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How To Sell Your Motorhome – The Ultimate Guide
For most people, a motorhome is a major investment, not only in financial terms but also from a lifestyle point of view. Buying a motorhome not only means a complete change in the way you holiday, but the vehicles themselves also need a lot more care, attention and maintenance than cars and other types of van.
That’s why people want to ensure they get their purchase just right, which means you need to make your motorhome stand out from the crowd when you decide to sell.
If you’re selling a motorhome for any reason – whether a change in circumstances means you have to sell, or you’re simply in the market for a new model, you need to be aware that selling up isn’t always as simple as putting up a ‘For Sale’ sign and listing it online.
Our guide will outline how to sell your motorhome with as little hassle as possible.
Why are you selling your motorhome?
Before you put your motorhome on the market, it’s important to first consider exactly why you’re selling it, as this can have an impact on how much money you can make on the sale.
If, for instance, you’ve had a change in circumstances and need to sell quickly, you may have to lower your asking price for a quick sale. Similarly, if you need to sell to fund the purchase of a brand new motorhome for an upcoming holiday, you might consider lowering the price to push the sale through more quickly.
If, on the other hand, you’re simply selling up because the motorhome life is no longer for you, or you want a new motorhome but aren’t in a hurry to buy one, then you might be able to push the sale price a little higher, simply because you can afford to wait for the right buyer to come along and meet your asking price.
There’s no telling how long it will take to sell your motorhome and the whole process can seem quite daunting if you’re selling a motorhome for the first time – it’s a very specialist market, so you may not get the level of interest you’re expecting right away. But if you price it fairly and follow our top tips for selling your motorhome, the whole process should be as quick and painless as possible.
Should you sell your motorhome privately?
The big advantage of selling your motorhome privately is that you get 100% of the sale price, minus any outstanding finance payments or advertising fees, as there are no dealership markups or direct buyer markdowns to consider.
Another advantage is that privately-sold motorhomes are often cheaper than those found on forecourts, which is always a massive positive for potential buyers. This means that buyers are likely to consider your motorhome ahead of one they can buy from a dealer. If you’re honest and upfront with interested buyers, you should have no trouble selling your motorhome.
It’s not all positive though – one of the major drawbacks of selling privately is that the responsibility to market and sell your motorhome lies entirely on your shoulders, which means it can be a lot more hassle than simply selling to a dealership or direct buyer.
What’s the best way to sell a motorhome privately?
The key to sealing a private sale is to do plenty of preparation beforehand and make your motorhome as appealing as possible to buyers.
Make sure your motorhome is in shape
The first thing to do is make sure it’s clean, tidy and in full working order.
- Get your motorhome gleaming on the outside by cleaning it from top to bottom with good quality shampoo and polish, paying particular attention to the wheels and windows. Also, make sure you clean the roof of your motorhome – buyers will want to see how the roof is looking and having a clean roof is a good indication the motorhome has been looked after. It’s also worth using alloy protector on your alloy wheels to give them an extra shine.
- Give the motorhome a thorough cleaning on the inside, clearing out any clutter, including anything kept in the fridge, draws and cupboards, before vacuuming and polishing. You should also remove any personal effects, as this will make the interior look cleaner and more spacious, to give the buyer a better idea of what they’ll be getting for their money. It’ll also remove the risk that they’ll be put off buying because they don’t have the same taste for interior design as you have.
- If you’ve added any shelves, hooks, holders or made any modifications to the interior, it’s worth considering removing anything that won’t leave any holes or marks, to get the motorhome back to its original spec. Buyers might not be as keen on your improvements as you are.
- Check for any stains or rips in the carpets, flooring and upholstery, and make sure they’re cleaned and repaired or replaced, along with any bulbs that have blown. And make sure all appliances are working, putting in a full gas bottle for the cooker and filling up the water tank so you can show the sink, shower, heating and toilet are all working. Speaking of which, make sure the toilet cassette is empty and topped up with chemicals, and use a strong air freshener to make sure there are no lingering smells from pets, food and smoke.
- Although you should clear the drawers and cupboards, if there are any tools or utensils that are specific to the motorhome, make sure these are neatly out on display. This could be anything from gas spanners and wedges to kitchen utensils.
Get all the paperwork in order
Before you sell your motorhome, you’ll need to have the following paperwork in order:
- MOT – If your motorhome is over 3 years old, make sure your motorhome has a valid MOT before you sell it. If the MOT is almost up for renewal, it’s worth getting it tested and any repairs carried out as a long MOT makes it more attractive to buyers. If, on the other hand, there is a short or no MOT, or major repairs need carrying out to get it through its next test, this will put many buyers off.
