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Do I hear $5.00? $5.50?
 

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Sherb and all the DIYers out there,
One factor is the labor and materials one put into the conversion. Mine is probably less than most about 200+ hours and about $5,000. If I totaled this, paying myself $50 per hour (probably all I am worth) my total cost would be $15,000 for the conversion and $34,000 for the van = $49,000 total. I have used the conversion and van for perhaps 1/3 of it’s reasonable life of 12-14 years and 200,000 miles. 2/3 of 49,000 is $32,000. See why I said I would value it for about that? Now if you convert a van with 60,000 miles 1/4 of its life is gone and you got no value from that. Also if you spend 400 hours and $12,000 on it you will not be able to get a reasonable return. Not that I know anything about your cost or time as I don’t.
These thoughts led me to do a simple conversion quickly on a new van and then I went out an camped. I will loose money if I sell it but I will have gotten value for that loss. If my time is discounted to nothing (closer to my worth) then my loss at this time is a few thousand dollars. Way less than the value it has returned.
I think RD has detailed this almost exactly the same way I look at it (maybe different numbers). The only thing I would add to his logic/math is this;

IMO the economic factors are “the van” & “the build”. Much like “property economics there is “the land” & “the building”.

In case of “the van” RD is spot on & if we all agree at the math of 200,000 miles before you are selling the van at chump change, then for an appropriate timeframe, you can gross out the value based upon a lineal of paid X new divided by 200,000 miles it depreciates so much a mile; of course it is not lineal as the first miles off the lot are the most expensive, but that is the idea on valuing “the van”

In the case of “the build” the economics are a little more complicated than cost (labour materials & whatever else you want to consider as true cost) and you could divide that by 200,000 miles, but there could still be value in the build @ the end of the 200,000 miles. That value depends upon what current costs of a similar conversion is & what is avaliable for tech advances and at what cost.

So I believe “the van” & “the build” depreciate at different rates and for different factors (mileage & time being two of the factors).

When I bought our van new, it was for the same economic principle as RD stated & I have never regretted that decision. We plan to mile out our van long before the build has no value. This way if we can find a buyer that plans on traveling a few miles from home to camp on weekends that type of buyer might see the value in a good build, but high mileage van.

We can hypothesize about future value of our vans, but as with everything supply & demand will dictate the true economics and our used DIY selling prices.

To the OP; Best Luck with Your Van Sale & Wish You Many Happy Sailboat Years 😃👍
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Contributors - Thank you. After reviewing, cogitating and sleeping on the feedback, then applying some of the formulas presented, I have adjust the asking price to $46,500.
 

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You have to be kidding! Why would anyone even consider spending any time and money on converting a 5 year old 136/1500? Van with 60k miles on it and then expect to get $54,500?.
I agree with KOV's premise here: there is less value in the conversion if you are starting with an older/higher mileage vehicle, that should be obvious to anyone who has a realistic info on the costs/time involved in turning a cargo van into a camper van. Its why I saved my pennies to start with a new van that I plan to keep for 20 years/200k miles.

BUT here's how the real world works in the used campervan market:

Few people have the time, skill, and money to convert a new van themselves. Even fewer people have the cash to spend $60,000 or more on a finished campervan. So....the market for campervans in the roughly $10,000-$25,000 range is HOT, RED HOT. I know because I sold one a year and a half ago, a 98 econoline with 160k miles that I sold for 13k and I had people BEGGING me to buy it. Literally BEGGING me. I screwed up on the pricing, could have gotten at least 15k for that van and it was not a good value, i felt bad taking that much money for a van that really had exceeded its useful life. I watch the craigslist ads, the vans in the cheaper price range get snapped up quick, the "real nice vans" over $50k stay on there for a long time...For a van building/flipper there is probably some money to be made converting cargo vans that are sub 5k with quick and dirty conversions costing 2kish...
 

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I agree with KOV's premise here: there is less value in the conversion if you are starting with an older/higher mileage vehicle, that should be obvious to anyone who has a realistic info on the costs/time involved in turning a cargo van into a camper van. Its why I saved my pennies to start with a new van that I plan to keep for 20 years/200k miles.

BUT here's how the real world works in the used campervan market:

Few people have the time, skill, and money to convert a new van themselves. Even fewer people have the cash to spend $60,000 or more on a finished campervan. So....the market for campervans in the roughly $10,000-$25,000 range is HOT, RED HOT. I know because I sold one a year and a half ago, a 98 econoline with 160k miles that I sold for 13k and I had people BEGGING me to buy it. Literally BEGGING me. I screwed up on the pricing, could have gotten at least 15k for that van and it was not a good value, i felt bad taking that much money for a van that really had exceeded its useful life. I watch the craigslist ads, the vans in the cheaper price range get snapped up quick, the "real nice vans" over $50k stay on there for a long time...For a van building/flipper there is probably some money to be made converting cargo vans that are sub 5k with quick and dirty conversions costing 2kish...
afox; Yup I can see that & agree - Why I started with a new van as well !!

I totally agree with the speed of sale vs price range as there is way more demand for a mile'd out van as you have put it (because of the price point / getting in affordability).

So a "Van Flip" Could be a TV reality series "Flip This Van" gotta be more exciting than "Flip This House" (hopefully not really flipping the van though)
 

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All these posts on this classified thread is turning it into a general discussion thread, that's why I don't comment on these threads.
 

