3 Reasons FALL is the Best Time to Buy or Sell an RV

Fall is a season of transition. It’s the connection between extremes: between the hot summer and cold winter weather, between a laid-back vacation mindset and a renewed commitment to work, between raucous summer barbecues and intimate family dinners. In the RV community fall is the discovery season (or the shoulder season) and it’s a great time to get out in an RV and enjoy the moderate weather, brisk nights, and the brightly colored foliage. It’s also the perfect time to buy or sell an RV. Here are three reasons why you should consider either buying an RV in the fall or selling your RV this fall, or both. 

Between 2020 and 2022, over a million RVs were sold to people who were new to RVing because they wanted to take advantage of a safer way to recreate during a pandemic. As inventory dwindled and backorders grew, they rushed to buy their RV and many had to settle for whatever was available. Some of these purchases were a bad fit from the beginning but many of the new RVers simply didn’t know what they needed or wanted because RVing was a new adventure, they knew nothing about. Some bought RVs that were too large, too small, the wrong style, or had an awkward floor plan.

Fall is the Best Time to Buy and Sell an RV and to Enjoy RVing

Now fast forward to the fall of 2023. Inventory has returned to pre-pandemic levels and RVers now have a broad selection (in both new and used RVs) from which to choose.  They coped with the misfit for as long as possible, but now they’re ready to sell their existing RV and buy a better one that supports their unique camping style. With a broad selection from which to choose, and great pricing on both new and used RVs, they’re ready to act and they’re discovering that fall is the best time to buy or sell an RV. 

Three Reasons to Buy an RV in the Fall

Cost Savings

There’s a reason some of the largest RV shows in the country take place in the fall. At these shows RVs are priced to sell because dealers are trying to reduce inventory before the new models are released next year.  But fall savings are not limited to RV shows or to new RV inventory.  The used RV market (both commercial and peer-to-peer) also enjoys some spectacular fall savings. Certainly, you can find used inventory at RV shows and on dealer’s lots, but the best savings will still be found in the for-sale-by-owner private marketplace.  You can easily find private sellers in publications like RV Trader, or here on our website

Private RV owners selling their RVs to another private party will typically price their RV below a dealer’s retail price and above the wholesale price.  In the peer-to-peer market, (by eliminating the dealer’s markup) both the buyer and seller realize a better price. These cost savings are significant when buying an RV in the fall and especially when buying one from a private seller.

Campground Sunset

You can save money by RVing in the fall!

Buying an RV in the Fall Gives You Access to More Inventory 

When you shop for an RV in the fall you’ll find more available inventory especially in the peer-to-peer market.  Many people come to a decision point at the end of summer and realize they’re finished RVing and ready to move into a new season in their lives.  They no longer need their RV and don’t want to winterize and store it for another off-season.  These people are eager to turn the page and move on to a life without the worry and burden of owning an RV. 

Regardless of why someone wants to sell their RV, fall seems to be a time when many people arrive at this decision, which naturally increases the available supply of used RVs in the market. In addition to the increased inventory and the great prices, fall RV buyers feel less pressure from competing buyers so they can take their time to research all the available inventory and confirm that they’ve found the perfect fit for their needs at the right price.  The peer-to-peer market facilitates this research through direct conversations between sellers and buyers.  

Unlike buying a used RV from a dealer who knows nothing about the used inventory on their lot, when a buyer finds a good fit in the for-sale-by-owner market they can have an intimate conversation with the current owner to learn all about that particular RV. Being able to discuss the history, maintenance, and condition of each RV gives buyers peace of mind about their purchase.  Frankly, in the fall there’s less competition with other buyers, which facilitates the research process ensuring that both the buyer and seller are satisfied with the transaction.

The Discovery Season is the Best Time to Go Camping

In the discovery season campgrounds, RV parks, and national parks are less crowded. Additionally, in the fall the beauty of nature is on full display. Many national parks are less crowded and easier to access when the crowds thin out in the fall. Additionally, many RV parks have reduced rates during the shoulder season and there’s more privacy within the parks.  The entire country and especially the sunbelt (from Southern California to Florida) finally cools off enough to accommodate outdoor activities like hiking, bird watching, and biking. The brisk fall nights of the discovery season makes every campfire even more enjoyable and the entire season invigorates your senses. 

