How to Value a Camper (And Why it Matters!)

How to Value a Camper (And Why it Matters!)

9 min read

Whether you want to sell or buy a camper, determining its value is a priority. Unless you do it right, it’s possible that you could lose out on a whole lotta’ money.

A few aspects go into valuing your camper, but it’s important to know them all if you want to get the best bang for your buck.

In order to value a camper, you must take into account its make and model, as well as its mileage. You must also consider its overall condition by looking at elements such as its tires, engines, bumpers, etc. I’ll teach you how to do that in this article. I’ll also briefly cover how these factors affect value.

Before we start, here are a few insights to keep in mind:

 

Why It’s Important to Know The Value of Your Camper

People consider valuing their campers for various reasons. It all depends on their ownership or the role they have in the transaction. Here is why and how each party benefits from this valuation:

 

1. Insurance Coverage

Insurers require a specific value for your RV or camper if it gets stolen or damaged. Understanding the value of your vehicle helps protect your investment. Ensure that you capture the right value, cushioning you against any losses in the long run.

 

2. Putting a Price on a Purchase or Sale

Whenever you want to sell or buy a camper, your priority is to avoid getting shortchanged. Taking an appraisal ensures that both parties are satisfied with what they get in the transaction. Ideally, it ensures that the seller receives maximum returns while the buyer gets a good deal.

 

Factors that Influence the Value of Your Camper

Here are factors that will significantly affect the price of a trailer:

 

1. Manufacturer Reputation

Have you ever thought about how far-reaching branding can be? Well, a manufacturer’s reputation could increase or decrease the value of a camper. Notable brands assure you of longevity and premium quality. They are likely to attract a higher value during an appraisal. The contra is true.

 

2. Make and Model

The make and model of your camper has an impact on its longevity and maintenance. Some models are likely to have a shorter lifespan or a higher maintenance cost. No one will want to value a camper highly if it is high-maintenance and less likely to last for long. Besides, an older make or model is expected to attract a lower value.

 

3. Availability of the Vehicle

You can barely overlook the significance of demand and supply when valuing a vehicle. As long as a car is in higher demand, its value will shoot. The scarcity of a specific model implies its uniqueness, improving its value.

 

4. Mileage

Who wouldn’t consider the mileage of a car? The mileage of a camper determines your future maintenance and servicing expenses. A lower mileage implies that the maintenance and servicing costs will be relatively manageable, meaning its value goes up. On the other hand, an increased mileage significantly lowers the value of your camper.

 

5. Age

Undoubtedly, an aging model, make, or vehicle will always pose significant issues. From poor conditions to incessant servicing costs, old cars could be a headache. Besides, you are less likely to have excellent experiences when traveling. As such, an aging vehicle attracts a lower value and vice versa.

 

6. Engine, Undercarriage, and Tire Conditions

Your priority is a functional and high-performance engine. Its electronic stability control, rollover mitigation, hill descent control, and traction will need to be at their best. An upgraded engine and chassis will assure you better safety levels and efficiency.

However, the result is a higher value. Impressive tire conditions reflect better performance on long rides, which could raise the value of the camper.

 

7. Exterior Paint Finish

Aesthetics matter. It is no different when buying a camper, as you will want it to accentuate elegance and beauty. An excellent exterior paint finish will readily attract a potential buyer, meaning it raises the vehicle’s demand. As long as it is done correctly, this finish is all you will need.

 

8. Interior Configuration

Does this camper’s interior configuration highlight comfort and luxury? Does it offer the appeal you envision? Typically, you will highly rate a vehicle whose interior portrays class and elegance. The same happens when an appraisal is done. Elements of comfort, class, and style will readily raise the value of your chosen RV. In contrast, a plain or less pampered interior will barely attract value.

 

9. Upgrades

There is no denying that upgrades could readily improve the value of a camper. However, these upgrades need to provide meaningful utility to the potential buyer. For instance, LED lights, storage bay locks, surge protectors, and solar power will appeal to most users. Adding these elements to the camper helps increase its value.

