understand that sometimes people want to sell their RV but it might not have been used for a while and may require some maintenance. 

Luckily, we’re RV repair experts. So, we can often identify the required repairs and undertake them fast. That’s convenient if you want to sell your RV with us, or just want to get it fixed to get back out into nature and enjoy life.

We’re so committed to helping you with RV repair we wrote a blog about it.

RV Parts For Sale

As well as repairs we also keep an inventory of RV parts for sale. Sadly not all the RVs we buy can go back onto the road, so sometimes we keep them as parts. 

We also buy brand-new top-of-the-range parts from manufacturers for newer vehicles. So, whatever RV parts you might need, reach out to us. We may be able to help.

Guarantees and Warranties

As we explained in this guide, a big reason to sell your RV through a dealer instead of privately is that dealerships can offer customers guarantees and warranties. We are no exception. We offer all our customers an amazing No Pressure Guarantee and Warranty Forever.

Excellent After-Sale Service

Our after-sales services are second-to-none. Nobody can say what life will throw at you, but when it comes to our customers whenever they need us after a sale we’re happy to help.

Our customers come back to us to service their RVs, make renovations and repairs, and more. 

In Conclusion, Sell Your RV To A Dealer

So to summarize, we recommend that you sell your RV to a dealer or, to be more precise, sell it to us!

Here at Leisureland RV Center we are industry experts and our customers strongly recommend us. We provide excellent pre-owned and new RVs across the states in the Western Region of the USA. 

If you want to sell your RV. What are you waiting for? We’re ready to help. Contact us today!


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