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Old 08-17-2009, 01:44 PM   #1
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Book values on older motorhomes?

Hi, I've been watching the local Craigslist and looking at older ('84 - '90) Class A motorhomes. I have been baffled by the prices people put on their rigs, especially considering the current economy. In comparing their asking prices to what NADA.com lists, most are not even close - usually 3 or 4 times (or more) the NADA book value.

Many ads say their rigs are "below book value". What book are they looking at? One recent post lists an '86 Pace Arrow 32' for $9500 and claims it is "thousands under book" but NADA says Average Retail is $2812. What am I missing here? Is NADA the wrong place to be looking for values on older rigs or are all these folks just plain whacked?

I would appreciate some experienced insight.
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Old 08-17-2009, 09:26 PM   #2
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NADA RV book values are estimates based on typical depreciation, not actual reported sales statistics, so yes they can be off sometimes. And on coaches of that age, they have continued to depreciate the value in the book whereas the coach probably hit a "floor" value where it won't decline any more as long as it is in operating condition and not trashed. On an RV of that vintage, there really is no book value. Condition is everything. Somewhere in the $5000-$9500 range sounds like a reasonable "floor" price for an old Class A in decent condition.

As for "thousands under book", that's just sales hyperbole. There are only two books for RVs, NADA and Kelley Blue Book. Rest assured that neither of them has a value on a 86 Pace that is "thousands" above $9500.
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Old 08-18-2009, 09:19 AM   #3
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Thanks Gary!

I knew something wasn't right and I was feeling confused and frustrated as I was seeing values that were so far apart from each other (NADA vs. the ads). I had just assumed that NADA was based on sales history, but the numbers seemed unbelievably low - now I understand they are just arbitrary depreciation numbers. Makes you wonder why they even bother publishing the data for older rigs.

Thanks for the clear explanation.
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Old 08-18-2009, 09:49 AM   #4
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The worst you can get for making an offer is a "no." Then move on to the next one.

There are some pretty proud owners out there that value their motor home more than "book" value. Also, many inflate the number knowing that there will be an offer made.

Good luck
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Old 08-18-2009, 04:39 PM   #5
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Another weakness in the NADA RV Guide is that popular brands are depreciated the same as those that are common or even unpopular. For example, NADA prices will be substantially low for a 10 year Country Coach.

On the other hand, the ad prices are usually inflated beyond reasonable expectation.
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Old 08-18-2009, 08:36 PM   #6
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Good point Gary! Not all motorhomes offer the same quality and therefore value retension. I think some people see a similar year/size motorhome, like a Country Coach, compared to their Fleetwood derivative and automatically assume that their's should demand the same asking price.

I have owned a couple of TTs and a Class C in years past and as I approach retirement within a few years (hopefully!) I find myself wanting to have the wheels moving beneath me and do some serious travelling.

An older class A could be a nice way to ease into that lifestyle . . . or it could be a nasty money-pit . Either way I find myself perusing the ads and wanting & wishing.
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Old 08-18-2009, 08:50 PM   #7
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I think the "book" values also go the other way for newer coaches. When I bought my current coach the nada value was $50k higher than the msrp when it was new. Also when I sold my previous gas class A both kelly and nada gave values I know would have been very nice to get but was no where near realistic.
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Old 08-19-2009, 09:30 AM   #8
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Two years ago I did some serious looking via internet trading services and discovered that the sellers had very inflated prices. They were uniformly at NADA high retail and they took advantage of including every option that they could possibly count. They offer no guarantees or other services that dealers offer. No doubt some of the owners felt that their MHs were special and surely worth more than the NADA low retail or wholesale. These prices lead to a huge depreciation cost that are surely hard to accept. However, if I buy at their prices then I will someday have a very hard time convincing a buyer to accept the extra amount I paid for the MH. I ended up keeping my current MH since nobody seemed motivated to sell their upscale MH.
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Old 08-19-2009, 09:38 AM   #9
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At the risk of being off-topic, a number of years ago we looked at new and fairly new Class A diesel pusher motorhomes and found very few used units that were priced realistically. In our experience, we attributed this to the following two factors:

1. The owners hadn't educated themselves to the pricing structure of new motorhomes and had paid at or very close to MSRP for their units. They were then establishing their asking price based on what they had paid. The result was that (for example) after some serious negotiations we could buy a new Newmar Dutch Star for what many/most owners were asking for 2-3 year old units in the used market.

2. The owners were upside down on their financing and were trying to sell the used motorhomes for what they owed on them - this relates to 1. above, of course.

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Old 08-19-2009, 10:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J Walker View Post
Two years ago I did some serious looking via internet trading services and discovered that the sellers had very inflated prices. They were uniformly at NADA high retail and they took advantage of including every option that they could possibly count.
Something I think a lot of sellers miss when they ADD all the item checkboxes shown on the NADA website is that those checkboxes are NOT for standard equipment, only optional added features. This is not clearly explained on the page where those items are selected but buried on their FAQs pages.

By checking off all the items that were merely just standard equipment, it can add several thousand to the value of a newer rig in the NADA pricing.
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Old 08-19-2009, 11:10 AM   #11
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For the years your shopping in I don't think NADA will be very helpful. There's going to be a wide discrepency between individual units of that vintage. From sweet to scarp heap. And too many owner's won't recognize the difference.
A little off topic but may be helpfull, is to narrow down your search parameters. If you can pick a favorite Brand, perfered chassis and powertrain it will help to eliminate a lot of clutter. My personal shopping experiance was much more enjoyable once I knew what I wanted to find.
Good Luck.
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Old 08-19-2009, 03:16 PM   #12
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-B View Post
Thanks Gary!

I knew something wasn't right and I was feeling confused and frustrated as I was seeing values that were so far apart from each other (NADA vs. the ads). I had just assumed that NADA was based on sales history, but the numbers seemed unbelievably low - now I understand they are just arbitrary depreciation numbers. Makes you wonder why they even bother publishing the data for older rigs.

Thanks for the clear explanation.
The reason is simple, there are not ENOUGH sales on RV's to do it anyother way. Gary is right, don't be fooled by hyper-bull. Bottom line was/is they probably paid way too much and just wanting to recover as much as possible at your expnse !!
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:00 PM   #13
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I think that the NADA prices for older Motorhomes are not accurate. I looked up various 1990-1992 Class A gas engine with New prices of around 65K that now have current NADA values of 4500 to 6000 and Country Coaches with diesel pushers with New prices 220-260K with current NADA values about the same. How is that possible?
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:26 PM   #14
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The "average" motorhome of that age will probably have deteriorated to the point where that is all it is worth. However, that doesn't mean "all" motorhomes of that age will be like that. If you read the fine print in the NADA RV listings it says something to the effect that "RVs in excellent condition can sell for much more than the average listing price." There are plenty of older high end coaches around that have been well cared for and remodeled and which sell for lots of $$.
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