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How to Determine Used Camper Values

How to Determine Used Camper Values

Camper values range from just a few thousand dollars up into the high six figures–or more! So if you have an RV or trailer you’re trying to sell, it can be a little overwhelming to determine precisely where your rig falls on that spectrum. Join us as we look at some of the key ways to assess camper values and the factors that go into them. 

Is There a Kelley Blue Book for Camper Values? 

While the famous Kelley Blue Book itself may not offer much for RVers, you’re not on your own when it comes to figuring out camper values. The National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA) provides the most similar service. It’s an essential tool in figuring out your RV or trailer’s value. But like the Kelley Blue Book, it’s not the be-all-end-all for your selling or buying process. 

All About NADA Blue Book Values for Used RVs

How to Determine Used Camper Values

Determining the value of your RV or camper involves a few steps that consider all aspects of your rig. It’s crucial to remember these if you want to avoid an unpleasant surprise come sale time. 

NADA Camper Values

NADA will give you a good starting point in assessing camper values. Using the NADA website, you’ll select your rig and provide specific information about it and your location. From there, you’ll see a suggested list price, along with low-end and high-end estimates of what the group expects your RV or camper to sell for. 

Keep in mind that these are only estimates based upon a number of preset factors and the original MSRP. There are many other factors that determine price, but it can help you get a starting point. Sometimes however the values can be way off for RVs.

If your RV is older or custom NADA may not be able to give you a value at all and you may need to move on to some other means of setting a price.

Look at Similar Models for Sale

Just checking for what other similar campers are selling for is a good way to get a general grasp of the current market. RV Trader is one of the best options for this, as it offers many customizable search options and a nationwide marketplace. 

However, you might also find good comparisons on more local sites like Craigslist or your area’s Facebook Marketplace. Be cautious of this method if you don’t see the rigs in person. Poor photos or videos can sometimes conceal severe damage or other issues. There are also scammers out there who will ask for your money on a rig before you see it. 

Factor in Upgrades

Cars of the same make, model, and year are generally very similar, allowing easy comparison. However, campers and trailers are much larger and more complex vehicles, with more room for variation. 

Only you truly know the differences between your rig and the standard version. You may have updated the interior finishes, replaced appliances or systems, or added valuable mechanical or technical upgrades. Factor all of these into the price. 

When adding value to the price of an RV, keep in mind that some buyers may not realize the upgrades and skip your listing because of the price. Because of this its a good idea to add large upgrades to the title, like “renovated interior” “600W solar” or “New Engine”

Excited RV Faucet

Be Realistic About the Camper’s Condition

On the flip side, the current condition of your rig can also decrease the value as well. While you might not mind a few scratches and dings here and there, consider how someone with fresh eyes might view these issues. 

There can be significant differences in worth between campers kept in immaculate condition and those that have taken a beating. Be realistic with your overview of the rig’s condition, and adjust your value accordingly. 

Camper Trade-in Value vs. Private Party Sale Value

What you plan to do with your camper will also influence the value you should expect from it. Private party sale value refers to how much you could get for your rig if you sold it directly to another person without intermediary or dealership involvement. Trade-in value is the amount you’d expect when selling or trading in your camper to a dealership. 

Generally speaking, the private party sale value will be more than the trade-in value. That’s due in part to the extra effort you’ll put into selling the camper yourself, compared to the convenience of handing it over to a dealer. The other part is that dealers have to make a profit on trade-ins, so they’ll give you less than market value. However, other issues like potential state tax breaks for trade-ins can also influence your bottom line.  

Factors That Affect a Used Camper Value

While many things, including personal taste, can impact what you’ll get for your camper, several key factors determine much of your rig’s price. 

Year

As you might already know, how long your camper has been on the road will have a significant impact on its value. As the years pile up, so does the wear and tear, as does the risk of a major system failing expensively. Conversely, buyers can see a rig that’s just a few years old and be more confident that it has many years of trouble-free use ahead. 

Also, consider the so-called “Ten Year Rule” of RVs and trailers. Some RV parks and campgrounds prohibit the entry of rigs older than ten years. They want to prevent nicer parks from filling up with old, dilapidated campers that might ruin the experience for guests. 

Many RV parks and campgrounds don’t have this rule, and even those that do will sometimes make exceptions for rigs in good condition. Still, if your rig is around a decade old, you may find more buyers concerned about this, leading to decreased demand. 

Floor Plan Availability and Demand

Like trends in homes, there are also noticeable trends in RV floor plans in response to what RVers want. Your rig’s value may increase or decrease depending on which of these floorplans you have and buyers’ current tastes and needs. 

2 bedroom rv
Source: granddesignrv.com

Those with a bunkhouse-style rig may find this an additional selling point to families, while smaller, simpler models may appeal to new RVers taking occasional weekend trips. Even beyond your exact make and model, considering sale prices for other rigs with similar layouts is a key part of assessing camper values.  

Upgrades

Did you add a tankless water heater? What about a solar power system or a new dinette? How about a new TV in the bedroom? 

All of these upgrades (and many more) can impact your camper price. While you may have added these features to enjoy them yourself, you may end up recouping some of the cost when selling, as many standard upgrades will add value to your rig. 

Interior Condition

This is a significant factor in your camper’s value. Years of use can leave RVs with scuffed or dirty flooring, dented or scratched appliances, damaged cabinets, and outdated decoration. Many rigs are a significant investment already, so if the new owner needs to do significant upgrades or repairs (such as repairing a leak), you can expect a correspondingly lower value. 

Exterior Condition

This is the first thing a prospective buyer will see when they take a look at your camper, so you’d better believe it’s essential. While most used rigs have a scratch or two here or there, any major issues like dents, rust, cracks, or more can play a crucial role in determining your value. 

In part, this is because most buyers want an RV that looks nice! But as the owner, you’ll likely need to address exterior issues like tires or roofing in poor condition. These things can lower the price you should expect. 

Size and Class

At the end of the day, the size and class of your camper or RV will be one of the most important parts of determining its value. It reflects both the cost of new, similar style rigs and the demand for used ones like yours. 

Huge, hulking Class A motorhomes will naturally cost more than humble teardrop or truck bed campers. The split is particularly dramatic between motorized and non-motorized RVs. 

Consider not just your trailer’s class and size but also where it fits within its group. Longer, larger models will usually command a premium to more compact rigs.

Market Conditions And Supply And Demand

The price you can get for an RV may vary drastically depending on market conditions. First is the time of year. RV prices almost always go up in the spring and summer as many people are thinking about camping and want to get an RV. Conversely prices sometimes drop in the winter.

In addition to time of year the supply and demand can drive prices up or down. When RVing has been popular we have seen used RV’s selling very quickly and for higher values. At other times like after the 2008 crash we saw RV prices plummet as there was less interest in RVs and people had less money to spend.

Overall market conditions can greatly affect prices, but it’s almost impossible to predict what will happen in the future. Slight seasonal fluctuations are normal, however.

How Much Is a Camper Worth?

The person who knows your camper best is you, and that’s why you’re the best person to answer this question. However, it’s reasonably simple to develop a general ballpark number for your model using the services mentioned above and subtracting or adding based on other factors we’ve discussed. 

Consulting with a local RV dealer can also help fine-tune your estimates. Overall, this should give you a relatively accurate guess at your rig’s value, which you can tweak as necessary while selling. 

With these items in mind, you should be well on your way to pinpointing a reasonable price for your camper. Whatever your next adventure is, you’ll know you got a decent value for your now-former rig!

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