7 Ways To Maximize The Resale Value Of Your RV
In our previous article, we discussed how to maximize the use of your RV and get the most out of your investment. Now let’s take a look at ways to maximize the value of your RV when it comes time to sell or trade it.
1. Use it!
As I covered in the last installment, use your RV to its maximum potential. While you would think the more use an RV has the less it will be worth at time of resale, this is not always true, as using your RV regularly helps keep the operating systems in good working order.
For example—if the generator in an RV isn’t run regularly, parts begin to corrode, bearings aren’t lubricated, fuel gums up, and dirt and dust collect where it shouldn’t. Many RV owners have gone to their RV dealers to complain that their generator in their ten-year-old RV shouldn’t have failed after only eight hours of use. Lack of use is the problem.
While the mileage reading on the odometer of a motorhome will somewhat impact the value, it will be negligible if you follow the other tips listed below, so use it!
2. Don’t change the decor
While RV manufacturers aren’t perfect, they hire interior decorators that know what looks good and sells. Avoid any permanent interior decorating projects like painting the walls/ceiling, installing vinyl wallpaper, adding trim work, carpeting over vinyl flooring, or any other “improvements” that can’t be returned to original when it is time to sell your RV. While you may think green shag carpet looks great in your RV, potential buyers may not.
3. Avoid holes in the walls
If you need to hang pictures or coat hooks, avoid using nails or screws that will result in a hole in the wall. Instead use 3M Command Hooks that can easily be removed by you or the next owner without leaving holes.
Similarly, if you have an accessory like a satellite TV tuner or solar system that you plan on moving to your next RV, consider ways to install them without drilling holes.
Tuners can be anchored to countertops or shelves with double-sided tape and solar wiring can be routed through the refrigerator roof vent into the interior of the RV without holes being drilled to accommodate the wiring. Those looking to buy your RV will appreciate the lack of holes.
4. Don’t muck up the exterior
While it may seem fun to let people know where your travels have taken you, putting national park stickers for the parks you have visited or bucket list items you have accomplished on your RV will diminish the value of your RV.
Many believe stickers can be easily peeled off when it is time to sell the RV, but even if they easily come off the exterior of the RV (which they won’t) they will alter the finish (called “ghosting”) where they were installed by protecting the surface below from sun fade at the same rate as the rest of the RV.
If you are unable to leave the stickers in the gift shop, and still feel compelled to stick them on your RV, place them on the window glass where they can be removed with a razor blade without causing damage to the glass or show sun fade. Learn more here.
5. Take care of fabrics and woodwork
Fabrics and wood trim are one of the first items that will become obsolete and can’t be replaced when it is time to sell your RV. Take care of fabrics by cleaning them regularly and limiting the amount of UV exposure, especially when the RV is not in use, by covering them and/or closing the window blinds.
If a wood trim piece becomes damaged, try to repair it immediately with glue or small brads while it is easy to do so. For scratches, use wood color felt pens that match the color.
6. Take care of the exterior factory-installed decals
As your RV ages, exterior decals will begin to crack, peel, and fade. Cracked and peeled decals are unsightly and will expose the less faded siding underneath, adding to the unsightliness.
Protect them by waxing the sides of the RV including the decals and take action when you see a decal cracking or peeling by repairing it.
7. Perform all required maintenance
Taking the time to perform regular maintenance like changing oil, keeping the roof and side walls properly sealed, changing/cleaning air filters, bearing maintenance, etc. will assure your RV is in top shape for you and the next owner.
By maintaining and keeping your RV looking good by using the tips above, you can expect to receive maximum resale value when it is time to sell it. Enjoying your RV for years and then selling it for top dollar, just another adventure in RVing!
Read more about RV resale value: 5 Things Making Your RV Lose Value
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.
How, exactly, do you repair cracked or peeling decals?
A suggestion on You Tube was to sand the decal smooth and then use a matching paint to fill in the cracks. Unless you have a very steady hand, this is practically impossible, as I discovered. I also had a tough time finding a match in shade of blue. If you have a air paint sprayer and can tape off the area, that is your best bet. You Tube has lots of videos on the subject that may be of practical help. I eventually just bought a very nice set of new decals off ebay for our 2008 Starcraft Travel Trailer. They are no longer available from the manufacturer.
Take a photo of the decal with a digital camera. Measure the dimensions. Submit photos and dimensions to a modern sign mfg. They can duplicate the original digitally.
Edward Wood says
It’s good to receive a common sense reminder.
cactus flower says
well, we just finished. painting the ugly, dark, brown travel trailer into a beautiful, bright cheerful beauty in shades of gray and black. At our age, we hope to outlive the trailer (in our late, late 70s.) Our daughter hopes to outlive us so she can have it! Do the maintenance, yes, but fix it up as you like.
I agree with the gist of the article; however, I purchased a used Airstream that was six years old and I have added features it did not have basically upgrading and updating it, In the process, I removed carpeting it had in the bedroom and redid the floor. I read that the one achilles heel of an Airstream was floor rot, so, as a precaution, decided to remove all the flooring and replace it with waterproof plank. It did change the interior but it also enhanced it tremendously. I agree that OEM look should be maintained as much as possible but some things, like you mention green shag carpet I would say need to be gone.
Vanessa Simmons says
Make it your own…unless you are only planning to use a year or two. If you are living in it why live in something you don’t like? So many people wait until they sell their homes to do things they wanted to do . WHY? P.us mine will probably go to my son and dil who will change it to suit them.
Chris Owens says
I didn’t like the brown fabric on windows and dinette, so had them recovered. BUT I asked the upholsterer to leave the original fabric intact and just make a nice tight-fitting zippered cover for the cushions, and I just basted new valances over the old. Everything is easy to remove if the next owner wants, or they can keep my fabulous redecorating!
KEITH BROGDON says
The number one and number two ways to ensure resale value of an rv is to not smoke in it and not allow pets in it. I have owned 12 rvs and I guarantee this is true.
Don’t smoke in the camper.Almost impossible to get rid of the smell without removing all fabric and porous surfaces. We passed on a really great deal because the smell and the sticky yellow stains were so bad
I don’t smoke now so none of my RVs have a smoke residue. One of my neighbors sold me a car my son could use while learning to drive and during high school. She was a chain smoker, so the car stank! I used a lot of Fabreeze on the fabric and the dash, left the windows down and let it air out for a couple of days. It seemed to work because there was no smell of cigarette smoke anymore. This may help as well as using packets of charcoal briquets to absorb the odors. You can also use the briquets in the fridge. As for the yellowing, I don’t know what would get that out but maybe the same stuff we use to clean up after our pets would work — Resolve.
Mark Eulberg says
One tip for generators and other gas equipment. Instead of turning off at a switch or disconnect, turn off the fuel flow and let the engine run til it does dies. This takes .most of the fuel out of carburators and intakes reducing gumming them up with broken down fuel residue.