RV Education 101: Use the NADA Guide when buying a used RV

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By Mark Polk
RV EDUCATION 101®

There is an RV edition of the NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) guide. This is the appraisal guide most RV dealers use to determine used RV prices and values. The online NADA guide offers low retail and average retail pricing on used RVs. Prices in the guide assume everything in and on the RV works as it should, and that the RV is in good shape.

I always tell people you wouldn’t buy a new RV for full retail price, so you shouldn’t pay full retail price for a used RV. Ask what the asking price is, and try negotiating the price closer to the low retail price in the NADA guide. This can be a win-win for both the buyer and the seller.

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Mark Polk’s tech tips are posted every Saturday in the RV Travel Newsletter and every Wednesday on the RV Daily Tips Newsletter.

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TravelingMan
3 months ago

First, I don’t like the NADA. It’s just a guide but banks and individuals think its the Gospel with no room for anything outside that number. FALSE! That is capitalism. NOT Communism! It’s supply and demand! It’s what a buyer and seller are willing to agree on.

Having said that, I find that it lacks so many features. If I have certain elements in my rig, I can’t find them to add value to the total number. There is no where to add anything for solar panels, 4 lithium batteries, different size generators, increased capacity axles, wheels, suspension, springs, or brakes. There is nothing about full body paint. These are just a few examples that increase the “value” of an RV. Heck, I can’t even find our model in the book to start with…

You’re better off using it as a starting point. Also, compare to other rigs for sale in places like RVTrader, PPL, RVT.com, Craigslist, RVHotLineCanada.com, etc. Keep in mind that there are “seasons” that better than others. And consider where you are…Many are not going to travel 1000 miles to a remote location to buy without you giving in on price. In some cases, you might come out ahead by “consigning” your rig to a broker or site in a big city. Especially, if you’re not keen in the negotiation process.

Steve
3 months ago

I’m actively searching for a used class A diesel pusher. The ones I find a reasonable distance from me are all overpriced according to the NADA listings. I always calculate what the high end might be – subtract low retail from average and add difference to average, should be close enough for a high side price. What I’m finding though are the resales being thousands of dollars over this figure. I call to discuss how they got to their listing price and get answers like new tires last year (obviously they needed new tires to be safe but believe they should get that money back from the sale); same story for new ACs, refrigerators, stoves, etc. I just don’t understand people who expect to get their maintenance and upkeep dollars on top of a reasonably priced MH. Very frustrated in Florida! BTW, it was this way before the virus thing hit us; been searching since last fall!!!