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How to find a Quality Used RV yourself and at a low cost.

Updated on December 23, 2017
Don Bobbitt profile image

Don has been an avid traveler and motorhome owner for most of his life and shares his experiences with valuable tips.

Lines of Campers traveling the Roads of the US

Campers on the Road
Campers on the Road | Source

The perfect camping plan goes awry.

My wife and I were visiting our friends and relatives recently in our hometown of Lynchburg, Virginia.

You see, for health reasons, we had gotten rid of our motorhome a couple of years before and purchased a nice, used fifth-wheel camper. Our plan was to have a place to stay in a year-round campsite that was near our family and friends, in our hometown of Lynchburg, Virginia.

We had set up the fifth-wheel on a great site with a wonderful view of a small lake and we started to travel there quite often. We were able to see everyone much more often than when we had to spend hundreds of dollars on fuel each way and go through the hookup, unhook, pack and unpack process every traveling camper knows so well.

We had even looked back over the last couple of years and we realized that we go there more than any other destination, now that we have grown older, so we decided that our idea of having a remote permanent campsite was a pretty smart move for us.

Well it has worked out well for us as far as convenience is concerned and we found that we saved a lot of money staying in our camper rather than staying in the expensive local hotels when we did go back to our hometown.

RV Buyers Survival Guide

RV Buyers Survival Guide
RV Buyers Survival Guide

I purchased this to make sure I was up to date on the world of Rv purchasing. It did have some good information in it.


Considering the RV options for Seniors

Eventually though, we started reminiscing about our RV trips in the past and how much we had enjoyed them.

We started talking about getting another motorhome and making short trips around the Southeast and especially Florida, where we now live.

Yep! As it turned out, we had been bitten by the wanderlust bug and it would not set us free.

So, not long ago, I took a few hours and looked at what i might be able to get for my fifth-wheel camper, if we ever decided to sell. I gathered the numbers and then I promptly set them aside and went on to something else.

You see, financially, we knew it would be stupid to buy a big new RV at our age, but we also knew that several of our old camping friends had "downsized" as they began traveling less often themselves.

Their enthusiasm was contagious and we thought, What the Heck! let's just look.

We sold our camper, unexpectedly.

So, there we were one sunny day, camping in our hometown, cooking Hamburgers and Hot Dogs on the grill for ourselves, some of our family and a couple of fellow campers. You know, just having a good time at our campsite.

We were talking about my fifth-wheel camper, which was a 36-foot Mobile Suites. It's a very nice rig even if I do have to say so myself.

Anyway, my son-in-law asked me what I would take for my camper. I glanced over at my wife and she nodded, so I mentioned a number thatI thought was a fair price.

My son-in-law followed up with the statement that he had a friend that was looking for a good camper, and that he would tell him about mine.

Again, my wife and I looked at each other and I said, GREAT, tell him to contact me if he wanted to see it. Then, I promptly forgot about thw whole conversation. That is until the next day when a guy knocked on my door, introduced himself and asked to see my camper.

If you are interested in the Story of how I ended up actually selling my camper while camping in it I have written it as a series of Posts on my site called RVANDCAMPER. Check it out by clicking on the link.

Educate yourself, Use eBay for a reality check.

So, there I was, finally back at home and trying figuring out how to get a good deal on another RV for us to use..

Luckily, over the years I have owned several motorhomes and I had learned that the information on eBay could be manipulated to give a potential buyer the right data he would need to select a quality RV and also know what they were actually selling at.

You see, there are always over a thousand RVs for sale on eBay, across the country, at almost any time.

So by using the eBay WATCH LIST option, you can sort out all of the campers that are of no interest to you.

Then, with a little work, you can end up with a watch list that contains several dozen motorhomes, or whatever other type of camper you might be interested in.

Once they're in your list, you can watch as the bidding progresses and if there are any "Buy It Now" offers.

What you soon learn is just how much certain Campers and specifically Motorhomes are actually selling for as well as what things are good and bad about each model you decide to watch.

Invest some time and know exactly what to offer for an RV.

Now, some people, both dealers and individual sellers will have very high expectations of what they can get for their RV.

Soon you will recognize these listing as they will be evident via the eBay data that is constantly updated for every offered camper.

1- There will be very few people actually watching the poorly priced unit or unit with mechanical problems, and often units that has a bad manufacturers problem (ie. bankruptcy, parts availability. flagrant design problems, to name just a few).

2- There will be very few,if any, bids on campers that are either over-priced, or have peculiar sale closing requirements, or have some kind of serious mechanical or even design problems.

3- When the unit has a Reserve price so high that no one ever bids on it.

After you begin this type of sorting and monitoring of eBay products you will soon know when you see a new listing for what the unit is actually worth.

Of course there are other variables that affect the price, such as;

1- Mileage Extremely low or high mileage will affect the potential sale price.

2- Pictures. Over the years, it has never ceased to amaze me when someone is trying to sell something as complex as a motorhome for tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars and will be so cheap as to only show a few (4 to 10) pictures.

How can they expect you to pay so much money and not have enough pictures to give the potential buyer a comfortable feeling about committing your money in a bid for the camper? They should be showing you, the potential buyer dozens of clear and informative pictures.

NADA Pricing

Finally, go to the NADA site for consumers and look up what they say the RV you are interested in should actually be selling for. There will be a broad range of values there for you, but you have to take these "standards" and change them to what you think the unit is Worth to You.

A book on Buying a used Motorhome

Buying a Used Motorhome - How to get the most for your money and not get burned (updated March 2017)
Buying a Used Motorhome - How to get the most for your money and not get burned (updated March 2017)

This book is a keeper. I found it contained a lot of really valuable information for the potential Rv buyer.


eBay data is even useable locally.

You might have a good idea what you might want to buy in a week or maybe in a month, but you will eventually build up an idea of what your favorite motorhome, that you can afford might be.

Once you have educated yourself, you can branch out to the other RV listing sites with a certain comfort that you know what they should sell for.

Now, eBay has a lot of strange people selling a lot of strange things, but remember that the final bidding/selling price tells you the truth about every item sold.

Oh, and you should always watch the sellers eBay ranking. Each eBay seller's ID displays the number of completed sales it has had in the past, and it gives the sellers "positive ranking" as a percentage.

When I look and someone has only a few sales and does not have a 100% positive ranking, I get suspicious.

Also, when a seller had never sold on eBay before, or has only sold a couple of items I consider them a potential bad seller and read their sale completion descriptions very carefully.

And, if a seller has sold hundreds or more items on eBat and is not at 100% or at least 99.9%, then I assume that they have a product quality or shipping problem of some kind.

You see, the serious commercial sellers on eBay take their customer ranking very seriously and work very hard to make their customers happy, even if it costs them a few bucks.

Anyone can do it!

Truly, if you do these things to educate yourself on the world of RV's how much they are selling for, and what quality problems they might have, you can go into the RV marketplace and be confident in your searches and your final RV selection.

Tips on Purchasing the perfect RV

How to spot a LEMON RV

© 2014 Don Bobbitt


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    • Kaili Bisson profile image

      Kaili Bisson 3 years ago from Canada

      What an interesting hub...lots of great tips for anyone in the market. Voted up!


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