Thanks for your support! If you make a purchase using our links in this article, we may make a commission. And, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See the full disclosure here.
RV auctions allow you to bid on all types of different RVs in different price ranges. Sometimes this can lead to amazing deals that save you thousands of dollars. However, we have seen certain scenarios where the price gets high and you are paying way above market price.
The process of bidding at RV auctions is exciting, but you need to be careful. It’s easy to accidentally spend outside your budget. Getting caught up in the bidding can happen quickly and you may end up with an overpriced RV.
It can be easy to go to an auction with the mindset that you’re taking home a certain RV. If that particular RV isn’t what you thought it was or the price gets too high, you need to be able to walk away empty-handed.
Remember, there will always be another RV up for auction, so you do not need to go all in on the first one you like.
How Do RV Auctions Work?
RV auctions work in the same way as other auctions such as vehicle or estate auctions. Sometimes people will have information on the RVs being auctioned beforehand and other times it will all be a surprise.
In most cases, you will have a buyer profile with your information and possibly proof of funds. RVs bought at auction will generally require payment with cash or a certified check on the day of the auction.
Once the auction starts the excitement begins! People will bid on an RV, progressively raising the price until no one is willing to surpass a specific amount. The person who bids the most will be the new owner of that RV.
There are some instances where there will be a reserve on the RV. A reserve sale means there is a minimum price that will be accepted for the RV. This is more likely on higher-value RVs.
In other words, you won’t be going home with a 4-year-old Tiffin Class A for $5000, unfortunately.
Additionally, there are many types of RV auctions that you can participate in. There are live auctions and online auctions. Plus, different auctions will be selling various types of RVs.
For example, some auctions sell salvage RVs which consist of highly damaged RVs and RV parts. You can also go to an RV auction that sells brand-new RVs. So, you need to figure out what you want and then go to an RV auction that fits your needs.
How Does Bidding Work At RV Auctions?
Bidding works at RV auctions in a simple manner. It probably seems more complicated when you watch bidding on TV shows or in the movies.
The only part the TV shows leave out is the registration part, which is incumbent upon you to take care of as far out from the auction date as possible.
Every auction plays the bidding game according to their own rules but expect them to be similar across the board. Before the bidding starts, the auctioneer will likely lay out the rules for the process and finalization.
Let The Bidding Begin!
For in-person auctions, there may be a large crowd or just a few people present. Either way, everyone will be in a close space with the auctioneer in front of the crowd.
If it’s a large crowd there may also be spotters to help the auctioneer and make sure no bids get missed. Everyone bidding will have registered previously and may be using a card with their registration number, a colored paddle, or their raised hand to signal a bid.
As the auctioneer calls out increasing bids, potential buyers will signal their desire to continue bidding until they either win the bid or get outbid.
Once the item is sold, the buyer will complete the necessary paperwork and arrange transportation for their new RV.
Pay attention because it could come down to you and one other in the end. If there are written rules somewhere or you’re participating in an online auction, be sure to familiarize yourself with them well before the bidding starts.
Do those things and you will be in a good position from the get-go. Repetition creates expertise where bidding at auctions is concerned.
Where Can I Find RV Auctions?
Here is a little secret that many people don’t know about. If you want to attend a live auction, RVTRader has a webpage where tons of RV auctions across the USA advertise their action times and locations. This is a super easy way to find RV auctions near you!
Read on to see our tips for finding other types of auctions too!
RV Salvage Auctions
When looking for a new RV most people want to purchase a brand new or close to brand new RV. They want to make something their own without the aesthetics and vibe of the previous owner.
However, that means you will be spending a lot of money on the new RV. For a lot of people that is not an option, so you need to look at used options. While RV shops offer excellent options for used RVs, other methods exist to obtain a pre-owned or damaged RV.
If you are good with your hands and you know how to fix an RV up, you should consider going to an RV salvage auction. An RV salvage auction is an auction that sells highly damaged RVs that are sometimes not currently functional.
While this is obviously not ideal, it means that you can purchase these RVs for significantly reduced prices. So, if you are good with your hands and you have some knowledge of how vehicles work you can buy a broken RV and fix it up.
A lot of the time this can save you a big chunk of money. Additionally, for many people fixing up an RV can be a fun project to have going on the side.
