We are on a 3 year cycle when it comes to vehicles – especially RV’s. We had our Volkswagen Van for 3 years followed with our Sprinter Van for 3 years and then our Class C for 3 years. As we approached 3 years with the Aspect Class C we came to crossroads – fix a few things or move on up.
We made lists, drank beer and discussed what would be the best. After 3 years in our Aspect Class C we knew all the issues, had everything customized and were pretty comfortable. But a few things we just couldn’t overcome.
Water Capacity – We love to dry camp in national parks and public lands. This means bring your own water and electricity. With our solar, no issues. But our water was just 27 gallons and it was gone in a flash. So always sourcing water became a huge issue. Originally we had to move the coach to fill up. But Dave fixed up a pump system and we could pump water in. So every 2-3 days we would haul around the jerry cans full of water and top off.
Storage – I had a dream of being able to store and access everything easily. With the Aspect if we wanted to bike, we had to move the boat, fishing gear and everything else in order to get to the bike gear. Ditto for every single thing we did. Anytime we wanted to carpool – we had to remove a boat and all sorts of gear from our overflow storage in the jeep. It was a total pain. Sometimes we wouldn’t do an activity because we just didn’t want to deal with the hassle of moving everything around!
Oven – I have really upped the amount of cooking and baking I do and dreamed about having an oven. The convection microwave was working for most items. But it did require running the generator. So occasionally we would run the generator for more than an hour while I made bread or whatever was on the menu for the day.
Washing Machine – A pipe dream to never need a laundry mat again!
We made all sorts of lists of what things we could change and customize to reach our goals. But after careful evaluation, the water issue just could not be improved. So we decided to try selling the Aspect.
We spoke to a couple of dealers about trade-ins and consignment and did not like the answers we received. The lower dollar figure was disappointing and just not even close to what the coach would sell for privately. We heard stories from several friends who consigned their RV’s with visions of good prices and then ended up waiting for long periods of time and settling for really low prices. Overall, it just didn’t sound like a great way to go.
We were in Denver at the time enjoying a week at Rocky Mountain National Park. In theory, the process sounded simple. Find a storage place, clean out the rig, take pictures and float it for sale with a couple of ads. If it doesn’t sell, move on to plan B and do the modifications that we wanted. Easy peasy….
Reality was a bit different as it was SO much work. We spent 3 days at a friends house cleaning everything out, washing, waxing and prepping. It was SO much more work than it sounds like. Dave removed a few of the really expensive items like the fancy solar controller, leveling monitor system, Tivo and cell booster. We cleaned every last thing out and spit and polished for over week. All our belongings were boxed up and stored in mom’s basement. By the time we finished, I told Dave I was never moving back in there. I just didn’t want to go through that again.
Dave crafted a couple of ads and put it up for sale in RVTrader.com, rvt.com and Craigslist. We knew we had a pretty specific coach and had no idea if a buyer would find us. But Denver has a much bigger population and we had a better chance of finding a buyer there than in little old Bend, Oregon.
We started with our price a little high and with the use of a RV valuation specialist we realized the actual cash value of the coach. All the improvements we made to the sound system, the upgraded televisions and the solar had NO value to a buyer. The market price is set and customizations are actually a deterrent. Some dealers will even remodel to put the coaches back to the original build. None of improvements altered the look of the coach. But we did have a considerable amount of money invested in solar and new televisions. But at the end of the day, it is only worth what the market will pay. A hard pill to swallow – but we were ready to move on and priced the coach accordingly.
Within a month a buyer found us, a deal was struck and the Aspect was on her way to a new home.
So a recap of things to do when selling –
1) Get it cleaned out, smelling good and looking even better (yes even the carpets). Wash, wax and make sure everything is looking and smelling good.
2) Take great pictures. We actually setup a Flickr album for people who requested additional pictures.
3) Make sure your pricing is reflective of the actual value. Not what you think it should be based of all the improvements you made. Hopefully you enjoyed your improvements while you had a RV and they served their purpose.
4) Put together a great descriptive and informative advertisement. Looks at other ads out there for the same RV. Get a picture of the layout from the dealer website to use in the ad.
5) Prepare to answer lots of questions and have at your fingertips the maintenance, oil changes and anything else that has been done. Emphasize the regular maintenance that has been done.
6) We used a RV Valuation specialist (RV Pricing and Values on Facebook) to help in pricing our coach. We also watched pricing online for similar coaches to make sure we were in the ballpark.
7) Setup a google voice phone number to use in the ads. This number can be used to forward to your own phone, thus never having your personal phone number published.
8) Meet your buyer in person at the bank to do the transaction or receive a wire directly to the bank. Cashiers checks are easily forged and should not be trusted.
9) When the RV sells, take down the advertisement. Sounds simple, but it is surprising how many people don’t remove the ads.
10) Don’t forget to pull your license plates and turn in a change of vehicle ownership form (or whatever is required for your state). Forms and information can be found on your local DMV website.
This process worked great for us and we sent our RV on to a new happy home. And without an RV we felt homeless. So back the drawing board to find a new RV that filled in all the items on our wishlist.