‘Tis the season – RV owners are de-winterizing RVs to either prepare them for new traveling adventures or for sale. Some RV owners who are planning to sell their rigs are doing so either because life has new plans ahead that don’t include RVing or because they’re upgrading their rigs this year. Others are simply considering taking advantage of the INSANELY hot RV market. It’s also possible that gas prices are affecting RVers’ travel plans and some travelers are reconsidering traveling by RV. No matter the reason, this is the time of year when some RV owners are asking the question, “How much is my RV worth?”
Whatever your reason is for wanting to assess the value of your RV on today’s market, we’re hoping this short guide might help you out.
- 1) What Goes Into Determining the Value of an RV?
- 2) Does the NADA Offer RV Values?
- 3) Are the Book Values Accurate?
- 4) How Much Does an RV Depreciate?
- 5) What Additional Factors Determine the Value of a Used RV?
- 6) What Other Sources Are Helpful to Determining How Much My RV Is Worth?
- 7) Bonus Info: How to Sell an RV
- 8) Are You Thinking About Selling Your RV?
What Goes Into Determining the Value of an RV?
There are a number of factors that go into determining an RV’s value, not the least of which is the market at the time when you decide to sell your rig.
So here, in addition to the overall used RV market, are the top determinants of your RV’s value:
Brand, Model, Type, and Year of the RV
Some brands of RVs hold their value better than others. Newmar and Airstream are a couple of good examples. But any RV brand that has a longstanding reputation for high quality and durability over time will command higher prices in any market condition.
In addition, the newer the rig is, and whether it’s a motorhome or travel trailer, will have an impact on saleability.
In general, larger rigs will command higher prices, though there are a couple of caveats to mention here.
First, in a market that includes high fuel prices, many RV shoppers are going to consider fuel mileage in their criteria, and larger RVs are generally not as fuel-efficient as their smaller counterparts.
Also, Class B vans are extraordinarily hot commodities on the RV market for a variety of reasons, including the fact that they can be used as daily drivers, and pretty much anyone can feel comfortable driving them. Class B rigs also lend themselves well to the first caveat of fuel efficiency.
Other than these considerations, though, a bigger rig generally means a higher value.
This one may be obvious but RVs with high mileage aren’t as highly valued as those with less mileage on the clock.
Engine Condition (for Motorized RVs)
How well your RV has been maintained under the hood is a big factor in determining how much an RV is worth. If the engine bay and everything in it has been well maintained, this will surely add value to your rig.
And if you can provide maintenance records from as far back as possible, you’ve just raised the value substantially.
General RV Condition
The condition of your rig’s interior and exterior factors into your RV’s value as well. If you’ve kept the RV well maintained inside and out, you’ll be amazed at how much this will increase the value of your rig on the used RV market.
Likewise, however, rigs that have been poorly maintained will feel the effects of their neglect at sale time. Dents, scratches, or even fading decals (consider removing your RVs decals if they look really bad) will all make your RV look less desirable, and therefore less valuable.
Options and Upgrades
The options with which your RV originally came, as well as any worthwhile upgrades you’ve made to the rig during the period of your ownership, will add to the value of your RV as well.
Of course, in the end, the answer to the question “How much is my RV worth?” is… whatever someone is willing to pay for it! Many factors other than those highlighted above will contribute to the value of an RV, including the season in which you’re selling, your location, and the general RV market condition.
Does the NADA Offer RV Values?
Yes, you can research NADA book values for RVs here, and perhaps this will give you a starting point.
Are the Book Values Accurate?
When looking to answer the question of “How much is my RV worth?”, you’ll likely wonder if the book values are accurate. Unfortunately, the answer to that question is “Not really.” And there are a couple of reasons why this is the case.
First, since they tend to list things as “options” that are already included in the base price of the starting model (like air conditioners, generators, etc), it can be difficult to know if you’re supposed to add those options in (again?) when using the NADA book or not.
