We’ve been busy with school, soccer, reffing jobs for the kids, and life in general. We are making a couple of vehicle changes as well. We have decided to sell our truck. Fred (what we named the truck), has been amazing. I never thought I would be a truck person, but I love sitting up high and having lots of room.
However, for the apartment/townhome complex we are living in, it is a lot of truck. Fred wants to be hauling tools or another RV, not taking short trips to school and back home again. He’s bored and used to a more glamorous life.
We want him to find a good home. He is up to date on his oil changes, just had a transmission flush, brakes checked, and new tires put on. He has been detailed inside and given a fresh bath. He is looking forward to his next adventure.
Selling your RV is a lot like selling your house. You can sell it yourself, or go through a dealer (who will outright buy it or selling it on consignment). We contacted some RV dealers, but they were offering extremely low-ball offers, so we decided to sell it ourselves. It was just like selling a house: fixing little things, cleaning out our stuff, doing a deep clean inside and out, and posting it in different places.
Step One:Clean and Repair
Make any repairs and clean. We fixed a few small things like holes where screws were taken out when we removed the couch, dinette seat, and bottom bunks. We looked around the outside and made sure all the seals and caulking were in good condition. We did a thorough clean on the inside and scrubbed and waxed the outside.
We emptied the RV of all of our stuff. Since we were close to home, we kept things with us at my in-laws where we were staying or at the storage locker. Less clutter makes a tiny space seem bigger.
Step Two: List Your RV
RVs are like cars: you need to pay off the loan to get the title. Before listing, we paid off the RV. Once we received the Loan Release letter, I went to the DMV with the letter to get a paper copy of the title. (Ohio now has electronic titles and you have to go in person to an office to get a paper title.)
Similar to listing your house, some places charge* for the listing.
RVT.com charges $29.95 for a Basic listing (Listed 30 days, 5 photos, unlimited text) all the way up to $239.95 for the Ultimate National (Listed Until Sold, unlimited photos, unlimited text, video, National spotlight, National search featured, National homepage listing).
RVTrader.com starts at $54.95 (Listed 2 weeks, 4 photos) and goes up to $199.95 for the Best Package (Listed 1 year, 50 photos, YouTube video, featured on homepage and results, premium placement).
RVPostings.com starts at the Standard free package (Listed 3 months, 20 photos, video, featured on social media page) and has a $12.99 Featured Package (Listed 3 months, 20 photos, video, featured on social media page, featured on homepage above standard postings).
I started with the Basic packages on the listing websites, but soon realized that the more expensive packages could help sell it faster. I upgraded the RVTrader.com listing to the Best Package. TIP: If you are even thinking about changing later to a higher package, do it first. When I clicked “Upgrade”, it charged me the full amount, even though I was upgrading packages within the original package listing time-frame. You will not get a prorated amount for the higher packages, you will just be charged the full amount for both types of listings.
If you are able, place a For Sale sign on the RV. These signs are $1 or less at Walmart and are an easy way of passive advertising. However, not all campgrounds will allow the sign. The campground we were out removed it.
Make sure your timing is right. In general (for the Midwest at least), not a lot of people are going to be buying in the winter, unless they are looking for a great deal. We wanted it sold relatively quickly, as we were at a Thousand Trails campground and only had a limited time to stay (21 days). Once our first time was up, we placed it in the storage yard at the campground. We had just made a bunch of minor fixes, cleaned and waxed it, and really didn’t want to chance driving it again and having something happen (you just never know when you are on the road). The week in the storage yard counted as our time out of the park, so we were able to come back in for another couple of weeks with our membership.
STEP THREE: SHOW THE RV TO BUYERS
We had a buyer reach out to us to look at it and we met them at the campground on 7/30. At this time the RV was in the storage lot, but they still wanted to see it. They lived almost 2 hours away in Kentucky!
STEP FOUR: NEGOTIATE
They gave us a $500 deposit to hold it for them, as they were leaving for vacation and the closing date would be later than what we were hoping for. They had a RV Inspector come out on 8/3 to look it over. We had just moved it to a full hook-up site, so the timing really worked out well. Once they received the report and we negotiated the price a little bit, we settled on a closing date.
STEP FIVE: FINALIZE DETAILS& SELL
We had requested a cashier’s check for payment, as we had heard stories about cash transactions going poorly (Thank you Uncle John for the cashier’s check idea!).
I printed out a bill of sale, since I didn’t know what Kentucky would require in order for the buyers to get tags.
