Skip to Content

Top Tips for Buying a Used Trailer

Buying a used trailer soon? Get a good deal with these helpful tips.

Tips for Buying a Used Trailer or RV - Buying a used trailer soon? Learn how to get a good deal and not get scammed on a recreation vehicle purchase from a private party. The same tips can be used for purchase any vehicle. #purchase #used #trailer #RV

We recently purchased a newer pop-up trailer. It’s the third pop-up that we have owned and the fourth RV (recreational vehicle) overall. People are amazed at the good deals we find (on regular vehicles too) and ask me how we find them. We thought we’d share our tips for buying a used trailer with you.

Buying a Used Trailer

1. Decide what you want- When we decided we wanted a roomier pop-up, we checked out used RVs online. We learned what features were available, what layout we liked, and what brands those were. We looked at a few and settled on what features were a must and which weren’t that important.

2. Get an idea of prices- When researching vehicles we got a good idea of how much things cost. Cost can really vary in the used market, but it seems as if most people have an idea of how much their vehicle is worth. Once you have a good idea, you have to decide a price you are willing to pay. You might have to adjust your want list depending on budget.

3. Learn about common problems- Learn about what could be wrong with what you are looking for. With a pop-up trailer, you want to know if there are any leaks or repairs to the canvas. The older ones with a storage trunk in front (particularly the Colemans) leaked. How bad is the leak? We looked at one that when the dude opened the trunk about a gallon of rainwater dumped in. He said, “Well that’s never happened before!”

LIE! The corner of the trunk had a squishy floor and the wood inside and the inside cabinets had water damage that went up about an inch from the floor. No thank you! Is the vehicle ready and safe to be towed? We always ask if it’s smoke and cat free due to our allergies.
Find a forum or online group to help find out what to look for when you are purchasing, in particular with certain models.

4. Decide how far you are willing to travel to get what you want- If your wish list if flexible then you might luck out and get what you want locally, but you need to decide how far you will go. We had some flexibility with our time schedule so we looked as far as 5 hours from our home.

5. Stalk online sites- With the first 4 in mind, stalk CraigsList, Ebay, and sale listings. Both our last two pop-ups were found on CraigsList less than 30 minutes after they were listed. Pop-ups in particular sell very quickly. You’ve got to stalk and pounce!

The cPro CraigsList app very helpful for checking new listings. We were able to set filters on my searches and double click to remove ones that didn’t fit our desires. Then when we searched again just the new ones would pop. The downside of this app is that it seems to get new listings slower than on the computer.

6. Have money in hand- Good deals on vehicles disappear quickly. Have cash or quick access to cash on hand. Many sellers will work with the first to show up with money. You have cash with you (as opposed to a deposit or the need to return), the seller is often willing to bargain with you.

More Trailer Purchasing Tips

Make sure the listing is legit! Sometimes on CraigsList, you will see the same vehicle (often at a very low price) listed on several CL locations. It’s spam. Trying to get your info!

No vehicle is perfect! All RVs seem to have some issue or another. It will be hard to find something in mint condition! Some things can be easily fixed, others are deal-breakers!

Fall is a great time of year to get a good deal on an RV! People don’t want to pay storage fees over the winter and good deals can be found as there are fewer people willing to buy!

Take someone experienced with you! If you are new to RVs you might want to take a friend familiar with them with you to check it out. They would have a good idea of what to look for and how to test things out.

Make sure you ready to tow! If you are buying a trailer you need to be prepared to tow. Make sure you have the proper hitch, ball, electrical and anything else you might need.

We ended up finding exactly what we wanted about 15 miles from our house. We contacted the dude immediately and we were driving it home about 90 minutes after he listed it. He said his wife would be shocked when she got home. We quickly listed our older pop-up and were contacted right away and it was gone the next day! Do you have any tips for buying a used trailer?


Sunday 11th of July 2021

How do you find the value for a used travel trailer? I am looking at NADA and they list retail pricing, but everyone is asking double what it lists. It is July.....could that be the problem?

Let's Camp S'more

Tuesday 13th of July 2021

Gail, We are in a unique situation right now with covid and the high demand for campers. With camping being a safe activity, the demand has done through the roof so prices are HIGH. Sellers are getting away with asking a lot more than a few years ago. I wish you luck finding what you want.


Wednesday 22nd of March 2017

Great advice on buying used campers and RVs! We follow pretty much the same protocol and also have found great campers at great prices and sold the ones we were out-growing quickly.


Saturday 25th of March 2017

Awesome, Mary!

Let's Camp S'more is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to