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How Much is Your RV Worth?

February 19, 2016

Are you looking to buy or sell an RV? Have you purchased a camper recently and want to know if you got a good deal? One of the quickest and easiest ways to help you determine the value of an RV is with the National Automobile Dealers Association’s value guide. In this article, we’ll take a look at the NADA value guide, how to use it, and what the values mean for your RV.

 

What is NADA?

According to NADA.com, “...the National Automobile Dealers Association represents the interest of new car and truck dealers to the public, congress, and vehicle manufacturers.” Lobbying, negotiating with manufacturers, and offering training programs are a few of the services NADA provides to car dealerships as part of their goal of strengthening the dealership system.


NADA Guides

One of the services that NADA offers is their used car guide, which provides regional car values for use by dealers, lenders, insurance companies, and government agencies. NADA offers these same values to the public, though without the regionalization. The values of the various cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, manufactured homes, and recreational vehicles listed in the price guide are obtained using the data from over 1.5 million transactions each month, with data from a variety of sources including dealerships and classified ads. The idea is that by compiling so much data and updating it so often, the NADA guide can give the user an accurate and up-to-date value on a vehicle.


Using the Website

Using the NADA guides website to determine the value of your RV is pretty easy -- unless you don’t know very much about your RV. Even then, you can still use the site to at least get an idea of your RV’s worth.

 

  • Start by going to www.NADAguides.com   

  • Click on the tab labeled RV in the top right corner. On the next page, click on the Start Here button



  • Select the Manufacturer
  • The next page contains a few columns containing links to some common RV manufacturers. If you don’t see the make of your RV in this section, look further down the page for a scroll bar containing a more comprehensive list.




  • Select the Year and Model
  • As you can see, this is a little more involved than it might be for a car. I can't just select "2012 Keystone Montana", I have to know the model number as well. This is pretty important, as two seemingly similar models may have values that are thousands of dollars apart.




  • Select the RV’s Options

  • This is probably the hardest part. There is a huge amount of options to sort through, some of which can be tricky to remember off the top of your head such as the size of the television, slide outs, and awning. Make sure to go through the handy manufacturer notes at the top of the page, which will let you know which appliances came standard with your RV, as well as with the different options packages. Select any options that apply to your RV unless they are stated as coming standard in the manufacturer’s notes, then click on the Continue button at the bottom of the page.



  • Interpreting the Results

  • This page should display three numbers:

    • The Suggested List Price is just that -- the approximate price of the RV when it is brand new.
    • The next value is the Low Retail Price, which is the value of the RV if it needs some work. If the next owner is going to have to do some work to the body or interior to get it looking good, then the value of your RV is probably closer to this number.
    • The Average Retail Price reflects the value of your RV given normal use over it’s life. This number is calculated assuming the inside and outside of the RV is clean, has no major defects, and everything is in good working order.

    Depending on the condition of your RV, the value probably lies somewhere between the Low Retail and Average Retail prices, though there are a few factors you should keep in mind when using the NADA guide to determine the value of your RV, such as regional price variation, which is not accounted for in the consumer version of the price guide, and mileage, which obviously can vary tremendously between vehicles and will affect the value accordingly. All things considered, the NADA price guide is a quick and easy to use tool that can give you a decent starting point in determining the value of a recreational vehicle.