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Old 05-14-2014, 03:31 PM   #1
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Are NADA Guides any Value?

For several reasons, I'm a subscriber to the NADA Guide that provides wholesale/trade-in values for RV (as well as retail). This is not the information that you can get for free online.

Today a dealer offered to consign my rig for $90K less than the wholesale/trade-in value listed by NADA. I'm thinking he doesn't want the business and was trying to scare me away. The dealership is part of a national chain, which is adverse to taking large motor coaches. The situation got me thinking though...

The NADA guides have effectively become worthless in the automobile market (IMHO) because auto dealers are going to regional auction values vs. NADA trade-in. Makes sense if, as a dealer, you don't want to hold the trade in inventory (and send the trade right to auction) or get some additional profit margin if you do decide to keep the trade. Trouble is, we consumers can't get real time access to the regional auction data.

I'm wondering if something similar is going on in the RV market (i.e., RV dealers are using other value sources vs. NADA). Anyone heard/know anything about this?


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Old 05-14-2014, 03:42 PM   #2
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I think RV Dealers are reflecting the reality that consumers are Internet shopping the entire country....buying solely on price...expecting the Dealer to find/fix all faults & warranty the unit...and then discount +30% off of asking price! Buying is always a lot more fun than selling!

Jack & Maggie
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Old 05-15-2014, 05:42 AM   #3
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I bought my 2002 Beaver last fall after long months of shopping and price research of many different motorhomes. I found the NADA prices to be of very little value. I found the old saying - "How much is my RV worth? Whatever you can get for it." applies here.
Richard Anderson
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Old 05-15-2014, 06:10 AM   #4
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When I began the process of looking for an RV I was still at a point to consider a new 5er or a MH. With the main concern being ware on the engine/transmission from a used RV. Also, I had no experience with either and was not in tune to the going prices.

I happened to drive through the AF Base privet sale lot one evening and my current MH was just parked. I don't know what he used to price it, but it was really low priced, stored inside, and had the low milage I was looking for. Wife and I looked at it and offered cash the next morning. He owed the bank what he sold it for.

The right place at the right time--I'm still shopping, if something newer comes along I'll resell this one or trade it in. The NADA was very helpful in giving me some idea of expected price.
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Old 05-15-2014, 11:27 AM   #5
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Thanks for replies, folks.

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Old 05-15-2014, 11:49 AM   #6
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Book Values

All these book values are just a guide cars trucks rv are all the same they are worth what someone will pay for them . the dealer and the sellers are all just trying to get some of there money back. either to make a profit or to pay off the loan. if you like it and can make the payment with out going broke pay for it and enjoy life my saying is yolo (you only live once.
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Old 05-15-2014, 12:08 PM   #7
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I think the NADA guide very little use in pricing RVs. Maybe in a car or truck they can give an idea of value, but in an RV there are so many factors to consider besides a list of options. Cleanliness, how it's been stored and maintained, how many nights has it been actually used, ODORS, etc. Of course you feel good if you paid well under the NADA price, but you feel ripped off if it doesn't sell for as much as NADA suggests it's worth.

Bob & Donna
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Old 05-16-2014, 06:12 AM   #8
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I agree. Cars and trucks are pretty much a commodity. There's enough of those selling often enough where you can offer a service like NADA.

An RV, especially one that's more than a year or 2 old, is all about condition - which is subjective to say the least? NADA worthless on these. IMHO, people shop these for months, because it takes that long to come up to speed with what they're worth. To allow people to judge asking prices with any degree of confidence?
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Old 05-16-2014, 10:14 AM   #9
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I feel that NADA RV pricing can have value if you understand where the numbers come from and what they represent. My experience has been that most people donít understand these critical factors and how to use the NADA website resulting in inaccuracies.

First, where do NADA numbers come from? It is my understanding that they come from retail sales as reported by RV dealerships. These numbers do not include wholesale auctions or private sales numbers. This is an important factor, especially if you are a private seller or buying from a private seller. Dealers have costs they must cover and they generally offer additional value that cannot be matched by private sellers. These values come at a cost that is eventually passed onto the buyer and are reflected in the dealerís (and NADA) pricing.

