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RV Q & A with Mark Polk

  • Monday, April 11 2011 @ 06:21 pm UTC
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RV News and Stories RV Q & A with Mark Polk

...with Mark Polk

Q. Dear Mark,
My beloved husband recently passed away. We bought a Class motorhome in 2006. My husband basically took care of everything regarding it. I just cooked, cleaned, and did laundry. I have never even driven it!

Since it was placed on long-term financing, it is imperative that I sell it just to get out from under the debt. I know practically nothing about its operation/maintenance. I am so overwhelmed .. I haven't even been able to pull up a $$ value on it. Is there any assistance or advice you could offer? Any information or guidance you could offer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Mark Says:
I am so sorry to hear about your husband. I can only imagine how difficult it is for you.

You mentioned you are trying to sell the motorhome. There are a couple of ways to do this, but based on what you have said I would recommend you contact a local (reputable) RV dealer and ask them for information on selling your unit on consignment.

This means that they would show and sell the unit based on a price you both agree on. They get paid in one of two ways. They get a percentage of the selling price, or anything they get above and beyond the agreed on selling price they get to keep as their fee.

You need to be careful when you negotiate the price. If you tell them you just want the payoff for the lender you might need to pay their fee out of your pocket. But if you are somewhat upside down (owe more than the unit is worth) this may be the easiest way, or the only way to help them sell the unit quicker.

On the other hand if you put a large down payment towards the purchase of the unit, and already have some equity, you can negotiate the deal with the selling dealership.

Just be sure and read & understand the consignment contract before signing it. Check all the small details like: Who is responsible for keeping the unit clean, and do they keep it locked up at night. Will there be a fee if it doesn't sell by the end of the contract, and how long is the contract for. What happens if the unit gets damaged while sitting on their lot.

You will be responsible for insurance and making the monthly payments are made for the time period it will be on their lot.

It's important that the seller is reputable with a professional sales staff. Also that they deal with consignment units on a regular basis. You want salespeople who are motivated to sell consignment units, not just dealer inventory. Sometimes the sales commission is not as good on consignment units and salespeople shy away from them. The better it is priced the easier and quicker it will sell.

With spring here this is a good time to sell.

I personally think this is your best option based on what you have told me. The other option is to try to list and sell the unit yourself, but that requires you know a great deal about the unit and it's value etc.

Sit down with the dealer and discuss what a reasonable selling price is, based on the units age, condition, mileage and options. Compare that price to what is owed on the unit and see if it is something you feel comfortable with. If you can afford to pay the difference on the price you come up with it can make the unit sell quicker.

I don't want to lessen your hopes of selling it on consignment but I have seen overpriced units sit on dealers lots for long periods of time and some never sell. Not only are people not willing to pay the high price, but banks won't lend the money either. Lots of folks can't come up with a big down payment to bridge the gap.

If you have any other questions or concerns feel free to write and ask. I would be more than glad to try and answer your questions. To get an idea of a value I would need as much information as possible, like: year, make, model, chassis (ford or workhorse, diesel), mileage, any optional equipment above and beyond a standard build unit.

Lots of dealers only like to offer the seller a wholesale price that they will tell you they can sell the unit for and then they try to sell it for a much higher profit margin. Remember they are in business to make money and are looking out for the dealership.

Just let me know if there is anything else I can do. And again I am sorry to hear about your husband.

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