The Efficient Way of
Trading in Your RV
This page gives you the easy steps in preparing you and your RV to maximize the value of your trade-in.
The Efficient Way of Trading in Your RV…Step 4
Considerations of the Dealership...
Set these expectations for yourself…
So, you made your list in Step 1.
You’ve cleaned and repaired your RV in Step 2.
And you’ve researched the trade in value of your RV in Step 3.
Step 4…it is more of a mindset. A business mindset and looking into what the RV dealership has to do when they consider taking your RV in on trade.
Now, there are three inescapable facts…
And…all RV dealerships has to invest money into your RV once they take it in on trade.
One of those investments is going through the dealership’s shop to be inspected and tested. All RV’s has to meet all state and federal safety requirements before it can be sellable to the public. That includes a rigorous testing of the RV’s liquid propane (LP) system, checking of the trailer brakes (if applicable) and motors and generators (again, if applicable). Safety inspections are a needed expense and mandatory by law. The good news is that if a dealership doesn’t have to pony up the $1,500 in parts and labor to repair the sheet metal that you repaired in Step 2 then that’s $1,500 that can go to your trade.
Another investment the dealership has to make is having it detailed; again. Yes, you made it damn near spotless with your detailing, but the dealership has their own standards of cleaning (the same standards that apply to the RV you are buying). The good news is that if your RV is relatively clean and spotless, then the dealership allocates less money to the time and labor spent on cleaning your trade-in. That means more money they’ll give you for your trade-in. So despite what may be deemed as a redundancy of cleaning, if your trade-in is clean, you are still getting more money for it as opposed to it being a lot more dirty.
Remember, the RV dealership has to buy RV’s somewhere in the wholesale range, invest their own money to sell RV’s retail. That’s their business and that’s the business model that keeps everyone in business (including the company that you may work for).
And lastly, the purpose of this step is to get the noggin joggin about the business aspects of what the dealership has to go through to get your trade-in back on the lot; inspections on their end and the expenses thereof is mandatory.
The Efficient Way of Trading in Your RV…Step 3
Researching the Value of Your Trade-in.
So, you have your RV cleaned up. You’ve made your repairs. Now it is time to research how much your trade-in is worth.
Facebook Marketplace, RV Trader, Craigslist, other forms of publications and even RV dealership websites give you the retail values of what’s for sale in your area. If you choose to sell your RV outright instead of trading it in, then these institutions can give you a good figure on how much similar RV’s (similar to your own) in your area.
However, the previously mentioned websites and publications do not determine what your trade-in value is for your RV.
National Automobile Dealer’s Association can give you the value of your trade-in. Also called NADA. NADA is the Kelly Blue Book for RV’s. NADA gives the national value of your RV and is the framework used in determining a good chunk of the value of your trade-in at a dealership in your region. NADA’s drawback is that it doesn’t factor in all accounts for value; it determines a good chunk of the value, not all of it.
When you are at the dealership with your trade-in, dealers will consider an array of factors when determining the trade-in value of your RV. As with any vehicular transaction, it pays to be armed with information and to shop around. That’s why you should have a ballpark figure of your RV’s trade-in value before heading to the dealer’s lot and have the expectation that what numbers the dealership is giving you may not be the exact same as what numbers NADA gave you at home.
Dealers will also have considerations beyond the NADA book value. For example, they may have certain models that sell better in your area, which they are more ready to buy. The type of RV you trade for can also impact the trade-in value a dealer will offer you for your old RV.
So what other factors are there in determining the value of the trade-in?
In brief, season, availability and demand make up the bulk of those other factors.
Let us start with the season…
Summer is an obvious desirable season for camping and RVing. Your trade-in would have a higher value during desirable camping months (months that people want to buy an RV to go out in) as opposed to the slower colder months of the year when hardly anybody is camping, and most RVs are parked in the driveway.
Availability pertains to what the dealership has in stock and is trying to sell.
What does that mean?
Let me use this example of two dealerships, “Dealership A” and “Dealership B”…
For example, you have a 2005 Fleetwood Prowler.
At “Dealership A”, you found that they have the RV you’re looking for. You want to trade-in your 2005 Fleetwood Prowler. “Dealership A” already has about five or six similar pre-owned Prowlers of similar years and styles of the one you own. Now, they want your business, but they’re reluctant about having another mid 2000’s Prowler taking up space on their lot (especially of those Prowlers have been sitting for a long time). So “Dealership A” will most likely give you a lesser trade-in value for your Prowler only because they don’t want another trailer that isn’t selling to be stuck on the lot. Hence, they’re overstocked on Prowlers, you have a Prowler, they may not give you as much for your Prowler.
Now enter in “Dealership B”. They have the RV you want and no Prowlers of similar years and styles similar to yours. “Dealership B” can easily give you better numbers for your trade-in because they don’t have an overstock of mid 2000’s Prowlers. So your trade-in could diversify their inventory and diverse inventory is what dealerships love.
Though these are simple examples with other factors going on at each individual dealership. But the point to make was that if a dealership is overstocked with RV’s similar to your own trade-in, you may not get as good of numbers as what NADA gave you.
And lastly, we move on to demand. That is what kind of RV’s are in demand in your region and is your trade-in part of that demand.
If you’re trading in a toy hauler on the west coast, you’re in luck. They’re in demand and will have a higher value for trade. Airstreams are always in demand. If you are trading in an Airstream, you’ll get a higher value. So forth and so on. How desirable is or is not in your region can determine it’s trade in value.
