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A Guide To Buying A Campervan

Looking to buy a campervan can be a daunting task, especially for a first time buyer! There are many aspects it’s vital you take notice of. Finding the perfect model for you will take some time and research, but it will all be worth it once you’re out on the open road!
 
To help you through this process, we’ve put together a useful guide to make sure your purchase journey is smooth and you end up with the campervan of your dreams!
 
 
 

Budget

 
This first thing to think about is your budget. Once you’ve ascertained how much you’d like to spend, it’ll be easier to start browsing the models that are available to you.
 
Quality campervans can range anywhere from £6,000 to upwards of £50,000 so there’s plenty on market to suit every budget. 
 
Things to take into consideration when buying a campervan:
 
  • You need to remember that, similar to a car, a campervan’s value will depreciate over time so don’t purchase one with a view to making a profit. 
  • When deciding on your budget you need to take into consideration how much the camper will cost to service and repair. It may seem like a bargain price now, but will it further down the line if you have to do extensive work on it?
  • Check how much insurance costs on each campervan that you are considering as an option, it's always good to get an idea of these things beforehand.  
  • If buying a campervan outright isn’t something that you are able to do, look around at available payment plans that would be affordable for you but remember never agree to a payment plan that you are unsure you will be able to fulfil.
 
Why not browse the Caravans For Sale campervan section to get an idea of what you could get for your money?
 
 

New or Used

 
The age old question - do you spend more for shiny and new, or do you grab a bargain fixer upper?
 
There is however a middle ground to this question, as you are likely to find some really good quality used campers on the market that are still in excellent condition. So it’s important not to be put off by the prospect of a second hand model as this can be where some real gems can be found!
 
There are, of course, pros and cons to both options. 
 
For example, a brand new campervan is likely to depreciate more over your ownership, as new models go through the highest rate of depreciation over their first 3 years. In contrast, if a used campervan is more than 3 years old, it’s likely to retain more of it’s value, meaning when you come to sell, there’ll be less of a difference between what you bought it for and what you can sell it for. 
 
On the other hand, it’s important to bear in mind that a used caravan is potentially going to cost you more in servicing and repairs due to wear and tear and general aging. It may also not be under warranty and therefore would cost more to fix than a brand new model. 
 
Other pros on buying new can include:
 
  • Being able to personalise your van with added extras and choices of upholstery, therefore making sure that it is decorated and kitted out to your needs and tastes. 
  • Having the latest technology installed
  • Receiving a van that’s factory fresh - you get to have the luxury of the first drive and the first sleep in the bed!
  • Having a long warranty which gives you extra security for if anything goes wrong.
 
There are also plenty of pros for buying used. These include:
 
  • There’s a lot more scope in terms of pricing as you are not restricted by manufacturer prices. This makes it easier to find a bargain that is suited to what you’d like to spend.
  • So much choice! When buying new, you’re restricted to the models that are currently being  manufactured, whereas when buying used you have the choice of a much broader range of vans that may no longer be available new. 
  • Pricing is likely to be less fixed so you may be able to negotiate a better deal!
 
 

Buying Options

 
If you decide to buy a used campervan you will then need to decide whether you are going to buy from a private seller or a dealership.
 
Dealerships will often have some tempting deals on their used campervan selection and you will have the added bonus of being able to trust that the campervan’s condition is as described. You may also find that buying from a dealership may come with the benefit of having a warranty on your camper but always remember to check how long this lasts for.
 
Secondly, there is the option of buying from a private seller. Buying from a private seller can be cheaper and also gives you more wiggle room in terms of negotiation. But you should be careful when buying from a private seller to make sure that they are genuine and you are not being scammed. 
 
To avoid this, it’s important to thoroughly inspect the van, looking for any hidden damage or problems that they have not advertised. You should also check the service records as well as making sure that the caravan has not been stolen. 
 
 
 

Make, Model and Layout

When deciding on make and model, there is a lot to think about. You should take into consideration:
 
  • How many people are you likely to be travelling with?
  • How long will you be travelling for?
  • How far will you be travelling?
  • What features are your ‘must-haves’ and which are your ‘would-be-nice-to-haves’?
 
These questions will all help you to understand what size and space you need as well as determining the facilities and features that you require. 
 
For example, if you’re a family of four planning a 2 week road trip, you’re likely to need a lot more space than a couple who are just looking to do weekend escapes! Or if you’re planning on travelling around Europe, you may have different space or driving requirements than someone who’s planning on staying local.
 
Take some time in researching different makes. Look at any recurring problems surrounding particular models that you are interested in. Some designs or makes may encounter different issues along the way that have been recognised by current owners. You can often find owners groups on Facebook so it could be good to take a look at these to scope out any potential problems - or benefits!
 
Another good idea is to look on campervan rental sites like Camplify to see if you could rent a version of the model you’re looking to buy. This would allow you to test it for a couple of days to make sure it’s definitely right for you before making the purchase.
 
 
 

Viewings

 
Never buy a campervan without viewing it first. Make sure you are happy with everything before signing any papers, especially if you are buying a used camper. Check that everything is in working order and that if you are buying from a private seller that you have been made aware of any problems or issues that the campervan may have.
 
When viewing a campervan from a private seller you need to ask to see all the documents and any service history papers. From these documents, you will be able to check that the seller is the legal owner.
 
After you have seen all the appropriate papers and you are happy with them, have a look around the campervan and carefully inspect it for any issues that may cost you extra to fix. One thing that could be an issue is damp. You’ll need to look out for visual signs, such as watermarks, stains or bumps on the panels.  
 
It’s a good idea to take a look under the bonnet, if you don't feel comfortable doing so then you can always ask an expert to take a look for you.
 
Once you have checked everything from top to bottom you can talk about the price with the owner. If you are unhappy with anything that is damaged or isn’t working properly you could try to negotiate the price.
 
 
 

Completing The Purchase

 
Now for the exciting part. Once you are happy with everything and have decided on your ideal caravan you will need to read through the purchase agreement carefully. The purchase agreement will outline any rights and responsibilities for both the buyer and seller, it will also answer any questions you may have on the agreement.
 
Make sure the current owner hands over all the documents for ownership and if you have a finance plan in place, check it over to make sure everything is as you agreed.
 
Be sure you don’t enter into any finance plans that you may not be able to afford in the future and look at any terms and conditions of any loan agreements.
 
 
Updated: 25/09/2020.

Abbie Rogers
Marketing Executive
Published on 2020-09-17