Selling an RV: 3 Ways to Sell & Which is Your Best Option

The average RV owner will buy or sell an RV every 3 to 5 years.  Whether you decide to sell your RV after 6 months or 16 years, selling an RV can be challenging. With that in mind, we want to lay out key steps for you to take when you sell an RV.

Selling your RV sounds simple, you have a great, gently loved RV that you believe others will want. However, when you consider there are hundreds of models and trims available, and thousands of outlets to sell your RV, it can get complicated.

Here are some things to help simplify your journey.

Three Ways To Sell An RV, Which One Is Right For You?

The first thing to consider when you are ready to sell an RV, is what selling path to take. Today there are three main avenues to sell an RV. You can trade it to a dealer, consign it through an RV dealer/broker, or sell your RV privately. With contractual obligations and big dollars at stake, you should look at the pros and cons of these options.

Trading In Your RV

If you want to sell an RV to buy a different one there is a strong chance you will have contact with a dealer about an RV, they are currently selling. They are generally eager to do a trade in. Trading your current RV to that dealer does have its pros. First, it’s an easy way to complete the transaction because the dealer will walk you through the process. You also don’t have to talk with prospective buyers, and you don’t have to wonder how long it will take to sell. It is all done with the dealer, they streamline the process, and complete it in a few days.

The biggest negative of trading it to a dealer is how little you receive for your RV. Showroom floors, acres of inventory and dedicated sales teams cost a lot of money. In addition, there is an imbalance of experience and knowledge when a consumer walks into a dealership. You may buy or sell a handful of RVs in a lifetime, but dealerships do it every day, and they have a lot of overhead to cover, so you will receive the least money from a dealership.

Typically, a dealer will start with what the industry calls “low retail” (the low end of what that make, and model is selling for), and then subtract an additional 15-20%. For example, if you are selling an RV that has an average retail sales value of $50,000, you will be offered $10,000-$15,000 less than that by a dealer. That is $10,000-$15,000 less than you could expect if you sold your RV on your own. The dealers’ goal is to get your RV for as little as possible to protect their investment and maximize their profits. So, they are a convenient, but expensive option.

Agreeing to trade is agreeing to significant loss of value. A dealer will offer you much less than what you could get selling with other avenues.

Contractual obligations and commissions are staples of most broker agreements. These factors make using a broker a less attractive way to sell. 

Consigning Your RV Through a Dealer/Broker

Another option for selling an RV is to arrange for someone else to market and sell it. The idea of handing your RV off to someone else to sell sounds like a great idea. Let’s be honest, it sounds appealing that the stress of selling can be handled by someone else, while you go about living your life. The broker is usually an RV dealer who has you park your RV on their lot until they find a viable candidate to purchase your RV. For the most part providing a stress-free sales transaction.

However, there are a number of downsides to consigning your RV. First, you lose control of the sales process. Most consignment agreements come with contracts that provide the dealer with the final say in most aspects of the sale. Yes, even regarding the final sales price. The contracts typically include a window in which the dealer is legally allowed to accept a negotiated price. For example, an RV worth $50,000, the owner of the RV would agree beforehand to allow the dealer to sell the RV for a minimum of $45,000. Thus, providing you with no opportunity to negotiate with a potential buyer.

The second downside is you lose all access and ability to use your RV while it is tied into the dealer/brokers negotiated contract. Your RV will sit on their lot along with the other RVs they are selling and cannot be used until your contract expires. The dealer is incentivized to sell whichever RV will give them the biggest margin, so there is no guarantee that your RV will be actively marketed and sold.

Finally, the cost associated with consignment far exceeds what you will expect to receive if you sell an RV on your own. A typical RV consignment agreement will award 10% of the selling price to the dealer upon sale. Some contracts can go as high as 15%. So if your $50,000 RV sells for a negotiated price of $45,000, you will receive, $38,250-$40,500 once the dealer takes their commission. This is below your RVs low retail value and much lower than you could expect if you sold your RV privately. So, you keep your payments, they keep your RV, and you may get 25% less than the average sale price.

Selling An RV Privately

The third option is to list and sell your RV yourself. If you are looking to maximize your value when you sell an RV, then selling privately is the way to go. Selling an RV privately saves you money on commissions and dealer trade values and puts all the money in your pocket. You get all the financial benefits rather than giving it to someone else.

