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Where’s the best place to start your search for a new caravan or motorhome? What should you look out for before agreeing on a deal? How can you make the most of a part-exchange deal?
You’ll want the answers to these questions and many more as you start looking for the right caravan or motorhome. And there are a few things to remember along the way to ensure you make the right decisions.
Here’s some help setting off in the right direction and avoiding some of the hazards. We’ll help you spot the difference between a true home-from-home and a mobile holiday nightmare. We will help you get the best match for your budget, lifestyle and personal preferences.
Before you circle an ad, set foot in a showroom or click a mouse, it’s worth thinking about where to start. It’s often good to ‘window shop’ to begin with and develop a feel for prices and availability. It can get you thinking about options you hadn’t considered, or help you decide on a particular make or model.
We’ll take you through these important considerations, and help make the process of finding the right caravan or motorhome as painless as possible.
Okay, where do I start?
There are many places you can begin your quest. The local press, auto and caravan magazines, dealerships and the internet, for example.
You can use price guides – available online and in good magazines – to avoid paying too much, and cross-reference these with prices in publications like the Caravan and Motorhome Trader, local newspapers and dealer websites. Bear in mind that mileage (for a motorhome), general condition and the number of owners can all have a significant effect on market value.
Visiting your local dealer depot is undoubtedly your best option, no matter what stage your search is at. Dropping into your nearest dealer depot allows you to get up close and personal with the caravan or motorhome of your choice, and develop a better sense of what suits your needs.
You can also request a demonstration of how everything works, and a test drive if it’s a motorhome. We’ve got some hints and tips for demos and test drives, too.
Buying a new caravan from a dealer gives you the added advantage of having somewhere to go to if you have any issues after the sale. And some dealers even offer you a free overnight stay when you go to pick your caravan up, to give you more time to identify any issues before you drive away.
Leisure and Outdoor shows
Again, these allow you to see view caravans and motorhomes up close, and also give you access to a huge range of manufacturers and models. There are regular shows throughout the year ranging in size, but the year’s biggest show, which takes place every autumn at the Birmingham NEC, boasts an additional feature. In addition to the hundreds of caravans and motorhomes on display, The Caravan Club’s stand gives first-time buyers the chance to practice driving a motorhome or a vehicle with a caravan attached.
Many people start window-shopping online. With most good websites you can match your needs to a suitable type, make or model available near you. But never buy without seeing it in the flesh first.
Here’s a good site for tips and advice on finding the caravan or motorhome for you. It also offers a good cross-section of vehicles for sale in your area: www.practicalcaravan.com
A better dealer – a better deal?
A good dealer is really important when making a significant purchase like this, especially when it comes to legal protection. By law, a dealer can’t sell you an unroadworthy motorhome or towing caravan, or mislead you on its specification, history and paperwork.
While price is a key consideration for most buyers, it’s unwise to make decisions on cost alone. The best dealers will give you all the information you need and offer useful advice to help you reach the right decision.
A dealer’s prices may be slightly higher, but they will have made a wide range of checks to make sure your new caravan or motorhome is safe, roadworthy, and ‘fit for purpose’ – so spending just a little extra can mean a lot more peace of mind.