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Part 2: What’s My Trade-In REALLY Worth? And How Can I Get The Most For My Trade?

By March 8, 2019March 22nd, 2021No Comments

What’s my Trade-in REALLY worth? And How can I Get the Most For my Trade?

A Two-Part Article

Part 2 of 2.

Welcome back! In this 2nd part of the Article I’ll be discussing: “How can I get the Most for my Trade-in?”

I’m assuming you’ve read Part 1 of this Article, (if not that’s ok, but you can find it here for some insight to how a Dealership comes up with the Valuation) so let’s jump right in to how you can get more for your trade.

As mentioned in Part 1, the first thing we have to do when trading in your RV is to recognize that you are essentially “selling” it to the Dealer. Now let’s think reasonably about the simple things you would want to do if you were to advertise and try selling it privately to someone else. Would you Clean it? Make sure everything is in working order? Have all your paperwork available to show; owners manuals; repair and service receipts; registration documents ready to go?

These are all good idea’s and a great start to adding value to your RV trade. Now let’s try thinking like you’re the “Buyer” for a second, in this case a Dealership. In the “What’s my Trade-in Really Worth” part of this article, I discussed the process that many Dealerships will follow in determining what they can pay you for your Trade. As a reminder, it is likely a combination of factors such as:

1) What they think they can sell it for.

2) The profit margin that particular Dealer needs to make on the resale.

3) Estimate of the cost for reconditioning and/or repairs needed.

4) Their Risk of Ownership.

Let’s first remove #’s 1 and 2 above, and just accept that as a Business they are “buying” it to re-sell it, and are trying to make a profit in doing so.

So that leaves us with #’s 3 and 4. Before I get to #3, let’s touch on #4; The Risk of Ownership. This was discussed in the first part of the Article, and mostly concerns the Dealers ability to re-sell the RV quickly enough not to carry it through to the next Season. So, your Trade-In can sometimes have more value if you’re trading it in “Early” in the season for the RV Type, and especially if it’s a more marketable type of RV. (a good floorplan, known brand of higher demand, easier sell, etc.)

The most control you will typically have in any of the four factors listed above, aside from simply disagreeing with their opinion or calculations (and everyone is entitled to their opinion of course) is usually by minimizing their estimated cost of reconditioning & repairs. And here is why.

Many Dealerships (in most of their transactions, not all) are putting a Value on your RV Trade-in “Sight Unseen”. Yes, the Value usually has a condition attached such as “subject to viewing” at a later date. This is common practice simply because most people are not towing or driving around their RV while shopping for a new one. But this is a Value that is difficult to change after the “Deal is done” so to speak. If it does change upon viewing, it is more typical for that number to go down. If it does need adjusting down, it’s usually because there are defects or repairs needed that either; weren’t disclosed during the original valuation; or they were unaware of by either party until inspected by the Dealer.

A Dealership can figure out #’s 1,2 and 4 “Sight Unseen” once they have the basic information of your RV, and have gone through a few questions (usually on an appraisal form) with you. They will then make their own calculated “estimate” of what the cost of reconditioning and repairs will be. This estimate is usually based on some kind of “average” costs they are used to spending on “average” condition units, and based on their “average” years of experience.

Well my RV is in Excellent condition, certainly ABOVE average. And a Dealership should have no problem reselling it quickly.

That’s what I was waiting to hear you say..!!

All we have to do now is prove it to the Dealership that is taking it on trade. (Buying it)

Though you can discuss and agree/disagree, (or even sometimes agree to disagree) all of these 4 factors with a Dealership, the one you can have the most impact on is #3; their estimate of reconditioning and repairs. And you do this by showing them. No, this doesn’t mean you have to tow your trailer, or drive your motorhome around while shopping. What you can do is try these few simple ideas that will help you get more for your RV Trade when you’re out trying to “Sell” it to a Dealer:

1)    Carry a file with any paperwork and records you have. This does two things to your advantage; It gives you the ability to show the Dealer the details of any repairs, maintenance, investment into your unit; and it also shows them your Pride of Ownership. (Yes, this matters to Dealers too.)

2)    Bring Pictures. Take a couple pictures with your cell phone or tablet, and SHOW the Dealer that you have taken care of the RV (again, pride of ownership) and help the Dealership understand that they will be spending “less than average” on reconditioning, and can therefor give more money to you.

3)    Give a little History. If you are looking to trade it in at a Dealership that is different from where you had purchased it, let them know the Story behind it. So often if the story is a good one (i.e.: I purchased it New; I’m the only owner it’s had; I have all the records here, etc..) then there is more comfort for your buyer that it has been cared for (usually meaning lower reconditioning costs) plus, they will have a good story to help re-sell it.

Hopefully these simple tips make sense and help you get the most for your RV when trading it in. This Article wouldn’t be complete however without me mentioning the two other ways that I’m aware of to possibly get more for your RV. The first is the obvious one; selling it yourself privately instead of trading it in. Yes, you can sometimes get more for it this way. You just have to be up for the investment of time; advertising; meeting strangers at your home or storage facility; and willingness to haggle when they want to.

If you’re up for the task and have the time to invest, then it might be the way to go for you. Keep in mind two things here; You would lose the tax savings you would get when trading it in, (you only pay tax on the price difference after a trade in. This can differ Province by Province, so check locally) and you also hang onto the Risk that it doesn’t sell within the current Season. ( Another winter of depreciation. )

The only other way I’m aware of that can sometimes get you more for your RV than trading it in (and it works best when selling it separately doesn’t prevent you from buying the New one you want) is to Consign it with a reputable Dealership. This is a topic we discussed in a previous Post here, but if it sounds like something you might be interested in, or just want both the Trade-In and Consignment Values to make the best decision for you, feel free to contact us anytime for a No-Obligation Quote for both numbers.

You can get a Trade-In Value Online Here

And more info and Values for Consignment Here

Of course, we are always just a phone call away as well : 403-273-1000