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Selling A Caravan or Motorhome Privately Online

The time has come to sell your caravan or motorhome. Maybe you're upgrading? Maybe you're downsizing? Or maybe circumstances have changed to no longer allow for you to keep it? 
Selling online is one of the quickest, easiest and cheapest ways to sell your vehicle. Creating your listing is simple and within minutes your ad could be being viewed by thousands of potential buyers.
To help you through the sale, we've put together a guide to lead you through the process and ensure its hassle free! Read the guide, or start your listing now:
Contents: (click on a section below to skip to it)
Preparing your vehicle for sale
Pricing your caravan
Constructing your advert
Communicating with potential buyers
Preparing for a viewing
The sale

Prepare your vehicle for sale

You want your caravan or  motorhome to make the best impression on prospective buyers - both online in your ad and in person. This is why it’s important to make sure it is looking its best.
Once you’ve made the decision to sell this, follow these steps to make sure everything is in tip top condition:
  • Clean everything - Leave no place untouched! Buy some heavy duty shampoo and polish and scrub everything thoroughly. Don’t forget to ensure that your windows and wheels are sparkling clean and any interior surfaces are spotless. 
  • Touch  up any imperfections such as stone chips or exterior scuffs. You can usually buy paint touch up sticks in stores such as Halfords.
  • Remove any rubbish or clutter from the inside. Mess will only distract buyers from what your vehicle has to offer.
  • Focus on the upholstery. Ensure that any removable materials have been washed and all seats and carpets have been hoovered. 
  • Check all of the working elements. Whether it be the electric, plumbing or engine, check that every working part of your caravan or motorhome is doing its job to a good standard. If it’s not, either get it repaired or be prepared to offer a lower price.
  • Check the oil level and tyre pressure.
  • Top up your water and gas containers to make the handover as easy and simple for your buyer.
  • Bought accessories throughout your ownership? Make sure they’re on display as this could add to the value and be a nice tough to encourage your buyer. 
  • Get an air freshener to ensure your vehicle is smelling fresh.
  • Collate all of the documentation such as ownership documents, service history records, CRiS docs (caravans) and MOT certificates (motorhomes).
  • Once you’ve completed these steps, your caravan or motorhome should be in impeccable condition and ready to sell!



Pricing your caravan

Now your vehicle is looking brand new, it’s time to decide on a price. 
In order to make a sale, you should be fair and reasonable with your valuation. We’d all love to make some money on our caravans and motorhomes but the likelihood is you will have to settle for less than you paid. Keep in mind that overpricing your listing will only put your potential buyers off making an enquiry.
There are a number of things to bear in mind when coming up with a figure:
Has your caravan or motorhome retained its value? 
As we’ve said above, it’s unlikely that your vehicle is still worth what you bought it for. New caravans and motorhomes go through their biggest depreciation in the first few years of use, whereas used caravans are able to retain their value more steadily, therefore their price will be more dependent on their condition. 
What are similar models being sold for?
Take a look online to see what other caravans and motorhomes similar to yours are selling for. Remember, these listings are what you’re competing with so don’t compromise your sale by pricing it too high or miss out on cash you could’ve made by underpricing it!
What’s the current market like?
The price you can sell for is very dependent on the market. While these external factors won’t affect your caravans value, they could impact how much you can sell it for. For example, in summer 2020 during COVID-19, interest in buying caravans and motorhomes soared due to the rise in ‘staycations’. Therefore the demand within the market was much higher than usual which made it a great time to sell as there were less models on the market but a massive increase in people buying. This allowed sellers to sell for higher prices.
What condition is your vehicle in?
A caravan or motorhome that is in excellent condition will always be able to sell for a better price than one that hasn’t been cared for. Factor in any wear and tear as well as any damage to working parts or interiors.
These are just the top 4 things to bear in mind. For more information on valuing your caravan or motorhome, read our valuation guide.

