Motorhomes for Sale Privately

A number of different sources list motorhomes for sale privately; rather than rushing to the cheapest seller, minimize your risk of a massive fixer-up by learning how to examine the vehicle.

Finding Private Sellers

Motorhome for Sale

In an ideal world, a friend or family member – also a fellow RV’er – wants to sell their RV and at same time you’re looking to buy. You know the owner, RV history and feel confident with the sale. However, odds are you need to seek out private sellers.

Locate Motorhomes for sale privately:

  • On-line – perform a general search or locate RV-dedicated sites; community structured sites might yield excellent advice and connect you with a potential seller.

  • Internet Auction Sites – if you opt for E-bay or a similar site, check the seller’s ranking/feedback and ask lots of questions.

  • Classifieds – search the Sunday-paper for a make/model that interests you

  • RV Campgrounds – read notices on a bulletin board; you might stumble upon a “For Sale” sign in a window.

  • Word-of-mouth – ask fellow RV enthusiasts to keep a look out for motorhomes for sale privately.

Finding sellers is the easiest part of the process.

Considerations

Regardless of how warm and inviting a seller appears, keep an objective eye -- evaluate the engine, exterior and interior of a vehicle.

Phone the seller and ensure the RV meets your requirements in terms of mileage, features and other general items. Then, arrange a meeting to inspect the vehicle. If possible, bring along your spouse or partner and, preferably, a friend or relative with motorhome knowledge.

A second pair of eyes might notice something you miss, especially if you are enamored with the make/model or a special feature the owner installed. If you are prone to making impulsive purchases, ask the person by your side to remind you to take a step back. Understanding the weight of such a purchase, most sellers should allow you sleep on it.

If your search yields multiple motorhomes for sale privately, contact each potential seller. Looking at more than one vehicle may help you negotiate a better deal or find an unexpected gem, in better condition and possessing more features than you thought you could afford.

History

Ask the seller questions about the vehicle history:

  • How long have you owned it?
  • Were there previous owners?
  • Have you made any modifications?
  • Has the vehicle had any major issues or repairs?

Ask to see all paperwork, including full-service history; look at the mileage; check that the VIN# on the documents matches the one on the vehicle; also ask about the CCC – information regarding weight capacity often located on the backside of the closet door.

The Engine

Undoubtedly the most important part of the vehicle, examine components for telling signs such as:

  • Oil – look at the color and consistency on the dipstick; “burned” oil is indicative of a problem; a thick, gooey substance with white foam shows an additive was used, most likely aimed at sealing a leak in the oil tank or an engine gasket.

  • Brakes – take the RV for a test drive; if brakes are slow to action in an empty RV, stopping will be more difficult with a vehicle filled with belongings and people; don’t forget to ensure the handbrake holds the vehicle.

  • Battery – the motorhome should readily start, regardless of inactivity or cold weather.

Also ask about gas mileage and regular maintenance checks; one approach to get information about engine function is to get the seller talking about his/her travels.

The Exterior

Examine the outside of all motorhomes for sale privately – appearances tell you straight off the care the owner took.

Low mileage, a sign of minimal use, can cause battery issues and lead to rust along the frame. If rust has replaced the black underside, walk away. Not ideal, small patches of rust can be repaired. Areas of “bubbling” on the underside are evidence of an attempt to use paint to camouflage rust.

In addition, check headlights, brake lights, air in the tires, external features such as rolling down an awning and the state of roof racks.

The Interior

Examine all aspects of the “home” area in motorhomes for sale privately:

  • Turn all lights on/off.
  • Locate heat and A/C vents.
  • Make sure hot/cold air comes out.
  • Open/close all cabinets, drawers, closets, lockers.
  • Turn on all appliances – stove, microwave, TV, radio.
  • Open/close all doors, panels, folding tables, windows.
  • Check for comfort – sit/lay on all chairs and beds.
  • Run all taps.

In addition, check for ceiling mold – even small patches are expensive and difficult to repair; soft spots on the floor, especially around sinks and toilet – signs of rotting metal or wood.

Deciding to Buy

After looking at various motorhomes for sale privately, make sure all questions have been satisfactorily answered, that price including subsequent repairs are reasonable and within your budget and the seller seems earnest. Also obtain copies of all documents when you receive the keys to the vehicle.