Trade or Sell?
If you are buying a new RV, should you sell your current one, or should you negotiate with the dealer on a trade-in? This question is one that every RV owner will face when upgrading or changing. There are several factors that you will need to consider when making your decision.
Selling your present RV privately is very appealing to many people. In general, you will get a higher price for your RV than you would from a dealership as a trade-in. When you trade in your RV, the dealer becomes a middleman of sorts in its resale. By eliminating the intermediary, you can often give your buyer a better price than he or she would see on a dealer lot, and you also may come away with more money in your pocket.
Many RV buyers prefer to deal firsthand with the previous owner; with a big purchase, it is good to meet the owner and get a feel for the type of care the RV was given. The owners who keep good maintenance records and maintain their RVs well will have a much better product to sell and may command a higher selling price than a dealer could.
On the downside, you will have to spend some time making the sale. Readying the RV for sale and maintaining it in top condition can be time-consuming. You will have to place ads, take phone calls and inquiries, and show the RV to prospective buyers. It can be frustrating to receive calls about an ad, to set up appointments to show the RV, and then to wait for prospective buyers who never show up.
When you make the sale, insist that your buyer pays with cash or a certified check. While your buyer may seem to be the nicest person in the world, this is not the time for trust, except in the case of a close friend or family member. Even then, some RV owners have been burned by family and friends, so be as careful as you can be.
Most RV dealers will willingly take your present RV as a trade-in. Don't be afraid to negotiate the best deal you can get for your RV. Do some research on resale prices and go armed with this information when it comes time to bargain. Do what you need to get your RV into the best condition you can without spending more money than you can recoup in the sale or trade value.
Be alert for the sneaky salesperson who may try to increase the sale price of the new RV you are considering while giving you the RV trade-in price you want. He or she will come out ahead every time. If possible, keep the possibility of a trade-in allowance out of the mix until you've settled on a final sale price for the RV. Don't be afraid to comparison-shop. Look at comparable RVs from different dealers and get offers in writing. Use these offers to negotiate your best price.