While the motorhome offers a certain freedom and allows for easy travel, one should be quite careful when deciding to purchase a used motorhome. Buying this type of vehicle is not done on a whim and you should be able to identify your needs and budget before you start your search. Price criteria, but also technical criteria, buying from a private individual or a professional, all this must be carefully considered. We can help you see clearly.
Precisely define your needs
In order not to acquire a motorhome that is too spacious for your needs or a used motorhome that is too sophisticated for your taste, you must first evaluate your needs. It is obvious that if you are a young retired couple travelling with your motorhome all year round, you will not have the same needs as a family of 5 people who wish to spend three or four months abroad and be able to take hiking bikes for each of them. If the needs are concentrated on a few months a year, you will also have to think about an ideal place to park your motorhome (wintering) when you are not using it. If you don’t have a garage, you will need to budget for renting a shelter for the months when you don’t use it. Unless you prefer to rent it? This is all thought out well in advance of your purchase of a used motorhome. A couple who wish to travel several months a year in their motorhome will certainly be more demanding on the comfort options (more ergonomic sanitary and bathroom facilities, spacious and comfortable bedroom, more storage space, imperative existence of a hold, etc.).
Take into account your motorhome budget
Beware, when you look at ads for used motorhomes, the models on display are attractive and you may forget some of the reality. First of all, what is your real budget for the purchase of a used motorhome? Your budget will have to take into account the purchase of a motorhome that meets your needs, but also the additional costs (for example: changing a part or the cost of fitting additional devices at a professional’s…).
Where can I find advertisements for second-hand motorhomes?
You can buy your second-hand motorhome from a private individual or a professional. Ads for private individuals can be found in the paper press (for example: Camping-car Magazine, Paru-Vendu and classified ads in local newspapers) or on sites specialising in classified ads.
It is also interesting to browse the specialized trade shows that take place all over your country. This is the ideal place to ask all your questions to professionals.
Finally, professionals specialising in the sale of new or second-hand motorhomes, put ads on their website for everyone to see.
Whether you choose to buy from a private individual
You can get a good deal by going through a private individual. This is especially the case if you find the motorhome that suits your needs, if the motorhome is in perfect technical condition and if the interior has been meticulously maintained. Ideally, you should be able to keep track of the breakdown history if the owner has kept all his bills, if the technical inspection is OK and if the mileage is reasonable in relation to the year in which the motorhome was put into circulation.
In reality, however, it is rare to be able to meet all these criteria when buying a motor home from a private individual. You should therefore check the motorhome carefully and know enough about it not to make any mistakes. It goes without saying that you will not buy a motor home without having seen and visited it closely and without having met its owner. If the price seems particularly attractive to you and you still want to buy your second-hand motorhome from a private individual, remember to make the necessary checks (vehicle registration and technical controls) and to be rigorous about the terms of payment (give preference to a cashier’s cheque). Finally, unless the motorhome is very recent, it will certainly no longer come with its original manufacturer’s warranty.
The advantages of buying a second-hand motorhome from a professional
Very often the second-hand motorhome bought from a professional can have advantages that it will not necessarily have with the private individual. The motorhome offered for sale may have been driven for rental periods for example, but as with car rental, it will be systematically serviced and maintained scrupulously at each new rental. When it is taken out of the rental park, it is often in very good condition and has an extended warranty. It should be added that a dealer specialising in motorhomes has a dedicated technical team that detects the slightest technical problem and can remedy it. When you know little about mechanics, it is often reassuring to buy a used motorhome from a professional rather than a private individual.
Checking the motorhome
Whether you buy your second-hand motor home from a private individual or from a professional, you will need to check certain important points such as the watertightness, the condition of the engine, the various equipment inside (air conditioning, fridge, hob, etc.), the condition of the overall interior layout. Don’t hesitate to sit on the bench or open the taps or turn on the electricity to see if all the lighting is working properly.
The road test of your used motorhome
Unlike a second-hand car that you can buy for short trips, the motorhome is intended to give you the opportunity to “see the country”. It is therefore essential that you have it well in hand and that you test drive your future home on wheels. Take the time to take a test drive at your dealer or the individual from whom you buy your used motor home. This will allow you to evaluate the driving and to detect possible technical defects (gearbox, steering wheel, suspension, etc.).
Administrative paperwork and warranty to be closely supervised
If you buy your motorhome from a dealer, you can benefit from an extended warranty. Check what it relates to and the risks that will be covered by the warranty. Buying a used motorhome from a professional is fairly straightforward in terms of paperwork, but if you buy from a private individual, you will need to be more careful about this. You will need to require the certification of administrative status – formerly called the “certificate of non-pledge”, which validates the sale – and you will be able to check the accuracy of the serial number on the title deed with the one on the motorhome (to be located on the door, step or gas box, as the case may be).