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Life On The Open Road: A Guide To Buying A Campervan


Nothing comes close to the campervan experience. Nostalgic and dreamy, life on the open road is incredibly appealing to the adventurer in all of us. 

Adaptable and easy to park up anywhere, campervans are the happy medium between camping and caravaning. Home comforts are more accessible and the security of having everything within reach is often more appealing than the classic squashy sleeping bag. 

Kindred spirits often are found in the campervan community. Lifestyle and exploration all lend themselves to the joys of owning a campervan. So, how do you go about buying one for yourself? 

Here’s our guide to buying a campervan:

Know the market

Getting swept up in the idea of owning a campervan can often hide a few unexpected nasties under the bonnet. Just because you think you’ve found the van of your dreams, don’t make a deal blindly.

Buying a vehicle without knowing that it is completely sound could cost you in the long run. If any doubts cross your mind, this one is not for you. Having someone else’s opinion, like a professional mechanic, will set your path straight. 

Having a budget in mind before even viewing a campervan will help you weigh up the pros and cons with the vehicle you are about to see. Insurance, tax, repairs and alterations are all worth bearing in mind.

Buying from a dealership

Not always the cheapest option when considering a campervan, dealerships can often have a more varied selection available to buy than private sellers. 

Bound by duty to tell you if there are any underlying problems and what it will cost to fix them, dealerships are often a great place to go for your campervan. Most vehicles are protected by at least 3 months warranty, so if anything goes wrong, the dealership will fix this for you.

Finance options are also available that may not be elsewhere. Although dealerships often have their own finance available, they may not be offering you the best overall deal. So, do some research before you get there to see what is available to you. You might be surprised! Why not give us a try?

Shopping around and visiting more than one dealership will give you a wider picture of what campervans are on offer and how much prices vary. 

Buying from a private seller

With the joys of Facebook, Gumtree and various other online communities at your fingertips, these days finding a campervan online isn’t hard to do. Finding one that suits your circumstances and personality may be a bit harder.

The truth of the matter is until you can see the campervan in the flesh you shouldn’t even consider parting with your cash. 

When you go to visit a seller, make sure you ask for these vital things:

  • Logbook – always check the address in the logbook to see if it matches the sellers. Make sure you only ever go to view the vehicle at the seller’s house too. You need to feel comfortable and sure about the seller’s credentials. 
  • Check the vehicle’s details – make sure the chassis and engine numbers match the logbook.
  • Take someone with you – presumably, you’ve never met the seller before, so take someone with you! They can also act as a witness in case the van proves faulty later on.
  • Save the original advert – any vehicle must be viewed as legally described. If what you are seeing isn’t, then you need the evidence to take to the seller or police afterwards
  • Have a look at the vehicle’s history – do your research. All registered vehicles are documented online. So you can check is the campervan you want to buy has been stolen, in an accident, and its MOT history all from your own home. 
  • Do an inspection – you can easily have a vehicle professionally checked over by most garages, including a full road test. 

If you opt for buying a campervan off of eBay the same rules apply. If you make a bid, however, you are bound by the selling rules online. 

Motor Auction

Possibly the riskiest of all the buying avenues you could take, buying a campervan from an auction could find you the greatest bargain. 

Unlike a dealership or a private seller, auctions are used because a vehicle is either unsellable or unusable. So bear this in mind. If it’s a project you’re after, this is the way to go. 

Getting a lay of the land before the auction begins will give you a better chance on the selling floor. You’ll find the vehicle details posted on the windscreen, so take a good look. Inspecting the campervan is also a good idea. 

Take your time to look underneath, under the bonnet and inside if you can. If you have the nerve, wait until the vehicle is about to be driven to the auction so you can hear it running. If you are satisfied by what you see, decide on a price and don’t bid over it.

Bear in mind, extra fees are often added after the bidding war. 

Ready to live life on the open road? Getting the most out of your campervan will give you a driving experience like no other. 

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