- Habitation service document – It helps to have a habitation service document to show that this part of the motorhome has also been looked after and highlight any problems, including damp. If you have a current habitation service document that shows the motorhome is in good condition and free from damp, it will reassure private buyers. If you don’t have one, it could affect the price you get for the motorhome.
- V5C – Also known as the vehicle log book, the V5C is your proof of ownership, so make sure you have it to hand and all details are correct, including the motorhome’s vehicle identification number (VIN), a unique number that’s usually stamped into the chassis of the vehicle – this should match what’s on the V5C – as well as the registered owner’s name and address. The V5C also has details of the number of previous owners, a description of the vehicle and its class, as well as details on whether it’s ever been stolen or involved in a major accident.
When you sell your motorhome, you’ll need to get the new keeper to fill in their details in the relevant section of the V5C, then both sign the declaration before sending the form to DVLA. The licensing agency will then know the new keeper is responsible for the motorhome and issue them with a new V5C.
The new owner should also put their details into section 10 of the V5C/2, and retain this green slip, as they will need this to tax the vehicle – remember the vehicle excise duty (VED, also known as road tax) can no longer be transferred to the new owner and a tax disc is no longer required. When you sell your motorhome, you’ll need to apply for a refund from DVLA and the new owner will have to sort their own VED.
And the new owner should be aware that the green slip from the V5C isn’t proof of ownership, so you’ll still need to give the new keeper a receipt and keep a record of their name and address.
With your motorhome in tip-top shape and all the paperwork in order, it’s time to get ready for some viewings.
How to prepare your motorhome for a viewing?
If you decide to sell your motorhome privately, you’ll need to get it ready for viewings. But before you can list it, you need to work out how much you can reasonably sell it for.
How much is your motorhome worth?
One of the toughest things about selling a motorhome privately is getting its valuation right and you need to think carefully when asking “what is my motorhome worth?” – if the price is too high you’ll put off buyers from even viewing it, but if the price is too low and you’ll lose out on money.
The main problem with valuing your motorhome is that, unlike cars, there is no general guide and prices tend to be based on more than make, model and mileage. Motorhomes generally aren’t mass-produced to the scale that cars are, and the price of any particular motorhome can vary depending upon its size and layout, as well as quality and complexity of the fixtures and fittings. The base vehicle chassis the motorhome has been built on also has a bearing on its value.
With so many variables and no definitive guidance, accurately valuing your motorhome can be a real headache, even before you factor in depreciation – it’s a painful fact that, unless you’ve bought a classic VW camper, by the time you come to sell your motorhome, it’s likely to be worth less than what you bought it for.
How much do motorhomes depreciate?
The good news is that motorhomes don’t depreciate at anywhere near the same rate as cars. While cars depreciate by up to 60% after three years on the road, you can reasonably expect a brand new motorhome to lose just 30% of its value during the same timeframe.
Even motorhomes that are over 20-years-old stand up well against depreciation and well-maintained models can easily command sums upwards of £10,000. This slow depreciation rate can be put down to a number of factors, including the specialist nature and build quality of motorhomes and the fact that while many people want to own a motorhome, relatively few can afford to buy new, so this helps maintain the price of used models. Also, the very fact that motorhomes typically travel at low mileages help them depreciate much slower than cars.
How to value your motorhome
The best way to get an idea of exactly how much your motorhome is worth is to speak to a few dealers. Explain that your motorhome is for sale, and outline the make, model and mileage, alongside its general condition and what you consider its major selling points to be.
In return, they should offer you a valuation based upon what they would buy it for – you should consider this the absolute lowest price you’re willing to accept, as it’s the amount you could get by simply handing it over to a dealer. Selling privately takes a lot more effort and you can ask for a higher price, but how much depends upon the demand for that type of model.
The next thing to do is check out some classified ads, to get an idea of what private sellers are valuing similar motorhomes at. You should be able to use these valuations alongside the dealer’s valuation to arrive at a fair price for your motorhome.
Once you have your valuation, you need to consider is where you’re going to list your motorhome for sale, and there are a number of ways in which you can do this.
Where should you sell your motorhome?
- Sell it through local adverts – Placing an advert in a local shop or Post Office, or taking out a classified ad in a local newspaper is often one of the cheaper ways to advertise your motorhome, but it also relies on an element of chance and doesn’t tap into the nationwide appetite for motorhomes. People will travel far and wide to find the right motorhome, so it’s worth advertising it nationally to give yourself the best chance of getting the price you want.
