How to Buy, Sell & Finance RVs on eBay

So you have a sense of adventure? You want to finance an RV and are willing to push the edge of the envelope to find it? You have the guts to bid on a high-ticket item without ever having actually seen or touched it? Hey... you may be an eBay buyer!

Most people don't have the courage to even complete an online RV loan appliation, much less, buy the RV on eBay. Most people sit and watch the listings come and go, but never work up the nerve to "Click" the button on the mouse and commit to an actual purchase. They bite their lip with every BARGAIN that slips away, but never get past their deep-seated sense of dread.

Do you have the nerve to click the button on the mouse? If you do, you may realize a bargain that other, more timid buyers never will. Buying and financing an RV on eBay is not for the faint of heart. Once you click the mouse and make your bid, you've placed a binding contract between you and the seller. If you end up with the winning bid you'll be expected to send a deposit within days. You will be expected to follow up on your actions, complete your motorhome financing, and follow through with the sale. Want to STEAL an RV? Think eBay!

We can Help with Financing RVs Purchased on eBay

I've researched hundreds of online auctions and discovered that the largest number of RVs being sold and financed are bringing values closer to wholesale than to retail. In fact, many RVs sold online are sold at or BELOW wholesale. This obviously makes the process of boat or motorhome financing much easier, and may help to lower the amount required for your down payment. Best Rate can help with the financing of RVs purchased through eBay and/or from Private Sellers.

Why would anyone sell a perfectly good RV for wholesale or less? Good question. It was the question I had when I began researching RVs being sold by both dealers and individuals on eBay. Being an RV dealer myself, I had a BIG interest in learning why so many of these RVs were being sold so CHEAP!

After interviewing DOZENS of the so-called "Power Sellers" on eBay Motors, I discovered that many of these sellers were actually RV dealers selling dated (older) used inventory during their slow seasons to produce CASH FLOW! Remember we talked about the importance of cash flow to a dealership.

The beauty of this "Slow-Season-Cash-Flow" phenomenon is that there is a slow season somewhere in the country at ANY time of the year. In the winter, the Northern US states are in their slow season. In the summer, the Southern US states are in their slow season. And, just about any time of the year, MANY dealers across the country are going through slow economic periods that compel them to make sacrifices in order to increase their cash flow. This means that they are willing to sell and finance RVs, motorhomes and selected inventory at or below wholesale!

Where do many of these dealers produce this badly needed cash flow? On eBay, of course. This is where you can find the bargain of a lifetime. What's wrong with this "dated" inventory? Usually nothing. It's up to you to research and find out.

Information is the Key to Buying and Financing RVs on eBay

The key to WINNING BIG on eBay is RESEARCH! Just like purchasing and financing an RV from an individual or from an RV dealer, you need to know everything possible about any RV you're considering.

The first step is to determine exactly what you are looking for. A bargain is no bargain if you've purchased something that doesn't fit your needs. Be careful not to get carried away bidding on RVs before you've done your homework.

Remember, a bid on eBay is a legal and binding contract. That early and CHEAP bid you place is liable to end up the winning bid, so bid with caution.

Never "fall in love" with any particular RV. If something doesn't feel right, or the seller won't answer all of your questions completely... back off! There's always going to be another RV that will fit your needs.

Ask Questions

After you've located several RVs that meet your requirements, read each of the descriptions VERY carefully. Look for specific language that might indicate ANY kind of problem(s). Pay careful attention to the description of the RV's condition. Make note of anything that isn't explained, photographed and/or documented to your satisfaction.

PRIOR to your loan pre-approval, and especially, before placing you first bid, ALWAYS contact the seller and ask any and all questions you have about the RV. You can contact the seller by email or in most cases by phone. I prefer to initially contact the Seller by phone. This gives me a chance to "read" the seller. I can see if he is hesitant about answering particular questions, or if he seems insincere about the condition of the vehicle. I can also get a feel for why he is selling the RV.

In many cases the seller will even tell you what his RESERVE (minimum price) is. If it's too high, and he is adamant about it, this might save you a lot of time in bidding on an RV that can't be purchased for a bargain price.

Some sellers always seem to stand out from the crowd. They include extensive descriptions and dozens of high quality pictures. This is the sign of an experienced seller. Other sellers may have more limited descriptions and fewer pictures, but this alone doesn't mean that the RV isn't the bargain you're looking for. Simply keep a list of additional questions you have about the RV and ask the seller.

Don't be shy about asking for more pictures, especially if the seller hints at some problems or imperfections that aren't shown in the pictures. If the seller doesn't respond promptly and candidly to your questions, it may be better to back off and look for another opportunity.

Don't wait until you are the winning bidder to start asking questions! Backing out of a legitimate bid can result in YOU being banned from eBay. At the very least, you might receive negative feedback, which is permanently added to your record on eBay. This is extremely harmful to your online reputation, and causes many sellers not to trust your bid or accept your deposit, upon winning an auction.

Bidding Procedure Prior to RV Loan Approval

Once you've picked your target vehicle(s), you will need to establish a bidding strategy. Many buyers will wait unit the auction has progressed to within a day or so of the end before placing a bid. Others choose to get into the action from the start; this way they get a better feel for the other bidders. The choice is up to you and your bidding style.

