Buying from garage or private sale? Opinions.

Feb 19, 2015
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As we approach our new purchase of a 6m van we wondered on the pros and cons of garage v private . Any thoughts?
As we are open to different models - a choice of vans on a forecourt seems useful.
 

Lenny HB

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I think you need to have a good look around and decide what you really want then see what is available that suits you. A dealer will be more expensive but will give some form of warranty, a private sale will be a quite a bit cheaper and you will have cash in the bank to fix any problems.
 
Sep 12, 2016
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Whilst I would treat carefully buying private I would get a professional opinion before committing buying from a private seller as you will not know the nooks and cranies to peek into to find potential faults

A Dealer (who's been around for a while) will offer you a decent warranty and will fix the van before you get it so it is of saleable quality - we bought from a dealer who gave us a 3 year RAC Backed warranty

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Simon-Alan Kerr

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We are setting up a Motorhome dealership at the moment and this is a very good point.

There are pro's and con's for both. Private, you are correct, you can get a deal however you won't have a warranty or niggly things won't get sorted. Sale tends to be quicker. You also tend to be limited to what you buy which is great if you find the exact model/ spec. At a dealership you will find a selection and there may also be a "Deal" to be had for a vehicle they have had for longer than others. You can also part exchange which makes everything easier. You won't get as much for selling it privately but there is no hassle or stress. You won't run the risk of people not turning up etc.


Buying from a dealer you get a warranty, any work needed to be done before hand can be done, servicing, habitation checks etc all done. A dealer can also offer finance, Gap, paint protection and other things that depending on your view can be useful.

The other nice thing is that a dealer will have a bit of history with the vehicle, they will know if it has any niggly faults etc. Plus if its the right dealer you should be able to trust that you are getting a fair and square deal.

We have taken on a Romahome dealer and have picked up from Avon Motor Caravans. Ant that used to own it did a proper handover, introduced us to some of his customers, sent a letter explaining to them what has happened and he has quote frankly vetted us as he had done it for 30 years and wants his legacy to remain intact. To us, we are trying to grow and as a result Motorhome customers in particular are treated like royalty!

If your buying an older vehicle privately then there could be something wrong, for all you know the mechanic may have said get rid quickly! As a dealer we simply would not be allowed to do that!

Simon
 
Mar 23, 2012
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We are setting up a Motorhome dealership at the moment and this is a very good point.

There are pro's and con's for both. Private, you are correct, you can get a deal however you won't have a warranty or niggly things won't get sorted. Sale tends to be quicker. You also tend to be limited to what you buy which is great if you find the exact model/ spec. At a dealership you will find a selection and there may also be a "Deal" to be had for a vehicle they have had for longer than others. You can also part exchange which makes everything easier. You won't get as much for selling it privately but there is no hassle or stress. You won't run the risk of people not turning up etc.


Buying from a dealer you get a warranty, any work needed to be done before hand can be done, servicing, habitation checks etc all done. A dealer can also offer finance, Gap, paint protection and other things that depending on your view can be useful.

The other nice thing is that a dealer will have a bit of history with the vehicle, they will know if it has any niggly faults etc. Plus if its the right dealer you should be able to trust that you are getting a fair and square deal.

We have taken on a Romahome dealer and have picked up from Avon Motor Caravans. Ant that used to own it did a proper handover, introduced us to some of his customers, sent a letter explaining to them what has happened and he has quote frankly vetted us as he had done it for 30 years and wants his legacy to remain intact. To us, we are trying to grow and as a result Motorhome customers in particular are treated like royalty!

If your buying an older vehicle privately then there could be something wrong, for all you know the mechanic may have said get rid quickly! As a dealer we simply would not be allowed to do that!

Simon
Agree with most of this but of course it does depend on the dealer (pleanty of stories on here about that) and whether the dealer is still in business if you have a problem 18/12 down the line. Also the ease of part exchanging doesn't apply if you sell privately first.

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funflair

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I think a private sale comes down to your confidence looking the vehicle over or your confidence in the person you employ to do this for you, and then do you trust the seller and get a good feeling, it might sound silly but you want to be looking for a genuine reason for the sale.

We bought our van private, they are quite rare so we didn't have much choice between dealer or private, there was just one other Flair for sale at that time and it was in a dealer, there was no price difference between the private and the dealer sale well actually the private was slightly dearer but a higher spec.

