“The Beast” Is SOLD! (And What We Learned About Selling An RV)
So it finally happened!!!! With a mere 11 days to go before our flight to Europe (eeeeek!), “the beast” found her new owners and they found her.
I can’t deny that this was a rather stressful & emotional process, but it all worked out in the end. We tried a bunch of different ways to sell and learned a TON in the process (some RV selling methods are definitely better than others!), so we’ve got some tips to share, but in the end it all happened pretty much exactly when we hoped it would. All-in-all it took just over a month for our rig to sell and although it felt (at times) like it would never happen, I am super happy it all went so smoothly and so fast.
So that’s my topic for today’s post…a little story, a few tips and the beginning of a new era 🙂
It Was Meant To Be
We were around 2 weeks into the selling process. Maggie & Dave had already looked at us once and decided it wasn’t quite the right time, but something kept drawing them back. On our side we’d had inquiries from other buyers, but something had kept them at bay. None of the folks that had contacted us thus far were really all that interested in our solar or our tech. They wanted to know how old our tires were (a valid question) and how many hours were on our generator (really?) but those were the only two questions we’d been asked, and so far none of them had gotten really serious.
Would we ever find someone who’d love “the beast” as much as we do?
But then Maggie & Dave came back, and things started to happen. We exchanged e-mails, had a few Facetime chats, talked price & details, and suddenly we had a date! This wasn’t just a casual date either. Maggie and Dave were flying over from San Francisco (!!), so it was a serious commitment. In turn, we agreed to hold any and all other buyers at bay until they’d seen the rig. It was a big leap of faith on both sides, but somehow it felt right.
Maybe they were the ones?
We spent 3 days working on the RV, deep-cleaning and double-checking that everything was in perfect working order, and waiting anxiously for them to arrive. They flew out, we picked them up at the airport in Fort Lauderdale and we drove immediately over to see “the beast”.
THIS was the moment!!
I don’t know who was more nervous (them or us), but when they saw the RV and broke out into big smiles, I think we all let out a collective breath. Suddenly it was like all the jigsaw pieces fell into place. An era had ended and a new story had begun, and it had happened at the perfect time for all of us. We went out for a VERY well-deserved beer!
We Geek Out & Make New Friends
We spent the rest of the week-end geeking out on all things RVing & “beastly”, going through all the RV systems, taking “the beast” for a test drive and making sure we passed as much info as we could along to our new owners. They were buying the package deal, including the tow (Honda CRV) so there was lots to cover. It was fun, but it was more than that too.
We meshed in ways we totally hadn’t expected, chatting about beer and travel (oh yeah!!), life and everything else. These weren’t just new owners, they were a cool couple who we completed vibed with and who were going to continue the beastly story in their own way. Plus they were going to go fulltime (yes!), take the RV back out West (yes, yes!) and go boondocking (oh yeahhhhhhhh baby!!). This was clearly meant to be.
We signed over the titles on Monday (so we’re now officially living in someone’s else’s rig!), but they were kind enough to let us move out during the week. We’ll drop off the RV in storage this week-end and then they’ll come back and get her for their honeymoon trip in just a little while. Super romantic and cool, don’t you think?
So HOW Was The Selling Experience?
So HOW did it all work out? Many of you are probably curious about the whole selling experience. What worked for us? What didn’t? I can’t say I’m an expert given that we’ve only ever sold the one RV, but I can certainly give you a run-down of what I think helped to contribute to our particular sale. Plus we hit pretty much ALL the selling routes, so we got a feel for how each of them worked. Here’s all of that, in case you ever have to go this route yourselves…
I’ve sold a lot of smaller items online over the years, so I already had an idea of what we needed for the RV. But we went the extra mile this time, and I do think it helped our sale.
First of all I took a TON of good quality pictures, and I think this is critical for ANY sale (online buyers won’t even look at something with bad pics). But I also felt the pictures had to be as accurate as possible. I wanted to give potential buyers a real feel for the RV, so taking recent pictures (= the way the RV looks now, not what it looked like in the brochure or 5 or 10 years ago) in good light with everything clean and tidy was critical. We spent a good few days on this, making sure we captured the rig as accurately as possible.