Prior to actually bidding on any RV, you should watch other auctions and see how the bidding progresses. Imagine that you are an interested buyer involved in the auction. Watch the various bids and how they were placed. Notice how you would have reacted to each and every bid. This is an excellent way to plan your bidding strategy BEFORE you become emotionally involved in your own bidding war.

Whatever your strategy, you WILL need to eventually pull the trigger and place your first bid. At this point you should already have your RV financing in place and know your maximum bid. This makes bidding much easier, since you already know the highest amount you are willing to pay. Refer to the chapter on establishing RV values PRIOR to making your first bid.

If you've ever bid on an item on eBay Motors you might have noticed that your bid showed up lower that the amount you actually bid. This is because eBay keeps track of your high bid, while only showing an amount that's slightly higher than the next highest bidder. If someone tries to out bid you, they must surpass your actual bid amount before it will be posted as a bid on the listing.

It sounds complicated, but after placing a few bids you should be able to understand the system. It's used to keep bidders from waiting until the end of the auction and then placing a bid slightly higher than the highest bid... AND it can work in your favor as a buyer. Best Rate can help with the loans for RVs or boats purchased from eBay Sellers, no matter if they are RV Dealers or Private Sellers.

Evaluating the Seller's Feedback

Everything on eBay is built around trust. Buyer and seller FEEDBACK is the primary determining factor in what kind of trust you should place in someone buying or selling on eBay. If they are new, with no proven track record or feedback, it's up to you to determine if you wish to trust this person.

Many times I've had a winning bidder with a fairly new eBay account, and little or NO feedback. My gut instinct told me to be careful, but in most cases, the sale went through without a hitch. Just because a SELLER has no feedback, doesn't mean they're not a trustworthy person. Remember that you will be spending a considerable amount of time, money and effort by the time you finally arrive to pick up your new RV.

On the other hand, if a seller has a good amount of positive feedback, you can be relatively certain that the seller is trustworthy. However, just because a seller has good feedback, doesn't mean you should believe everything they tell you. It's up to you to make an informed decision about the quality and condition of the unit.

To review a seller's feedback and other information related to their past performance, simply look at the "Seller Information" section at the top, right of any auction page. There will be a username with a number in parentheses next to their username. The number reflects how many feedback responses have been left for the seller from his past buyers. There may also be different colored stars or other symbols, which relate to the seller's standing on eBay.

To view the seller's feedback on past sales, just click on the username. There you will be able to view comments and ratings pertaining to the seller's past transactions. This is an excellent indication of the seller's character (or lack of it). Be sure to check the member's feedback as a seller, not as a buyer. Both are important, but it's the seller feedback that is important at this time.

Be careful not to exclude a seller with many positive remarks and one or two negative ratings. Always read the seller's remarks relating to the negative feedback. Many times it is the buyer who may have caused the problem.

You should also be concerned with YOUR feedback as a BUYER. Most sellers will feel uncomfortable dealing with a buyer who has less than a 95% positive feedback rating, or if you are a new buyer with little or NO feedback. If you've only done a few transactions on eBay, even ONE negative feedback can make you appear to be a risk. Take care to ALWAYS live up to your obligations on eBay.

No RV Warranty?

Always assume an RV on eBay is being sold in "as is" condition. Most individuals don't have the ability or inclination to provide a warranty. Unless you see a written indication of warranty included in the description of the RV, assume there is none.

Some sellers, especially RV dealers, will place a limited warranty on their RVs. Usually this is a VERY limited warranty on some of the RV's appliances such as refrigerator, air conditioning, furnace and water systems.

Depending on the age of the RV you are interested in, be realistic in your expectation of it's condition. You should expect normal wear and tear, however many units that sell at or below wholesale are in excellent condition. Do your research in advance so you will pleasantly surprised.

If you have placed a bid and are unable to reach your seller, you do have recourse. By eBay policy, if you are unable to reach the seller during the course of the auction, you may retract your bid AFTER it has been placed. Don't count on this however. Do your research BEFORE BIDDING!

Completed eBay RV, Boat & Vehicle Auctions

You can find results of past auctions on similar RVs by looking at "Completed Items" from the search results. You may need to use the Advanced Search, and select "Completed Items" from the "Item Status" drop-down menu. You must also select "Other Vehicles" from the "Search in Categories" drop-down menu. Usually you can simply select the "Completed Auctions" selection from any search page.

This is a good way to find out how much RVs have brought in auctions similar to ones you are considering. You may be surprised at the various results. This is also a good way to get a feel for the type of RV you are interested in. You'll see that many of the previously listed RVs brought many bids, while others attracted none. Study the RVs listed to learn more about auctions that are bringing bids and ones that aren't.

REMEMBER! If something is selling at a price far below wholesale - BE CAREFUL! This is when you need to be requesting extra pictures and lots of extra information. It may be a bargain or it may be a bomb. It's up to you to find out BEFORE you bid, and especially before you drive or fly half way across the country. USE CAUTION and research all aspects of your target RV!

