Three months after listing our Arctic Fox 27-5B fifth wheel for sale, we got to say goodbye to fifth wheel RV living. Almost 16 years to the day we set off in our first Arctic Fox fifth wheel, it’s time to write an all new chapter about our nomadic life.
3 Lessons Learned Selling a Fifth Wheel RV in Today’s Market
When we listed our Northwood Arctic Fox 27-5B for sale, the RV industry was abuzz with chatter about a glut of pandemic-era used RVs hitting the marketplace. And driving by RV dealerships, we knew it was true. Lots are crammed with new and used RVs for sale, and prices on new RVs have dropped by ten thousand dollars or more.
When we didn’t get any serious inquiries for our rig, I almost lost hope that we would sell it this summer. We put ads in RV Trader, various RV discussion forums, and Facebook Marketplace. Potential buyers were not banging down our door! Which leads me to the biggest lesson we learned selling our RV in 2023:
Customize your RV at your own risk.
Making your home on wheels your own is fun. Everyone wants to personalize their RV. Who really loves the factory-installed decor? Not us. But there’s a price you pay for that personalization. Namely, loss of resale value.
An RV dealer in Oregon told us in so many words that he didn’t want to buy our fifth wheel. Sure, Northwood makes a great rig. But the only way he can sell an RV and make a profit is by stocking his lot with rigs that are as close to factory condition as possible. “People want stock condition,” he explained. “I’ve got a nice trailer out there that somebody put a desk and cabinets into, and I’m still trying to find factory parts for it.”
Modified rigs are a pain in the ass for RV dealers he basically said, and he avoids them now more than ever. With so many RVs in stock condition that are already in the marketplace, he had zero interest in taking ours on even as a trade-in.
And all those expensive RV upgrades you made? They don’t mean squat to dealers as well. You might as well take that solar and satellite off your rooftop too. By the time you sell it, newer and cheaper technology has already replaced it. You will not get your investment back when you sell a customized RV with mods.
Selling your customized RV in the private marketplace takes more time than you think.
Of course selling a customized RV right now isn’t impossible, as we discovered. But patience is a must. It’s hard to find those buyers who might possibly find your customized RV as charming as you once did. We discovered that two months into advertising, and after dropping the price by a few thousand dollars. Your ideal buyer s out there somewhere. But it will cost you time and money to find them.
Traditional RV sales advertising is dead.
Forget placing a lone ad in a traditional outlet like RV Trader. We only got up to 250 page views. It’s hard to know how many of those were bots or dealers looking for a rig to consign. There was no authentic way to research how our investment was serving us. I’ll never sell an RV that way again.
I hate Facebook as much as I hate Starlink internet. But apparently most of the RV buyers out there don’t feel the same way. Our perfect buyer found us on our Live Work Dream Facebook Marketplace ad. It cost us zero to advertise there. And we reached a wider audience in a shorter period of time than RV Trader ever could.
In the future, I might leave the selling to one of those “all-in-one” RV sales businesses that handles private party RV sales. You pay them a flat fee. They advertise everywhere for you, screen buyers, and send you leads. Sometimes they even escrow the sale.
Hello, Simple RV Living
Our buyer called us last Sunday at 12pm and said he wanted to look at our rig. We weren’t even done emptying or cleaning it. But in less than two hours, we finally had everything out and the rig was in presentable (but not spotless) condition.
However, our buyer was motivated and loved the rig. We negotiated a fair price ($15,500 in case you’re wondering). Sure that’s a steep drop from what we originally wanted to get for it. But a three month reality check and the pressure of getting it out of our driveway before Alaska was weighing heavy on us.
By 5pm we had cash in hand and he drove away with our home of eight years in tow. We were so whiplashed by the sudden sale that we even forgot to grab our Tripawds community logo cover tire and license plate holder off the back!
A huge weight has been lifted. And now, we have a heap of stuff to sort. It’s time to determine what’s staying in our duplex garage. And, what’s going with us in the Project M to Alaska (if we go at all. We still aren’t 100% sure). We’ll know exactly what our plans will be by the 30th. This is the deadline I’ve given myself for deciding if Alaska is in the cards. Stay tuned.