I learned about selling my travel trailer during the pandemic. My mother needed to sell a camping trailer she had owned for two years. She was moving to an apartment and had no place to store it.
Renting an RV storage space was not an option because all the spaces in town were full. Even though we lived 2 hours away, we decided the best approach was to tow the travel trailer to our house where we had ample RV parking space.
As I thought about it, one reason there was no travel trailer storage space available is because it was November, when competition for camper storage was highest.
November is also not the best time to sell a camper because nobody wants to buy something they’ll have to store until springtime.
In my area, the best time to sell a camper is late winter or early spring.
At that time, the weather is getting nicer and everyone is thinking about the upcoming vacation season, or planning lots of weekend camping trips as soon as the weather starts warming up.
I predicted to my family that the camper would probably sell in March.
As soon as I agreed to sell the travel trailer for my mom, I got started. First of all, I talked with her about her expectations and did some research to find out what the market was like for this particular model.
Naturally, she hoped to get some amount above what she still owed on the camper loan, but my research showed that she would probably only get her payoff amount. We thought that was good enough, and better than the worst case of having to pay something in addition to the sale proceeds to close out the loan and get the title.
Next, I did the research to find out what the competition was like. To do this, I gathered all available information on the travel trailer such as:
o Physical specifications of the camper
2019 Coleman Lantern, 30 ft
o Features and options on this particular model
Queen plus bunks, awning
o Condition of the camper
Good but needs cleaning
o Original sale price
o Asking price of similar models on the market currently
$20k to 23k
Also, I researched how other people were selling their pre-owned travel trailers, and found these platforms for consideration. I evaluated each of them as described:
Limited market, prone to scammers
o Facebook Market – second choice
Limited market, also prone to scammers, but less than above
Local sales channel is less well known than others
o Consignment with a dealer
High commissions, limited audience/exposure
o RV/Camper specific platforms such as RV Trader and RVT.com – first choice
Users are looking for what I’m selling
Fees are reasonable compared to dealer commission
Early on in the sales process, I realized that having a loan attached to the title would slow down and possibly discourage prospective buyers. To make it as attractive as possible to a buyer, we would need to have the title in hand. That would mean paying off the loan as well as transferring the title to my name from my mom. It was a slightly risky idea, since there was a chance we wouldn’t get a price above the payoff. We did it anyway, to help my mom get out of the payments, etc. Now I truly was selling my travel trailer since I effectively bought it from mom.
While assessing the condition of the travel trailer, I discovered that it would need to be thoroughly cleaned and winterized. Since my mom had practically lived in it for two years, this was no small job. Cleaning the camper took me a bit more than 20 hours of work, not counting research into winterizing methods.
I chose to advertise the camper on RV trader and RVT.com, at a cost around $100 each for 8 weeks. On November 18, 2021, I took photos for the ads and set the price at $22,900, which was a little lower than similar listings. In addition, I put a listing on Facebook Market with a link to the RV Trader listing.
As of December 11th, I had shown the camper to two couples. The online ads were viewed 350 times. I had already reduced the price to $19,900 due to seeing tighter competition nearby. One couple said they wouldn’t be ready to buy anything until around February. In January I renewed the online listings.
Finally, on February 28th, I transferred the title for the travel trailer to the buyer and deposited the check at my bank. The camper sold for $19,000, which was enough to cover the payoff amount and my expenses. SUCCESS!!