By Steve Savage, Mobility RV Service
As one who nightly peruses the RV ads on Craigslist, I am continually surprised to see so many poorly written ads. Some are so poorly done, in fact, that it often appears they may actually be designed to avoidselling something. Here are some things I would avoid if I were posting on Craigslist (and these are also tips to be aware of if you’re searching on Craigslist):
Unless you are trolling for someone who is hopelessly naive, do not say something is suitable for RV use that clearly is not. If you believe it might work in an unconventional manner, spell out what that might be. Be honest.
Do not try to cover things up:
• Mileage: We all know when someone posts a motorhome ad that does not include mileage, it is because the mileage is very high (very high is normally anything over 60,000 miles). I skip right over those ads. Better to note the mileage and say something about how it was maintained.
• Slide-outs: Everyone knows RVs with slides sell way better than units without — that is not debatable. Why not just say it directly when a unit does not have a slide-out? You are wasting peoples’ time and tricking no one by failing to mention it or showing only the passenger side of the RV in your pictures.
• Age: Wow, does anyone really buy an RV without knowing how old it is? I know we surely don’t, nor do the dealers we work for. Age has a direct bearing on how well something sells, so sooner or later you are going to have to cough it up — why not sooner?
You are posting on Craigslist and you really will not accept texts or emails? I just have to say it: Why are you limiting how possible buyers can reach you? You are posting on an electronic medium, but you insist on a phone call. When I read an ad, I want the basics and a simple way to contact you if I want more information. I am willing to bet you reduce the responses to your ad by 80-90 percent if you refuse texts and emails. And if you don’t know how to text or email, it’s easy to learn.
What, no pictures? Human beings are visual animals — they want to see things. Everything now is about graphics. Posting pictures on Craigslist is really simple and takes almost no time. If you are looking for a way to get folks to skip right over your ad, having no pictures works almost every time. So, now you have pictures but they are of such poor quality no one can tell what they are. Pictures taken using smartphones are often too small or not of good enough quality to be helpful. If you are willing to go to the trouble to post pictures, make sure they are high quality.
Don’t be so naive as to say you are not sure if something basic on the RV works, when all it takes is throwing a switch to find out. Saying, for example, you don’t know if a furnace works means you are either too lazy to turn up the thermostat or you are trying to hide something. It really makes you look bad and it causes someone who reads your ad to not trust you. Dealers, by the way, have gotten angry with me for posting this one in the past, as they often use it.
Failing to mention the obvious seldom works. Water damage is simple to tell, provided you have done your homework with your pictures. Likewise, most folks know that when an RV is posted by a dealer and shows spaces where furniture used to be or has been replaced, the unit likely was purchased at a repo auction. It is okay to address things that have been changed or might be problems, and it shows you are honest.
Want to write an ad that will grab readers? Include these:
• Manufacturer, model, age and size
• Basic information about features without infinite details
• Overall condition and obvious problems that affect price
• Positives that might affect price, i.e., super maintenance, unusual floor plan, options
• A picture of the front, back and each side with the slides extended, if it has slides
• Good pictures of the interior
• Price. Bear in mind that “below book value” is meaningless. Everyone, including dealers, sells below retail book price on almost every unit
Photo: AlishaV on flickr.com