Should You Rent vs Sell Your RV?

As you near the end of RVing you can consider the pros and cons of renting vs selling your RV.  Perhaps your health or financial situation has changed, or for some other reason you’re about done camping.  No matter why, you’ll need to decide what to do with your camper, travel trailer, or motorhome. 

Either option (renting your RV or selling it) might seem like a daunting and overwhelming challenge. But don’t despair, we will help you decide the best choice, by describing the pros and cons of both.  Then we’ll help you take the next step, regardless of which course of action you prefer.

Pros of Selling Your RV

  • Reduce out-of-pocket expenses

There are many benefits of selling your RV rather than renting it. Selling can reduce your routine out-of-pocket expenses and maintenance costs.  Whether you’re using your RV or not, it still costs money to own one.  You need to pay for the vehicle registration, insurance, and maintenance, and possibly storage fees.  Even if you’re not taking your RV out on camping trips the batteries and tires still wear out. If it’s a motorhome the engine fluids lose viscosity and need to be changed periodically.  Additionally, caulking gets brittle and needs to be redone from time to time, even if you store your RV indoors. It seems like the list of costly maintenance duties is never ending and can be mentally and emotionally exhausting.

  • Stop worrying about your RV

Another benefit of selling your RV is that you can stop worrying about it.  Whether you’re worried about water or storm damage, or vandals, or thieves, or you’re worried about the maintenance that still needs your attention, or whatever else may be keeping you up at night, it all stops as soon as you sell it. Additionally, RVs like cars depreciate over time, so the longer you wait to sell, the more maintenance it will require, 

RV pulling car

If costs of maintenance and other expenses are adding up, it may be time to sell your RV.

  • Get a lump sum from the sale

On that note, the biggest benefit of selling your RV rather than renting it is that you’ll receive an immediate cash settlement.  Perhaps the reason you’re done RVing is a change in your financial or health status. Extra money that is tied up in your RV, could help with either of those challenges.  

Cons of Selling your RV

  • Not completely done with camping

One downside of selling your RV is that you may not be completely through with camping and RVing.  Of course, you could camp in a tent, but you’re accustomed to a bit more luxury, and tent camping requires a large amount of gear. Plus, if you’ve been enjoying the RV lifestyle for a few decades, being an RVer may be part of your identity. Selling your RV and completely cutting off access to your camper could result in an identity crisis.

  • No down payment for a replacement RV 

If you sell your RV and spend the money from the sale, then if you change your mind about owning an RV, you won’t have the cash for a down payment nor will you have an RV to use as a trade-in.  So, if you’re thinking about selling your RV be sure you’re really ready to be RV-less. 

  • No ongoing revenue stream

Selling your RV will prevent you from generating rental income which could pay for maintenance and ownership costs of the RV. Renting can also provide you with extra cash over a long period of time.  This is both a con for selling, and a pro for renting your RV. Therefore, before you decide to sell it (to collect the larger one-time lump sum amount) be sure you have fully considered all the pros and cons of selling vs renting to see which strategy best serves your unique needs. 

  • Selling feels like an overwhelming task

One of the biggest deterrents to selling your RV is the perception that selling an RV is a daunting task.  Many people don’t even know how much their RV is worth, or how to begin the process of selling it, unless they take it to a dealership. But dealers may not even show interest in buying it if it’s not being used as a trade-in. This feeling of not knowing where to start, is the reason so many people abandon RVs. However, this feeling of being overwhelmed does not need to be your story. 

Best Option When Selling Your RV

Get professional help

If you’re fully committed to selling your RV the best place to start is right here at National Vehicle.  Our staff are experts in valuation, and they will provide a free valuation for your RV and then walk you through the steps to safely selling your RV in the private marketplace.  Selling to a dealer or a consignment lot will provide a much lower return than selling to a private individual. Our professional team here at National Vehicle will help you manage a For-Sale-By-Owner (FSBO) transaction so you get the maximum amount from the sale and you won’t feel overwhelmed in the process. 

Pros of Renting

  • Keep your RV for occasional use

One of the major benefits of renting your RV rather than selling it is you still have access to your RV and can use it whenever you want to go camping.  For many people (who have enjoyed RVing for decades) it’s become part of their identity, so, renting their RV, rather than selling it outright, gives them a way to gradually ease into a new identity.  If you’re one of those folks whose identity is wrapped up in an RVing lifestyle, you can still go camping as often as you want to, but with your RV in the rental pool, you won’t feel pressured to use it constantly to justify your investment.