Secondly, NADA pricing is based upon the base configuration of a given make/model, so to accurately price out a unit you really have to know what that modelís base configuration is. Only ďoptionalĒ features should be added. Expensive features, such as an Aqua-Hot system, high-end awnings or a large output generator will increase a unitís price but if those items are standard equipment on that make and model, the price would be inaccurate, raised artificially.

Lastly, the NADA pricing is built on averages. They reflect the pricing of units in good and bad condition, units with high and low mileage, and average out regional variations. Used as a starting point, you must adjust for these and other variables. In the end, they can provide comparative value but they do not identify what any one unitís real or market value is.

As a side noteÖ
I am currently searching for a higher end 8 to 10 years old Mountain Aire or Dynasty, possibly with a tag axle.

I have created a spreadsheet where I list the features and stats of the units I find listed on the Internet and I include the NADA values for each and have Excel calculate the variance between the asking price and NADA average and low price. True, this does not tell me about the unitís condition or true value but it does help in comparing multiple dissimilar units and weeding out those with unrealistic value expectations. There are many motorhomes for sale and itís simply not practical to dig into the details for a large number of possibilities. I use this data to identify units with the greatest potential, allowing me to focus efforts and utilize my time effectively.
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Old 05-16-2014, 10:54 AM   #10
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I'm in the process of trying to sell my 40DP and have been a bit frustrated with NADA.

When considering consignment, the local dealers I've spoken to pull out their NADA dealer books and quote what they claim is wholesale. When trying to determine an asking price, I didn't have much trouble with most of the process but I have a real problem with both NADA's wholesale and retail valuations because they don't even list the Cummins 400 ISL as an option to be considered. They only list a 350 Cat.

The 400 HP Cummins was a $10,000 option when I bought the coach new and NADA doesn't even recognize that this was an available option for my coach. Soooo..... naturally banks won't take this into consideration when financing... making the optional engine nearly worthless.

I understand that "options" have questionable value when establishing a selling price of a used rig, but NADA recognizes additional value if I have a 10 CD changer rather than a single CD player... yet they ignore a $10K engine.

Rick, Nancy, Peanut & Lola our Westie Dogs & Bailey the Sheltie.

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Old 05-16-2014, 11:10 AM   #11
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The other flaw in using NADA prices is they represent price at sale, not listing. As has commonly been said, dealers list price is often 10-35% above the settled on sale price, so those numbers don't really help decide if you should take time and energy to pursue a dealer's listing. In addition, the smaller number of actual comparable units for sale, dispersed all across the country, leaves a lot of fudge factor.

Bob & Donna
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Old 06-06-2014, 07:55 AM   #12
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It seems like in dealers in the west specifically California take the nada price of your coach with no adds minus 20% off that number and that is the value. Of course the next day it's on there lot for high nada value plus 10% . The motor home market is a rip off. Let's face it,,, the dealers and manufactures know this. We all do business everyday to make money but this gig is ridiculous ...
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Old 06-06-2014, 08:16 AM   #13
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And of course, there's the thing that I was told decades ago when I sold cars for a living and I complained that my dealership wasn't giving black book values on trade-ins.

The book don't buy cars. We do.
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Old 06-07-2014, 04:51 AM   #14
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NADA = worthless.
Google is your friend. Do a search on year/model, and you'll get hits from around the country, usually some that are in your vicinity, and that will give you a much more accurate idea of what it's worth.
My coach (2005) shows up in several hits that are within 200miles of me. Some listings were asking $89K (insane), most were around $69K (reasonable), and a few were $59K (mostly higher mileage, but could be good deals if not).

We may be selling later this summer, since we've moved to Florida, and there's SO much to do, and we'll likely move back into boating. I'll probably list it for $65k, and go from there. There's what looks to be a nice one in Oregon for $59k...but no one in the Southeast is going to buy a unit in Oregon to save a few thousand $$, unless they want to take a nice vaca on the way home

Bottom line, no one else pays any attention to them, why would you?


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