We wanted to make sure the funds were in the bank before handing over the keys, so we arranged to meet the buyers at our bank. I called the bank to make sure a notary would be there. On the date of closing, we met at the bank to notarizing the title and the bill of sale and to exchange payment. Once the check had been deposited and the paperwork notarized, I handed over the keys. They were first time RV owners and wanted me to walk them through the RV and our process for setting up/breaking down. They hadn’t even seen it with the slides out since they had been on vacation! The boys and I headed up to the campground to show them around. They were a really nice couple and I am glad to see Betsie go to a good home.
STEP SIX: RELAX
It was a big relief when the RV sold. We no longer had to worry about where to store it for the winter, carry payments and insurance on it.
Bought for $31,101.03 on 6/4/20.
Had a payoff balance of $30,093.47. Unlike a home, you have to have the balance paid off in order to get the title to hand over to the buyer. We moved a few things around and were able to pay it off before selling it.
Listing Fees: $284.85.
Of course, there were other expenses along the way, just like owning a home. During our trip, we had to replace the propane tank regulator, have a Mobile RV Tech come out to replace the computer board in the bathroom fan (luckily the manufacturer sent us the part under warranty), I replaced the water valve in the toilet, and other little repairs and fixes along the way.
Paper Title: $16. Ohio has electronic titles now. You have to go into the DMV with the cleared loan letter to get a paper copy.
Sold it with the TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) ($327), Furion Back-up camera ($545.65), and the WeeBoost. We also included the futon we replaced the broken couch with ($200).
Sold on 8/10/21 for $29,500.
All in all, after selling the RV, it costs us about $2700 to live in the RV for a year (not including campground fees).
*Prices correct at time of post. Please check current pricing before you sign up.
Betsie was what we named the RV, as her coloring reminded me of a cow (the black and white ones). We went back and forth on the issue of keeping her or not. We had a bunch of mixed feelings on the whole issue. She was our home for a year and we had some attachment. We knew some of her quirks and were settled in the space. We still have places in the country we want to see and traveling in the RV made it easier in some ways to see the country. Our whole house moved with us, so we didn’t have to keep packing and unpacking clothes. It also gave us the option to make our own meals instead of eating out all of the time. It was nice to have our own space, a home base.
In the end, we decided to sell for several reasons.
Space. We are renting right now and do not have the space for the RV where we live. To keep it, we would have had to winterize and find a storage place.
Budget. With the kids back in non-public schools, our budget is tighter than when we were on the road. If we kept the RV, we would have had the monthly loan payments, the general upkeep of a RV, and the storage costs in addition to the house rent and utilities. The RV industry, including used RV’s, is still at a high demand, so it was a good time to sell.
Travel. We still want to travel and see more of the US, Canada, and other countries. However, with the kids back in school (in-person) and Covid flaring up again, we weren’t sure when that would be. We didn’t want to keep the RV in storage for a year or more without it being used.
So, in the end we did decide to sell the RV. We sold it to a nice couple just starting out who will be traveling for his job. There were mixed feelings as we sold it as well: relief that we didn’t have the debt for it anymore, and sadness that that part of our journey was over (at least for the moment). We’ve talked about getting a different RV when it will be just Ben and I traveling (when the kids are in college).
If you are curious as to how we sold our RV and more of the details, that post is coming soon!
We have been asked by almost everyone if we miss being on the road. The answer is yes and no. Ben definitely has more of the wandering feet than I do, so I think he misses it the most. I am more of a homebody, so being able to stay in one place for a while is nice.
What I don’t miss:
Sharing 1 bathroom. Seriously, 3 boys and 1 girl sharing a bathroom. I’m not even that needy in the bathroom, but I can’t pee outside as easily as they can.
My house moving while I sleep. No, I did not sleep in the trailer on move days (which is illegal for tow behinds). Nick is very energetic: he bounces while he walks, and tosses and turns in his sleep. Since they were at the front and we were in the back, we felt every time he turned over.
Dealing with poop. I know there is the occasional clogged toilet that may happen in my future. However, I do not miss having to keep an eye on the black tank levels, having to empty the tank, and deal with the hoses on move day. I also enjoy not having to add water to the black tank and adding chemicals every time we emptied it. I will say that the height of the RV toilet was really nice. It was taller than a standard toilet, so the first time I went to sit down on a regular house toilet, I fell a bit.
Hearing our neighbors. I like our new location and when we first moved in, we only had neighbors on one side and they are really quiet. Some RV parks presented us with interesting neighbors. RV walls are not very thick; if I can hear people talking outside, then the chances are they can hear us inside, which I didn’t like.