 

Types of RVs and How Much They Cost

Various types of RVs are at your disposal. Each of them comes at a distinct price, thanks to the different features they bring to the table. Here are a few options you could consider:

 

1. Tent Trailers

You could also refer to them as pop-up tent trailers. Despite their small stature, these RVs provide you with a dinette, kitchen space, and space for up to two beds. These campers cost between $10000 and $20000.

 

2. Hard-Side Travel Trailers

This choice is suitable for inclement weather and traveling for longer trips, thanks to its sturdiness. These campers cost between $11,000 and $35,000.

 

3. Fifth-Wheel Trailers

It is the biggest trailer, and it can comfortably accommodate up to six passengers. On average, it costs between $25000 and $100,000.

 

4. Class A Motorhomes

Motorhomes are ideally some of the largest RVs available. Its average cost is between $50000 and $200000 or even more.

 

5. Class B Motorhomes

There is no denying that this is a relatively lightweight motorhome. It can accommodate between two and three passengers, thanks to its limited space too. It will cost you between $60,000 and $190,000.

 

6. Class C Motorhomes

This RV is a little smaller than the Class A motorhome and more affordable. It will cost you between $8000 and $30000.

 

7. Toy Hauler

You could also refer to them as Sports Utility RV Trailers. This RV costs between $12000 and $80000, depending on the condition.

 

8. Folding and Tent Trailer

Undoubtedly, these are the smallest and towable campers. A new trailer will cost you between $3000 and $7000, depending on the features you get.

 

9. Travel Trailer

This camper measures between 10 and 40 feet, and its weight is approximately 1150 pounds. It will cost you between $11000 and $35000.

 

10. Truck Campers

These RVs often slide into the bed of a pickup trucker. You can strap it or bolt it on the truck. To acquire this jewel, you will part with between $8000 and $60,000, depending on the features you expect in the long run.

 

How To Get an Accurate Estimate of Your RV

Getting an accurate value for your camper could be a big hassle. However, that should not mean it is an impossibility. As long as you know where to hit, you have no reason to worry.

Here are a few approaches you could rely on when trying to get an exact figure of your RV’s value:

 

1. RV Price Guides on NADA

You can barely overlook the significance of the NADA in guiding you on the price of RVs. This site allows you to calculate and even compare the value of your camper. Whether you want to sell it to a private person or trade it in, you will be sure of the same results.

You must understand what this process entails. Otherwise, getting an accurate figure will be unlikely. Once you are on the site, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the homepage and select Prices and Value
  2. Enter the model, make, and the year of manufacture of your camper
  3. Key in your zip code
  4. Select whichever accessories your camper has
  5. Click on calculate and get the average cost of your camper
  6. You could also compare the value realized with other marketplaces, including Facebook and auto dealers.

 

2. Professional RV Appraisals

Professional RV appraisals assure you of unbiased and relatively accurate values. With their services, it becomes a lot easier to determine the actual value of an RV. They take into account the condition, age, and upgrades done on the RV.

In most cases, they will use the cost method or market value method. The cost method is much more straightforward, as it is based on the RV’s initial cost. Once the appraiser knows the initial price, he determines the depreciation on the vehicle.

On the other hand, market value relies on the prevailing market price. It helps get an estimate that reflects the age and condition of the RV. It is often much fairer to both the buyer and the seller.

Take the time to choose an RV appraiser that you trust. They need to boast of the skill and professionalism you need. With this, you will be confident of much better results in the long run.

 

3. Online Sales Information

Have you ever thought about verifying the information provided on online marketplaces? Taking a look at how much RVs cost on these sites will help determine your camper’s average price or value.

Whether you go through Facebook marketplaces or online websites, you will be sure of the same results. All you need is to understand how to compare them accordingly.

 

How To Get The Most Out of Your RV

Undoubtedly, your focus will be on maximizing returns whenever you sell a camper. However, unless you understand how to realize this, getting the highest profits will remain unattainable. Here is what you should do in this pursuit:

 

1. Make it Clean

Nothing beats the significance of a clean truck or camper. As long as your RV has an attractive exterior, it will be a lot easier to attract a potential buyer. Whether you wash it or consider a repaint, ensure that you do it well.

