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Tips for Purchasing and Selling an RV

May 9, 2011 by · 2 Comments 


Article courtesy of NADA Appraisal Guides

Recreational Vehicles have many amenities similar to that of a home and so the purchasing or selling of one is a bit more complicated than that of a typical vehicle. For both buyer and seller, a RV sales transaction will be attempted with the most ideal price. By using RV resource tools, you will find that it is easy to establish the best price for sale and purchase negotiations. Value ranges will place importance on specific amenities and features, as well as mileage, of the RV which will help you decide what the appropriate value is for the RV.

A top priority is to make sure this vehicle is in prime operating shape. Viewed as a house on wheels, the inspection process on a RV is understandably more far-reaching than a typical car. Besides mechanical features of the RV, there are a number of miscellaneous amenities which will require inspection. Before a buyer inspects a vehicle, carefully study a RV model to gain a full understanding of what should be expected.

Because a RV would possibly be the 2nd priciest purchase other than a house, regular maintenance records for the RV are highly sought-after from a seller. As a seller it is vital that you gather all records in the case that a seller might want to see that the RV has been properly maintained.

It is important to evaluate all structural and mechanical aspects of the RV to make sure everything is working properly and in place as it should be.  While it is highly recommended to have a RV professionally evaluated by a licensed mechanic, a buyer should conduct at least the initial visual checks for damage or other issues. Similar to a car or truck, look carefully around the RV for dents, scrapes or corrosion. If you are inspecting a RV as a buyer bring a step ladder to check the higher roof portions for serious dents or rusting. Check the underside for physical damage as well as front and rear fluid leaks. Besides engine-related items, water pipes and other sanitation systems may also show leaking which could prove very distressing. Running the engine and taking the RV for a test drive is also a great way to assure the reliability of mechanics.

Carrying the inspection to the inside of the RV, take notice of any clear signs of damage or unpleasant scents. Since RV’s serve as living quarters for vacations in scenic and more foreign locales, carpeting/flooring and upholstery should be thoroughly checked. Give special consideration to sleeping quarters where a bed mattress could be harboring smells, stains or even parasites. As a seller, it is vital that every aspect of the RV is clean and shows no wear and tear that could deflect a potential buyer.  Present your RV as you would your home since they serve the same purpose of sleeping, eating, etc.

Inspect that the heating and air conditioning are functioning according to modern compliance. Check all interior electronics (TV, microwave, etc.) insuring that they are operating properly. Unlike a value-setting process on a standard car or truck, optional equipment does play a part in setting a price. Non-working appliances would be very costly to repair or replace and will greatly affect the value and perhaps the desire to purchase the RV.

Another important aspect of the RV is the on-board water system. Once you have insured that there are no leaks, if available, turn the water on inside and test the hot water to make sure the heater has been properly maintained and cleaned. If there is an unsettling smell while running the water, this can be a sign of improper maintenance and must be noted. If caught early, hot water systems could be cleaned before bacteria builds up.  One more amenity that is all too often overlooked is the RV generator.  The generator provides power to the RV and is responsible for recharging the battery as well, so it is vital that is in good working condition.

As a buyer, if you are satisfied with the inspection your next steps would be to get insurance quotes as well as loan information to make sure all your bases are covered.  NADAguides provides valuable resources for loan and insurance quotes for RVs to ensure that all your questions are answered.  As a seller, if your RV has been properly maintained, with records to show for it and if at all any repairs that were needed have been repaired you should have no problem getting the appropriate value as found at

Once the buyer is comfortable with payments and insurance coverage costs as well as a successful inspection, a seller can expect a high resale value while the buyer can expect a quality RV.


2 Responses to “Tips for Purchasing and Selling an RV”
  1. Great article and very timely! Potential RV buyers should definitely be aware of all the ins and outs of purchasing or selling one. Kudos to Woodall’s Editorial Staff for posting such an informative blog right in the midst of the RV buying season!

  2. Hi Darrin~

    Thanks for the kudos!

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