Navy showers. The water heater and grey tank could only hold so much, so any showers were Navy style (get wet, water off, soap up, water on to rinse off). Our shower now is huge compared to the RV shower. We can turn all the way around and I can actually bend over to shave in the shower. The water pressure is also much better.
The bed. RV beds are not really known for being very comfortable for more than a weekend. We added a foam mattress topper which really helped. However, the normal RV beds are short queens. You can occasionally find normal sized queen or king beds, but when we were looking, it seemed like it was all short queens. A normal queen is 80×60″, a short queen is 75×60″. Those 5 inches make a big difference. (RV Listings will list it as a queen, so if it matters to you, ask if it is a real queen or measure it.)
Mom and Dad, don’t read this one! The expression “don’t come a knocking when the trailer is a rocking” is valid. No matter how stable we made it, certain things made it… um… bounce.
What I miss:
Seeing new things. We normally moved every 2 weeks, so we got to see new things pretty often. I am hoping that once we get more settled into our schedule, that we start adventuring near home. There is plenty of “tourist” stuff that we have never done, even though we’ve lived here forever! It was nice to have a different view out of our windows on a regular basis though.
Cooking with gas. Our new place has an electric stove/oven, but I really miss cooking with gas. Ever since we were married, we have had a house with natural gas and the RV had propane. I like how it heats up faster.
“Free” electric and water. Water was included in the campground fees, and unless you were staying a month or longer, so was electric. Now we have bills!
New neighbors. What?! Didn’t I just say I wouldn’t miss campground neighbors? I did, and I won’t really miss the rowdy ones. We had neighbors move into the empty apartment next to us, and they are not quite as quiet as the other side. For the most part they are ok, but when the parents are gone, the group of teenage boys get a little loud. Being in a stationary house means we can’t just move and get away from them.
The kids had no place to hide when trying to sneak video games. With only 3 rooms of living space, we could tell when they would sneak off to play video games. The house is great for having our own spaces, but with it being a 2 story, it is easier for them to sneak in more video game time.
Will we do it again? Maybe! We are thinking of possibly renting a RV and finishing up the west coast (Yosemite, Alcatraz, maybe Canada). Ben is still interested in continuing a nomad life after the kids are out of high school/go to college. However, we would be looking at a Class C or Class A with a toad (towed vehicle) when it’s just the two of us. It is certainly nice not to have to find suitcases and pack/unpack all your clothes to go on a trip when your whole house (and dressers) just moves with you!
One thing the RV forced us to do was to minimize the amount of things we had. We had a lot less clothes (partly because we planned the route to stay as close to 70 degrees as possible), a lot less toys and books, and a lot less cooking/baking-ware. There were pluses and negatives: we didn’t have huge puffy winter coats taking up room, but on the occasions where it got at/below freezing, we were a little cold. It was harder to cook and bake in the RV, partly due to size of oven and partly due to not having a bunch of pans. We made it work, but if it was longer than a year, we probably would have reevaluated a few things.
On the whole, we realized that we really don’t need as many things as the commercials tell us we do. We wanted to try to keep minimalism going as much as possible when we got back home. In a way, it was easier in the RV because we didn’t have space for much.
We have so much more space now that it is easy to get caught up in the “need” cycle. Of course, we don’t really need it; we existed perfectly fine without it before! However, any sort of minimalism can be hard to maintain, and I think it is harder for me and the boys.
For example, the boys shared a room in the RV and they each had a small shelf, a cubby, and a bin for toys/books/souvenirs. At home they each have a whole room to themselves! Will legit stored 2-3 boxes of books in the storage locker, so now his (large) bookcase is completely full. I would say 99% of them are books he has already read but doesn’t want to get rid of (like the Hardy Boys). The RV encouraged us to find Little Free Libraries (which we love) and to donate the books we had already read.
I’m still sorting through the storage locker. It had been such a rush to get it all done before we left, that towards the end we just threw stuff in the locker. Looking at it now, I have no idea why we kept some of it!
I would say Ben is more of a minimalist and I lean towards collector (but definitely not towards the hoarder end). We have a little more leeway with space now, but for non-essentials we are trying to keep to a “one in, one out” method.
One of the neatest things we found along our journey was a sticker exchange club on Instagram called the RV Sticker Club. Campers/travelers of all kinds (RV, bus, van, car) can find people to trade stickers with. We love seeing all the different designs, sizes, and shapes these stickers come in.
