If you look online, you’ll see no shortage of renovated RVs for sale. Some DIY experts make a living buying campers, renovating them, and reselling them. Some of the transformations we’ve seen are easy on the eyes and attract attention. But are renovated RVs worth more?
Today, we share some things you should keep in mind for renovating an RV. And we’ll talk about the best and worst places to dedicate your time, energy, and money to during your renovation. Let’s get started!
Renovating an RV Is More Popular Than Ever
When creating incredible and home-like interiors, RV manufacturers typically fall short. Much of what we see is dark and drab interiors with a cookie-cutter feel. Why do they feel this way? Well, because manufacturers need to crank out RVs incredibly quickly, resulting in boring designs. We too have renovated a few RV’s to our liking.
However, the demand for brighter RVs with a comfortable space, especially for full-timers, has increased. Many RVers with DIY skills take matters into their own hands. A simple scroll through the #rvrenovation shows over 200,000 results on Instagram. You can get a taste of what’s possible with a little sweat, tears, and money.
You’ll also find tons of RV renovation content on YouTube and blogs to help provide inspiration and helpful resources. As more and more RVers want to create a unique space that fits their personality, we’re sure to see the trend continue.
Are Renovated RVs Worth More?
When it comes to the value of a renovated RV, there are a few things to consider. Renovating an RV can improve its value if done right. Being sloppy or using low-quality parts won’t likely provide much of a return on the investment. However, if you have professional-looking results and use quality parts, it can offer a great return on the investment.
Something else you should consider when it comes to the value of your rig is a warranty. Depending on the renovation, you could void your warranty. While some aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, you don’t want to cost yourself thousands of dollars by voiding an important warranty.
Buyers look for unique and clean rigs. If your RV renovation can help separate yours from the rest, you may just get a top-dollar offer for it. A camper with a high-quality renovation likely will attract a lot of attention and won’t sit on the market for too long.
Upgrades That May Actually Increase Value
Some upgrades will provide a better return on the investment than others. One of the best ways to increase the value of your renovated RV for sale is to upgrade appliances. This includes your fridge, water heater, furnace, air conditioner, vents, and TVs. RVers use these items frequently, and having quality and efficient appliances appeals to buyers.
You also need to fix anything that is broken or detracts from the aesthetics of the rig. For example, remove cracking or peeling decals and add a fresh coat of paint. This can go a long way on an RV’s exterior.
Stained carpet or damaged flooring will likely be an essential upgrade and will provide tremendous value. Many RV renovators remove carpets altogether to make it easier to keep them clean.
Mechanical upgrades for an RV are not the most aesthetic upgrades but increase usability. Buyers like to see new tires, suspension systems, brakes, and electrical upgrades like solar power and inverters. Using an RV for off-grid camping may appeal to many.
Lastly, you’ll likely want to upgrade the furniture. Old RV furniture often is cracking or has worn-down cushions. You can find lightweight couches and seating options at places like Ikea that come in various colors. These can increase the seating capacity in your rig and add a bit of color to the environment.
Upgrades That May or May Not Increase Value
If you’re not making a significant upgrade, don’t expect it to change the value of your rig. You can’t simply swap one light fixture for another and expect it to make a huge impact. When upgrading your rig’s aesthetics, you want to avoid personalizing it for yourself.
If you plan to sell the camper, you want it to appeal to various people. Be careful going the “trendy” route as trends can change quickly, and then you’ll be stuck with an outdated rig.
One mistake many renovators make is making upgrades that favor a particular mode of camping. Upgrades like installing a composting toilet for boondocking or removing a desk for working only help a select group of campers. These upgrades will drastically reduce the number of potential buyers for a rig.
Most of all, everything must look professionally done. Projects with an amateur-DIY look will reduce the appeal of the rig. Buyers won’t want to have to redo work that doesn’t meet their standards.
Pro Tip: Are you selling your RV? We uncovered What RV Consignment Really Means.
Where Do You Start When Renovating an RV?
Before starting to renovate an RV, consider whether you want to put it up for sale or if you’ll own the RV for years to come. If you plan to sell it later, you want to consider what future owners might want or expect from a camper. You don’t want to customize your RV, so it’s not appealing to potential buyers.
Once you know your renovation purpose, take an inventory of the entire rig. Inspect if anything is broken, damaged, or simply needs touching up. Seeing the work you need to do will help you start prioritizing your renovation tasks.
With your project list, you can make a budget. A budget can keep your spending in check and help you avoid wasting money. If part of your plan is to replace furniture, you can add the money from selling the old furniture into your renovation budget. You don’t want to needlessly spend money, especially if you’ll sell the rig.
Popular Ways People Update Older RVs
Here are some ways people renovate their rigs and what you might consider for your RV project, especially if you plan to list it for sale. Let’s take a look.
Older appliances are less efficient and often bulkier than newer models. Installing new ones helps make the RV more efficient in electrical usage and provides a modern look. Additionally, manufacturers of modern 12V appliances have found ways to shed weight while still making them highly efficient.
Sometimes we look at older RV upholstery and wonder what in the world the manufacturers were thinking. The busy patterns and colors are distracting and can benefit from an upgrade after years of use. Luckily, if you or someone you know has a sewing machine, you can modernize all of the upholstered surfaces in your rig.
