How To Sell A Camper With A Lien (Helpful Guide)

Selling your camper for the first time can be a bit of a daunting process, especially if you have a lien on it, but don’t worry we are here to help.

Here is a complete guide on how to sell a camper with a lien, we cover how to value your camper, whether it makes financial sense selling with a lien, selling privately, selling to a dealership, and some great tips to ensure you get the best possible price for your camper.

how to sell a camper with a lien

How To Figure Out Your Campers Value

The first thing that you need to do is to figure out how much your camper is actually worth regardless of the loan or money you still owe on it.

If you price your camper too low, you’re going to lose money and might not even break even, but if you price it too high, it might not sell, or just take forever to sell. Therefore, knowing what it is worth is crucial.

One reality you need to accept is that your camper is certainly not going to be worth what you paid for it, especially if it’s fairly old. Sure, the base price, registration fees, taxes, and insurance, as well as repairs and upgrades do matter to some extent.

There are a number of other factors to consider as well that can make it tricky to determine the value of your camper by yourself.

However, by using a guide such as NADA, or any other such used vehicle pricing guide, you should be able to find out how much your camper is worth based on its condition and how old it is. You should be able to find similar units to yours that list the brand, model, and manufacturing year to give a good value benchmark. 

That said, these things will only give you a rough estimate. Things like mechanical condition, location, mileage, and more will also make a difference.

The best way to figure out how much yours is worth is by looking for others that are the same model as yours and in a very similar condition. You might only be able to get a rough estimate, but it’s certainly a good starting point.

You can also ask a dealership to give you a quote as another reference point, but remember dealerships are a business that needs to make profits, so they will never pay the same price that could achieve from a private sale.

Loan Amount Vs Camper Value

You also want to compare how much money your camper is worth, vs the amount of money you owe on it. You then need to look at the difference between the two to determine whether you will come out with a profit, break-even, or at a loss.

If you owe more than the camper is worth, then you’re obviously going to lose money on the sale. That said, if you don’t sell the camper, it’s just going to continue depreciating in value anyway so it really comes down to the urgency and reasoning you have for selling.

If you have looked at the numbers and it’s coming out as a negative then you might want to consider other options, such as renting it out or trading it for a less expensive model.

If you’re going to lose money on the sale, there isn’t all that much point in making it in the first place, unless you are desperate for some extra cash very quickly.

Should I Sell My Camper Privately Or To A Dealership?

The next thing to consider here is whether you want to sell your camper privately or to a dealership.

Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so let’s take a look.

Privately

You can always sell your camper on the private market (like RVTrader.com). If you’re not in too much of a rush to sell, and if you don’t mind a bit of a complicated sale process, a private sale is a good way to go.

One key benefit here is that you stand to make a bigger profit selling your camper privately than what you would selling through a dealership.

You do of course need to clearly let potential buyers know in advance that there is a lien on the camper, and you then want to make a well-constructed advertisement to get the word out there (look at other popular listings for some ideas on how to structure your sales advertisement).

Selling privately, while you might get a higher price, is going to be a bit harder, and a lengthier process too. That said, you should still get a quote from a dealership so you know roughly what you should be charging, and remember the dealership will always be on the lower end.

Remember to keep your camper clean, well kept, and in good overall condition. This is very important so potential buyers can see the camper has been well looked after, and should really help attract more attention and better offers.

If the camper is in really bad condition, you might not be able to sell it at all or have to resort to a rock bottom price in which case it probably will not make sense to sell it privately at all, unless you find someone who is willing to really renovate it.

Failing that you always have the scrapyard, don’t expect much here but there is a market for spare parts, particularly for popular camper brands.

The bottom line is that making a private sale is much more difficult and lengthy, but you will get a much better sale price so if the numbers make sense then it’s definitely worth the extra effort.

Importance Of Using Escrow For Private Sales

If you do go down the private sale route then we would highly recommend using Escrow for peace of mind and security. 

Escrow means that the sale money is deposited into an escrow account, and then only released to the seller once the title transfer has been completed and the lien has been taken care of.

This generally requires extra fees, although it’s usually split between both parties. It’s a good thing to do because it protects the interests of both parties involved.

The other thing that you must then choose here is whether you want to pay off the debt with the money earned from the sale, or if you want to sign over the loan to the purchaser of the camper.

You might not have the money to pay off the loan, even with the sale of the camper, in which case you might need a bridge loan. However, there is going to be a transaction fee involved if you transfer the lien over to the new party.

Dealership

If selling your camper privately just doesn’t seem worth the work, you can always go to a dealership. With a dealership, you don’t have to put out any advertisements, you don’t have to wait too long, and you don’t really have to do much at all.

Just take the camper to a dealership, see how much they’re willing to give you, and then decide if you want to sell it to them or not (don’t forget to try to negotiate too!).

Selling to a dealership is also a much easier route in terms of selling a camper that has a lien on it. Dealerships always have professionals on hand that know exactly how to deal with money owed on these vehicles.

All of the legal stuff is going to be handled for you and it definitely makes life a lot easier. They might even have direct contact with the entity that loaned you the money in the first place.

That said, do keep in mind that the dealership is usually always going to give you a lower price than you would get if you sold the camper privately. Of course, the dealership is going to want to sell that camper themselves for profit, or maybe scrap value if it’s old. 

Either way, they do want to make a profit, so they’re not going to offer you all that much. You really shouldn’t accept an offer if it’s below the estimated trade in value of your camper, although if it’s a fair offer, you do want to consider it, especially if you want to keep things simple and fast.

Other Options Instead of Selling

If you’ve run through the figures and are not going to make any money on the sale, or maybe even lose money due to the amount of money that you owe on the camper, then you might want to consider some other options instead of selling.

Here are a couple of alternative routes that could be a better option for you;

1. Renting It Out

If you want to pay down the loan on the camper, but don’t want to sell it due to whatever reason, you can always try renting it out.

Renting it out will help you pay down the money owed on it, potentially to the point where you can then sell the camper without suffering a loss. 

There are tons of people out there who want to rent campers and RVs as opposed to buying one because buying one is obviously quite expensive. 

Moreover, there are certain websites out there (like RVshare.com) where you can list an RV or camper for rental and get tons of attention.

Many of these websites also handle all the deposits, payments, and may even offer roadside assistance or one on one coaching to help you get the most out of your camper rental.

2. Trading It for A Cheaper Model

If you still want to use a camper and have one on hand because you just really love the camper life, then something worth doing is trading in the existing old camper for a cheaper model. 

If you do this, after it is traded in, the amount that you still owe on your new loan would be spread out over a series of payments over a long period of time. 

Of course, the point here is to get a cheaper model so you can pay down the loan through the difference between the old model and the new model, and then easily pay off whatever is left over, if there is anything left over.

Can An RV Loan Be Transferred To Another Person?

Yes, a loan on an RV can be transferred to another person who wants to purchase the RV or camper from you. However, the lender that you owe the money to is going to assess the person that you want to transfer the loan to determine if they have a sufficient enough credit history.

The lender is going to have various requirements, usually based on income, and probably a credit score too. If the person who you want to transfer the loan to meets these requirements, then all should go fine.

Is It Better To Pay Off An RV Loan Early?

Yes, it makes sense to pay off an RV loan early, or as early as possible. The faster you make the principal payments, as well as any additional principal payments you can muster, the faster the loan balance is going to decrease than it would otherwise.

This will therefore help you avoid as many interest charges as humanly possible. Keep in mind that RV interest rates on loans are usually way higher than on a home mortgage, so it is essential to pay it off as quickly as possible.

Madeline Cooper
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