NADA RV – What is My RV Worth? – Are NADA RV Values Correct?

NADA RV Values: What Is My RV Worth? Is NADA RV Guide Actually Useful?

In the case that you are considering purchasing a used RV or to put up your own RV for sale, the first question that arises is: which parameters determine RV values? Which is the influence of the NADA RV guide in this calculation, and how much are NADA RV values followed by the market? These seem quite simple questions, but there are a plethora of factors upon which these values of RV depend, and the influence of NADA RV parameters is important to consider.

There are a few tools online that can help you to answer roughly the question: “So well, what is actually the value of my RV?”. These tools are provided by the National Automobile Dealers Association, called NADA. We call NADA RV the segment of NADA dedicated to recreational vehicles through the NADA RV guide.

NADA RV guide furnishes the users with the average prices in retail and governed suggested values for a huge list of RVs with many configurations available. Apart from this NADA Guide for RVs, NADA RV has also an RV Price Checker.

The idea from the NADA RV guide with this Price Checker is that you have an average market price of the recreational vehicle you intend to buy or to sell. Despite this can look much like an indicative price, the NADA RV guide explains that this is not an indicative price. Take these NADA RV values as a rough estimation only s they do not answer the question “What is My RV Worth “?

The free online guide is an estimated straight-line depreciation and does not take any market factors into account. If you want more accuracy, you have to buy the subscription version. Even that is just a slightly better guess, since there is not enough statistical info available on each brand & model to give meaningful results. Motorhome data tends to be better than trailers, perhaps because there are fewer brands and a more active dealer auction market to report sales data.

NADA RV values do not reflect what a trailer will actually be worth on the market, but it is still the standard. Since most lenders will use NADA exclusively to determine Loan-to-value calculations, it becomes a huge factor in what a dealer can sell a camper for, and still be able to offer to finance, therefore determining what we can pay for them on trade.

It is true that certain models have always had higher NADA values, but not necessarily that it’s determined on reliability or design. As far as I can gather, it has mostly to do with MSRPs. Some manufacturers (such as Jayco and Forest River) have always had their MSRPs listed much higher than comparable models, even though actual invoice prices may have been similar. Their values end up being higher on NADA RV guide.

Variables To Consider to Estimate RV Values
– Extras such as improvements and premiums added to the vehicle.
– General condition of the interior of the RV, as this is expensive to refurbish later.
– State and functionality of the engine, when it corresponds
– Low mileage always preferred to high mileage, as with vehicles in general.
– Larger vehicles are worth much more than small RVs. space is a relative feature and depends largely on your own requirements.
– Newer models or recreational vehicles typically command a higher price than older models, as with other vehicles in general.
– The make of the RV, the model and the year of the model, for what here NADA RV GUIDE has useful evaluation parameters.
– The number of previous owners. A single owner during the entire RV history is preferable.

What Is My RV Worth? Important Considerations

NADA RV Values Are Rough Indicators Only

These values provided by NADA RV, are parameters that consider the make, the model and the year. Therefore, the NADA RV guide cannot determine of course, if there is moisture, issues with the electrical installation, or malfunctions that diminish the RV values of a target recreational vehicle.

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Constant Depreciation of RV Values: Very Low RV Resale Values

Exactly as it is the case with other vehicles, recreational vehicles, minivans, motorcycles, SUVs and cars, RV values suffer a huge hit at the moment that they are driven outside the sales lot after the purchase.

NADA RV values reflect this depreciation in their lower estimation of RV values for older models, and this should not surprise us.

This depreciation process continues during the entire lifecycle of the recreational vehicle. This is why we recommend buying always used RVs and we provide a guide about it: you will expect to pay much less for a used RV. On the other hand, if you are selling, you cannot expect to recover the price you paid when the RV was bought new.

Of course, it is very helpful if before selling your used RV you can refurbish the interior, perform a refitting process, spruce it, eliminate moisture and check all the mechanicals of the interior, but in the end, you have to be realistic in understanding this depreciation and the parameters offered in the NADA RV price checker and NADA RV guide.

