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Old 08-26-2018, 12:51 PM   #1
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Default The Dereaded "D" Word

No not death, debt or divorce. Depreciation! Currently, it seems hard to find a used Class B near me that the previous owner and in most cases a dealer is willing to sell the camper taking into account the true depreciation value.

Do I come up with my own math formula or is there a website that is used as the absolute go to source like NADA that sellers respect when considering my offer?

If I buy new with cash and plan to keep for 20 years, does the "D" word even matter in this circumstance? I read other suggesting to never buy new to avoid the initial "D" hit, but if slightly used is not abundant and the market is keeping the used prices high what is a fence rider to do??? Is buying a new clearance van out of season the way for me to go?
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Old 08-26-2018, 01:02 PM   #2
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You will get an amazing array of answers on this topic. it'll be interesting to read them all.

Assuming that you plan, as you say, to keep the coach for a significant period; essentially until it's fully-depreciated out. (I BOUGHT mine as a fully-depreciated, twenty-year old coach, BTW.)

The difference between a new coach and a lightly-used three year old coach can be as much as $40k on a coach that was $120k new, with very little difference in condition or amenities. Strictly as an exercise in finance, the odds of you spending $40k on maintenance on a low-mileage, 3 year old coach during the entire time you own it is slim. $40k buys a LOT of travel, or a really nice sailing vessel for you to winter over on in Florida. Or is a pretty good start on an annuity for retirement. Or it's a pretty nice down payment on investment income property.

It's a matter of how you value your money and what your goals are in life.
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Old 08-26-2018, 01:07 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Oliver2017 View Post
No not death, debt or divorce. Depreciation! Currently, it seems hard to find a used Class B near me that the previous owner and in most cases a dealer is willing to sell the camper taking into account the true depreciation value.

Do I come up with my own math formula or is there a website that is used as the absolute go to source like NADA that sellers respect when considering my offer?

If I buy new with cash and plan to keep for 20 years, does the "D" word even matter in this circumstance? I read other suggesting to never buy new to avoid the initial "D" hit, but if slightly used is not abundant and the market is keeping the used prices high what is a fence rider to do??? Is buying a new clearance van out of season the way for me to go?

The selling price and thus the depreciation is determined by the market, not a depreciation chart or formula, which are just compilations of what somebody thinks the market is doing.


In general, everyone needs to realize that what they are selling is worth what somebody will pay for it, not what the seller thinks it is worth, or NADA says it is worth.


The longer you keep it the less depreciation matters to your ownership time, but will have nothing to do with what you pay for the van.


When we were looking and buying in 2007-2008 timeframe, we didn't find offseason to have hugely better pricing. Model year change times could give some better pricing if you can find what you want in a model year old, but new, unit. We did manage to do that in 2008 and got a very good price, but class b sales weren't as robust then.
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Old 08-26-2018, 01:32 PM   #4
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There is no rule on the depreciation. Class B's are famous for keeping their value better than the other RVs... mainly because there are fewer of them and they were expensive from the start.

The value is whatever the seller can get a buyer to pay.
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Old 08-26-2018, 01:37 PM   #5
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There is no rule on the depreciation. Class B's are famous for keeping their value better than the other RVs... mainly because there are fewer of them and they were expensive from the start.

The value is whatever the seller can get a buyer to pay.
That's certainly true of older coaches... but used coaches up to about seven or eight years old pretty much sell by NADA values, give or take, because that's what lending institutions use as value guidelines. Some will finance a ten year old coach... but past that magic ten years old mark, it's condition, condition, and condition that determines the asking price as those are largely cash sales.
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Old 08-26-2018, 02:01 PM   #6
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That's certainly true of older coaches... but used coaches up to about seven or eight years old pretty much sell by NADA values, give or take, because that's what lending institutions use as value guidelines. Some will finance a ten year old coach... but past that magic ten years old mark, it's condition, condition, and condition that determines the asking price as those are largely cash sales.

I think that I would have to say that we have not seen the NADA pricing to be very accurate at all, at least for the ones we have looked up that had sold already so we knew the price. It would appear that the dealers, and other sellers often use NADA to justify a higher price than the vehicle will sell for, hoping to find someone who believes NADA is correct. In the rarer case of NADA being lower than the normal selling price, they don't list at NADA and will tell customers NADA is not accurate if the customer shows them the lower pricing. We have personally seen that.



