to be accurate when doing your own RV appraisals.
those of you who have access to a "Kelley Blue Book", or the "NADA
Book", and want to Do-it yourself here are a few tips to help
you avoid common mistakes made by Do-it yourselfers and
identification of the exact RV you are appraising
is responsible for most costly errors. Most of the
appraisals we do require information from both books to insure proper
RV identification . Please use the information below to
assist you with your evaluation.
This information must be accurate to insure you are accessing the
proper book and/or section.
are common abbreviations of Class/type
A Motor Home=MH
Class B Van Conversions=VC
Class C mini Motor Homes=MMH
Class C Micro Mini Motor Homes (Toyota Etc.)=MMMH
5th (fifth) Wheel Trailers=FW
Park Model Trailers=PM
Truck Campers=CO for Cab Over and NCO for Non Cab Over. Cab Over is the
portion of the camper that extends over the truck cab, usually the
- MANUFACTURER, MAKE AND MODEL/SERIES: Identify, Identify, Identify
as an Auto can be built by General Motors (Manufacturer), at The
Chevrolet plant (Make) and may be a Camero (Series), RV's can be built
by Fleetwood, at the Southwind Plant, and be called a Storm. A lot of
RV's are built by much smaller companies and will be listed as Make and
Series only. Duplicate Series are known to exist, built by different
manufacturers with tremendous differences in value. If you are not
sure, double check your information. Referring to multiple
guide books will help.
- YEAR: You
must not make an error on this section.
papers are usually a reliable source for year confirmation.
Manufactures dates of Origin are stamped on many RV's. Be aware that
most Dates of manufacture starting in September will be considered the
following year model. Example, 9/02/94 will often mean a 1995 model. I
have seen units built as early as June registered as the following year
dealing with Motorized units we have to separate the Coach information,
from the Chassis information. The Chassis is usually built by Chevy,
Ford, Dodge, John Deere, Oshkosh, Gillig, Freight liner Etc. The Coach
is built by the RV manufacturer (Winnebago, Fleetwood, Beaver,
Bluebird, Coachmen Etc.).
Coach V.I.N. numbers can be on a placard inside near the drivers area,
on the inside of closet doors, on the exterior by the entrance door, or
the left front corner. These placards will often give you dates of
manufacture, model numbers and Coach identification numbers (VIN
VIN numbers are often stamped on the left front frame horn as well as
the front side of the engine firewall. They can also be included on the
coach placard. The chassis VIN includes a letter or number that
identifies the year model. You will need to the contact the proper
dealership or reference one of the after market repair manuals to read
these codes. It is not uncommon to find an earlier year model chassis
under a later year model Coach. Example; a 1986 chassis under a 1987
Coach can be titled as a 1987 motor Home.
Trailers and 5th Wheel VIN numbers can be found on the exterior walls
(usually on a decal that fades from sunlight), on the inside of a
cabinet door or stamped on the steel tongue .
Choosing the improper length from the listings will make thousands of
dollars difference in your figures.
numbers do not always represent the length of the unit. Model numbers
such as M-340 can refer to 34.5' whereas M-345 can refer to a 35.5' and
M-360 can refer to a 38.5' Etc. (Examples from Coachmen Motor homes)
licensing, your State Department of Motor Vehicles will often round the
length up to the next whole number, making your registration a poor
source of information. The lengths used in the NADA book are usually
the lengths supplied by the factory. Kelley book in most cases does not
include the length of the hitch on Trailers.
Referring back and forth between guidebooks (Kelley and NADA Etc.) will
help you sort out which unit you are looking for. Hitch weights and
overall weights can be helpful when identifying Trailers and 5th Wheels.
Pop-Up trailer listings refer to open lengths and closed lengths. Some
Guide books refer to the closed length and some to the open length. Experience
is most helpful when identifying Pop-Ups.
campers are measured at the camper floor. A 9' camper would have a 9'
floor length and usually a 4-6' Cab Over. The Cab over is not included
in the length. Non cab over Campers do exist.
There are fewer width choices but choosing the figures for a light
weight model when you have a full size can be costly.
units are wider or narrower that 8'. The NADA book gives us length and
width. Most light weight units are less than 7.5' wide. The wider units
8.5' are referred to as Wide Body. By using all the
information and referring between books you can usually identify your
The type and brand of a chassis must be identified accurately. The
following is a list of types of chassis. Determining the proper chassis
Front engine Rear wheel drive
Front engine Front wheel drive
Rear engine Pusher
- Motor Home chassis are often built by specialty companies. Names like
Gillig, John Deere and Oshkosh can have Ford , Chevy, Cummins Diesel or
Caterpillar engines. Identify, Identify, Identify.
back and forth between multiple books can be very helpful.
Proper identification is a must.
body is indicated by WB, Slide-out is indicated by SO and Basement
model is indicated by bsmt. If all models built under a Brand Name are
wide body , slide out or basement there will be no reference to those
options in the book . The option is considered standard.
can have optional types of siding . Be sure to verify the type and
check for adds or deducts.