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Improvements and Extras Affecting the RV Values

Of course that the extras and ancillary accessories will add up to the value and they are not mentioned by the NADA RV guide as they just consider the brand, model, and year basically.

An RV air conditioner, a solar panel, a well-coated roof, modern appliances, will add value, but it is clearly not realistic to expect to recover all the expenses done in purchasing these appliances.

Seasonality In The RV Values

In general for vehicles, their values do not trend or suffer variations related to the seasons.

However, RV values absolutely depend on the time of the year that the operation will take place. Higher values for RVs are at the end of the spring and during the summer, as this is the moment where the prospective buyers start to plan their vacations and the idea of buying comes up.

Likewise, the best moment to buy an RV will be in the fall and in winter, where the prices will be considerably lower and also because many RV renting companies utilize winter and fall to renew their RV fleet.

NADA RV guide does not consider the seasonality into their parameters for the determination of RV values.

I was talking with one of the advertisers of this website. We were discussing that there is a snowbird population who during autumn commence searching in order to find suitable RVs to buy and live south of the country, for example, Florida, during the winter., because I read that the snowbird population is one million people per year. He said that he has an advertisement that is targeting this segment of people. However, he mentioned that they do not influence the market trend much and that the general principle is still valid: it is recommendable to purchase a used RV in fall or winter and sell at the start of the spring.

Elimination of Critical Spots In The RV That Indicate Trouble And Affect RV Value

There are some critical spots in a recreational vehicle that themselves, individually studied, are not critical, but can signal major problems. For example, if you have a musty smell inside your RV, this can be solved with deodorant or ventilation, but it can be a strong symbol of moisture.

Another example is the foxing found in the mattresses. This is a strong symbol of high levels of humidity inside the RV, even when the new owner will install his own new mattresses after his purchase. Again, the NADA RV guide does not indicate, as we can imagine, any parameter based on some defects, malfunctions, and signs of disrepair that you can find.

Do not allow the potential buyers to use wear and tear defects in your rv to bargain and negotiate the price: solve and repair the issues First BEFORE PUTTING THE RV FOR SALE

Dings and dents that exist in the exterior of the RV will affect negatively the RV value. Therefore it is mandatory to fix any of these issues. We do not want that the prospective buyers use these issues to instrument negotiation of the price in their favor.

Likewise, having old appliances and important wear and tear that looks pretty obvious to the potential buyer, together with outdated and old upholstery can diminish considerably the value of the RV for sale.

Higher NADA RV values indicated by the NADA RV guide will not be useful for you if you did not take proper care of the wear and tear of the assets of the RV and you did not follow these indications.

Adequate Staging Of the RV to Improve The Perceived Value

The same as you would do if you had to sell a home, you have to do a very good staging in your RV to impress favorably the prospective buyers that approach you with potential purchasing intentions.

NADA RV guide does not provide specific indications in these cases and does not offer any staging advice to improve the value perceived in the RV.

The RV should look in a way that the potential buyers notice that to enjoy his next camping vacations with the RV, it is all turnkey and ready to enjoy and that he just has to write a check and furnish it to you afterward.

Compare The Market Prices of Similar RV: NADA RV Values and RV Appraisal 

As the NADA RV values consider basically the brand, model and year, the best consideration you can have for a correct appraisal of the RV value is to compare the existing online resources.

Space Available In the RV: The Floorplan is Not Enough Information

It is important that you always perform a visit and a test drive. The floorplan provided by the manufacturer and the information from the NADA RV guide will not be a substitute for your judgment.

Before you buy, you should think about how many people should travel with it and how long you are traveling. RVs in general, have limited space, and thinking about how long to spend time with the companions in it makes sense and prevents bad buys. Especially if you travel with children, a separation in the motorhome and thus two sleeping areas can be useful for rest.

Also, think that a lack of space is not something you can modify later in an RV retrofit or refurbishment. You cannot improve too much the floorplan in a teardrop camper or in a tiny RV.