 

2. Put Your Maintenance Records in Order

Detailed maintenance records help inspire confidence among potential buyers. They show that you have been keen on ensuring the camper remains functional. These records will readily raise the value of the trailer.

 

3. Proper Timing

Understanding when the demand is high is integral in providing you with the returns you envision. Usually, it would be best to time your sale during camping seasons. It ensures that you fetch a higher price for your vehicle in the long run.

 

4. Private-party vs. Trade-In

During this period, you will need to decide between a private-party value and a trade-in value. Usually, selling your car through a dealer or agent tends to feature a lower amount. For instance, dealing your camper for a lesser amount suffices if you are doing it to a private party.

However, you will spend lots of time finding a buyer if you want to sell it above the average market price. For that reason, engage a dealer or opt for a trade-in if you’re going to raise more cash in the long run.

 

5. Buying From an RV Dealer

One critical element is understanding how to avoid getting scammed at this stage. Usually, it would be right to know which questions to ask.

For instance, now would be the time to understand what makes the car unique, if it has any upgrades, and its model and make.  Once you know these elements, it becomes a lot easier to estimate how much it will cost you.

Here are a few pros of buying from an RV Dealer:

  • You can get asset financing
  • The process is relatively seamless
  • They assure you of warranty services
  • You are confident of better vehicle quality, thanks to the checks they make

Here are some of the cons:

  • There is immediate depreciation of the RV once you drive off
  • Some dealers might not understand the critical elements of a good RV

 

Buying From a Private Party

Buying from a private seller requires a sense of keenness. To avoid getting scammed, it would be right to come with a person that understands RVs. Perhaps, you could consider a reliable mechanic to guide you through the process.

Pros

  • The transaction is relatively smooth and faster
  • You are sure of better returns
  • You can assess the vehicle without too much of a hurry
  • You are in control of the transaction

Cons

  • No asset financing
  • You could get a raw deal if you are not careful

 

Tips When Inspecting Your RV

Whether you want to buy or sell an RV, due diligence is inevitable. Take the time to inspect your RV, lest you end up regretting it. You could hire an expert, enlist a knowledgeable friend, or do it yourself.
Usually, hiring a professional assures you of unbiased opinions.

They understand what to observe and how the process works. If your friend is knowledgeable, they will make sure that you get a better deal in the long run. On the other hand, a DIY could suffice. Such instances require keenness and a sense of accountability.

But do you know what to consider?

As long as you understand what to look for, the process is likely to yield better results. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

 

1. Don’t Agree to a Deal Before Seeing the RV

It would be a mistake to pay for a used RV that you are yet to see. That is because you might pay for something that barely works for you. Ensure that you take a closer look at the camper and confirm its condition.

Whether you check the mileage, interior, or exterior, each critical element needs to be functional. It is the only way to get the most out of the transaction.

 

2. Check Whether It Has Molds

Visible water damage on the floors and ceilings could signify a bigger issue. With molds, it means the RV has leakage issues. Always confirm the caulk and the corners in the camper. You can also open the closet and the cabinets.

If these cabinets are way too warm, it could mean that they have mold. While at it, ensure that you confirm the ceiling too. There should be no damage to it.

 

3. Check the Tires

The tire pressure will always matter. Ensure that these tires have adequate pressure and as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. The pressure can vary with the load or the manufacturer. From the tread depth to the tire’s sidewalls, everything needs to be intact. If you can get newer tires, it would be better for you.

 

4. The Exterior Should be a Priority

Take the time to confirm whether the exterior has any leaks, cracks, or water damage. Such will also be the time to consider the materials used in its construction. These materials could be fiberglass, metal, or EPDM. Knowing the materials used helps determine how much you can pay in the long run. You will also need to confirm whether the exterior needs treatment or not.

 

Final Thoughts

When buying or selling a camper, it will always be necessary to know when and how to value it. In this manner, you’ll be able to ensure that you’re getting the best value for your money and not overspending. Hopefully, this article helps give you an accurate perception of how to price or value your camper.

If you found this article helpful, feel free to check out my other how-to articles on RVs.

Victoria Miller

I'm the founder of NTT. I live in Miami, Florida, and enjoy learning everything there is to know about tiny spaces.