Furthermore, RV salvage auctions also have individual RV parts salvaged from damaged RVs. As a result, if you have an issue with your current RV, you can purchase a part you need from one of these auctions.
A great resource to find salvage auctions is on Copart’s Auction website. They have a Nationwide list of both salvage and clean title RVs that you can bid on!
RV Insurance Auctions
Another way you can acquire a damaged RV is from an RV insurance auction. At this type of RV auction, you will be buying RVs directly from the insurance company. Here you will purchase RVs that have been damaged by a collision, flooding, theft, or fire.
Repossessed or defaulted payment RVs are also available. The people who run these auctions acquire the vehicles from insurance companies in high volumes. As a result, there is always a large stock of RVs and plenty of choices.
At these auctions, you will find all kinds of buyers. There will obviously be regular people looking to purchase RVs like at any other auction. However, you will also find exporters, dealers, and small RV businesses at these auctions.
To participate in one of these auctions you need to register with an authorized online broker. Fortunately, this is a quick and easy process.
After you purchase something from an insurance auction you will need to sort out transportation. Some auctions will arrange transportation for you. However, there are some that do not have a pickup service. As a result, you will need to arrange transport yourself.
Bank Repo RV Auctions
Purchasing an RV is expensive, and the fees keep piling up when you own one. If you are like most people and you do not buy your RV outright, you have monthly payments.
You will also need to pay for insurance and other important things that go into owning an RV. As a result, you will be spending a big chunk of change every month on your RV.
Many people will purchase RVs without having the money to make these payments consistently. Alternatively, their financial situation might change, and they can no longer make their payments. Regardless of the reason, if you financed the RV and don’t pay the RV in most scenarios will be repossessed.
RVs that are repossessed by the bank will oftentimes be put up for sale at bank repo RV auctions. Like an RV insurance auction, this type of RV auction draws all kinds of people.
However, the great thing about these auctions as opposed to insurance and salvage auctions is that the RVs sold here are usually in good condition. As a result, a lot of the time you can get a good deal on an RV.
Just like with house foreclosures, the banks are more savvy than ever about valuing their auction inventory at market value. We used to be able to find great deals from bank repossessions but it is harder than ever to find that diamond in the rough.
Like with all auctions, you need to do your research be mindful of how much you bid on each RV. When you are at a bank repo RV auction you will have many chances to bid on many RVs. So don’t get too upset if the first RV you want gets too expensive.
RV Auctions On eBay
eBay is one of the oldest auction sites in existence. It has been around for over two decades, and people have been buying used items on the site the entire time.
To this day it is still one of the most popular places for people to auction off old things they do not want anymore. Fortunately, eBay is a great place for you to bid on or purchase RVs.
On the site, sellers will set a price for what they want to sell the RV for. However, most RVs will sell for the best offer. As a result, if you find an RV that is not getting a lot of attention, you may be able to purchase an RV for well under market price.
While the owner still needs to agree to sell it at that price, eBay is one of the best places to get a cheap RV.
Another great feature on eBay is the watch list feature. With that feature, you will be notified every time the best offer on the vehicle has been increased. So, you can make a bid of $20,000 on an RV and then you will be notified when and if someone bids more than you.
With online auctions, it can be easy to lose track of the auction if it takes place over several days. Therefore, you may miss out on an RV simply because you did not know that your bid had been exceeded. With the watch list feature, you will not have this issue.
Online RV Auctions
Most people do not have experience at auctions, let alone an RV auction, so you might not be comfortable going to an RV auction in person. If that is the case, you can bid on RVs at online auctions.
Online auctions are a great option, especially if you have never been to an RV auction before. When you go to a live RV auction it can be easy to get swept up in the moment and bid more than you planned to.
If you do this, there is a chance that you may spend way more money than you can afford. Unfortunately, this is something that occurs when emotions come into play during auctions and other bidders are active.
The fear of missing out and the desire to participate drive you to continue bidding. People with less experience at auctions are more likely to do this. As a result, it can be a better idea to start by participating in an online RV auction.
At an online RV auction, you will not physically see people bidding. Instead, you will just see what the highest current bid is. So, you will be less likely to get emotionally invested in a specific RV.