Putting off buying an RV until next spring or summer just means you’ll miss another amazing discovery season.  Why wait? If you’re in the market for an RV, now is the perfect time to buy one, so you can go leaf peeping in the Adirondacks, wind surfing in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon, take a bourbon tour in Tennessee, or sit on the deck overlooking the harbor and enjoy fresh lobster in Maine. Fall is the perfect time to buy an RV and then to enjoy the delights of the discovery season.

Road in Fall

The value of your RV might decline over the winter.

Three Reasons to Sell an RV in the Fall

RV’s Depreciate Over Time 

Like an automobile, RVs depreciate over time and continually lose value.  If you are ready to sell an RV now, don’t wait! Your RV will be worth less in 6 months than it is right now.  With the release of each new model year your RV becomes less valuable and harder for a buyer to finance.  Many RV loan underwriters have limits on the age of the RVs they will finance. This could restrict the pool of potential buyers if it exceeds the lender’s threshold.  You have control over this loss of value and selling your RV in the fall is a wise choice.  

Additionally, there are people who primarily travel in their RVs in the winter.  These folks use their RV to escape the deep freeze of winter. They migrate to the sunbelt seeking relief from inclement weather back home. Many of them are in the market for a fall RV upgrade to prepare for several months of continuous use.  RVs are bought and sold in every season, but fall is a particularly attractive time to sell an RV. 

Storage and Winterization Worries Disappear

Selling your RV in the fall has its benefits. You don’t need to worry about winterizing it and protecting it from any harsh winter weather.  You also don’t need to pay for months of storage or several months of insurance. Winter weather is hard on RVs (when not in use) because moisture builds up even if it’s stored indoors. Moisture in an RV must be controlled, or it can lead to damaging mold and dry rot.  The best way to control this moisture is to keep using the RV throughout the winter months, but that isn’t always feasible.

Another way to control moisture is to store the RV indoors in a heated environment. However, that can be very costly if the storage space is not on your property. You can also control moisture in your RV by leaving the heat on, or use a humidifier. Be careful though, as this could create a fire hazard.  All these worries of how to safely maintain your RV through the winter are a burden. In addition, there’s the possibility for damage from wind, falling debris, ice, or other weather hazards.  Many RV insurance policies do allow you to suspend coverage when the RV is in storage. Just be aware of your coverage options before doing so, in case of damages that may happen..  Therefore, all of these issues can be avoided by selling it in the fall before the onset of inclement weather.

Sell in the Fall to Prepare for Your New RV

Finally, one of the best reasons to sell your RV (in the fall or any other season) is to prepare for your new RV.  On average people buy a replacement RV every five years or less. To prepare for your new one you really need to sell the one you have. In the fall you can take advantage of snowbird and full-time RVer’s heightened interest in RVing.  The best place to get this process started is to find out what your RV is worth in today’s market.  Knowing what it’s worth will guide you in determining the best method for selling your RV. 

You may be tempted to just trade it in at a dealership on your new one. However, that could ultimately cost you as much as 25% of the true value of your RV.  It could also be a significant amount of money that could be used on the purchase of your next one.  Don’t be overwhelmed or intimidated by the idea of selling to a private party.  The peer-to-peer market is a robust, organized, and safe place to buy and sell an RV. The professionals here at National Vehicle are experts at helping you do just that.  Don’t overlook the most lucrative place to sell your RV (the for-sale-by-owner marketplace) because you don’t know how to proceed.  We know the for-sale-by-owner marketplace. Give us a call today, and let us help you sell your RV.

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About Peggy Dent

Peggy Dent is an author, writer and full-time RVer, currently traveling in the US and Canada. She's driven a motorhome more than 130,000 miles and learned the secrets, delights, and pitfalls of RVing through her own experiences. She shares her knowledge and insights in numerous RV industry publications. You can contact her through her website at www.apeninyourhand.com