HomeBuying a MotorhomeNew or Used Motorhome

New or Used Motorhome

So your heart is set on a motorhome. The first big question many ask is; should they buy a new or used? Let’s look at a few important areas to see how New and Used stack up against each other.

The price ​

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. A new van will always cost more than used. You will always pay a premium for that new van smell. That said, read the paragraph below on depreciation/appreciation.

That Smell​

NEW Motorhome

That new van smell, It’s probably carcinogenic, but many love it and will pay a premium to get it. Even a well valeted, nearly new van just doesn’t quite smell the same. And if you yearn for it, only a new van will do. ​

USED Motorhome

It is smells of another kind that can offend when talking about used motorhomes, think, full English breakfasts, dogs, smoking, etc. Most of the time, no matter how much cleaning you do in a secondhand van you won’t get it to smell like new, but you can get very close. Personally, every used van we ever bought, my wife insisted we replace everything she couldn’t disinfect. So this means curtains, blinds along with all soft furnishings have to go, or get recovered along with the seats. We change so much that sometimes we even got ourselves a bit of that new van smell. ​

Previous Owners.​

NEW Motorhome

With a new motorhome no one has slept in the bed, bared their bum on the loo, or screwed an ugly coat hook to the back of the bathroom door. This is a major bonus for many.​

USED Motorhome

It’s not like a used car. Used means more than miles on the clock. A van may have had light use or someone might have lived in it. But in most cases it’s not as bad as you think, and even if it is, you can easily overcome this with some heavy spring cleaning. And once done it’s like they were never there.​

Get exactly the motorhome you want.

NEW Motorhome

When buying new you are likely to get exactly the van you dream about with the right specification. You can choose which chassis you want. You can likely choose the colour and you’ll definitely get to choose the internal layout and even the material used for the upholstery. ​

USED Motorhome

This is harder when buying used. You can get exactly the van you want but it might take a little longer, to match all your requirements like age, layout, colours and mileage, etc.​

Gadgets and Gizmos

NEW Motorhome

As a new owner you will probably want to upgrade the van. Think extra batteries, solar panels, inverters, bike racks, alarms and trackers, etc. The cost and fitting of these can be considerable; adding little to the value of the van.​

USED Motorhome

Used vans will often come with some great extras. Think extra batteries, solar panels, inverters, bike racks, alarms and trackers etc. Extras rarely push a price up too much, so you get them for almost nothing.​

Warranties

With a motorhome made up of so many components from so many manufacturers, it’s rare to find the perfect van, things go wrong.

NEW Motorhome

This is a big purchase. If things go wrong, and they probably will, the bunch of guarantees you get when buying new, from both the dealer, the manufacturer and of course the chassis maker (Fiat, Ford Etc.) gives you plenty of buying confidence and peace of mind. ​

USED Motorhome

Buy used privately and you might have no warranty at all, from a dealer your warranty might be limited. That said, if you are lucky, all the niggles and kinks that appear in the first year or so of ownership will have already been sorted out under the previous owners warranty. ​

Depreciation/Appreciation​

NEW Motorhome

It used to be the case that as soon as you drove the motorhome out of the showroom, your van was worth considerably less than you paid a moment ago. We know this as Depreciation. It would normally be in the Cons column when purchasing new. However, in these crazy post-covid-Ukraine-war times, this is no longer the case. ​

At the time of writing (July 2022) there are, for various reasons, considerably fewer new motorhomes for sale. This shortage coincides with a massive hike in those people who want to buy a motorhome. This perfect storm of shortages and demand means prices have soared. ​

If you have ordered a new average priced motorhome from the factory and had to wait a year for it, Chances are when you collect it, it might be worth many thousands of pounds more than the price you locked in a year ago. Depreciation might return soon, but I think it’s going to take a while yet. ​

USED Motorhome

In the current climate, good examples of used motorhomes are appreciating too. But when things eventually return to normal, the depreciation will be gradual. Depreciation is never really a big problem on motorhomes over three years old, ​

​So which to buy?

I can’t really tell you what’s best for you. Over the years we’ve bought old vans and new ones, we’ve enjoyed them all. Given all the above; once you are off on an adventure, I don’t really think it matters too much at all, new or old it just becomes your van.

One thing I know for sure is this. You won’t have a monopoly on that excitement you feel heading off on your first trip in your brand new van. Because in fifteen year’s time, when you have forgotten all about that motorhome. Someone will have bought it, maybe it’s their first van, they’ve blown all their savings to buy it.. However, when they head off on that first trip, they will be as excited as you were 15 years ago.

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