- Sell it online – Selling online, on sites such as AutoTrader Motorhomes or eBay offer the nationwide coverage that can give you a much better chance of selling your motorhome and getting the price you want. It’s also a good way to filter out real buyers from timewasters, as people who search online and are prepared to travel a fair distance for a viewing are more likely to be serious about buying than those who have happened upon an advert in the local shop.
- Sell it at auction or motorhome show – If you want to sell your motorhome quickly, an auction or motorhome show is often a good option, but you may not get the price you want. Buyers at auctions and motorhome shows are usually pretty savvy at getting vehicles for the price they want, rather than what the seller wants, so be prepared to be talked down on price for a quick sale.
Whichever way you choose to sell your motorhome, it makes sense to put a ‘for sale’ sign in the window, highlighting the price and a contact telephone number. If you can park it in a high traffic area, this gives it a greater chance of being seen. Even if it’s just parked on your driveway, it could still be seen by someone who’s in the market for a motorhome.
When is the best time to sell a motorhome?
In theory, a good, reasonably-priced motorhome should sell at any time of the year, but seasonality can definitely have an influence, so you need to be mindful of this when putting your motorhome up for sale.
The winter months can be a notoriously bad time to sell, especially in the run-up to Christmas. You might get lucky and find a private buyer, but if you really need a quick sale, you might be better off selling to a dealer or a specialist direct buyer, such as https://www.webuyanymotorcaravan.com/.
There is a downside though – although you should be able to sell your motorhome relatively quickly and easily, it’s unlikely you’ll get the price you want for it. Wholesale buyers generally buy for less than the market value, while dealers will generally go low with their offer during the winter months, sensing that sellers are desperate to offload their motorhome.
Spring is probably the best time to sell when people are gearing up for the summer and you’ll have a better chance of a quicker private sale. You’ll also find that many dealers will offer closer to your asking price during this period. While you might be tempted to leave selling until the summer, this could be too late and prices may start to drop again.
How to write an effective classified ad
If you plan on using classified ads to sell your motorhome, whether in print or online, you need to write one that not only includes all the relevant information but also really stands out. Remember, there’ll be plenty of other sellers vying for the attention of your buyer, so take the time to craft a well-worded ad.
The first thing to do is make sure you include all relevant information, including:
- Make, model and age
- Number of miles on the clock
- Number of previous owners
- Maintenance schedule and length of MOT (you’ll need to provide proof of both)
- Any recent repairs
- A description of the habitation area and what’s included
- Any additional features, such as alloy wheels, parking cameras, etc.
You should also include any defects or potential issues the new owner might encounter. Ideally, you should get any problems sorted before you sell but, if not, you need to be completely honest with buyers as it’s likely these problems will be picked up and you will lose the sale anyway – better to have buyers who are interested in your motorhome, warts-and-all, than buyers who’ll be put off by a lack of transparency.
All of this information can make for quite a lengthy advert, so try to keep everything as concise as possible, using bullet points to break up the text wherever you can.
And make sure there are at least ten pictures, highlighting the motorhome’s best features, as well as any flaws, so buyers can see exactly what to expect – people don’t just want to read about the condition of the motorhome, they want to see for themselves.
With your motorhome now listed and prepared for viewings, you need to consider how you’ll conduct the viewings.
How to carry out a motorhome viewing
Once your motorhome is listed, it could take a few hours before you get your first enquiry or it could take a few weeks, so it’s important to ensure you’re prepared for viewings at all times.
Not only does this mean making sure your motorhome is clean, well-maintained and in top condition, but you also need to consider what you’re going to say to potential buyers and think about the sorts of questions they could ask you. There are few things more off-putting for a buyer than the seller answering “I don’t know”, so prepare yourself for the following questions:
- Are you the registered keeper? – If you’re not the registered keeper, and you’re selling the motorhome on behalf of someone else, you’ll need to be honest and upfront about why you’re selling it. Someone other than the registered keeper selling any vehicle will understandably sound alarm bells with potential buyers.
- How many owners has the motorhome had? – This is an easy one to prove, as the number of registered keepers will be shown on the V5C, but you should familiarise yourself with the number of owners in preparation for the question.
- How often has the motorhome been driven? – The mileage shown on a motorhome’s odometer only tells half the story. The very nature of holidaying in a motorhome means it’s more likely to have covered a high number of miles in short bursts, but some people use their motorhomes more regularly, and this can affect the maintenance schedule.
