For many of us, the purchase of a motorhome will be the second most expensive purchase we ever make, after our house.
So, it goes without saying that it’s important to get it right.
Here, we’ll be examining some of the things to do and perhaps by implication, a few things worth thinking twice about.
Financing the purchase
When talking about motorhome buying tips, this is always a tricky domain.
That’s because so much will depend upon your own individual financial circumstances that general tips are hard to offer.
However, here are a few key points:
- using your own finances (e.g. a pensions lump-sum) may typically be the easiest and perhaps the most cost-effective method. Do keep in mind though that using your own capital reserve isn’t always the best strategy. Take advice if you’re in doubt;
- there are other ways of financing it, including equity release or the old familiar but simple and effective HP. If you are seeking finance, make sure you’re dealing with an approved lender and motorhome providerwho has extensive experience in the marketplace.
Selecting your motorhome
Motorhomes come in all shapes and sizes. A vehicle that one owner thinks is ideal might be considered too big or too small for another.
So, take your time and before writing cheques, look closely at your own requirements. Specifically:
- don’t get too swept away by external appearances, though they’re important of course. Remember, the difference between you loving your motorhome and finding it merely “OK” might be all to do with the internal layout or the quality of its fixtures and fittings etc. Make sure you spend a lot of time inside trying it out for size and practicality;
- pay attention to the engine and performance. Of course, it’s a judgement call but some motorhomes might be slightly underpowered. You won’t want to be grinding up a long climb hill at 15mph with a huge queue of irate drivers behind you. Make sure you get a test drive and try a hill plus make allowances for a full load situation;
- the size of the motorhome is often a dilemma. There’s no universal advice possible but it’s often advisable to incline towards one that’s slightly larger than your ideal rather than one that’s slightly smaller. It’s not hard to cope with having a little bit more space than you really need but it can be impossible to put right purchasing one that’s really too small for you – short of selling it and buying again that is;
- check you have a suitable driving licencefor the vehicle you’re considering.
New versus pre-owned (second-hand)
There is no particular reason to avoid buying a pre-owned motorhome if it makes more sense to you in budgetary terms. Be aware though – good motorhomes tend to hold their values well, unlike most cars.
If you do opt for a used vehicle, if you’re purchasing from a dealer then be sure they’re experienced in the field. You should also seek to understand what sort of guarantees and post-sale support they’ll provide.
In situations where you’re thinking about buying from an existing private owner, be absolutely certain that you’re well qualified to assess the condition of the motorhome both inside and outside. If you’re not well versed, you should take someone who is, even if you have to pay them for helping.