When you’re selling an RV you’ve remodeled and updated, figuring out how to price it can be tricky. There are many factors to consider, and no real guidance or similar RVs to compare yours to. So what do you do?
Pricing your renovated RV for sale should take many things into consideration including the RV’s condition, the quality of the workmanship, and so much more!
This article walks you through 10 steps for determining an appropriate price for your renovated RV, with helpful tips from professional RV renovators to give you ideas.
1. Check NADA Guides for base pricing.
A good place to start when determining how to price your renovated RV are the online NADA guides. The NADA guides are guides by the National Automobile Dealers Association, and are similar to Kelley Blue Book, only for recreational vehicles.
Find your RV make and model on NADA and use this figure as a base price. The NADA guides will give you a ballpark estimate based on the exact specifications of your camper, but they do not figure in any renovations or upgrades.
Professional RV renovators Derrick and April Look from New Look RV Renovation typically sell their remodeled campers for at least twice the NADA value, to give you an idea of what’s possible.
2. Look on RVTrader.com to determine your RV’s “un-renovated” value.
Consumer demand plays a big part in what you can actually get for an RV, and a good way to get a feel for what campers like yours are selling for across the U.S. is to check online marketplaces. RVTrader is one of the most popular online marketplace for private sellers and dealerships to list RVs for sale and maintains a huge inventory, so it’s a good place to start.
Look for similar models in the same year range and same condition as your RV, and make note of what these RVs are selling for.
It’s important to keep in mind that if you price your RV significantly higher than the unrenovated models, some buyers may prefer to buy the cheaper RV and renovate it themselves, particularly if all you’ve done is paint the walls and cabinets and replace the flooring–upgrades which are fairly doable for most people. The more unique your renovation, the more likely people will be to pay you for your talent.
3. Check Facebook Marketplace.
Whereas RV Trader will give you an idea of what campers like yours are selling for nationwide, Facebook Marketplace will help you understand the market for RVs in your area. This is especially useful if you prefer to sell to a local buyer.
If there are RVs for sale in your area, look to see if you can find any that are comparable to yours (not only the same make and model, but also a similar size and style made by a different company). Compare the prices of RVs for sale locally to the prices of RVs for sale on RV Trader. This can be indicative of the demand for RVs in your area.
4. Consider the RV’s Condition.
When considering the base price of your RV, be sure to take into consideration the RV’s condition apart from its cosmetic features and aesthetics.
Whether it’s a trailer or a motorhome, take into consideration all parts of the RV, including it’s systems.
Things like the condition of your roof, the wear on your tires, the age of appliances, and the condition of your plumbing, hydraulic jacks and slides, propane system, engine, and more should all be factored into the base pricing of your RV.
A buyer isn’t going to be excited to pay top dollar for an RV that will end up costing them a lot in repairs, and if you are aware of needed maintenance, you may want to factor that into the sale price.
5. Consider what your RV would cost brand new.
If your RV is fairly new, potential buyers may be comparing it to the purchase of a brand new RV of the same make and model, which would be less likely to need repair as soon, or which may be covered by a factory warranty (although it is also possible to purchase an after-market warranty for a renovated used RV).
In talking about how she prices remodeled RVs, professional RV renovator Casie Tomaz of Tomaz Coast to Coast says, “I try to go under a brand new price….people don’t see why they would pay the same as a brand new model, even though it’s completely renovated.”
You may still be able to get more for your renovated RV than a brand new RV of the same make and model would cost, but this really depends on your RV as well as the quality of your work.
“When people ask why we think we can ask more than the price of the same trailer new; we tell them to think about a renovated home vs. an un-renovated home, say professional RV renovators Derrick and April Look. “Or a ‘builder-basic’ new construction vs. one that has high-end finishings and is customized to your taste. It’s the same effect on value in an RV.”
If you want to be competitive, you can remain at or just below brand new pricing, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to list it higher if you are confident that your renovated RV is more desirable than a brand new one.