- Does the motorhome come with a full service history? – Again, this is one that can be quickly proven with the relevant documentation, but don’t tell buyers there’s a full service history if you don’t have a complete set of records to prove it.
- Have any animals lived in the motorhome? – Although you may not know if animals have lived in the motorhome before you bought it, if you’ve ever travelled with pets you should let the buyer know. Even if you’ve completely cleaned it from top to bottom, there may still be traces of animal hair and buyers might pick up on this.
- Why are you selling the motorhome? – Talking up how good a vehicle is before selling it always seems a bit incongruous – if it’s that good, why sell it? – so always be ready with your reason for selling.
- Has it ever been involved in an accident? – Any type of accident can have implications for the condition of the vehicle and how much it will cost to insure it, so you should let the buyer know if it has been involved in any sort of prang, no matter how minor.
There may also be more general questions about the motorhome lifestyle, so be prepared to answer the following questions openly and honestly:
- Do I need a special type of licence to drive this motorhome?
- Is the motorhome easy to drive and park?
- What’s the best way to keep it clean and in good condition?
- How often do the tyres need replacing?
- Is it powerful enough to tow a small car?
- Can I pitch the motorhome at any campsite?
- Can you park and stay in a motorhome anywhere you want, or only on campsites?
- Does the fridge keep running on long ferry journeys?
- If I’m travelling with children or other passengers, are there seat belts in the rear seats?
- Should I fit any extra security devices?
- Is the motorhome expensive to run and maintain?
If you can answer any questions that buyers have, it can help to put them at ease and consider you a trustworthy seller. Remember, buying a motorhome is a massive outlay and people need to know they can trust the seller, especially when buying privately.
It’s also worth considering that there are other ways to sell your motorhome if you don’t want to go to the trouble of selling it privately.
Other ways to sell your motorhome
If you’d rather not sell your motorhome privately, there are three other options open to you – selling to a dealer, selling to a broker or selling to a direct buyer.
- Selling to a motorhome dealer – When selling your motorhome to a dealer, you might want to sell it outright or part exchange it for another model. You may also be offered a ‘sale or return’ option, whereby you still own the motorhome but the dealer agrees to display it on their forecourt for a pre-agreed fee and time. This works in much the same way as getting an estate agent to help sell your home.
- Selling to a motorhome broker – Alternatively, motorhome brokers will try to match your vehicle with a buyer and going down this route often means you can achieve a better price than by selling or part-exchanging with a dealer. The downside is that the broker’s commission will be a percentage of the sale price, which can really eat into any money you make.
You also need to be on your guard against fraudsters when selling through a broker, as some bogus motorhome brokers will go through the selling process with you and make off with your motorhome before any money has changed hands. Only ever use a broker that has a specific address where motorhomes are on display – preferably one you’ve seen for yourself – or one that has been recommended to you as genuine.
- Selling to a direct motorhome buyer – Selling to a direct buyer or wholesaler, such as We Buy Any Campervan, is another option and probably the simplest one as you’re almost guaranteed to have the motorhome taken off your hands and payments are made immediately. Some wholesalers will even offer free collection from your property as part of the service. The major downside to selling in this way is that you’ll rarely be offered a price that’s anywhere near what you could get by selling privately, so you need to work out whether just having the money in hand in more important than the time it takes to sell privately.
Can you trade in a car for a motorhome
If you’re buying from a dealer, you may be able to trade in a car for a motorhome, depending upon whether the dealership buys and sells cars alongside motorhomes.
If you’re selling your motorhome privately, you may even find that some buyers will want to trade in a car plus cash for your motorhome. If this happens, you should think carefully before you agree to any part-exchange deal, as you’ll have no comeback if you take their vehicle as part-payment and it turns out to be in need of major repairs.
When selling privately, it’s best to deal in cash only.
No matter how you choose to sell your motorhome, you should still go through the same process of cleaning, decluttering and getting all the paperwork in order to ensure you get the best possible price.
Recommend a motorhome insurer
Potential buyers will also want to know about the running costs of your motorhome, including the cost of your annual insurance premium. Buyers will also need to factor in the cost of breakdown cover.
All buyers will want to know they can get the right insurance cover at the right price, and that’s where Comfort Insurance can help out – our unrivalled choice of policies is what helps 95% of our customers rate our service as ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot with a customer satisfaction score of 4.9 out of 5.*
Our motorhome insurance experts are on hand to find the best level of cover for all types of motorhome and all types of travellers. Call now on 0800 0304 206.
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