There are good reasons why you deserve to find a bargain on eBay. You are taking a risk by purchasing something you have not physically seen, touched, driven or pulled. You will also have an extensive amount of time and money involved in picking up the RV, so be sure and factor these costs into the maximum price you have PRE-SET for any RV you are bidding on.

Discipline is the Way of eBay Insiders

ALWAYS research the true value of an RV prior to placing your first bid. We talk about this in the Valuation Chapter. Establish the highest amount you are willing to pay for the vehicle. Once the bids exceed your pre-set maximum - Gracefully bow out and start looking for another similar unit. Don't let yourself get into a bidding war. Keep a cool head and NEVER exceed your maximum.

If possible, bid only on auctions where the seller will allow you to CANCEL the sale AFTER you have physically inspected and tested the RV. Also, never pay the full purchase price of the RV in advance. A maximum deposit of $500 - $2,000 should always be sufficient to assure the seller of your sincere intentions to purchase the RV.

This should also be accompanied by a completed Purchase Agreement with all figures, notes, refund exceptions and of course SIGNATURES of both buyer(s) and seller(s). You should be able to find a basic Vehicle Purchase Agreement on your state's DMV website or elsewhere online. You can also purchase them at most Office Supply Stores. By now you should have also completed your RV loan pre-approval.

Basic Guidelines After Your RV Loan Approval

Here is a condensed set of guidelines to follow if you plan on purchasing an RV through eBay Motors. We will examine each of these points in detail throughout the book.

Set up Your eBay Motors Account:

This may seem obvious, but even if you have an eBay account, you will need to set up an "eBay Motors" account. If you plan on bidding on vehicles over $10,000 to $15,000 depending on their current policy, you will need to have a credit card and/or a checking account on file.

Know Your RV Seller:

You should scrutinize all the information available about your seller. Start with his feedback and make sure there are very few, if any negative remarks. If there are more than a few, you might want to move on to another seller.

Know Your Product:

Decide on a specific make and model, or at least narrow it down to several similar types of vehicle. Make frequent checks on the auction market by searching competed auctions on eBay. Make notes of how much similar vehicles have sold for.

Research RV, Boat or Vehicle Value Guides:

You can check the above types of values on "" prior to making any bids. Many RVs being sold through eBay Motors are selling at or near the wholesale value. Be sure you know what it is. Pay careful attention to our chapter on establishing wholesale and retail values.

You may also wish to read our articles on how to "realistically" find the Wholesale and Retail Value of Your RV or Motorhome.

Read the Fine Print:

Most vehicles online are sold "As-Is" In other words - NO warranty. Once you take delivery, it's yours. Before you bid is the time to learn every bit of information on the vehicle as possible. Many times you will find mention of defects in the fine print, or in an areas of the listing you may not normally examine. You should also email or phone the seller and ask for more information about the vehicle. The more you know, the easier it will be to "Pull the Trigger" when the time comes.

Get it in Writing:

Make sure that anything you've been promised is in writing. NEVER rely on oral agreements. Always inspect all appliances before completing the sale. If anything isn't working properly, re-negotiate the price to reflect the cost of the needed repairs. Add any and all negotiated items to the purchase and deposit agreement.

Don't Pay in Cash:

If possible you should use a wire transfer from your RV lender, cashier's check or money order. If the seller will accept PayPal or a credit card for the deposit, you will have at least SOME protection against fraud. If the seller will only accept certified funds, never hand over the money until you have fully inspected the vehicle and are completely satisfied. Many buyers and sellers are using bank to bank wire transfers. Our RV and motorhome loan providers may also act as an intermediary or escrow agent during the deposit, inspection and final payment and delivery period.

Use a Reputable Escrow Company:

A good, legitimate escrow company will act as a go-between for buyer and seller, ensuring the merchandise lives up to its description and that the funds have come through before passing either along to buyer or seller. This protects both parties. Beware: Fake escrow sites are popping up faster than they can be shut down. is a well-established company recommended by eBay. Again, Best Rate's RV financing specialists can assist you in this matter when processing your RV, boat or motorhome loan.

Make Sure You Have an Out Before Finalizing Your Financing:

Bid only on auctions where sellers allow you to cancel after you inspect and/or driven the RV. If possible, only bid on auctions whose seller will refund your deposit if you are not satisfied with the RV after you have inspected it. If you purchase airline tickets to inspect an RV for purchase, try to purchase ROUND-TRIP tickets... Just in case the vehicle doesn't live up to your expectations. We can make arrangements to only release funds for your RV purchase after you have given final approval.

Verify the Title Work:

You should request a copy of the title and/or the seller's current registration prior to your deposit on the RV. This way you can contact any previous or current lien holder and verify if the title is free and clear or if it will need to be paid off prior to delivery. When you arrive to take delivery of your new RV, you should check the title carefully once again. Be sure that there is no lien on the vehicle, and that there is a valid lien release attached to the title or printed on the face of the title. When Best Rate is involved in the financing, this is normally part of our RV loan closing procedure.

Learn, Save and Enjoy!

Barry Wilder - President
Best Rate Recreational Loans
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