Make It Your Own

 Posted by at 12:46 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 122017
 

I heard from someone yesterday who had some questions about the Winnebago motorhome we have for sale. She said she had looked at all of the photos we have posted of it, including the upgrades we have done, and her concern was that those upgrades may have lowered the value of the motorhome. She said she and her husband have been fulltiming in a Class C for a year now and have been paranoid about doing anything that would hurt its resale value come trade in time.



I replied, telling her that I felt things like the flat screen TVs, custom computer workstations and dining room table, the automatic rooftop satellite dish, wooden window blinds, etc. probably increased the value. Then I told her that none of that really matters anyway, because the moment you drive an RV off the dealer’s lot you have already lost a ton of resale value.

Folks, RVs are not an investment, they are a depreciating asset. Every morning when you wake up, every mile you drive, everything you do lowers the book value. Nobody I know ever owned an RV and made money on the deal when it came time to sell or trade it in. It doesn’t work that way.

So don’t worry about things like hanging photos on the walls, or putting one of those maps of the states you have visited on the door, or taking out the couch and adding a couple of recliners if that’s what suits you better. These are just some of the things I’ve heard RV owners agonize about over the years because they just know that when it comes time to sell or trade in their rig, it’s going to cost them money. We actually met somebody once who had only traveled a few hundred miles from home since they started fulltiming, because they did not want to put miles on their new rig, knowing that it would lower its resale value.

I was reminded of when Terry and I built our MCI bus conversion. Quite a few bus nuts told us we needed to raise the roof, which back then would have cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000. We are both short enough that we didn’t need to raise the roof, but the argument we kept getting was that a bus conversion with a raised roof would be worth more at resale time. No it won’t. Besides, we built it to live in it, not to get the maximum dollar when we were ready to get out of it. We made it our own, to suit us and our lifestyle. We did the same thing with the Winnebago.

And that’s what you should do with your RV, too! Make it your own, make it comfortable for the way you want to live, and don’t worry yourself sick about depreciation. That ship has already sailed.



Several blog readers have asked where they can find pictures and information on our 2002 Winnebago Ultimate Advantage motorhome, which we are selling. I have set up a page for it, with lots of info and photos. You can access it here at this Motorhome For Sale link.

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Thought For The Day – If you listen to the person who says you can’t, he will be right.

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Nick Russell

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  8 Responses to “Make It Your Own”

  1. Look at the NADA book. An RV depreciates by about 50% in the first 3 years from the MSRP. Then it’s about 10% a year. You are buying a lifestyle not an RV. And why are you listening to “those people” anyway? “Those people” told us buying our designer house and acreage in Florida was dumb because it would be difficult to resale. We lived in that house for 28 years and LOVED it. When it came time to sell, it took us 10 months to sell and we got 4 times the price we had bought the house for. “Those people” don’t know what they are talking about. Enjoy life, live it your way and IGNORE “those people.”

  2. You’ll never sell it to the average person but you will sell it to the person that wants something above average, and a perfect combination.
    Be patient, there walking very slow to your …..door……

    Maybe in my past life I was a horse trader because I had a 29ft 5er
    I paid 6,700 . and 2 years 15,000miles later sold it for 8,000
    My Ford F-350 , I lost a grand…
    Hang In there it’ll all come together

  3. RVs like any other vehicle depreciate in value even before you drive it off the lot.. As soon as you sign on the Dotted Line that shows ownership the value has dropped.
    We used the attitude of personalizing each RV we have ever owned. In our last Fifth Wheel we recovered lots of wasted space and resulted in 62 modifications. It gave us a better trade in value and was sold less then an hour after it was on the lot. We’re only up to 26 modifications so far on this Fifth but will make it work for us.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It’s about time..

  4. I am so grateful for today’s blog Nick. We have been struggling with whether or not to do exactly what you said, pullout the sofa and put two recliners in our motorhome. The couch is not very comfortable and of all the things I miss from our old sticks and bricks house, it was having a comfortable recliner to relax in while I read or watch TV. But we were worried that if/when we decided to trade the RV in that would be a problem. So what? We may keep this RV forever, who knows. We are going to make it ours.

  5. YES YES YES!!!!!
    RVs are mass produced to fit the masses. Kind of like a motel room. Personalize it and make it yours like Nick said. Life will be so much better if you do. We put in a desk, recliners, and house style refrigerator among other improvements and have never regretted any of them.

  6. Anybody who buys an RV boat or any other product with a focus on resale is a fool. You ARE going to lose money. But like Connie said, you are buying a lifestyle. Go out and enjoy that life and never look back.

  7. I made my RV with all the comforts that I wanted. Sure it cost me money but the enjoyment on the road was worth the cost. Yes I was told I wouldn’t get my money back but I didn’t care I enjoyed it while I had it. Thankfully mine was paid off when I had to sell it because I only got $12,000.00 for it a 1996 Bounder and that was back in 2010. It had a full tank of gas, all the things inside, full propane tanks and a lot more things. Do I miss it now no it was fun for 18 years and like you Nick it was time to give it up and move on to other things. Going on a River Cruise this November on the Rhine for the Christmas cruise.

  8. We took out a sofa bed and built in a solid bed with storage under it. When we traded in that rig the dealer never looked inside in spite of us offering it twice. They were so sure they knew what it looked like. After we left with out new rig we got an email saying they were very upset because it was going to cost them a lot of money to replace that sofa bed.

    Yet, they never advertised the massive solar system we had installed.

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