You’ve gotten a lot of good use out of your travel trailer, but it’s finally time to upgrade to a new one. To help pay for it, you consider selling your old trailer. This is often a great way to get some extra cash towards your new toy, especially if your trailer is in good condition. In this post, we’ll cover how to find out how much your trailer is worth, how to increase its value, and how to sell your old trailer effectively so you can maximize its value and get more cash for it.
Finding Your Trailer’s Value
The first step is to find out how much your current trailer is worth. Travel trailer values are a bit tricky to find for sure, because the final selling price can vary – but you can estimate the value. There are a lot of ways you can do this. Here are a few.
Check eBay Motors. There are many trailers on here, and if you have a popular trailer, there’s a good chance your model might be listed as well. Do a search for your brand and model and see what the going rate is.
Tip for eBay: When you’re looking for the value of any product on eBay, the site has a nice feature which will tell you what past auctions have sold for. In your search results, scroll down on the left until you see the “Show Only” heading. Check the box “Completed listings.” Now you can see all the listings of your search term that have completed. A red price means it didn’t sell, a green price means it did. See what the green prices are, and that’ll be about what your trailer would be worth should you have one similar to the ones shown. If you want to see only sold items, check the “Sold listings” box instead of “Completed listings.”
Look at other online places: marketplaces like RVTrader, forums, craigslist, etc. Do a search for the name and year of your trailer and see what you can find. There are lots of RV value sites that might list your trailer’s value. You can also look at similar trailers and see what those go for.
After doing a lot of research, you should have a feel for what you can get for your travel trailer.
Strategies for Maximizing Value
When you’re ready to sell your trailer, you probably want to get as much money for it as you can. With a little bit of preparation and work, you can increase the value of your used travel trailer. Here are a few tips for making your trailer worth more:
1. Make sure it’s mechanically perfect. The fewer issues your trailer has, the easier it will be to sell it, and the more it will be worth. Buyers want easy. They want something that’s reliable – that they can buy and not have to worry about something going wrong and having to repair it. The more worry-free a trailer is, the more attractive it will be to potential buyers. If your trailer is truly in great condition, say so. Make it clear that they have nothing to worry about.
However, if there are some small mechanical problems, definitely make those clear. You don’t want to pretend that your trailer is perfect and then have buyers find out that it has problems. They’ll be at best disappointed, and at worst angry. Make sure to disclose everything up front, so that there are no surprises. That way, people who are actually interested will be more likely to buy it since they already know of the issues.
2. Make it super-clean, neat, and presentable. Presentation is everything. People will value your trailer more in their mind if you make it look valuable. So touch it up, like you would do with a house if you were selling one. Take lots of good photos of it – make sure they have good lighting and composition. And if you’re selling online, make sure you write a complete, well-written description of it. I’ll cover this more below.
3. Market to the right people. Think about the type of person who would want to buy your trailer, and go find people like that. Posting on RV forums and other places where RVers hang out is a good idea, because they’re more likely to be interested in your trailer than the average person. We’ll talk more about this below, but the more qualified potential buyers you can get, the better your chances of selling. Getting it in front of people with lots of money is a good idea, since you know they can afford it if they want, and possibly be willing to pay more.
4. Market at the right time. In certain areas of the country, some times of year are better for the trailer market than others. If you can, time your sale so that it matches up with the selling season in the area you live in. Hopefully this will mean more people interested in your trailer.
Tip: if lots of people are looking at your trailer but no one is buying, and you don’t know why, ask. I know it sounds simple, but many people don’t do this. You might be surprised at what potential buyers say. And if lots of people are telling you the same thing, that’s probably why no one is buying it. If possible, try to fix whatever the issue is.
Places to Sell
1. Public places are a great way to get your trailer in front of potential buyers. Park your trailer somewhere very visible – such as next to a busy street. Make sure you park it in a good place, and don’t break any parking laws or interfere with the road. If you can find some visible property next to a busy road where you can safely park your trailer, that’s the best place. Slap a big, easy-to-read “for sale by owner” sign on it, along with your contact info. Drive by and look at it how others would, then adjust accordingly.