When you sell an RV on your own you also control your own selling journey. You are the final decision maker regarding price and who gets to purchase it. If you receive an offer that is less than what you want to accept, you can decline or counteroffer, as you are in control of the sales process.

Here’s the good news: The last two years have provided a sellers’ market in the RV industry and it looks like we can expect that to continue. This has provided sellers with quick turnaround times and great resale prices. No one can guarantee you are going to sell your RV in a weekend.  Which means that you can continue to use the RV while you wait to find the best buyer.

The biggest downside of selling privately is you are doing all the work. Many people who decide to sell an RV on their own feel overwhelmed with listing, communicating, and keeping up with contacts. And then once a buyer is found, the seller must facilitate the transaction while keeping themselves safe from scams. This can be scary for many people who have never done this before. The good news is there is an option to sell privately, maximize your profits, control your own destiny, and keep yourself safe all at once. National Vehicle is an online marketplace that works exclusively with RV owners to safely sell their RVs.

Sell an RV Privately

Selling your RV privately is a good way to keep all the money to yourself. 

Selling an RV: Find Out How Much Your RV is worth?

All too often we talk to people who price their RV at a level that is either lower than the market or much higher than the market value. It is easy for RV owners to set their target price based on what they owe on the RV. That’s an easy way to sell for less than it’s worth or not attract any attention at all because your price was too high from the start. Keep in mind that most RV buyers have done their research and have a realistic expectation of what they should be spending.

The problem with pricing an RV below its value is obvious! You will not maximize what you are able to sell it for. The other problem with pricing it below value is you will turn buyers away if they fear there is something wrong with your RV. So pricing it significantly lower than comparable units may actually take you longer to sell it.

On the other hand, if you overprice from the start, you haven’t given yourself a fair shot. You are competing against similar makes and models that are priced below yours. The buyers will obviously go to those RVs first.

The first step to selling your RV is setting the right price. To find a fair market value on an RV you want to sell, you need to consider many things. With hundreds of makes and models available the process can seem ominous. First, you must find the book value, compare that to comparable units that are currently for sale and if possible, find sold listings with prices to see what they actually sold for. Once you have these, you can reasonably assess where your RV should be priced.

The saying “your RV is worth what someone is willing to pay for it” is partially true. If it was completely true all RVs would be listed for sale with no asking price, and just a “Make Offer” button. Finding the right price for your RV from the start, is key when selling.

You can sell your RV privately and you do not have to do it alone. We are here to answer any questions and provide help along the way. From answering the question “How much is my RV worth?” to helping you through the entire process of selling your RV. Reach out, there is no obligation to use us, and you will be equipped with the correct asking price for your RV.


Where can I sell an RV online?

As a private seller you have many options. The most important thing to consider is what avenue is going to provide the most exposure to your RV? Your RV won’t sell if potential buyers don’t know it’s for sale. National Vehicle is aligned with the biggest names in the industry to get you in front of people who are actively looking to purchase an RV.


Is there a Kelley Blue Book for RVs?

The short answer to this question is, no. Kelley Blue Book does not have a way to provide values on RVs. However, there are tools and ways to find a fair market value vs. trade value on your RV. If you’re interested in learning more about the value of your RV, let us know. We have access to book values and can search comparable units for comparison pricing to pinpoint where your RV should be priced.


Is it better to consign or sell an RV privately?

We are biased because we have helped thousands of people throughout the country sell their RVs privately. If you’re looking for a hands-free transaction and don’t mind paying 10-15% commissions, then the consignment route might be for you.

How to sell my RV fast?

Usually, the quickest way to sell an RV is by trading it in to a dealer. However, by doing so you can cost yourself thousands of dollars during the sales process. In today’s market, RVs that are priced correctly are yielding sales times faster than ever before. To learn more about what your RV is worth or for information regarding selling your RV give National Vehicle a call.

About Kevin Tadlock, President

Kevin Tadlock is President of National Vehicle in Omaha, NE. He is an avid outdoorsman and spends all the time he can with his wife and two daughters experiencing nature. His goals include raising a happy and healthy family, having a positive impact for those around him, and treating every day like a new opportunity. He loves RVs and has enjoyed spending the last 16+ years with a company that connects buyers and sellers throughout the country.