Buying a caravan: new or used?
If you’re thinking about buying a caravan, you’ll find plenty of choice, but one of the first decisions you will have to settle before making this significant investment is whether to go for a new or used model. It’s important to be clear on what you want before you start, and there are a number of advantages and drawbacks to both types.
Here are a few pointers to help you make up your mind.
• The benefits of buying used caravans
Purchasing a second-hand unit offers a number of advantages, the key one being, of course, the lower price. There are some great bargains to be bagged on previously owned caravans, and you will be able to have a better spec for the same money than you would with a brand new one, whether that’s a bigger unit or more sophisticated features.
Keeping to a strict budget and limiting your investment can also be a good idea if you haven’t owned a caravan before, and are still not sure whether it’s quite right for you.
At the same time, all vehicles, caravans and motorhomes will start to depreciate in value from the moment they are first bought. With secondhand versions, this tends to happen more slowly than with brand new ones.
Especially if you’re travelling with pets or children, minor wear and tear damage seems far less problematic on a second-hand caravan.
Equally, with new models there can be hold-ups and delays in delivery times. With a used version, it’s yours once money has changed hands and you can get on the road right away.
What’s more, given the very wide choice of quality models out there, finding a second-hand caravan that’s ideal for your family’s needs should be a very straightforward affair.
Also, you may well find that any initial teething problems will have been sorted out by the previous owner, and extra equipment could have been added above and beyond the model’s regular spec.
If you’re buying used as your first model, try and view with someone who knows a bit about caravanning and get it checked over thoroughly before you commit, for electrical safety, and with a moisture meter.
In law, bear in mind that you may have more redress from a dealer than a private seller if there are problems.
• The benefits of buying new caravans
None of the above means, of course, that your brand new units aren’t also worthy of serious consideration. And newly bought caravans bring the obvious benefits of longevity and safety.
With a new model, for instance, the very newness and fresh smell of the caravan can make it a very exciting purchase.
And the warranties on new units can often be better than on their second-hand equivalents. Some manufacturers, for example, offer up to a decade-long body-shell warranty.
At the same time, you’ll find a good choice of layouts and specs when buying new, while also benefitting from the latest materials and construction techniques aimed at reducing the unit’s weight and water tightness. You may also find that heating and electricity are used more efficiently.
What’s more, as a caravan’s first owner, you often have the choice to custom-build your caravan’s layout to your own requirements.
Given that new caravans can have many fancy features in the spec, be sure you really need all of them before you commit. Do you really need an oven, for example, when you could do just as well on a stovetop or with a microwave. Do you really need a shower if you are using fully-facility campsites all the way?