6. Calculate the cost of materials, furniture, and decor.
Once you have the base price for your RV established, it’s time to start adding on the price of your renovation.
Calculate what you spent on paint, flooring, light fixtures, etc., as well as any furniture and decor you’ll be including, and add them to the base price of your RV, since buyers will be paying for these things anyway if they end up doing a DIY renovation.
7. Factor in the cost of your labor.
Time is money! You should be compensated for your time, especially if you are renovating RVs as a business.
Time spent on renovation might be difficult to calculate if this was a one-time hobby project for you. But, if you are flipping renovated RVs as a business, you’ll definitely want to keep track of your time so you know whether this type of work is worth it to you compared with other jobs you could be doing.
When asked how they price the RVs they renovate to sell, Derrick and April Look said, “We start with purchase price, add on the cost of the physical materials for the renovation, and then charge for our time spent, as that is the most valuable part of the equation for us. If a renovation takes 60 long days of hard work and heavy thought, we want to be compensated for it. We always have a ‘quick sale’ price in mind and ‘ideal’ price. We like to get our ‘ideal’ price of course. Most of our RVs have sold in 24 hours or less and for our full asking price.”
If you renovated an RV for your own use, whether you decide to calculate your time into the cost is entirely up to you. Perhaps you feel the memories made while owning your RV are compensation enough.
8. Quality Matters.
Your RV might look great on Instagram, but if an in-person look reveals amateur workmanship and cheap materials, you may have trouble getting the price you’re hoping for.
Things like brush strokes in your paint job, imprecise cuts in your flooring, and uneven patches in your walls will not go unnoticed by a potential buyer and may cause your changes to detract from the value of your RV instead of adding to it.
“Pricing can be very different depending on who is doing it and why it was renovated,” say April and Derrick Look. “Someone with beginner skills and knowledge that DIY’ed their family camper and now has outgrown it should not expect to get 2x NADA value in a normal market. Someone approaching a renovation as a professional will repair any issues they uncover, where a DIYer may just cover it up. The end products will not be of the same value.”
If you have experience in remodeling and construction and have paid attention to quality and detail without cutting corners, you’re much more likely to have added value to the camper.
9. Trendy aesthetics sell at higher prices.
With renovated RVs, aesthetics are everything. Your renovated RV will generate a lot more interest if it is on par with current design trends.
If your RV was renovated to suit your particular tastes, it may not bring as much money when it ultimately sells, especially if the style is quirky or outdated and the buyer intends to re-do your work.
If your camper features bold colors or a decor theme that is not currently popular, you might consider whether there are any simple updates you could do that would be worth it in order to get a little more out of the sale.
10. Consider buyer financing needs.
This final but very important tip is crucial to actually selling your RV. It is more difficult for buyers to obtain financing for an RV through a private sale, and lenders won’t want to shell out more money than an RV is worth on paper.
If your RV is priced a lot higher than NADA values, customers may not be able to obtain financing to cover the cost of the purchase. Therefore, it will be easier to sell your renovated RV at a price that customers can afford to pay cash for, or at a price they can afford to cover the difference for if they can get some of it financed.
Bottom line: The market dictates the price.
“In the end, the free market will dictate the price,” say Derrick and April. “If there is an influx of renovated RVs available and they all have similar design features, it’s going to negatively affect price.
“With (the) current interest in camping and full time traveling, fueled by the pandemic, the market is hot. That is also attracting a lot of first time renovators looking for a side hustle. So time will tell how that all turns out. But for experienced renovators, times are good at the moment.“
There is no one-size-fits-all guide for pricing your renovated RV for sale. You’ll probably have to just list it and see what interest you get, and then lower the price if necessary. But hopefully these tips will help you come up with a ballpark estimate as a starting point.
Ready to list your renovated RV? Head over to this page to create your listing here at RV Inspiration Marketplace!
For a more in-depth discussion on this topic, check out this of April and Derrick’s podcast about RV renovating: Episode 9: Selling and Pricing Renovated RVs.