One very major cheat that sellers do, sometimes unwittingly for private sellers, is to misuse the NADA pricing calculation to show a much higher price than NADA really would list. The NADA pricing includes a really long list of "options" which appears to be the same list for essentially all motorhomes, and has very plain instructions to include only those "options" from the list that were really sold as options on the RV model you are looking at. This would mean you don't check off items on the NADA pricing that are on the RV you are looking at, but were standard features on the RV you are looking at. My favorite on the list is "driver side door" option which shows up all RVs, including class b vans. When I have looked at many posted NADA pricing sheets for class b's for sale they have that box checked, thus increasing the price. I doubt any of us have ever seen a class b where the driver side door was optional . Other stuff like microwaves, air conditioning, full body paint, etc may or may not have been options when the van was built, so you need to go back and find some old literature to find out. I have checked at least a dozen Roadtreks on ebay that had NADA sheets listed, and all but one had inflated pricing for the above reasons. I would almost guarantee you will find similar issues at the dealers. Maybe NADA has changed all this lately, as I have not done any pricing comparisons in the last 2-3 years, but probably not.
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Old 08-26-2018, 02:09 PM   #7
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I think that I would have to say that we have not seen the NADA pricing to be very accurate at all, at least for the ones we have looked up that had sold already so we knew the price. It would appear that the dealers, and other sellers often use NADA to justify a higher price than the vehicle will sell for, hoping to find someone who believes NADA is correct. In the rarer case of NADA being lower than the normal selling price, they don't list at NADA and will tell customers NADA is not accurate if the customer shows them the lower pricing. We have personally seen that.
Caveat emptor ALWAYS applies... new OR used. As a buyer, you have to be better informed than the seller, and always be prepared to walk away.

I have seen the same mis-uses of NADA values as you describe as well, but being an informed buyer means you don't have to fall for that.

All that aside, NADA and similar pricing guides remain the gold standard by which financial institutions lend on RVs, so NADA remains the go-to standard for valuation if you're planning on seeking financing. If you've got cash, then the book value doesn't mean much in negotiations.
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Old 08-26-2018, 02:47 PM   #8
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Unfortunately, the high demand of all rv's right now is keeping prices up on both new & used class b's. I bought last October and paid too much. But, I had shopped for a full year on-line and when I found the right RV I made my purchase because there did not seem to be price decline in sight.

In my case, I paid $56,500 for a '2012 Airstream Avenue Suite class b. The price was $10K less than the rare others I had seen or comparable Roadtrek 190P's and was only 200 miles away so I pulled the trigger. Why do I say I paid too much? Because the Avenue was not a successful model for Airstream and only made from 2010-2012. I'll bet I could have new one lingering on a dealer's lot 5-6 years ago for the mid $70's. Mine is in excellent shape and had only 25,000 miles, but $20 grand in depreciation for a 6 year-old model shows how I purchased at the top of the market price-wise.

I don't regret my purchase, it was time and we've already been on a great trip to Yellowstone and back. It's just a seller's market right now.
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Old 08-26-2018, 04:00 PM   #9
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We paid a little above NADA when we bought a 2004 Roadtrek 190P last year. We looked hard at the prices that people were asking (and seemed to be getting as the units vanished so fast) and it seemed like NADA was low. I think the deal we got was fair.

There is a strong advantage in buying from a private party. They know a lot less about how to screw you over. RV dealers have a whole world of fees and hidden costs from “undercoating” to “prep” to “transport”. And the financing shenanigans get you paying double for the RV by the time you are done. With private parties you agree on a price and make the deal.

There are frauds out there - a lot of them - but I found them pretty easy to spot. Just keep the deal simple. Meet face-to-face. You pay the money. They sign over the title.
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Old 08-26-2018, 05:24 PM   #10
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Right now, the class B market for roadtreks is a seller's market.. lots of buyers, not enough sellers... Desirable RT's that are priced right are moving quickly.. There was a 2015 210P that was priced in the 90's since may.. they lowered the price to 79k and it disappeared in 3 or 4 days...
I've seen that with 4 or 5 units i've been considering... if there is one that is "reasonably" priced, it's probably going to move quickly...
I'm just hoping there will be an increase in inventory due to people not wanting to hold their unit over the winter..
I keep looking in the mirror chanting "patience.. patience.. breathe.. breathe.."

that being said, overpriced units are staying unsold..
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