Of course, some places are better than others for this. If you live in a community where RVs and travel trailers are common, you’re in luck. Places with lots of RVers, like RV parks, are golden. It’s all about getting qualified leads – people who are interested in your trailer.
2. Classifieds are another way to get your trailer out in front of potential buyers. I don’t recommend this option as your main way of selling, but you should do it just in case. If you can get a classified ad in one or more local newspapers, that’s just some more people who will see your trailer. And of course, the more the better, as there’s a higher chance of someone being interested in it.
3. eBay is also an option. For a small fee you can list your trailer on the auction site with either an auction or a buy-it-now price. Make sure you do research and know how much your trailer is worth, and set a reserve so you don’t get less than you’re hoping for. Determine the minimum price you would accept, and make that the reserve (if you’re doing an auction). If you choose to sell it using buy-it-now, you might want to include the “best offer” option. This way people can give you offers, which you can either accept or decline. Watch out for buyers with low feedback – you want to make sure you’re selling to honest people. Also, make sure you specify transportation. You can deliver the trailer, or you can have the buyer come pick it up. Where you live in relation to the buyer is also a factor. Important for eBay: make sure you post lots of photos in your listing. Be ready to send potential buyers even more photos if they ask. Since they may not live near you and therefore can’t come see it beforehand, it’s important to give them plenty of photos so they can know the exact condition of the trailer.
4. Craigslist is similar to eBay, but it’s local, and it has a less formal selling process. You post a classified listing with description and photos, and interested buyers can contact you about it. Unlike eBay, only people near you will see it. So buyers can come check out your trailer if you want. As with eBay, post some good photos. Although it’s not as important if the buyer can see the trailer in person, you should still make your trailer look nice by taking good photos of it. People will be more interested if it looks good to them. With your listing, make sure you describe the trailer accurately and completely. You want the listing to look clean and professional – use correct grammar, describe it well, and post good photos.
5. RVTrader is an online marketplace specifically for selling RVs and trailers. It’s a great place to list your trailer, because there are tons of people on there who are looking for exactly what you’re selling. It’s inexpensive, just $14.95 for a basic listing. This is a no-brainer given the amount of people who visit RVTrader. As with the other online marketplaces, make sure you post a well-written, accurate description, along with good-looking photos that show the condition of the trailer. There are other sites similar to RVTrader as well – make sure to check them out too. RVTrader is just one example of an online trailer marketplace.
6. Friends are one of the best ways to sell your trailer. If you know anyone who is looking for a trailer, reach out to them! You can also announce that you’re selling your trailer – social networks can be powerful for this. You could include a short spiel in your email description. Let your friends know. If any of them are interested, it’s a big advantage – they probably already know and trust you, and you can help them out by selling them what they want.
7. Forums are another great online place to sell your trailer. Most RV forums have a “trading post” or “buy-and-sell” section where owners list RVs and trailers that they want to sell. As with all the other online ways of selling your trailer, you want to make sure to post a helpful description and good photos. Posting on multiple forums increases your exposure. If you’re already participating on a certain forum, that will help you because you might have more trust with the forum members than if you just signed up. If not, no worries though – I recommend posting to as many places as you can.
We’ve covered a lot in this article. First we looked at how to find your trailer’s value. Then we explored how you could increase that to get the maximum amount for your trailer. Finally, we looked at how and where to sell your trailer. I gave you a bunch of options for getting your trailer in front of people who want to buy one. So, when you’re selling your trailer, it’s important to know how much it’s worth, so you know how much to expect to get for it. However, you should always try to max out that number and take your trailer value as high as you can. You can do this by making your trailer super-clean and presentable, making sure everything works perfectly, and marketing it to the right people at the right time. Then you have to actively market the trailer and get it in front of as many eyes as possible.
Hopefully after reading this, you have a good idea of how much your trailer is worth, and the step you need to take to get it sold for maximum value. I wish you the best selling your trailer. Good luck!