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 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.