And second, book values really don’t reflect the RV market accurately. Let’s say you’re selling an older model Class B camper van and the NADA book value is $8,000. If you look at the actual market for Class B RVs, you’re going to see ads for rigs of the same make, model, and condition as yours, selling for $16,000 and up.
This is also a problem where insurance is concerned. You don’t want RV insurance to be based on the book value of the rig – you want it based on the actual market value of the RV, and that’s not easy to accomplish.
We’ve read of people whose RVs were totaled, and the insurance companies gave them book value for the loss, and not market value. That’s probably typical.
So – it may be best to just glance at retail and private sale book values, but focus more on the market values of RVs like yours when attempting to determine how much your RV is worth on the current market.
How Much Does an RV Depreciate?
That depends. If you buy a brand new RV at a dealership tomorrow, the minute you drive it off the lot it will have depreciated considerably (often as much as 25%!!!). We all know this – it’s a fact of new vehicles, and particularly RVs.
An RV will depreciate more or less depending largely on the original quality of the rig and how well it’s been maintained and cared for over time.
And again, the actual value of your RV is the amount of money someone will pay for it, and right now, people are willing to pay more for your RV if you take advantage of the opportunity.
What Additional Factors Determine the Value of a Used RV?
In addition to the overall condition of the RV, any improvements or premium amenities installed in an RV will increase its value. High-end appliances such as a residential refrigerator, air conditioning, soft starts for RV ACs, a tankless/on-demand water heater, satellite TV capability, a solar panel system, flat-panel TV screens, and high-end furniture will add to your RV value.
What Other Sources Are Helpful to Determining How Much My RV Is Worth?
Check the current market. Look at Craigslist in your home state and search all of Craigslist nationwide. Also, research using RVTrader, National Vehicle, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and local ads in your area to see what similar RVs are selling for, particularly in your home state. Consider the type, brand, model, year, floorplan, mileage, and condition of similar RVs.
Bonus Info: How to Sell an RV
We’ve got a post on how to sell an RV that might interest you if you’re thinking about selling. (And yes – we’ve got a post on how to buy an RV, too!)
Are You Thinking About Selling Your RV?
If you’re thinking about selling your RV either to upgrade or simply to move on to a different chapter in your life that doesn’t include RVing, tell us about it in the comments below.
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Wednesday 20th of April 2022
I subscribe to, receive and enjoy your email posts on a regular basis. I also subscribe to the RVgeeks YouTube channel, however, the last video I have is from 5 months ago about generator maintenance. What am I doing wrong?
Wednesday 20th of April 2022
Hi Matt! First off, thank you so much for subscribing to both our blog and YouTube channel. We appreciate having you here with us. Don't worry... you haven't missed anything, as we haven't published any videos during the past five months. We've been overwhelmed with our "day job" (designing websites for RV parks), shooting season 4 of The RVers for Discovery & PBS (Episode 1 premieres Saturday, 5/14!), and writing! We've switched over to more written content, as we can cover a lot more topics than we can on video. That said, your timing is uncanny, as we just completed our first new video this year, which will hit YouTube on Sunday morning, 5/1. It's not a how-to, but rather an announcement of a new project. We haven't said anything about this yet, so you are now officially the first to know - we'll be publishing our first eBook on May 1! We'll also be announcing a new giveaway and some great new gear discounts. As a blog subscriber, you'll be receiving a special email next Thursday morning with a link to access your free copy of the book online. Hope you like it, and thanks again for being here with us!
Tuesday 19th of April 2022
Gee you guys wouldn't be thinking about selling and buying a nice used Catamaran? lol
Tuesday 19th of April 2022
Ironic thing about this pandemic-fueled surge in RV'ing. We purchased our Motorhome used in late 2020. The same year/make/model is now listed on RVTrader for about 50% more than we paid! We never expected this asset to appreciate.
Tuesday 19th of April 2022
Good point, Joe! It's certainly a big reason a lot of RV owners are selling right now. Having a depreciating asset APPRECIATE is, indeed, a rare occurrence!