Tough as it may be, there comes a time in the life of every RVer when we make the decision to sell or to trade in our camper. If you find yourself in this spot, there is undoubtedly one pressing question on your mind — how can I figure out my camper’s value?
RVs are assets that involve serious cash, so figuring out the blue book value for your camper is a necessary step to recouping as much money as you can. Different factors may impact how much you can get for your RV. Are you trading in your RV at a dealer or selling it to a private party? What time of year are you planning on selling or trading your RV? How well have you maintained your RV?
This article will walk you through the most common questions and provide you with some answers about figuring out the value of your RV. By the end, you will have the knowledge you need to get a full blue book value for your camper.
Is there a Kelley Blue Book (KBB) or Edmunds’ price guide for RVs?
In the introduction to this post, we used the term blue book value because this is a phrase people commonly use when speaking about a vehicle’s worth. Much like Kleenex, Kelley Blue Book value, or KBB value, are brand names that have become synonymous with valuing a vehicle we want to sell.
In reality, both the Kelley Blue Book company and Edmunds True Market Value guides don’t calculate the value of campers and motorhomes. Instead, we RVers need to depend on a few different sources…
- NADA, or the National Automobile Dealer’s Association, is the Kelley Blue Book for RVs. It will allow you to calculate your camper’s value, whether you plan to trade in or sell to a private party. We’ll talk more about NADA in a moment
- RV Trader won’t technically determine the blue book value of your RV, but it will show you what similar campers sell for in your area
- Facebook Marketplace, Craig’s List, and classifieds can also give you an idea of what RVs sell for in your area. For example, Airstream Classifieds is a specialized site that will show you current rates for these unique trailers
How to figure out the book value of your camper
Let’s talk about the steps to calculate your asking price now that you know where to go to find your RV’s value.
- Navigate to NADA’s RV prices and value homepage. Once there, select the type of camper you have from the list
- Select the year, make, and model of your camper
- Enter your zip code — NADA asks for this because, like Kelley Blue Book values, camper values vary from region to region
- Select the options and accessories on your RV
- NADA will then show you the average values for your camper. You will see several columns — Suggested List Price is what your camper would’ve sold for in the year it was manufactured whereas Low Retail and Average Retail are the current NADA book values for your camper
- Once you’ve calculated your NADA blue book value, navigate to RV Trader, Facebook Marketplace, and other similar sites to see the current sale prices for campers like yours
- Remember that, as with KBB values, the condition of your RV plays a significant role in its resale value. Much like a car, the number of miles, maintenance records you’ve kept, etc. will drive your RV’s value up or down
How will a dealer figure out the trade-in value of my RV?
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 pull your camper’s value before heading to the dealer’s lot.
Dealers 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 camper you trade for can also impact the trade-in value a dealer will offer you for your old rig.
As a general rule, dealers will start with a trade-in value that is 10-20% below NADA’s Low Retail price so that they can profit on the resale of your camper.
How to get the most money for your used RV
- Clean up the camper — you can easily add several hundred dollars in value to your RV by putting in some elbow grease and making your camper shine
- Wait for the right season — when demand is higher, camper values go up because more people are chasing fewer used campers. Spring and summer generally see the highest level of RV purchases, so selling during these times can increase the trade-in value of your camper
- Get detailed maintenance records — if you don’t already have a file of all the maintenance you’ve done to your camper, put one together. By showing a potential buyer that you’ve taken good care of your camper, you can increase its value
Trade-in value versus private-party value
Just like selling a car, selling a used camper can be done through a dealer or on your own via sites like RV Trader and Facebook Marketplace.
Like a car, you can generally get more for your RV if you sell it yourself. However, it can be very difficult to sell a camper to a private party if it is a newer luxury model. The difficulty increases because the number of buyers who can get the cash or financing goes down as an RV’s asking price goes up.
Because of this, one of the biggest factors to determine whether to sell privately or trade at a dealer will be your self-determined NADA RV value. Generally speaking, if you plan to sell your camper for less than $75,000, a private-party sale can be a good idea.
If you plan to ask more than $75,000 for your camper, trading in or selling to a dealer may be a better option because of the amount of time you’d spend trying to find a private-party buyer at that price point.
Bear in mind, however, that the above points are just general suggestions. Deciding whether to sell to a private party or to a dealer is a personal choice.
Selling an RV can be a stressful situation unless you know how to get your blue book value accurately. Fortunately, NADA’s RV value tool, and sites like RV Trader, will help you de-stress the situation so you can roll away in a new camper in no time.