A caravan or caravan is a great way to spend a vacation. It is a simple life, away from the hustle and bustle that consumes most of our lives daily. It’s time to get close to nature, put your bare feet on the soft lawn, and light a barbecue fire. This is all well and good if you have a caravan, but what are the hurdles if you are a first time buyer?
The good news for buyers is that the market for used mobile homes and trailers is always very thriving. Caravans and mobile homes hold their incredible value and tend to last for a long time. A quick look at what’s currently for sale shows caravans, mobile homes from 30 years to one or two years old, and demo units. Caravan dealers couldn’t get enough used units to support demand, and with used caravans and caravans in circulation, it wasn’t long before they sold out and left the show floor. This is great news for the South African market and for sellers who can achieve excellent prices for their used units.
But… as the buyer, you still need to do your due diligence to make sure your purchases are as good as advertised. Here are some important tips that you need to keep in mind when buying a used motorhome or motorhome.
What should you pay attention to when spending your hard-earned money on the caravan of your dreams?
Buying a motorhome is usually a buyer’s dream come true. A long, great outdoor journey often begins with tent camping, then upgrades to trailers and tent trailers and ultimately ends up deciding when it’s time to buy a caravan or motorhome. It seems simple, right? Restrain yourself! To get the best bang for your buck and enjoy a hassle-free motorhome purchase, read on to provide yourself with our best buying advice.
In a message recently received from one of our subscribers, I detailed a caravan purchase that went terribly wrong by all accounts and a full solution has yet to be found. In light of that, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons associated with purchasing a caravan to ensure your next transaction is an easy one.
Where should you buy your caravan?
The first point of contact, when buying a new or late model motorhome, is to find a reputable dealer in your area. Having a dealer near you makes maintenance, repairs, and purchasing parts a lot easier. It is clear that traders who have been in business for a long time have weathered the storm and in most cases are here to stay, while smaller traders may not have the support to fend for themselves in times of economic drought, such as those who have suffered during the Covid lockdown. If the merchant you’re buying from is not in your geographic area, that makes it more difficult to get a hit list after delivery.
What should you look for in a dealer?
Each particular caravan buyer has different wants and needs. For this reason, it is wise to choose a dealer with a variety of model and brand options. Many caravan dealers in South Africa are multi-franchise and offer a selection of different brands and used stock. This makes it easier for the buyer to find just the right caravan when comparing different brands on the same showroom floor.
What is the right of the buyer?
In most cases, the caravan dealer will take some form of deposit to secure the buyer’s new or pre-owned caravan. If purchasing a used motorhome, the buyer will alert the merchant of any defects that need attention prior to delivery. Upon delivery, the buyer will check the caravan to make sure the defects are settled to his satisfaction and then the payment balance is signed, either cash transfer or bank financing documents. To secure the buyer’s private convoy, the offer to purchase shall be initially completed, noting the defects that need to be repaired. It’s often easier to fix defects with larger manufacturers because they have more to lose and don’t want their name dragged through the mud. Turning to private sellers can be more problematic.
Deposits: yes or no?
We at Caravan & Outdoor Life understand that deposits are paid to either secure a moving car or to be used as a down payment on a designated building. We do not suggest paying the full amount up front to build a motorhome. Money withheld on building a new custom caravan or used caravan provides leverage to the buyer if the caravan is not delivered in the condition promised by the manufacturer or private seller.
Do the necessary checks
- Check the manufacturer’s Facebook
- Check Hello Peter for negative comments
- Check Google Customer Reviews
- Talk to others who have bought similar products
- Check out the manufacturer’s website
Website directories you can use
A merchant’s website is a great way to assess a company’s willingness to promote and spend money on their brands. Remember that customers often do not have time to visit dealerships in search of their dream caravan but would rather spend time online to narrow down their search before making the trip to the dealership. If possible, although not necessary, it is recommended that you purchase your own motorhome or motorhome from a dealer in your area. This way, you know the dealer through the buying process and have a home base for annual checks and servicing. Most dealerships also have a parts and accessories department, and if you’re like us, you often have a GAS and you’ll find yourself loading up on accessories, barbecue items, and a plethora of essentials found in these types of stores. By the way, GAS is an acronym for “Gear Acquisition Syndrome” and not what my Aunt Bessie had after a second helping of Uncle Betty’s Curry Beans.
Sales personnel should do their homework
How was your reception at the agency? Was the salesperson friendly and familiar with his convoys? Do they have a full service and parts department? Are they willing to deal with any perceived flaws? Is there a warranty period? Remember to note any defects that need attention prior to delivery on your offer of purchase to avoid any problems in the future.
Private purchases can be an issue
Buying a motorhome privately has a long list of risks. First, you, the buyer, need to inspect the caravan for any defects. If the seller offers to fix any defects, this can be done before the money is traded. Another thing to keep in mind is that there are plenty of scammers who are happy to take your security deposit to sell a private caravan and then disappear into the night.
No registration papers means no sale!
Does the convoy have registration papers and is it registered in the name of the seller? A convoy without registration papers can be robbed. Without registration documents, the caravan cannot be transferred to your name. Don’t get caught! If the registration papers of a motorhome are not in the seller’s name, this should be a big red flag because it is very difficult to get previous owners. For all you know, the original owner (owner’s name and ID number on the registration document) probably left this ground plane for greener campgrounds.
If as a buyer you know someone who works in the caravan industry, it is a good idea to get their input if you are buying privately. Ask them to rate the caravan, even pay a small inspection fee to make sure the purchase is a good one. Remember, there is little or no recourse when buying privately. Simply put, you have to be very careful when buying in particular. To avoid a disappointing motorhome purchase, it is possible through the various checks described above to easily find a dealer who offers great product and excellent pre-purchase service as well as excellent after-sales service.
If you would like our input on purchasing a motorhome or motorhome, simply fill out the inquiry form below including your questions and Caravan & Outdoor will contact you via email. We will happily help you. Alternatively, use the inquiry form to contact us to learn about mobile home and mobile home dealers in your area.