If you’re about to be a first-time caravan buyer, you may have chosen to buy a used caravan. This is great for anyone who wants a more economical option. It’s also a sensible idea if you’re unsure whether caravanning is something you would like to stick to for an extended period. Buying a second-hand caravan before splurging out on an expensive brand new caravan is a great way to ensure that you will use your caravan as often as you think. Whatever your reasoning for purchasing a used caravan, it’s crucial that you check the caravan, including the interior and exterior and its service history. In order to check these, you need to ensure that you’re asking the seller the right questions.
One of the things you should be asking the seller when you buy a used caravan is if the caravan has any damp. In addition to this, you should also look around to see if you can find any damp, as this can significantly affect the value of the caravan and its overall condition. Other things to ask about are the service history and how old the tyres are. In this blog post, I will be going over more questions that you should ask the seller when buying a used caravan and explaining why it’s important to ensure the caravan is in good condition before purchasing it.
This blog post will cover the following:
Buying a used caravan
As mentioned above, buying a used caravan is an excellent option if you’re looking for a budget-friendly way to own a caravan. This can be especially helpful for first-time buyers who are unsure if caravanning is something they will like. However, there are plenty of other reasons why buying a second-hand caravan can be more beneficial than buying a new one. Here are some of the main ones:
- Good option if you have kids or pets: After spending large amounts of money on a caravan, you may worry that the kids or pets might damage the interior. Having a used caravan means you can enjoy family time in the caravan as you won’t be too worried.
- Huge market for used caravans: The market for used caravans is very big, with over 500,000 caravans in the UK and is only increasing yearly. This means there is always a good choice of models available, with no sign of any shortages in the future.
- Very affordable: Caravans tend to depreciate quickly, meaning you can get yourself a reasonably new one for a very low price. You can read more about how fast caravans depreciate in my friend’s post here.
- No waiting for delivery: If you’re eager to start caravaning, buying a used caravan means you can take it home that very day instead of waiting for it to be delivered.
Questions for the seller
Although there are many reasons why buying a used caravan can be a good option, it’s also important to consider the risks that may come with it. The biggest one is that a used caravan may come with issues such as damaged parts that the seller may try to hide. This is why it’s important to ask the seller plenty of questions about the caravan that will help you determine the caravan’s condition and if it is with purchasing. I asked online forum users on Caravan Talk if they have any experience buying a used caravan and if they had any advice on what sort of things to ask the seller. User ‘KnausCol’ said:
“As a first-time buyer, there are advantages to buying privately if you are careful. If you can identify someone who is giving up caravanning, you may be able to negotiate a lot of essential extra kit with the sale. It’s surprising how much it costs to kit out a caravan with all that you will need (or want!) so inheriting stuff with the caravan purchase is very useful. My other advice for buying privately would be to assess the people selling as well as the van. How well they have cared for and maintained the van will have a significant impact on its overall condition. If you can, take someone more familiar with caravans to offer some support and advice.”
Here is what other users on the forum suggested to ask the seller:
- Can I see the service history?
- Do you have a full damp report?
- Can I see the tyre date stamps? – Check that they are under five years old.
- Ask to hitch the caravan up to a towing vehicle to see if all the rear lights are working well.
- Can I check for damp? (Use a damp meter).
- If the caravan has a motor mover, ask the seller to demonstrate how to use it so you can check that it works well.
- Can you run the A/C on the coldest setting? (check all the vents are working).
- Can I see how the TV works?
- Ask to see the kitchen appliances plugged in to ensure it all works well.
- Can I test the lighting? (Ensure all switched turn on and off).
Other things to check
In addition to asking questions, It’s also important that you observe all the different aspects of the caravan yourself to make sure everything is in good shape and working condition. Ensuring that everything works before you purchase the caravan will help you avoid issues further down the line. Here is a helpful checklist of the different things you should look at before your purchase:
- Service history
- CRis registration details
- Other relevant paperwork
- Dimensions and layout
- Check for any bends, rust or cracks, especially 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 scratches or cracks
- Tug the handles to check they are secure
- Check for signs of damp
- Make sure the floor is firm and not bouncy
- Check that appliances are working
- Check the function of taps and shower
- Any damages or leaks to the pipework
This blog post has listed several useful questions you can ask the seller and different areas of the caravan you can look at to ensure everything is in good condition. It’s important that you ensure the caravan looks and works the way you expect it to before you purchase it to avoid any issues further down the line, and hopefully, this blog post has shown you how to do this.