Many first-time caravan buyers tend to opt for a used or a second-hand caravan. This may be due to financial reasons, or they may not be sure if caravanning is something they would stick to, so they may decide to try a second-hand one before spending large amounts of money on an expensive brand new caravan. Whatever your reasoning may be for purchasing a used caravan, several things must be taken into consideration before you purchase a second-hand caravan. This includes checking the caravans interior and exterior, checking its service history and even ensuring that it isn’t a stolen caravan. Another thing that second-hand caravan buyers are often unsure of is when the best time of year to purchase a caravan is.
Generally, the best time to buy a second-hand caravan is between May and July and then between September and December. This is because between May and July, there are lots of trade in caravans available at dealerships, which means you should have a good variety of caravans to choose from. During the colder winter months between September and December, sellers are less likely to get much interest if they sell their caravan. This means you will be able to get a good deal on a second-hand caravan. In this blog post, I will be looking at the best time to buy a second-hand caravan in more detail, as well as outlining some critical things to consider before purchasing a second-hand caravan.
This blog post will cover the following:
- Why consider buying second-hand
- The best time to purchase
- Avoiding stolen caravans
- Things to check before purchasing
Why consider buying second-hand
As explained above, there could be several reasons why people decide to buy a second-hand caravan. However, if you have never considered buying second-hand, you may wonder why this is a popular option for many buyers. Here are just some of the reasons why some people prefer to buy second-hand caravans instead of brand new ones.
- Unlike cars, caravans only do a few hundred miles a year, making their milage relatively low. The owners of the caravan will generally know how to look after them, to the extent that some caravan owners even treat them as if they were pets.
- The market for used caravans is very big, with over 500,000 touring caravans in the UK and more coming into the market yearly. This means there is always a good choice of models available to buy, with no sign of any shortages in the foreseeable future.
- The price is another huge advantage of buying second-hand. Caravans tend to depreciate at a very fast rate, meaning you can get yourself a fairly new one for a very cheap price thanks to this depreciation. You can read more about how caravans depreciate here.
- If you have small children or pets that may damage your caravan, having a second-hand one means that you don’t have to worry about losing out on a large amount of money if your caravan gets damaged.
- Another less important benefit, but still a benefit, is that fact that you can take it home the same day you purchase it rather than wating around for it to get delivered.
The best time to purchase
I asked caravan owners on the Practical caravan forum when they found the best time to purchase a second-hand caravan. The replies I received were sending me back to a question asked a couple of years ago. User ‘Tukums’ explained that:
“In October 2015, we purchased a brand new 2014 model year caravan with a good discount from the local dealer, also got a good PX price for my 9.5 year old Sprite Alpine. For us a very good deal, just have a good look around.”
Below is a graph put together by The Caravan and Motorhome Club that illustrates the best time of the year to purchase a second-hand caravan.
The graph above correlates well with what other users on the forum said. They also explained how the colder months between September and December is low season for caravan dealers. Since they need to keep making sales throughout the year, even when demand is weak, the prices of used caravans tend to drop quite significantly at this time of year. This means you’re likely to get an excellent deal on a used, high-quality caravan.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a good variety of caravans to choose from, the best time to purchase a second-hand caravan would be between May and July. This is because there is high demand during this period, and caravan dealers tend to have a good supply of used caravans as they are expected to make lots of sales. The summer season means dealers usually want to sell older stock to clear space for the new arrivals. This means you can usually get a better price on a used caravan.
Avoiding stolen caravans
Although there are lots of benefits to buying a second-hand caravan, one thing that deters people away from buying second hand (especially from private sellers) is the fact that it may be stolen. Unfortunately, this happens more often than people think, which is why it is so important to take all the necessary precautions to ensure that you’re not buying a stolen caravan. It can be tricky to spot a stolen caravan, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. Here are some simple steps to check that the caravan you’re about to purchase isn’t stolen.
Check the caravan
Sometimes, you can get an indication of whether the caravan has been stolen just by taking a closer look at the details of the caravan. The first thing to look out for is any signs of damage such as broken parts, or big scratches, especially if the damage is situated near the hitch or the wheels of the caravan. This can be an indication that the caravan was forcibly removed from a security device.
It would be best if you also asked to see some form of documentation that links the seller to the ownership of the caravan. This could be things such as servicing documents. Another thing to be cautious of is if the seller wants you to view the caravan in a place away from their house, especially if it isn’t a conventional place to store a caravan. Lastly, if the seller is being difficult about arranging a time that suits you, this could also indicate that the vehicle may be stolen.
Do a CRis check
This is a service that allows you to easily check the status of a caravan before you purchase it. A CRis Check identifies if the caravan you’re enquiring about has been reported as stolen, but it can also check the age of the caravan (as long as it is a newer model). You can also see if there are any outstanding HP payments on the caravan. What’s more, you can check the details of the CRis registration number to check that it matches the caravan. If the caravan you are enquiring about is older than 1992, then it may be challenging to get the information needed. In this case, you should ensure that the seller can provide you with all the details you need before purchasing it.
The CRis service is available 8 am-8 pm Monday to Friday, 8 am-5 pm on Saturday, and then 10 am-5 pm on Sunday. You can call 01722 411430 to do this. It’s important to note that this is not a free service and will cost around £14.95.
Use the Caravan and Motorhom Club Theftcheck
The Caravan and Motorhome Clubs have set up a very convenient Theftcheck. This has been running since 1988 and has helped with the recovery of countless caravans. All you have to do is call 01342 336885 with the caravan make, model, year and serial number. They will then run this data through their system to check if there is a match. It is important to note that the results of this check are not guaranteed; however, it can help you make a better judgement about a caravan.
Things to check before purchasing
As well as checking for possible theft, there are several other things that should also be checked for to ensure you don’t come across any issues further down the line. One way to ensure everything about the caravan is safe is to have a checklist with you when you view the caravan before purchasing it. Here is a list of things to add to your checklist.
- Service history
- CRis registration details
- Other relevant paperwork
- Dimensions and layout
- Check for any bends, rust or cracks, especailly near bolts
- Age of the tyres
- Check that the handbrake works well
- Ensure coupling action is smooth
- Check for signs of mould
- Look for any accident damage
- Check for any scrathces or cracking
- Tug the handles to check they are secure
- Check for signs of damp
- Make sure the floor is strong and not bouncy
- Check that appliances are working
- Check the function of taps and shower
- Any damages or leaks to the pipework
That’s it for this post! I hope that I’ve been able to help you determine when you’re best off purchasing a second-hand caravan. Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you here again soon.