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New or Used?

Jun 29, 2021
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Hi.
We are currently looking for our first family caravan and we are struggling to decide whether to opt for a used caravan or bite the bullet and purchase brand new.
Due to the current climate, for what we are looking for, we are finding that there isn't a huge difference in cost and wondering whether for peace of mind we would just be better off accepting the higher cost of brand new as been newbies, we are nervous that we do not know what we are looking for buying used.
What are your thoughts?
Thank you
 
Jun 16, 2020
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If buying new, look at the lead times, they may not be acceptable.

Have you considered trying an older 2nd hand van just to test the water. Even in the current climate there may be a bigish depreciation on a new van if it’s not for you.

John
 
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Reactions: Thingy
Jun 29, 2021
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We are aiming for next year so not concerned about lead times as such. Also not worried about depreciation as we intend to keep for the longer term which is why we are looking at used vs new. We want to make sure we get one that we love to spend time in to ensure we get the use from it so not looking at the cheaper end of the market.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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We are aiming for next year so not concerned about lead times as such. Also not worried about depreciation as we intend to keep for the longer term which is why we are looking at used vs new. We want to make sure we get one that we love to spend time in to ensure we get the use from it so not looking at the cheaper end of the market.
Think you have answered your own question. If lead time and depreciation aren’t a concern go new. You get full warranty and dealer support, and you know how it’s been used. If you buy now and don’t use it much you will then have insurance and servicing before next year and storage(?). New lead times are long so why not look at various models and order in the autumn for delivery next spring.
 
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Reactions: Jcloughie
Mar 17, 2020
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I'm not an expert in caravan sales and you will know as much as I do about current market conditions.
However, you are not in a hurry to buy and lead times apart for new, a second hand van is immediate once located.

Modern vans are not the sieves of earlier years in spite of what can be read on forums from disgruntled owners. They are often pretty well free of wood that has been the major issue with vans over the years. Most people enjoy knocking a product but rarely take the time to praise.

There are bargains to be found if you look long enough. Bereavement is sometimes the reason for a sale and some people look after their vans as carefully as any other treasured possession.

It will be immediately obvious once you enter a van that it is "as new" or anything but! You can gain a fair bit of "feeling" just talking to the current owner(s). Poke around and ask direct questions.

Obviously you will see a log book and evidence of services just as with a car.

You will read of problems with brand new vans but clearly they come with a warranty. The bottom line is will you save enough - if no warranty remains and is transferable - to warrant the gamble?

I guess all I'm saying is you can find bargains that will save you money and are almost indistinguishable from new.

Just one last thing. Three caravans ago I had a terrible amount of issues with a brand new van. Got to the stage or refusing it but the dealer made an offer that was entirely acceptable and included a few expensive extras.

Talking to the dealer foreman who I got to know well whilst my saga unfolded, his advice was never buy new. Go for 12 months old and the issues that are discovered during the first year will have been sorted. In addition transfer of remaining warranty is a bonus.

Good luck in whatever road you travel.
 
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Reactions: Dustydog
Feb 23, 2018
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I would normally suggest going to the NEC or other caravan show where you can go in all the vans to find a layout you like and suits your needs, as that is more important than new/used. Looking at pictures/videos does not give you same experience, such as do you actually fit?

Edit:
The October 2021 show has just been cancelled, so no chance of a big show this year: as others have said about lead times on deliveries, this was a contributing factor to the cancellation.
 
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Jul 18, 2017
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Why not buy an old caravan with the sort of layout you fancy to test the waters. Many of us did that before deciding which layout we preferred. If buying new and not buying a cheapie to test the waters, look at as many different layouts as possible. Caravan finder website will give you a good idea of layouts.
 
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Reactions: WayneS
Jan 19, 2002
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Bear in mind that whatever you buy the caravan is returned to the selling dealer for servicing and warranty, so avoid the 'bargain' offer or marque that is miles from home. You will find some dealers that offer only short warranties on used vans although for newer examples up to three years may be offered. You may find that once overseas destinations are available there will be a lot of nearly new vans returning to the market. Also whether old or new as a first timer try to get a 'started pack' thrown in otherwise water containers, batteries, gas supplies, etc all rapidly add up to additional hundreds. If you want a motor mover these start about £650+ depending on the spec required.
Unless you have done so already note the kerbweight of your intended tow vehicle, then consider about 85% for the MTPLM of the van. This may be helpful in narrowing down the choice of vans as you start to select 'the one'!
Good hunting!
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Bear in mind that whatever you buy the caravan is returned to the selling dealer for servicing and warranty, so avoid the 'bargain' offer or marque that is miles from home. You will find some dealers that offer only short warranties on used vans although for newer examples up to three years may be offered. You may find that once overseas destinations are available there will be a lot of nearly new vans returning to the market. Also whether old or new as a first timer try to get a 'started pack' thrown in otherwise water containers, batteries, gas supplies, etc all rapidly add up to additional hundreds. If you want a motor mover these start about £650+ depending on the spec required.
Unless you have done so already note the kerbweight of your intended tow vehicle, then consider about 85% for the MTPLM of the van. This may be helpful in narrowing down the choice of vans as you start to select 'the one'!
Good hunting!
Good advice however type of driving licence also is a concern for car and caravan.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Check the intended caravans payload as some higher spec 2/4 berths have quite low payloads. IE some Coachmans come at around 125kg. So when you allow for a second gas bottle, mover, battery the payload gets used up quickly. Continental vans such as Knaus, Adria and Hymer often have higher payloads and can be specified potentially with a range of payloads. They appear on the used and new market and tend to have a reputation for good build quality.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Personally,if finances allow I'd go new.Please bear in mind I ordered mine last October and have only just got it yesterday,so missing the first half of the year.
Layout wise,a lot depends on what family you have? By that I mean are they under say 10yrs and 2kids ,a bunk bed van would be fine for a few years and then the kids outgrow the bunks,but shove them in an annexe on a decent awning.If your kids are soon to be teens then I wouldn't go for bunks as once they're in awning you've got a lot of wasted space.
As others have said,do you have a tow car and license to pull said caravan,do you have limited space to store,there's a lot more to think about than new or used. Give us a bit more info and we'll all help as best we can,if you don't ask you'll never know.
 