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@phil I agree but we are bumping this thread up every time we post which the OP must appreciate :)

@RV8R the cheaper vans definitely sell faster but I also think they might be a worse value, ie the "profit margin" may be higher on a cheaper van that more people can afford and are fighting over. Im seeing older vans with really minimal camper conversions like a few weekends worth of work selling in the teens or higher, with really cheap 2x4 construction...

took me 5 minutes to find these examples:


$4,000 KBB for this 2006 chevy express low top van with about $24 in plywood, some plastic drawers from walmart, a $50 outdoor propane stove, and a few nice looking cabinet doors, only $19,000. I could have built this in 2 weekends with a $500 budget, that's pretty easy money!
 

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@phil I agree but we are bumping this thread up every time we post which the OP must appreciate :)

@RV8R the cheaper vans definitely sell faster but I also think they might be a worse value, ie the "profit margin" may be higher on a cheaper van that more people can afford and are fighting over. Im seeing older vans with really minimal camper conversions like a few weekends worth of work selling in the teens or higher, with really cheap 2x4 construction...
afox; I totally agree with you.

Cheaper probably sell faster as there is more demand & it is a worse deal for the buyer & good for the seller. I tend to believe there is a large part of the population that want, & do not run the math or economic - they want & they can afford to buy the cheap unit, so they do even if it is not a sound economics decision over a higher priced unit with 4 times the life. But then, the majority of my life I have Tried to watched what the majority of people do & try to do the complete opposite (sometimes I fail).

It might be a different market, but I see 30 year old marginal VW going for insane prices around here.
 

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And then there’s this clown who’s been trying to sell this one forever, it seems. He started at $55k and is now down another $10k

 

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I used to be a VW guy, 87 vanagon was my ride for many years, it was just a horrendous terrible awful vehicle in nearly every way. Then I took the westfalia interior out of a vanagon and put it in an econoline and was happy for 12 years. Now im on foxvan 3.0, the PM, its the best yet by far. The VW people aren't in it for the camping, they are car collectors...there is nothing practical about any VW camper van.

I have a bunch of leftover parts from my PM conversion, if i had the time id but a really cheap beat up cargo van and slap something together to make some quick bucks...
 

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Yeah, I finally got tired of the continuous 'tinkering' to my air-cooled VW's (3 beetles, 2 buses, a squareback and a Baja Bug) and sold the last one back in 1991 or so. Although there's still a sense of nostalgia when I see a nice one I'll never buy another; all these years later I could probably still adjust the valve clearance - in my sleep. Newer vehicles are light years ahead of those old rides in so many ways.
 

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I agree with KOV's premise here: there is less value in the conversion if you are starting with an older/higher mileage vehicle, that should be obvious to anyone who has a realistic info on the costs/time involved in turning a cargo van into a camper van. Its why I saved my pennies to start with a new van that I plan to keep for 20 years/200k miles.

BUT here's how the real world works in the used campervan market:

Few people have the time, skill, and money to convert a new van themselves. Even fewer people have the cash to spend $60,000 or more on a finished campervan. So....the market for campervans in the roughly $10,000-$25,000 range is HOT, RED HOT. I know because I sold one a year and a half ago, a 98 econoline with 160k miles that I sold for 13k and I had people BEGGING me to buy it. Literally BEGGING me. I screwed up on the pricing, could have gotten at least 15k for that van and it was not a good value, i felt bad taking that much money for a van that really had exceeded its useful life. I watch the craigslist ads, the vans in the cheaper price range get snapped up quick, the "real nice vans" over $50k stay on there for a long time...For a van building/flipper there is probably some money to be made converting cargo vans that are sub 5k with quick and dirty conversions costing 2kish...
I would even argue that to people that don't have the time/skill or money are willing to spend even more. I purchased my van on this forum from Steve. He had it done by Moorehead/Blue Ridge Adventure vehicles. I had someone offer me a lot more than I paid for it when I went to that meetup in San Diego last year. The whole #vanlife has brought in a whole different group to camper vans. People in california can't afford to live there and are moving into VANs so compared to rent, a 50-80k van is appealing. Instagram has romanticized the idea of living in a van and a lot of people/builders are taking advantage of that. Bare bones camping vans are turning into tiny tiny homes with shiplap,tile backsplashes, ect. There are two markets for converted vans now.

FYI the person who offered to by my van was a working nurse in her 60s and looking to live in it full time she went to the meetup looking to buy a van or find someone to build one out. It was really sad to see what "builders" had to offer at that meetup. Some really basic vans for 6 figures.

With that said, for OP, I think some people are getting hung up on the age of the vehicle and your asking price. Your build out is brand new, but the vehicle is old. This typically isn't an issue for a lot of buyers because they are looking at the build and as long as the van is in good condition. My van had 65,000 miles (I think) when I bought it. It's been very reliable and coming up on 100k. I paid less for my van, but the conversion and the van were the same age. I also got a great deal (in my opinion). If you lived on the west coast, you probably would have sold it already. I think your price is a tad high, but a good starting point to take offers. Labor is often worth A LOT to someone who doesn't have the skill to do it.
 

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And that van conversion you have is a quality one! Steve stopped in AZ on his way back from the Baja and I was impressed!
 

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Discussion Starter #35
I'm fine if admin wants to create a new topic on pricing your DIY used campervan, just please leave my original post stripped down in the classifieds. Loving all the unplanned traffic, and the thoughtful feedback.
 

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Thoughtful & helpful response by nebulight. Good luck to you Sherb; looks like a quality build.
 
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