Additionally, a lot of auction sites let you adjust your settings to automatically bid for you. You can set a maximum bid and you will not be able to bid higher without going in and manually betting. Having this feature can be very helpful to people new to the auction world.
Here is a list of some RV auction websites that we have used:
6 Tips for Shopping at an RV Auction
1. Be ready to go
They say the early bird gets the worm. The same is true for the enthusiastic RV bidder. Unless you’re diving into an online auction, be sure to get up early and make your way out to the auction site.
2. Familiarizing yourself with the functionality and process
Whether it’s online or in person it’s critical to familiarize yourself with the auction process. You would do well to practice actual bidding on small, cheap things on the website, just to get a feel for the ebb and flow of the process.
3. Register ahead of time for online auctions
Make sure you register ahead of time for online auctions. You don’t want to be at a standstill, trying to register once bidding is already underway. Worse yet, you may be locked out.
4. Set your budget limitation well ahead of time
Make sure you set a budget limitation. Bidding is nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time, especially when you’re bidding thousands of dollars. Don’t get in over your head and make sure you adhere to a predetermined budget.
It is imperative to do some research if possible before bidding on an RV. You can check out our articles called Is There a Carfax History for RVs?, Travel Trailer Depreciation: What’s My Travel Trailer Worth?, and Is There a Kelley Blue Book for RVs and Campers?
5. Only raise your bid in small increments
Only raise the bid in small increments and be ready to walk away no matter what. Don’t let your ego get the best of you trying to one-up another bidder.
6. Stick to your max bid
This can be tough to do for lots of people. Before starting an auction you need to decide what you are willing to pay for a certain RV. As the bids begin to reach your max bid you need to take a breath and be prepared to concede defeat.
How to Find RV Auctions Near Me
If you are looking for an online RV auction, you can go to any of the many RV auction websites out there. eBay is a great option but there are plenty of other options available to you. You just need to look around online and find the RVs you are interested in.
Do not restrict yourself to one site, browse all the options you have available until you find a few RVs that you like. Then you can bid on them and hopefully, you will get one of your top choices.
However, if you are looking for an RV auction to go to in person you will need to do a little research. If you live in a large metropolitan area you might be able to find an RV auction near you.
If you do not, there is a chance you will need to take a bit of drive to get to the closest one to you. Travel costs need to be factored into the total cost of the RV you are hoping to buy.
Additionally, you need to remember that these auctions do not happen daily. While they are not common, you cannot pick a day at random and say that is the day you will go to the auction site.
Instead, you will need to figure out what day the next auction is at a location close to you. You may have to rearrange your regular schedule around auctions as they don’t all take place on weekends.
Some auction sites have RVs up for auction more often than others, so you need to keep an eye on things. If you are not prepared to drive a few hours to the nearest auction site, you might need to resort to online auctions.
Here is a list of some great
Final Thoughts About RV Auctions
After reading, we hope you have all the information you need to get yourself ready to go to an RV auction. We know there is a lot of information to absorb, but it should all be helpful as you get ready to start bidding at auctions.
Before you head to an RV auction, you need to figure out what you are looking for in an RV. Do you want a brand new RV, or a used one, or do you want to repair a damaged RV?
What you want will heavily affect what type of RV auction you will end up going to. If you do not figure out what you want beforehand, you might end up at an auction that has nothing that you want.
RV auctions can also be a great place to get vintage RVs that are hard to find at regular dealerships. So, regardless of your needs, auction sites are a great place to go if you are interested in those kinds of things.
It is always important to set a budget for how much you are going to spend. The last thing you want to do is spend twice as much as you were planning because you did not budget properly.
RV auctions are an exciting way to buy an RV and get a great deal. They can also be intimidating and disappointing if you overbid or walk away with nothing. Researching the auction process and making a bidding plan will ensure you have a positive RV auction experience.
About the Author:
Mike Scarpignato is an avid RVer and outdoorsman. He travels with his wife Susan in their Class A 2021 Thor Challenger and their Class C 2008 Gulf Stream Conquest. Mike is the owner of RVBlogger.com, TravelTrailerPro.com, MotorhomeFAQs.com, the RVBlogger YouTube Channel, and the private Facebook group called RV Camping for Newbies.