- FLOOR PLAN:
Abbreviations are used to aid in identification and can vary according
floor plans are just not good sellers . The books will not separate the
bad floor plans from the good. Experience is the only thing
you can rely on in this case.
CB- Center Bath
CD- Center Dinette
CK- Center Kitchen
DB- Double Bed
DSO- Double Slide out
FB- Front Bedroom
FD- Front Dinette
FK- Front Kitchen
FL- Front Living room
GT- Garden Tub
KB- King Bed
RB- Rear Bed or Bath
|RD- Rear Dinette
RG- Rear Gaucho
RL- Rear Living Room or Lounge
RQB- Rear Queen Bed
SA- Slide Aisle
SB- Side Bed or Bath
SD- Side Dinette
SK- Side or Split Kitchen
SO- Slide out Room
TB- Twin Bed
WB- Wide Body
QB- Queen Bed
- $ FIGURES:
Headings are shown across the top of each page.
"books" have columns for Suggested New List, Used Wholesale and Retail
figures. These figures are referred to as "First Figures". All adds and
deducts for Optional Equipment, Mileage, Condition and Marketability
must be used to adjust these numbers. Used wholesale figures are
sometimes referred to as Trade-in or Loan values.
Kelley book uses the term "estimated Dealer asking price" when
referring to used retail figures. NADA says their used retail ( High
Book) reflects the retail value of a used unit "ready for resale".
Know what should be added to the "First Figures" and what should not.
sure you determine whether to use the Standard Equipment option tables,
or the Alternate Equipment option tables (Kelley). Check at the
beginning and the end of each Manufacturer and Year section for
Asterisks and notes (NADA). It is common for manufacturers to use their
own system for these notes.
Read the instructions carefully in each book to determine what
equipment is standard and what equipment, if absent, is a deduct. Make
sure you add only the equipment that is listed as an add-on, in the
book you are using. Nothing works better to master this
process than triple checking all instructions and notes.
More errors are made in this area than any other.
Make a thorough physical inspection of the RV.
Look for de-lamination (bubbles or soft spots in the wall), excessive
corrosion or rust, excessive fading, damage and signs of the unit
having been rebuilt. The estimated cost of repair must be deducted from
Check for Excessive wear, odors, water damage/stains, dry rot and soft
floors. Deduct for estimated costs of repair.
Follow the rules you would for any automobile. Check for exhaust
noises, rust, oil leaks/consumption and excessive wear. Deduct for
estimated repair costs.
Check for Chipped, cracked or broken glass. Cracked or broken means
replacement. Deduct for estimated costs.
If you have less than 40% rubber left replacement must be considered.
Deduct for estimated costs.
books tell us Mileage may be considered when
evaluating an RV. If I am going to invest my money in one I certainly
want it considered.
mileage on Gas and Diesel Chassis are handled differently. In the
Kelley Book the Diesel chassis value is increased by low miles but not
reduced by higher than normal mileage . NADA tells us not to add or
deduct for Diesel Mileage's. Gas chassis values are reduced or
increased as indicated by the Books mileage charts or formulas .
following these steps you will have the accurate figures you need.
Buffalo Boy enterprises/RVHELPNET
the author: The author, in the course of his 30 year RV
career, has been an RV Dealer, Dealer Consultant, Sales manager, and
Business manager. Included in his resume is 30 years as a Professional
RV appraiser. His experience and knowledge qualifies him to be an
trusted authority on RV values. Jim Hilbourne, CPA. Retired
RV Management Consultant, Author of several RV Help Books. --
can be reached at his web site www.rvhelpnet.com or E-mail
your written appraisal from RVHELPNET to satisfy the requirements of
Private Parties, Lenders, Insurance companies, Dealers, and
all Government agencies. Our over thirty years experience as a
recognized authority on RV values assures you accurate figures that we
of appraisals available
are some of the ways we can learn the value of
can call your Banker or local Dealer. They will give a
high and low "First Figures". These figures do not include adds or
deducts for options, miles, condition or marketability. Their
supervisors require them to account for their time and do not allow
them to spend the time required to prepare accurate numbers for you.
can contact one of the book publishers. They will offer
to sell you a "consumer addition" book ( not the official
one the dealers and lenders use ). They offer Ball Park
figures that can vary bybgcolor="#ffff99 thousands of dollars. They do
not include the
instructions as to what options should or should not be
added (included in the Books Dealers and Lenders use). They do
not ask about the condition of the RV or offer Marketability advice.
They do not offer a written appraisal that you can take with you to a
Lender, Banker, Insurance company or a negotiation session.
can take your RV to a reputable dealer. They will spend
the time required to inspect your unit. After compiling the collected
data they will use their years of market analysis experience to provide
you with an accurate realistic figure. -------Expect to pay $100.00 and
your own data, fill out our printable "Comprehensive Data Collection
Form" then submit the form to RVHELPNET Appraisals. We will combine the data you provide with our
years of market analysis experience and send you an accurate,
realistic, professional appraisal. We use the same books the Dealers
and Lenders use. Our appraisals are accepted by Lenders,
Dealers, Insurance companies and all Government agencies.
---$14.95 and up.