It’s a fun way to “meet” different people. We used the logo my sister created for us and ordered stickers through Sticker Mule. Sticker Mule has a ton of different options! We played it pretty safe for our first design and got an oval with the logo on it.
So far, we have traded with a lot of people in the USA, some from Canada, Germany, and we even sent one to France!
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One of my latest projects has been to figure out how to store all the stickers. We have a binder with our travel postcards and our stack of National Park Service maps, but how are often are you going to take out a book or binder to look at it? The stickers are neat and colorful, so we thought about displaying them on the wall. We had a big blank spot over our couch that was perfect. I bought a large frame and started applying the stickers. I’m pretty happy with it so far and made sure to leave space for more trades!
Before we left for our trip, we put our home up on the market. I went back and forth with renting it out for a year or selling it. However, I was worried about renting: having to deal with renters, any issues that would come up, and maintenance while we were so far away. We finally decided to sell.
Whoops! Hindsight and all that. The housing market had just started the up-swing when we placed ours for sale. However, while we were on the road, the market went nuts! About 2 months before we got back, we started looking at places to live. We ruled out buying another house right away, as everything was priced extremely high. We looked at renting, but the prices were higher there as well, plus we would have to deal with the yard work, etc. We found a few apartment/townhomes and we put our name on some waiting lists. We did have some limiting factors that narrowed down our options: we had a dog, we wanted 3 bedrooms (the kids behave better in separate rooms), and we wanted it within a reasonable distance from school and work.
One of the townhomes finally had an opening a couple of weeks after we returned home. We parked the RV at a campground, and mostly stayed at my in-laws for the two weeks until the apartment was ready to move in to.
It’s been nice so far. The house is about 1600 square feet, which is downright huge compared to the travel trailer. The boys each have their own bedroom and I don’t have to share a bathroom with them anymore! I have a full sized oven and I’ve already made a few dinner favorites and cookies. We even have our own washer and dryer.
We are still sorting out the storage locker and trying to figure out what we really need. We also had to quickly find another car (another market that went crazy while we were gone) for Ben to drive to work when needed. School popped up rather quickly (just about a month of summer left from the time we got back to when school started), so getting ready has kept us busy as well.
We’re starting to feel settled in and enjoying the room to spread out.
We came full circle last month and returned home to Ohio. It’s a little bittersweet that our year long adventure is over. It was an amazing way to see the country. As Ben frequently points out, we never had to pack up our clothes, they just traveled with us in our dressers. The pain in the butt thing about vacations (at least for me) is the packing and unpacking. Well, and having to do the laundry too. But having to wash our clothes doesn’t change no matter where we are.
We saw so many amazing things on this trip. It challenged us in a lot of ways and everyone learned something new.
“So, what is next?,” a lot of people are asking us. I think Ben would still be traveling, as he has more of the wander bug than I do. However, with Will starting high school, I wanted him to have a great education and to have an experience of going to high school and making new friends.
We will be in a “sticks and bricks” in Ohio until the kids are out of high school, and then Ben and I might get a Class C or a small A and travel. We’ve always liked to travel and see new things, but for now it will be out of a home base.
We still have a lot of posts that haven’t been written yet, lots of questions to answer, and tips to give, so more posts are coming! We’ve just been transitioning and I haven’t had a lot of time to post.
If you have any questions that you want to see answered, or would be interested is doing a guest post on your own travels, please send us a comment or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For our stay in Michigan, we stayed at Kampvilla RV Park in Bear Lake, Michigan. It is an independent campground. For our stay here, we had full hook-ups for most of our stay, but had to switch to electric-only for the last 3 days. We had made our plans a little too late (4 months before) with the 4th of July holiday to get full hook ups for our whole stay. When we checked in, they gave the boys a Kampvilla postcard, sticker, and temporary tattoo.
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The campground had a heated pool, rec room with a washer and dryer, a patio with foosball, horseshoes, shuffleboard, sand volleyball, badminton, a playground, basketball hoops, and a pool. The equipment was left out (instead of having to go up to the office), so it made it very easy to play. There was another shed with a washer and dryer a little bit further into the park. It had a drive/path through the woods to tent sites, so it made a nice walking path.
There was ice ($3) and firewood ($5) were available for sale. You could pay at the office or in the drop box attached to the firewood shed.
Everyone was really nice at the campground. They had a lot of nice amenities and were pretty close to local attractions and grocery stores. It was about 30-33 minutes to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park Visitor Center. We would stay here again.