Constructing your advert

If you choose to sell your caravan or motorhome online, through a  marketplace such as Caravans For Sale, it’s vital that you create an appealing ad that’s going to capture the attention of your potential customers.
Need more persuading to list on Caravans For Sale? Check out our testimonials.
We’re experts in advertising so we’ve put together a guide to help you create a listing that gets the attention it deserves:
Write a killer description
Writing an informative, persuasive description is so important. This is your chance to really sell why yours is the one they should buy. It’s what’s going to help you stand out from other similar models on the market. 
Some people skip past this stage and simply write a list of specifications - this won’t help you, no one likes jargon, especially first time buyers. Or even worse, they just write ‘contact for details’ - how is a potential customer going to know if they want to know more if you haven’t told them anything!
Here’s our top tips for writing your description:
  • The more information you include, the more likely you are to attract buyers. A caravan is a big financial commitment so customers are going to want to know all of the details before they make a decision. 
  • Think ‘what would you want to know if you were the buyer?’. There might be certain quirks or selling points that first attracted you to this model that could do the same for another buyer, so make sure to include these.
  • Make sure your ad is not too jargon heavy - it should be accessible to experts of the industry but also to those looking for a first time purchase. 
  • Don’t go adjective crazy. While you want to make your caravan seem appealing, an overload of adjectives can make your description harder to digest. You should include terms that explain what the vehicle looks like (appearance), what it does (features) and how it makes the user feel (benefits) but in a clear and concise manner without too many unnecessary words.
  • Make sure your description is unique. Copy and pasting from the manufacturer website isn’t going to do you any favours. Descriptions that are one of a kind perform better on Google search results and will therefore gain you more traffic to your listing. It also helps you to stand out from the crowd!
  • Price is often a pain point - make sure that  your description reassures the customer that the price is justified by reminding them how much value they will gain from the caravan.
  • Divide your description into paragraphs so it looks less daunting to read. While people want lots of info, they don’t want to feel like they’ll have to read for hours!
  • Remember to be honest. While you want to portray your caravan in the best light, any white lies or over exaggerations will only be found out further down the line. It’s best to be completely transparent with the condition of your vehicle.
If you follow these guidelines, your description will be ready to help you to sell! 
Cover the basics
Throughout the ad placement process, there are a number of specification fields that will ask you for more info about your advert such as the number of berths, the registration year and the condition of the vehicle. Be sure to fill these out as they will help you to be seen by more potential customers browsing the site. By leaving these fields empty, you may restrict your listing’s visibility on sub-category pages or in the search results when filters have been applied.
Get snappy
Photos are arguably the most important part of your listing. It’s a chance for your prospective buyers to really see what’s on offer and get a feel for the vehicle.
Here are our top photo tips:
  • You can never have too many! Buyers want to see every nook and cranny. They don’t want to turn up to a viewing further down the line and realise that the photos were misleading or didn’t give a full picture of what was on offer. Make sure to photograph all of the key spaces and features, both inside and outside.
  • Ensure that photos are high quality and clear. A grainy, blurry photo isn’t going to do your caravan justice! Ensure you’ve set a good contrast so the image is not too dark or too light. 
  • Try to take them with a good camera. If a smartphone is all you have available, ensure there’s enough available light to allow for clear photos.
  • You could inject some personality by including a couple of shots of  your vehicle out and about on holidays. This allows the buyer to really put themselves in your shoes and imagine being on holiday in the vehicle.
  • Adding a video to your listing allows your potential customers to get a real feel for the space. You could film a walkthrough on the interior as well as capturing the exterior in all its glory.

Communicating with potential buyers

The key to a successful sale is to have effective communication with prospective buyers. It can be the difference between securing a viewing or not. Here are all the things you should bear in mind when messaging your enquirers:
Be responsive
It can be difficult to stay on top of messages, especially if you’re getting a lot of interest on your caravan. However if you take the time to respond to enquiries in a proper and punctual manner, it can be the difference between securing the sale or not. 
Remember, don’t hone in on just one potential enquirer because you ‘think’ they’re going to buy at the expense of other interested parties. It’s important to speak to everyone as you never know who might change their mind or who will commit to the sale first.
Be honest
It’s important to be transparent with your buyers. In communication you should be factual and honest, ensuring you stick to the truth about the quality and condition of your vehicle. Remember, if they decide to organise a viewing they’ll only spot the problems themselves! Better to be upfront with any issues than for it to look like you were hiding things further down the line. Issues won’t always put the buyer 

Organising a viewing

With a high value item such as a caravan, it’s likely that any potential customer is going to want to come to see the vehicle in person before they make a decision. 
Most importantly, if someone contacts you for a viewing who makes you feel uncomfortable or unnerved, don’t deal with them. Your safety is of the utmost importance and there will always be another buyer.
Always arrange to meet your buyer at a location that you are familiar with, such as your home or somewhere in the local area. We also recommend that you bring someone else along with you. Don’t let this scare you, however it’s always better to be safe than sorry when dealing with these high value vehicles.
When they arrive, request their contact details and proof of identity to ensure that you’re faced with a legitimate buyer. Most buyers will hand these over with no problems as they are there for legitimate reasons. Be wary of anyone who is not willing to share these details as you don’t want to be scammed.
Again, remember to never put yourself at risk and if someone’s behaviour is making you feel uncomfortable or you suspect they are trying to scam you, walk away from the sale.
Be aware that many viewers will take the opportunity of meeting you face to face to try to haggle on your asking price. Think about this before you meet them and decide on a price that you would be ok to lower to. Keep this figure in your head during negotiations and don’t drop below what you can actually afford to discount. 

Completing the sale

So you’ve found a buyer! Congratulations. Now it’s time to complete the sale. When dealing with such high ticket items, it’s imperative you complete the transaction and receive your payment before you let anyone take your caravan or motorhome.
Here’s what to bear in mind:
When a buyer wants to pay cash, accompany them to the bank in order for the cashier to check for fake notes. You don’t want to hand over your vehicle only to be left with a pile of fakes you can’t use.
Nowadays, it’s much easier to complete an online bank transfer. Simply get your buyer to transfer the funds and once they’re showing as available in your account, then you can hand over the keys.
Some buyers may want to pay by cheque, however these can cause problems. They can be cancelled or issued without the available funds in the buyers account. We’d advise against using a cheque as a method of payment, but if it’s the only option, wait for the cheque to clear before you hand over the vehicle.
Once the payment has been received, you should write the buyer a receipt covering the following information:
Amount paid
Make and model of caravan sold
Condition of the vehicle
Name & Address of buyer
Make 2 copies of this and ensure you keep one for your own personal records. You will then need to transfer ownership to ensure that you won’t be liable for any issues after the sale.
For motorhomes, you will need to inform the DVLA of the change of ownership. Do this by sending your V5C document and ensure you receive a response to confirm the change.
Hand over the documents you prepared earlier such as ownership documents, service history records, CRiS docs (caravans) and MOT certificates (motorhomes).
Abbie Rogers
Marketing Executive
Published on 09-11-2020
Abbie is a member of the Caravans for Sale marketing team. She will provide weekly content covering a range of topics including advice, how to guides, travel blogs, technical advice and latest news.