Selling a camper trailer

Preparing to sell your camper trailer? Discover the tricks of the trade, including pricing the model and advertising it to prospective buyers.

Selling your camper trailer need not be a burden if you approach the task with a little energy and enthusiasm.

How to sell your camper trailer

It is time to move up in the world by thinking about the purchase of a new camper trailer — you know, that fancy new unit with the space heater, independent suspension and a stainless steel kitchen all in one. This of course means you have to sell off that beloved old camper that’s given you years of good service, but appears to have seen its glory days and is looking a little dowdy compared to its new and improved successors.

family and dog with a camper trailer

So, how do you sell your trailer for the best return? How do you move it on quickly? Are there any tricks of the trade that will optimise your return and free up some spare cash to spend on trips away with your new camper?

Selling your trusty camper can be a stressful time. But it’s just like selling any commodity: choose a price that’s a fair reflection of the current market demand; present your trailer in the best light by repairing obvious faults and giving it the once-over with your cleaning agents; then advertise through the right media.

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woman and camper trailer

Used camper price

Price is a difficult area. One man’s treasure can be another’s junk so try to be objective.  Camper trailers have traditionally held their value very well, especially those with a better brand name and reputation. The steady growth of selling features such as suspensions, kitchen fittings, heaters (space and water), fridges, solar, and electrical systems has resulted in older and slightly less well-endowed models often reselling second-hand for prices as high or even higher than when brand new.

This has been tempered in the past two years by the influx of cheap imported campers. Many buyers new to camper trailers ask themselves why would I pay $15,000 or more for a second-hand trailer when I can buy a brand new one for $6000? The answers, which are obvious to us, are often lost on those who are strictly limited by budget or naivety, and so the pressure has been taken out of much of the second-hand market.

Take a look at Trade RVs to see what similar campers are selling for and try to make an objective assessment of yours. If you have added features or your camper is in impeccable condition, then increase the price accordingly; if it’s a basic model and has been badly used then lower the price a bit.

Your price will also reflect the urgency with which you have to sell. If you have to sell in a hurry to recover funds then you might need to sell at a lower price, but if you can afford to hang out for that special buyer, hold your ground at a higher price.

Find used camper trailers for sale online.

dirty camper trailer

Condition and presentation

As with any item you are trying to sell, condition and presentation is important. Buyers will be turned off by dents, rust, tears and dirt. If your camper suffers from any of these and you want the best price, then spend some time and a little cash rectifying the situation. Begin with a good wash to remove accumulated dust and dirt, get underneath with the hose and blast out anything that’s clung on under there from those heavy journeys. While you’re under there, check for broken cable ties or other damage from stones, which might imply your camper has done a lot of offroad work.

Make sure the handbrake is in adjustment and works well, and that all the tail/brake/indicator lights work as required. Dab a little grease into any fridge/kitchen slides to make sure they’re running smoothly. Charge the batteries fully and vacuum out the interior, as well as any drawers or storage boxes. Check all the interior lights and plugs as well.

Go over the canvas and remove any accumulated bird droppings (you should have been doing that on a regular basis anyway), and give it a scrub around the bottom part with clean water and a brush — don’t use detergent or patent cleaners as these can possibly damage the waterproofing on the canvas.

Don’t worry too much about a little red dust staining around the bottom, sell it as a badge of honour from all the adventures you’ve undertaken. In short, give the camper the sort of thorough going-over that you ought to have done at least once a year since you bought it. Ensure everything is in prime working order.

If the paint is damaged or scratched do your best to repair it. Some blemishes can be removed with a cutting compound (available from auto outlets), but if the mark goes right through the paint surface to the metal or undercoat then a can of touch-up paint might fix it. Major body damage may require a panel beater’s assistance.

camper trailer wheel

Advertising your camper trailer

It matters little how good your camper is or how low the price if nobody knows it is up for sale. Don’t miss an opportunity. If the camper is parked in your front yard hang a sign off it; if you are away on a camping trip make sure the sign is in the window for other campers to see.

Place an ad in your local paper, which these days will be cheap and not overly competitive in regards to other camper trailers. The most convenient and best place to advertise is of course on the web. Place an ad on specialist web site There you can not only list the camper’s features, but you also get online exposure until the unit sells, with unlimited photos and even videos. If you’re seeking top price, then ads that are exposed until sold give you time to wait for that special buyer to find you, as well as putting you in front of the largest possible number of potential buyers.

Rehearse your selling pitch well. If a potential buyer seems disappointed that your trailer has a beam axle and leaf springs rather than independent suspension, convince him of the benefits of a good old-fashioned beam axle and leaves (easily repaired on the roadside, cheaper, durable, time-proven). If they want a stainless kitchen, remind them of the weight saving in ply. If they want a hardfloor, inform them of the storage and living space advantages in a softfloor. You get the picture — your camper is the best for them.

At the end of the day it is up to you to sell your trailer, and as it is you who has been the one enjoying the outdoors with it, so you are the one best positioned to do the big sell. Be positive, realistic and convincing and you will find your buyer.

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