  • Turn your RV into a revenue stream

By renting your RV you can turn it into a revenue stream rather than a financial burden. There are expenses associated with owning an RV even if you’re not using it for camping or outings.  Ideally, your RV rental income will cover the insurance, licensing, and maintenance costs, plus provide extra cash in excess of these expenses, so you could generate a significant revenue stream through your RV rentals. 

Renting is a great way to make some passive income.

  • Still have the RV to sell later 

Another major benefit of renting your RV is you’ll be able to create ongoing revenue but still have your asset available for a future sale.  That’s like getting paid for it twice. Of course, your RV will depreciate with age, but at least it will be in use and regularly maintained, so it won’t just become a convenient support for blackberry brambles and lose all it’s value.  RVs that are not in use deteriorate quickly, so putting it in the renter’s pool will help you preserve the functionality and value of your RV.  And maintaining it in top condition for your renters will help it retain value, while you wait for the best time (in the future) to sell it.  

Cons of Renting

  • Need to maintain the RV

One of the biggest cons of renting your RV is that you still need to maintain it. Your maintenance responsibilities might be even more involved because different people are using your RV.  Because renters lack familiarity with how the systems work this can cause damage to RV systems, like jacks and slideouts. As the owner you’ll need to address any system defects or renter caused damage.  Also, no one will value and respect your property like you do. When a renter returns your RV, it could need extra cleaning and repairs. This problem is typically handled by contingency fees (if damage is detected) and through special insurance to cover any losses. But there’s no question that as the owner you will need to continue (and possibly expand) all your RV maintenance procedures. 

  • Worry about who’s using it and how

A disadvantage of renting your RV is the compounded worry this may cause. You may already worry about weather and storm damage, and rentals may also cause additional worry.  If you are still using your RV between rentals, this might be an even bigger concern. Some people are able to take all this in stride and don’t waste a lot of energy on worrying.  But everyone has a different threshold for anxiety and if you already tend to be a worrier, then renting your RV might a bridge too far, and it wouldn’t be a good strategy for you.

  • Using a rental agency and negotiate with renters

Another negative of renting your RV is researching which rental agency will be the best choice to list your RV.  Furthermore, to rent it successfully you’ll need to be readily available to prospective renters. RV renters are NOW consumers.  They check the available inventory in their area, pick the RV they want to rent, then call the owner.  If they don’t make contact right away, they’ll go to their next choice. 

Therefore, to successfully rent your RV with enough frequency to cover all the cost of insurance, licensing, maintenance etc., you need to be available to prospective renters whenever they want to make contact.  That may not work well with the rest of your obligations and interests, but asking potential renters to leave a message and then wait for your return phone call does not work in this market.  Prospective renters want answers when they’re in the shopping mode, not later in the day or week. Being available all the time to prospective renters is a definite con for many RV owners. 

RV Rental Sell

There are many different options when it comes to choosing a rental agency.

  • You also need to work with the rental agency 

Finally, a major downside to renting your RV is the potential for conflicts or disputes with renters. Also, you could not get any support from the rental organization where you have your RV listed. If you have a low tolerance for conflict, renting your RV may not be right for you, because you could get entangled in a dispute which will be a bigger headache than it’s worth in terms of extra cash.

If you do decide that the pros of renting outweigh the cons, then be sure to do your due diligence. Pick one that supports RV owners and will back you up in a dispute.  If you decide to rent your RV rather than sell it here are three links to the largest rental agencies and researching them is the first step in renting your RV.  These include RVezy, Outdoorsy, and RVshare. Their websites will direct you on the procedures to get your RV into the rental pool.

Best Option – Overall

Finally, there are pros and cons for renting or selling.  But (in my opinion) the cleanest and least worrisome action is to sell your RV in the private marketplace. This will give the largest return for your asset, then move on to the next chapter in your life story. If you sell it, the deal is done, you can close that chapter, and start a new one.  

If (after careful consideration) you think selling is the right choice for you, be sure to reach out to our staff for your free valuation.  You may be pleasantly surprised by how much your RV is worth in today’s market, and how easy it is to get your RV sold before it depreciates any further.

Looking to 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