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How Does Trading in My RV Work?

If you've outgrown your current RV, you can kill two birds with one stone by trading it in on the purchase of a new one! Understating how the trade-in process works will help you to know exactly what to expect in exchange for your RV, and what to expect in the process.

Determining RV Value

The first thing you want to know, whether you’re trading in or selling yourself, is most likely how much the RV you currently have is worth. The simplest way to find out is to check with some online resources. The most common one you will find is the NADA Guides. These guides take into account the area you’re in, the RV brand and model, and year. You can then select any options that you have on the rig and it will return what the RV was valued at brand new, a retail low, and the average retail price at that time. Since your RV is used, you can expect that it will sell in the range of the lowest to average price. You will need to take into consideration the condition of the RV as well. If there is damage or large amounts of wear, it will decrease its value.

Trade-In Value

Now you’re ready to hit the dealership and have that amount credited toward your new RV right? Not quite. Trade-in value is not the same as retail value. The dealership is taking on the responsibility of having to sell the RV, so they must incur the costs that come along with it. If they were to give you the full retail value, they would then lose money making the trade not worth their while. Even if they didn’t have to worry about these costs, the new RVs on the lot at a dealership are almost always financed by the dealership through a bank. So they have a loan on these RVs that must be paid off before they can transfer ownership to you! If they take too much off the price of the RV for your trade in, they are unable to pay off the loan on that RV, therefore they're not able to transfer ownership since the bank still has a loan in it.

Trade vs Sell Yourself

So if the dealership is going to turn around and just sell it for more, then why not just sell it yourself and keep the extra cash? You could, but then again, you may not find a buyer willing to give you the same amount they can give a dealership. This is because a dealership can offer a lot of things that you probably cannot. This includes luxuries like an onsite mechanic that has done an inspection and possible repairs, extended warranties and things like fabric and paint protection, title and plating services, and the number one reason: they offer financing! It’s easier to walk into a dealership, fill out some paperwork, and walk out with the keys to an RV than it is to get the info from a private buyer, go to the bank and apply for a loan, and then go back to deal with the private buyer, the plates, and the title yourself. Many times, incentives are offered to finance through a dealership and a buyer can get a better interest rate there as well.

Trading in your RV gives you the benefit of getting the old RV off your hitch and the new one on, quickly and smoothly! No hassle of finding a buyer, storing it, or insuring it while you wait. What are some questions you have regarding the trade process? We would love to hear them!

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