In closing to this step…
Go online. Find the trade-in value for your RV. And set the expectation for yourself that what numbers NADA gives you may slightly differ at the dealership because of certain factors.
But at least you will have the framework of numbers to work with. And those numbers will help you determine, when, where and how you’ll orchestrate your game plan on going out, trading in your current RV and getting that newer RV.
The Efficient Way of Trading in Your RV…Step 2
Preparing your RV for Trading it in!
Okay, now you have your list from Step 1. Now it’s time to maximize the value of your trade-in. That means getting it in the best condition that you can get it in before taking it down to the dealership to get a trade appraisal.
When trading in your RV, the three biggest factors in determining the value of your RV is…
Lesser factors that has a factor in your trade-in value are…
Season and availability? Yes, these are factors that will be going over in Step 3. But for now, in this step, the focus is condition.
There’s nothing you can really do for age and mileage. They are what they are. I mean you’ve drove that camper van 127,983 miles and you’ve enjoyed every moment of it. That mileage is the mileage it will be valued at; just like trading in your car or truck. Likewise the age of your RV. Your travel trailer is a 2005 model and you’ve had a ton of fond memories and adventures in it. A dealership isn’t going to evaluate it as a 2019 model. Age and mileage are inexorable factors.
But one factor you do have total control over is the condition of your RV. An RV in top condition will most certainly yield a top trade-in value (for the year it was made and mileage it’s a motorhome or van).
Hence, if your RV looks like a million bucks, it’s more likely to be worth more money. The more you can make your RV look and feel like new, the more it will be worth when it comes time to trade it in.
Let’s face it, no one wants an RV that looks like it hasn’t been taken care of. And a dealership isn’t going to offer out money if they have to invest money to get your RV cleaned up and or fixed up.
It’s a good trade in practice to make sure everything is as clean as possible and in good working order. Here is a list of things that you should take care of before trading in your RV if you want the best trade-in value:
Even paying the neighbor kids each a $20 bill to wash and scrub the exterior will easily be worth it in the long run as far as appearances goes at the dealership.
How much of this you want to do is up to you. Say if you don’t want to get the worn out hide-a-bed sofa reupholstered or the hole in the worn out arm patched up because you don’t want to invest the money or the time. Or you just flat out don’t want to deal with the dent in the sheet metal near the rear bumper than spend time and money repairing it. That is okay. However, to set expectations, that worn out sofa with the hole patch will be factored in the trade-in value.
With those expectations set now, attending to the details listed above will make your RV look a lot more appealing and sought after by a dealership. Ensuring that everything is neat, tidy and in working order will maximize the trade-in value of your RV. If there is nothing wrong with the RV, you can feel confident knowing that you will get the most value possible for your RV when trading it in for a new one or upgrading to a larger pre-owned RV.
So, you’re planning on trading in your RV? Before you hop online to research the trade-in value, begin to surf around on a dozen RV websites on what’s out on the RV market or even head on down to the dealership do this one little simple step first.
Step 1…Get something to write on. Grab a notepad. Steal a sheet of paper our of the printer. Grab a sticky note. Grab something to write this down…ask yourself some questions on why you want to trade-in your RV. And write down your answers. All of them.
What do you ask yourself?
Ask yourself questions like these…
Why are you trading in your RV for another one?
Do you need a bigger RV?
Why do you want a different size RV? Bigger? Smaller?
Do you need more beds? How many?
A bigger or smaller galley?
You have ATVs, motorcycles, toys and you need something bigger to haul them in?
Or you sold your ATVs, motorcycles and toys and you need something smaller, economical, easier to tow?
You want an outdoor kitchen and the RV in your driveway doesn’t have one?
Are you downsizing?
Do you need a smaller RV? Short in length?
You want a boat and need to tow that instead of a trailer? So a camper instead?
Or you need something a little more newer than your 3,5,7,10 or 15 year old RV?
So forth and so on…
Whatever your motivations are to trade in your current RV, list them. Write them down. Study them.
And there’s a method to this madness.
That list of reasons you’ll be writing down is your roadmap to what you need for your next RV.
For example, if you’re downsizing from 35 foot trailer you obviously won’t have the amenities of said 35 foot trailer. So your list will be a list of the amenities that is important to you when you downsize to something smaller than that 35 foot trailer. Or vise versa; you want to upsize because you need more bunks/beds AND an outdoor kitchen; so how many more beds and should that kitchen include an outdoor entertainment center like a big screen TV? Your list of answers should tell you.
Hence, that list of your will help you find what you need.
Your readymade list with help you in your online search for your next RV.
And here’s the kicker of having a readymade list. After you follow the other 2 steps and you’re ready to go down to step on that RV lot and you meet your sales professional, that list will tell them what you’re looking for. Your list will streamline the process. If you’re trading in your old toy hauler that only sleeps 4 because you need one that sleeps a minimum of 8, your sales professional isn’t going to waste time by demonstrating the toy hauler that can only sleep 4.
Nor is the sales professional going to waste time showing you a used 20 foot folding camper/tent trailer when your trading in your old RV for a new 25 foot tow trailer with a slide out.
Your list will help you when you hit that lot. But there are a few other steps to take before you head down to a dealership. These are steps to maximize the value of your trade-in.