May 7, 2012
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Personally I would be looking at an older second hand model to test the water unless you have used a caravan before and know you like this life. If you are happy with the idea though a new model does have the advantage of a far better guarantee than you get with a second hand one and a good dealer support is good, so check out reviews of the dealer.
You do need to be aware of the licence restriction if you have only B, as that limits you to a combined potential mass of 3,500 kg. This is the manufacturers maximum loaded weigh for the tow car and the MTPLM of the caravan combined and not the actual weight when towing. If the total weight allowed exceeds 3,500 kg you need a B+E licence which means an extra test.
 
Mar 29, 2021
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We are aiming for next year so not concerned about lead times as such. Also not worried about depreciation as we intend to keep for the longer term which is why we are looking at used vs new. We want to make sure we get one that we love to spend time in to ensure we get the use from it so not looking at the cheaper end of the market.
So when we started we bought used private sale bit of a gamble but paid off because saved money but also realised the configuration we chose was wrong for us
Next caravan was new, but we didn't get it because the agreed delivery time as advised whilst sat at the sales rep desk a few hours later was phoned and told delay of 3 months! No refund of deposit
So went back and bought Ex display in same configuration.

If your totally new to caravans best advice, take your time in deciding what suits your needs.
This one we have now is too long to keep at home, the thing was never intended to be kept on the drive, but 3 years on and I wouldn't mind tbh, son left home last year freeing up a car space

I know several people who bought caravans, used them a handful of times then sell up, not for them
 
May 24, 2014
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I may be just a complete cynic buy I am of the opinion that you wont get a perfect van new or old.

We all know the caravans are poorly constructed especially inside. A new van will have the warranty though a fairly new used van should have a transferable warranty. A good used van may have had all its faults and niggles ironed out or it could be a complete lemon. One of my new caravans sat very firmly in that category and I have had some brilliant used ones. Unfortunately its Forest Gump time, you never know what you are going to get.

You will find the salesmen talk some exceptional deals though i suspect that with the current high demand its a sellers market. Rarely do the service departments and aftersales win many accolades though.

The advice to buy an old caravan to see if the life suits you is sound advice.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I'm with the buy second hand brigade on this one. It just make good economic sense - consider as brand new van, as soon as you sign on the dotted line its no longer new and if you try to sell it it will only command second hand prices. Generally that is an instant 20% or more drop in value.

Where as if you buy second hand (and I'd still recommend using a dealer to get a meaningful warranty) its all ready at a reduced price, and if you decide to to sell you will loose far less.
 
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JTQ

May 7, 2005
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If the present strictures of "lockdown" really are coming to an end, and thus jetting off to warmer climes returns, I suspect the SH market will be flooded with hardly used caravans.

I believe the use of a plastic loo, effort of self catering and the struggles of getting a booking for a weekend getaway, are an ask too far, compared with the alternative of the cheapie package holiday, and many new adopters we have now, will opt out.

So it might be worth binding your time and see how the market unfolds, as if I am anything like right, together with lockdown being a thing of the past, then the resale values will plummet and over zealous restocking of new will introduce some great deals and availability.
 
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Aug 24, 2020
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I'm with the second hand-ers here: If you've never caravanned before, you may think you know what you're looking for, but if you buy second hand you have the luxury of sitting down in a year or so and thinking "what does our caravan not have that we wish it did - and what did we think we needed that we've never used?". Of course you could do that with a new van, but it's a lot cheaper if you go second hand for starters.
 
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Reactions: Jcloughie
Oct 21, 2020
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I’m going to sell ours privately after our 2 weeks away in sept and it’s annual service, really don’t mind if the prices dip, price it right and I’m sure it will go. Hoping to pick up a late 19 or 20 plate model that someone is moving on.

Let’s see eh

Kev
 
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Reactions: Hutch
Nov 16, 2015
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We had a 2010 Coachman VIP 545, central bed mid Shower and Washroom, thought it was nice, but never really Gelled with it. Changed it for a 560, rear bathroom and side bed, within the week we knew it was just right for us.
Strange how things happen, hope you find you fav one.
 
Jan 3, 2012
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I’m going to sell ours privately after our 2 weeks away in sept and it’s annual service, really don’t mind if the prices dip, price it right and I’m sure it will go. Hoping to pick up a late 19 or 20 plate model that someone is moving on.

Let’s see eh

Kev
Hi Kev I think it will sell fast whatever price you put on your caravan ;)
 
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Reactions: Kevin M
Nov 11, 2009
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Hi Kev I think it will sell fast whatever price you put on your caravan ;)
I’m afraid that isn’t a true statement as a silly price either way could deter buyers. It’s necessary to do your market research and price accordingly. But certainly the current market is buoyant I was offered dealer prices £1000 more than last year but by September people may not be looking for a solution to this years holiday dilemma.
 

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