Martin
 
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You can get a lemon from either , It will be a lot cheaper private, as dealers wont pay anywhere near what they sell for , as they have to cover possible warranty claim , and make a profit . The money you save can cover your own warranty :) In both cases make sure it gets a good inspection . If you buy a enthusiasts van who is upgrading and possibly a "funster" then you can get a real bargain :)
 

Simon-Alan Kerr

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Agree with most of this but of course it does depend on the dealer (pleanty of stories on here about that) and whether the dealer is still in business if you have a problem 18/12 down the line. Also the ease of part exchanging doesn't apply if you sell privately first.

I completely agree. Private sale if you have the time and quite frankly can be bothered will always make you a bit more money. However you may end up as per the original poster debating if you should buy a private vehicle!

If you do go privately then there a lots of things to do. If I buy a camper in from a private sale I will:

HPI the vehicle (This will tell me if it has had a crash, has been stolen, if there is finance outstanding ((This is a big thing now in the motor trade. People will illegally sell vehicles with finance on them or log book loans, you get your new camper, some burly bloke in a black tie comes and takes it from you and there is nothing you can do!))

Take a damp meter

Take a mechanic with you

Always insist on driving the vehicle and listen for noises

Look for potential spots of previous damage

Pull on the suspension and make the van wobble and see what its moving ok

Check seals on the vehicle

Check service history especially the origional base van maintenance book for stamps

Check the log book (Great source of history)

Also go with a gut feeling, it it does not feel right then walk away!

Simon

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Riverbankannie

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I completely agree. Private sale if you have the time and quite frankly can be bothered will always make you a bit more money. However you may end up as per the original poster debating if you should buy a private vehicle!

If you do go privately then there a lots of things to do. If I buy a camper in from a private sale I will:

HPI the vehicle (This will tell me if it has had a crash, has been stolen, if there is finance outstanding ((This is a big thing now in the motor trade. People will illegally sell vehicles with finance on them or log book loans, you get your new camper, some burly bloke in a black tie comes and takes it from you and there is nothing you can do!))

Take a damp meter

Take a mechanic with you

Always insist on driving the vehicle and listen for noises

Look for potential spots of previous damage

Pull on the suspension and make the van wobble and see what its moving ok

Check seals on the vehicle

Check service history especially the origional base van maintenance book for stamps

Check the log book (Great source of history)

Also go with a gut feeling, it it does not feel right then walk away!

Simon
I think you can ask to be taken out in the vehicle but not insist on driving it. There’s been lots of advice on @Jac Sprat s selling thread about not letting viewers drive it.
 
Mar 23, 2012
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I completely agree. Private sale if you have the time and quite frankly can be bothered will always make you a bit more money. However you may end up as per the original poster debating if you should buy a private vehicle!

If you do go privately then there a lots of things to do. If I buy a camper in from a private sale I will:

HPI the vehicle (This will tell me if it has had a crash, has been stolen, if there is finance outstanding ((This is a big thing now in the motor trade. People will illegally sell vehicles with finance on them or log book loans, you get your new camper, some burly bloke in a black tie comes and takes it from you and there is nothing you can do!))

Take a damp meter

Take a mechanic with you

Always insist on driving the vehicle and listen for noises

Look for potential spots of previous damage

Pull on the suspension and make the van wobble and see what its moving ok

Check seals on the vehicle

Check service history especially the origional base van maintenance book for stamps

Check the log book (Great source of history)

Also go with a gut feeling, it it does not feel right then walk away!

Simon
Would add to this make it a condition of purchase having paid a small non refundable deposit to take it to a service agent for a damp test (paid for by the purchaser) before paying the final amount. Also it isn't very scientific but I always think I am buying the previous owner as much as the vehicle if it doesn't feel right walk

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Jan 26, 2017
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We bought ours from a dealer, mainly because we specifically wanted an Inca, and there weren't many for sale.

It came with a six month warranty, full service, (habitation and mechanical), I had a long test drive, and was it cleaner that a very clean thing inside and out.

If one had cropped up privately I would have gone and had a look..
 
May 29, 2014
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What I generally do whether selling car or MH is use a garage trade my vehicle for part exchange that way you have no come back on the one you traded in and a warranty on the one you buy
 
Feb 25, 2013
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Surprised to see more recommend going to a dealer yet most end up on the forum complaining about the treatment by dealers when you want anything done .I get the opinion that once they have sold you the van the next buyer is the bigger priority and you can wait for any rectification .There is a lot on the forum praise there dealer who have given good service but I feel there is a lot more that don’t feel that way .For me if you can get a good deal privately and feel happy with the van take it .Any minor problems can be put right out of what you save . My own personal experience with buying is private every time .Enjoy lol

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MillieMoocher

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Got to say I’m with @Southdowners and @rich g on this...

It might take a bit of time to find what you want at a dealer and potentially you might get a bit more selling privately but the hassle free solution wins for me every time.
 
Jan 31, 2016
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In my case living way up in the Highlands, it really made little sense buying from a dealer wit their warranty that may be 400 miles away.
I am quite handy and able to fix things myself being a joiner. So we plumped for private sale through Bundesvan, knowing that any faults will have to be fixed where I live. Buying a B544 the next available van for us was in a dealers that wanted £5000 more for an 18 month older registration (although same van).

So, think, are you capable of fixing things yourself ? or if not you'll need either a warranty or know someone who can do those jobs for you that you trust.

There are plenty of dealers who just want to sell you a vehicle and won't want to know you afterwards.
 
OP
Jac Sprat
Feb 19, 2015
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What I generally do whether selling car or MH is use a garage trade my vehicle for part exchange that way you have no come back on the one you traded in and a warranty on the one you buy
But there was about £7000 difference in private compared to part X at a dealership!

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Mr B

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£7000 can buy a lot of repairs.
Buying from either can still have problems...
Usually, private usually leave extras in, some, not all dealers will take them out/off and sell them separately. Just saying
 
Mar 23, 2012
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But there was about £7000 difference in private compared to part X at a dealership!
Not surprising really they need to make a profit on selling yours on and a profit on you buying one from then and they will have big overheads plus the cost of any warrany repairs what would you think is a reasonable profit on each transaction?
 

Kevan

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Oh come along now chaps, you know we only buy new, it's very difficult to buy new from a private seller:rolleyes:;)

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mikebeaches

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If you can find the vehicle you want at a dealer that is reasonably local to you, then there is a lot to be said for that. Much more convenient from your perspective if there are any niggles, or something more major, that needs sorting out after you've purchased the vehicle.

I know a lot on here described mixed experiences of using a dealer, but - in theory at any rate - you should get priority when it comes to after sales service, than somebody turning up for help with a van they bought privately, or from a different dealer.

I'm not against buying privately, provided you are reasonably confident about spotting a good 'un; and also confident about getting any subsequent issues sorted out.
 

mikebeaches

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But there was about £7000 difference in private compared to part X at a dealership!
Was that an opening offer from the dealer, or had you negotiated as hard as you could to arrive at the 'price to change', which after all is what's important?

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Jun 30, 2011
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Forget that question for a second, just focus and find a van that suits you first, has your layout and in excellent condition. If its the van you want it doesn't matter who is selling it, so the answer to your question is either.
 
D

DL42846

Deleted User
When we bought our first motor home we bought private. We were lucky. We bought it at a good price and the seller appeared honest. The Van was an honest van also. It was the first one we looked at.
Our second van we bought from a dealer. We had been looking at private sales and were getting so disappointed, traveling miles to look at rubbish which had not been described accurate or honestly. I think most of the vans we looked at would not have been taken on by a dealer. Buying from a dealer they threw in a TV. The van had had a full service including a change of cam belt. A six month warranty. The van was clean and tidy and ready to go. Plus whenever I buy anything from the dealer I get an automatic discount without even asking. At the time we bought our second van the price was in the same bracket as what private sellers were asking but without the back up of the dealer.
Conclusion. Do you feel lucky.
 
OP
Jac Sprat
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As you are a private seller yourself why not think how people will think who look at yours!!
This is precisely why I am asking! People asking us technical questions we can't answer makes me realize we will have to trust the people we buy from as we won't know what to ask. I don't kniw know how people manage to take a mechanic with them to view!

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Mr B

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You have one of biggest wealth of technical knowledge available at your fingertips...
Here.
Remember, don’t feel rushed or pressured into any decision.
If you have a signal on your phone, advice will given :)
 
Mar 23, 2012
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This is precisely why I am asking! People asking us technical questions we can't answer makes me realize we will have to trust the people we buy from as we won't know what to ask. I don't kniw know how people manage to take a mechanic with them to view!
I would have thought they would go to view and if they like it make an offer subject to a garage/workshop inspection and pay a non refundable deposit so the seller would hold it for them.
 

Dazzlin

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We bought our first and only van privately. Looked at dealers and shows for nearly a year but liked this one and bought it 15 mins after viewing. Not because of the price but it had everything we were looking for, well before I started drilling and adding!
We liked the couple selling it. 'Seemed' genuine. 5 years on, we are still very happy and the couple of bits that always need fixing were more than covered by what we saved.
So many folks have problems with dealers or end up sorting it themselves I would definately look at private again.

As said previously - you can buy a lemon from anyone!

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