Buying a Motorhome


So you want to buy a motorhome, its an exciting time, chances are it might be one of the biggest purchases you ever make, but it has the potential to be the biggest mistake you’ll ever make! So you must take care and have a purchase plan. Far too many people get caught up in the excitement and buy the motorhome that the dealer wanted to sell them, rather than the right one for them.

It’s important you get it right. It is said that most people buy and sell two motorhomes before they are happy and stick with their third purchase. That is two very expensive mistakes to make. If you cannot afford those losses you might be stuck with an unsuitable motorhome for a long time. The key is not to skimp on the research, take a few weeks to do this correctly and you can save a lot of money and heartache.

Three things you must know before shopping for a motorhome

1. Fix your budget

Firstly there are a few things that you need to know. Number one and top of your list is your budget. You  really should set your budget first. Have a figure that you absolutely will not go over, many people spend more than they should. And with prices from anywhere between £2,000 and £200,000 its not hard to see why. There are always models that are just a bit   better, just a bit   nicer, just a bit more than you can afford. There is so much choice at every price level, choose your level and stick with it.

2. Motorhome Licence and Weight Requirements

Learn what you can legally drive and ensure that you buy accordingly, your licence is only concerned with the weight of your new motorhome but you must think about length too. You would not be the first person to buy a motorhome and then subsequently discover that it won’t fit on the drive or that your licence does not allow you to drive your new pride and joy.

3. Learn which layout will suit you best.

Decide on the layout. Easier said than done, there are literally hundreds of different layouts and configurations. You will need to sit in a few before you start to get a feel as to what might suit you best. Some people like twin sofas so they can entertain or lounge around and watch endless hours of TV, others prefer dinettes where they might be able to read, write or type, etc. A full timer’s layout requirements will differ from a strictly summer holiday setup, as will those with a family or a pet etc.

Too many people buy on impulse or on the recommendation of a dealer while they are doing their research.   Never buy until you KNOW what you want

Go to a Motorhome Show or visit lots of dealers

When trying to find the ideal motorhome layout visit as many dealers as possible, or better still go to a motorhome show show where there are hundreds styles and dealers all in one place. Don’t be shy, sit on loos, lay on beds, stand in showers, lounge on the sofa. Look at the storage space, where are the breakfast cereals and the pans going to be stored, can you get to the loo when someones in the kitchen.
Only go shopping when you know exactly what you want.

Two big things to look out for that could cost you dear

1. Don’t buy a damp motorhome

Be sure you do not buy a damp motorhome, it will literally rot away. If you are at all unsure then get a professional to take a look, he will use a damp meter and will know where to look. In the absence of a professional and a damp meter then use your nose, it works almost as well.

How to tell if the motorhome is damp. Use your nose, does it smell of damp? Smell inside cupboards, take a deep breath in wardrobes and under the sink. Take a good the roof lining for stains and water marks. Pay particular attention around the roof vent openings and where walls meet ceiling and where walls meet walls.

Look out for rust showing on any nails, screws or staples. Look inside the overhead cabinets and check the ceiling. Mildew stains may show up as black spots on ceilings and wallboards, but behind the scenes, where the water has entered there may well be dry-rot problems. Check the area where the wall panel meets the floor for water marks, also look carefully in all the corners, these will often be in cupboards, but look carefully as corners are very susceptible to leaking. Look in the area underneath each window. Water ingress can also cause delamination, once water is getting in, it may travel to a different part of the motorhome and do its damage there. The cost of putting right rotting walls, floors or ceilings is horrendous, so it pays to have a professional check it over for damp.

2 Don’t buy a stolen motorhome!

Should you buy a stolen motorhome it will probably  result in you losing both the motorhome and the money you paid for it.  Some have Motorhome Identification Number (MIN) an all will have a 17-digit Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). A HPI check should let you know that it is stolen. If you are buying from a dealer, ask to see the HPI check. If you are buying privately you can get your own check done at .  Take care to ensure the vehicle is what it says it is. Check the VIN, MIN and tax discs. Losing your motorhome and your money is devastating , don’t let it happen to you.

The above information is extracted from the Motorhome Buyers Guide  Just take a quick look at the chapter headings shown below and you’ll realise that it’s a comprehensive guide that puts you in the driving seat when buying a new or secondhand motorhome. The Buyers Guide is very comprehensive, over 80 pages with detailed explanations of everything you should know before you buy. Whatever you do, do not buy a motorhome before you read it!  Damp and Owners security checks are just a couple of the 43 point buyers checklist included in the guide.

A life changing event!
Choosing a motorhome that is right for you
Motorhome Types
Do you want a new or used motorhome?
What does your licence allow you to drive?
Weighty Issues
Base Vehicles
The Internal Layout
Interior Design
Motorhomes for the family
Motorhomes for couples/singles
Motorhomes for fulltimers
So where should you buy a motorhome
Getting it right first time
The best time to buy
Start with your local dealer
Talk to motorhome owners
Buying privately
Buying on eBay
Buying abroad
Motorhome shows are great for research
Negotiating for your motorhome
Your opening negotiation strategy
Opening Option 1 – “The Low Blow”
Option 2 – “The Uppercut”
Option 3 – “The Straight Jab”
The negotiation ‘nitty gritty’
Before you part with any money
Is it stolen?
Check the vehicle identity
Check it out before you buy
Get Professional Advice
Pre-Purchase Checklist Notes
Get out there and buy!
Glossary of Motorhome terms
Selling a Motorhome

The Definitive Guide to Buying a Motorhome
 20,000 Words, 60 photographs and diagrams and a lot of essential motorhome buying advice packed into 80 pages



About Author

Jim is a long time motorhome enthusiast travelling extensively in the UK and Europe. Averaging 12000 motorhome miles a year. He has owned many motorhomes both British and Continental. His present motorhome is a 27ft C class RV.


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