A table and a wet room with shower and toilet called a generally wet bath, and refrigerator is important for me. Some small campers contain a bathroom. However, this selection criteria depends on each family and which are their preferences when selecting RVs: The following questions are important here and you should ask them yourself here:

  • How much time will you spend in the RV? That is important for the size and features. Can you stand in it, move freely, is there is enough space and storage space? Is the wet room available as a good toilet?
  • How many people travel? Important for the number of seats and sleeping places.
  • In which climatic areas are you normally staying? Only warm because you live in the south of the United States or south of the European Union? or in the north where there is a harsh winter? Are you a snowbird that travels south for warm weather? Here, things like heating and the possibility of winterizing the RV are key factors.
  • How much comfort do you need? Beds and mattresses are important here, TV, satellite dish, air conditioning, heating, etc.
  • Think always about you and your preferences and your impression during the visit and the test drive despite the indications from the NADA RV guide and the floor plan.

Checking the RV From The Outside

Check at the RV from the outside. How is the condition? Is it maintained or not? I saw quite old RV more than twenty years old, they have some rust spots on the outside but otherwise has been well maintained. The condition often says a lot about the treatment by the previous owner.

Do you see dents? Have you seen differences in the paint (light and darker areas) that could inform about accident repairs? Check attachments such as awning, exit staircase, door locks, windscreen wipers including wiping water. Does the mirror adjustment work? Is the bike carrier functional, if available? Have you checked the roof? Here, above all, the sealed joints to see if you see holes.

The tires are important too. How old are they? The date is normally on the inside. Otherwise, just think that you will have to change the tires. NADA RV price checker cannot help and NADA RV values can be very different from reality.

How Much Is My RV Worth? The Number of Previous Owners Matters in Defining RV Values

A solid history of fewer owners is much better than an RV that changed ownership frequently. The ideal situation is buying from an RV owner who is the first and only owner in the registration history of the RV.  Again here, NADA RV values do not have specific parameters in its price chart to deal with the number of previous owners to influence the price.

Is NADA RV Guide Useful?

Do you need a reliable up-to-date and comprehensive resource for your vehicle titling and registration processes and procedures? NADA RV guides have the solution with Registration Connect, an online web application designed to make your titling and registration activities easier than ever.

Registration Connect provides instant 24/7 online access from any device to the most up-to-date information in NADA RV you need to make your title and registration procedures hassle-free and convenient access the most current and detailed state-by-state information on titles, transfers liens, registrations fees, taxes and sample forms within one complete online application updated in real-time automatically by NADA RV themselves.

All of the valuable information found in the 1200 page title and registration textbook is provided to you in full color online by NADA RV. Comprehensive documentation and information can be found also for automobiles, boats, motorcycles,  RVs, manufactured homes, and more.

With NADA RV application, an online application, as we said, you are allowed to view full-color sample documents including state titles license plates driver’s licenses and ID cards right on your computer laptop or tablet screen you can also research general state-by-state information on proof of ownership, repossessions, quick-reference charts, agency phone numbers and more, quickly and easily at your convenience.

Use the search feature to find keywords within documents by entering the desired information into the text field and then hitting search.  All instances of that keyword are returned immediately by the NADA RV application. For viewing, use the zoom feature to focus on a document or click the open full-screen button to expand documents to your full-screen size and see even more detail easily jump to the specific information you need to research by using the bookmark pulldown menu on the right.

Conclusion About NADA RV And Other Parameters to Appraise RV Values

So as a conclusion, the NADA RV values and categories are just an indication of the prices that RVs can command, but there are many other factors to consider that are described in this article. NADA RV guides and price checks are not enough.

Anthony Foxx

I am Tony, an RV designer and RV developer. I create bill of materials for RV manufacturers for travel trailers and fifth wheels. I worked as a freelance transportation consultant for Lyft. As an RV development consultant, I create customization trees for RV manufacturers who want to offer a solution to prospective customers to design their custom RV with variant configuration. Apart from this, I sell in Indiana trailer hitches, hitch balls, goosenecks and weight distribution systems where I provide advice to customers who want to know which is their towing capacity, which hitch ball should they utilize and how to deploy a weight distribution system. I do my best to explain all these processes and their installation, here in RV Favorites.