Replacing the upholstery can provide a fresh and clean look. It can help create a relaxing atmosphere and be a cost-effective way to brighten your space.
For decades RV manufacturers have convinced themselves that everyone wants dark wood in their rigs. However, this creates a cave-like atmosphere when you spend a lot of time in your camper. Many DIY renovations paint walls and cabinets white, brightening the space and making a huge difference.
However, as we’ve said repeatedly, you have to take your time with this upgrade. Simply slopping paint on the walls and cabinets will not get the desired look. You must prepare the areas by cleaning them and using the correct paint for the surfaces in your RV.
Some of the lighting choices in RVs provide a stale look and don’t do a great job displacing the light. However, many RV owners don’t realize that many lights at your local hardware store will also work in your RV. Replacing the lighting can take minutes but greatly impact your renovation.
Some RV furniture is rather bulky and uncomfortable. You can replace this furniture with more comfortable options and reduce your RV’s weight. Ikea and other large retailers often carry lightweight and relatively inexpensive furniture. The furniture you choose can change the look and feel of your RV’s interior. You can transform an entire space and open up areas for increased functionality.
How Do You Sell a Renovated RV?
If you want to sell your renovated RV, it’s not as intimidating or complicated as you might think. Let’s look at the steps you should follow to complete the transaction.
Finish Renovation (If Not Already)
Before listing your RV for sale, you want to have renovated the unit and finished every detail. You don’t want projects to be in limbo or “almost” complete. Don’t sell until it is 100% finished. This helps avoid any issues if potential buyers want to check out your renovation. They should see the finished product and not try to imagine what it’ll look like.
Make the RV Look Good
Next, stage your RV as you would a house. You want to give your RV the royal spa treatment it deserves. Wash it, wax it, and finish up any touch-ups that will make it easy for potential buyers to imagine them taking it on adventures. Wipe down all the surfaces, vacuum up any dirt, and prepare the camper for buyers to come walking through it.
Take High-Quality Pictures
One of the keys to attracting traffic to your RV’s listing will be high-quality pictures. You want to open up the windows to create as much natural light as possible. Turn on lights and remove any unnecessary clutter before taking photos. Also, use a quality camera.
When taking the pictures, take them from various angles and highlight the important features. The more images you can provide to potential buyers, the better. It’s worth the few extra bucks if you’re paying to list your renovated RV for sale. Paying a bit more will allow you to post more pictures to give buyers a better sense of what your RV offers.
Explain Upgrades Thoroughly
When creating your RV listing, you want to explain your upgrades thoroughly so buyers understand what it offers. You took the time to complete all the upgrades. Now you can brag about them a little.
Don’t be afraid to list even the smallest upgrades that you think may be insignificant. You never know what might convince a potential buyer that they just have to have your rig.
Communicate with Potential Buyers
If you’ve done everything right, you should prepare for a barrage of emails, texts, phone calls, or direct messages regarding your listing. Juggling the communication can feel overwhelming, but it’s necessary if you want to sell your rig.
Take the time to answer clarifying questions or arrange opportunities for potential buyers to walk through your rig. When it gets overwhelming, know that it will be over soon. Think about the check you’ll take to the bank or how you’ll spend the profits.
Be respectful and professional when talking with potential buyers. Don’t take low-ball offers personally, and don’t feel like you have to complete a transaction with just anyone.
How to Buy a Renovated RV for Sale
It can be just as nerve-racking if you’re on the other end of the transaction and looking to buy a renovated RV for sale. You will likely invest a lot of money into an RV that you hope was renovated correctly.
Start looking for websites and social media accounts for RV renovation companies near you. They’ll likely have listings for any available units and can answer any questions you might have.
You can also find many renovated RV listings on Facebook Marketplace and RV Trader. These are two great resources for finding deals and quality units for sale. Make sure you talk with the seller about what they renovated and any upgrades. Don’t be afraid to ask too many questions; the seller should be open to questions if they want to make a sale.
Lastly, consider hiring an inspector, especially if it has any major electrical upgrades. An RV inspector can help you catch potential red flags that might make you walk away from even the best deal. Your safety and security while using the RV are important.
Pro Tip: Buying a renovated RV without seeing it in person first? Use these tips on Buying an RV Sight-Unseen: 7 Red Flags to Watch For.
Is Renovating an RV Worth It?
In this day and age, renovating an RV is a great way to help your rig retain its value. However, you must know what you’re doing and do it right. You can’t just start ripping things out and painting stuff and expect it to be a good renovation.
While we’ve seen some rigs that have inspired us to do our own renovating, we’ve also seen some cringe-worthy RV renovations listed for sale. Take your time and research, and you can have an incredible-looking and comfortable space to enjoy your RV.
Ready to sell that beautifully renovated rig? Follow our advice for a quick and hassle-free transaction: 7 Easy Things to Do to Quickly Sell Your RV.
Become A Mortons On The Move Insider
Join 10,000+ other adventurers to receive educating, entertaining, and inspiring articles about RV Travel Destinations, RV Gear, and Off-Grid Living to jump-start your adventures today!
Read More From The Mortons: