Motorhomes are not cheap. After your home it might be the most expensive item you ever buy, so don’t go in to it without doing your homework first. Best to Hire / Rent a Motorhome to try before you buy. There are many hire / rental companies in Scotland and the UK.
Research – Decide what you want.
Some of the “essential” features you need will be obvious to you – like how many berths (adult or childrens beds), how big should the Motorhome be (where will you store or park it) and how much do you want to spend. You may have preferences such as manual or automatic transmission, or petrol or diesel. Would you be happy with a Left Hand drive model? Possibly yes if you plan to tour Europe. You may have a specific use in mind, for example, if you have a motorcyle or cycles do you need a “garage” compartment.
When you buy at Auction you don’t have an infinate choice – only what is available at any one time, so you must make a list of what you deem is essential, and what you’d “like” but is not essential in a motorhome. Things for your “like to have” list might include –
Decide on the body style and conversion
There are various style options to choose from. The main thing to decide is are you going to go for a professional conversion (such as Autosleeper, Devon or Hymer) or would you be happy with a one-off conversion. Professional conversions are normally a safer bet, but will cost more.
How big should it be? The smallest ones are classed as camper vans and include models like Mazda Bongo, then slightly bigger come the VW’s, which are very desirable, but don’t have the comforts of “home”. Then there are Motor Caravans based on typical Goods Vans, like the Ford Transit, or Peugeot Boxer. All these so far metioned have one great advantage, in that they are small enough to drive on narrower roads like Scotland, and be parked in “car” parks.
As you get bigger your choice includes “coachbuilt” styles like Elddis, Dethleffs and Abbey. These have more home comforts but are bigger vehicles and take more effort to handle “on the road”. Finally you get the monster motorhomes – just like your own home, but you can take it with you. Journey times can be slower, so they are not the best choice for lots of touring, but more suited to longer stays at larger sites.
So the decision on size should be – what is the smallest we’d go for, and what is the biggest. Make a note of Min and Max dimensions. Consider the height of the cab – a higher driving position gives you better views when travelling.
Do you want a bed that you can leave out all the time, rather than having to pull it out and make it every night? Do you want a lounge area that you can all sit round to eat in? Do you want an end kitchen or a side set-up?
You will probably want to buy the newest model you can afford. Older vehicles often come with all the problems of wear and tear, bodywork that needs constant attention, and dreaded leaks. If you are on a low budget it is even more important that you check out the van fully before you bid for it in an auction. With older vans there are just more things that could be wrong. Don’t assume that newer models are a safe option to buy at auction. Some accident damaged, stolen recovered or flood damaged motor caravans can end up on a Motorhome Auction.
In all cases you must follow these golden rules :-
Research what you want, make a list and view some at dealers.
Make notes and get an idea of typical prices for second hand vehicles.
Narrow down your choice of model and check in more detail at a dealer.
Be prepared to travel around the country to look at vehicles.
Once you know what you want, stick to your decision.
Keep an eye on the Auction Sites and identify potential buys as soon as they get listed. Read the description carefully, making notes of anything the seller has forgotten to mention. Email (or better to phone) the seller and ask all the relevent questions you can think of. (If he gets impatient forget it).
Best buys are from Motorhome hire / rental companies as these vehicles are fully checked and cleaned prior to every hire, also the motorhome / rental companies normally buy motorhomes from the manufacturer direct so pass on this saving to you