We also did a DETAILED video. In fact we ended up doing two videos because our first one (33 mins long) was too long for RVT or RV Trader (they only allow ~10 mins). I felt this was critical as it showed details which were just not possible to convey through pictures. I can’t really say our video “sold” the RV, but I do believe it was a big factor. Everyone who was serious wanted to see the video and they wanted the full-length feature, not the mini-version.
I also had specs, layout, brochure service records, MSRP and other details on file to send to anyone that inquired by e-mail. Not really necessary perhaps, but I felt it provided a more complete view of the rig.
Lastly we spent a lot of time thinking about price. We researched NADA value and made sure we were priced right in-line, but even then I think we started too high (lesson learnt -> upgrades don’t really add anything to resale value for RVs 🙁 ). Once we dropped down a bit we found the sweet-spot and got a ton more interest.
RVT & RV Trader
Each of them are fee-based services with a sliding scale depending on how many pictures you want to include, how long you want to list for and how much promotion you’re willing to pay for. Price-wise they’re very close and the only real difference seems to be that RV Trader limits how long your listing remains active (prices are for 2 weeks, 8 weeks or 1 year), whereas on RVT all ads (except for the most basic version) run until sold. We went with mid-line deals on both platforms paying around $70-$80 to list ~20-30 pics and a video (10 min max).
Several of my blog readers (and friends) suggested Craigs List as a good place for RV sales, so we listed our RV in the 3 closest counties to our location.
The nice thing about Craigs List is that it’s it’s local, which I think helps with sales (local folks have a much easier time popping over to see an RV than someone shopping remotely online), plus it’s super easy to use, it’s FREE (always a bonus) and you can refresh your listing as needed. So as long as you’re in an area with an active Craigs List (e.g. high population areas are always pretty active), you’ll get a ton of views. We made a serious listing with a bunch of photos and a boat-load of detailed spec info.
Selling Directly To A Dealer
Just for comparison purposes I called up a few dealers to ask them if they would buy the RV outright. I knew they would really low-ball, but I was curious HOW much lower than value they would offer. Also I learned something I didn’t know. Most of them exclusively deal in buying newer rigs (2015 and newer), so for the most part they won’t consider anything older. However when they heard we had an Endeavor for sale, they were willing to consider us, simply because of her higher-end specs & value. Of course the price they offered was around 30% below list…ouch!
Going Through Consignment
If we hadn’t sold to Maggie & Dave we would be driving our RV to consignment this week-end.
Under consignment, the dealer keeps your rig on their lot until it sells. You continue to own the RV & pay insurance on it, but they take care of all the rest of the sales process including the marketing, showing your RV to potential customers and the final sale. The advantages of this is that you have access to a large customer base (consignment guys typically get a lot of traffic), and you don’t have the hassle of dealing with ANY customer calls. You simply sign a contract, drop off the rig & the keys and you go. You do lose a bit in $$ though since the dealer typically takes around 5-10% for their service.
Going Through Social Media (Blog, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube)
In the end THIS was the way we got the most serious interest and it was also (finally) the way we sold the RV. Plus the RV community helped us through it.
Of course we posted our sale on the blog (we got a lot of inquiries through here), as well as on Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. Plus I posted on a few Facebook groups (where they allow it). But beyond that it was the community that we’ve reached and connected with through these online media which made the difference.
I’ve always said that one of the best things about blogging is all the good friends we’ve made along the way, and it turns out that’s one of the best things about selling an RV too! After I posted our sale on my own blog, it was generously re-posted via several good blogger friends & the general RV community. And that definitely made a difference! Getting the word out this way has a lot of impact IMO because it’s personal (it’s folks who know us and who know our rig), and it helps to connect to exactly the kind of people (i.e. those interested in the fulltime lifestyle) that our rig caters to.
Well that wraps up my selling e-mail. Although we’re super sad to be ending our story with “the beast” we are SUPER stoked that she is going to such a good home. RVing in the US has been one of the highlights of our lives, and it was “the beast” who took us there. She was an awesome RV and I hope she does just as well for the new owners. We wish them many happy, beautiful, romantic & exciting adventures ahead!
As for our next plans, we’ve only got 6 DAYS left before we leave the USA (eeeeeeeek!) so we are in serious CRUNCH MODE. If I have time I’ll try and write another post before we leave, but it may not happen. So, you’ll either hear from me again soon, or you’ll hear from me in a little while from across the pond in Europe 🙂