Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that we love to camp. We spend about 25 nights per year camping. We've only done Michigan state campgrounds. Luckily they are pretty great places to camp. Well, after seven seasons of camping in our old camper, we decided to upgrade! This all actually took place last year, but I wanted to wait to tell the stories. Why? Well, it seemed more exciting to talk about selling our used camper and buying a new one at the start of a new season rather than at the end of an old one.
I'll talk about our new camper in an upcoming post. For now, here's the highs and lows that came with selling our camper.
Deciding To Sell
We bought our previous camper at the end of 2011. We didn't use it until 2012. The first year definitely had some learning curves. But we learned a lot and fell in love with camping. We kept it for seven years and had some great times. However, we started talking seriously last year about upgrading. Why?
Our camper was almost fifteen years old. We had a number of problems that were just starting to wear on it. There seemed to always be something leaking. The external water heater dripped from the drain plug. We had fittings freeze twice in the internal plumbing that needed to be replaced two years in a row. The A/C dripped after running steadily for a few hours. The fridge no longer worked on propane. There was a soft spot from an old leak.
All in all the age of it meant more time was dedicated to fixing things. It was becoming less enjoyable to do so.
The camper also looked dated. It was fifteen years old. All of the finishes that were modern in 2004, not so much anymore.
Our camper was great when our kids were little. They were 3 and 1 during our first year of camping. Now, they're going to be 10 and 8. When we first started camping, our youngest slept in a pack and play in the middle of the camper. Later, one kid slept on the fold out couch. Eventually the couch got to be too small. We had two beds but the kids didn't sleep well together. Our son likes lots of sleep and our daughter doesn't. She would keep him up at night and wake him up early. Finally, my wife and I split up and each slept with a kid. It wasn't ideal. We wanted bunk beds for the kids.
Our old camper was very lightweight. We take two week long trips per year plus many smaller trips. The water tanks and holding tanks are very small. This is to keep the weight down. Unfortunately, a 18 gallon water tank ran out pretty quickly. I was adding water every day. The holding tanks for sink and toilet water weren't any better. We dumped all of our dish water outside and barely used the toilet.
Also, because our beds folded down, it took an hour at the campground to setup and take down. I was so envious of people that pulled up after us who were relaxing much sooner than we were.
Ultimately, the camper was great but we were too much for it. The way we put it was that it was a great camper for a weekend trip. But, we wanted something more durable.
Getting It Ready
We actually decided to sell it at the end of the camping season. Labor Day was to be our last trip, so we started working on it beforehand.
I fixed as many things up as I could. My wife started doing deep cleaning inside. I spent hours washing streaks off the outside and waxing it. This was all prior to our last couple of trips, but it still got us ready. By the time we were done, the camper looked great.
Making It Look Great
On our last trip, we took external pictures before we set up a lot of our stuff. We put out the awning and rug, and took pictures then. This made it look great in photos before we put anything else outside.
After we got home, we took all of our stuff out of it. We knew we would be selling it one way or another, so we packed it up. Just like selling a house, making it look clean and open is huge.
From Miracle To Near Disaster
As we were packing away our stuff and taking pictures, someone pulled up to the end of our driveway. He asked if we were selling the camper. My wife and I looked in amazement and said that yes, we were.
He got out and took a look and said he could make an offer on the spot. We were still kind of taken aback. This seemed to good to be true.
Well, it kind of was.
He gave us a lowball offer. Like half the price I was ready to list it for. I wanted to list it for $4,000 and would have accepted around $3,500. He was offering $2,000.
He wouldn't budge and neither would I. Long story short, the guy turned out to be a real jerk. He kept calling and texting me. When I firmly told him that no, I wasn't selling at that price, he started cussing me out. He told me how disappointed his family would be. Whatever.
I have no idea how he came to our house. Maybe he just drives around at the end of the year and takes a chance. In any case, I'm pretty sure he was just going to flip it.
We were so glad THAT didn't work out, let me tell you.
Listing And Selling
We listed our camper on a couple of sites once we decided to move forward. Facebook and Craigslist both saw identical lists. We priced it looking at other similar campers.
Within a couple of hours we started getting some responses. Some were starting off with really low offers. We didn't even bother with them.
The first real discussion came with a family that lived about 50 miles away. My wife was communicating with them and they were interested. They wanted to come out right away to make sure they got a chance to look at it. They told us they loved how clean it looked. All that cleaning up was worth it!
I told my wife to make sure to tell anyone else that we had someone else interested and to give these people the first chance. I don't like the practice of letting a bunch of people come in waves. It might slow down the selling process, but I think it's the right approach.
They came and looked at it and made us an offer on the spot. In fact, it wasn't an offer. They accepted our asking price without so much as a counter-offer.
Disclosures And Acceptance
Remember all of the things we mentioned above were problems or didn't work? We disclosed every single one of them. They were fine with them!
- External Water Heater. This drip didn't bother them. They were just happy to have a water heater at all!
- A/C Drip. Again, they were accepting of the fact that this dripped occasionally. It sounded like they didn't even plan to use A/C that much.
- Fridge on Propane. They planned on camping within an hour or two of home. Where we camped a few hours away and could use the fridge during the trip, they didn't need it.
- Age. The lady loved to decorate and planned to paint and re-laminate to make it look good.
We actually agreed to drop it off at their house. They were so new to the experience that they hadn't even bought a proper hitch. We took it over, set it up in their driveway, and did a walkthrough. They took notes and were happy with everything.
They did an electronic funds transfer and we signed over the title. Easy as pie!
By the time we left an hour later, their youngest kid was already fast asleep on the couch. I think he was going to like it just fine.
True to her word, the lady that bought it did love to decorate. She sent us pictures of the inside the next day. She had put new laminate flooring on top of the old stuff. She'd painted over a couple of the cabinets. She painted a chalkboard finish on the front of the fridge. Within 24 hours, she had modernized it. This kind of stuff is beyond what my wife or I can and want to do.
In the end, we were extremely excited about selling our used camper. It went great! We got our asking price. The camper is in the hands of people who seem like they'll love it. We have made so many memories in the camper that we are excited for another family to hopefully do the same.
It was definitely sad driving away from our old camper for the last time. But, it was onto the next adventure. Stay tuned for a future post where I talk about our new camper!
Readers, have you sold anything big recently? How did it all go for you? Thanks for reading about selling our used camper.