Buying a motorhome: negotiating the deal
Doing your research to find the perfect campervan or motorhome for your requirements might seem the difficult part, but then you’ve got to find one at a price you can afford. And, finally, when you think the hard work is done, it’s time to strike the deal!
Some people are better at negotiating than others and it’s important not to let the excitement of having a new ’van cloud your judgement, or make you rush in. Good negotiation will leave you and the dealer feeling happy about the deal.
Get the right trade-in price
If you already have a vehicle to trade in, you first need to discuss its value and decide whether it is worth selling your vehicle privately, especially if there is a long wait before you’ll be able to take delivery of your new model.
Be realistic about the value of your existing ’van, whether you’re selling it privately or trading it in.
If trading it in, you will not get the full retail price, as the dealer has costs involved in preparing, selling and providing warranty cover on your vehicle.
That said, there is a shortage of quality used motorhomes on the market, so dealers will pay more for a trade-in now than they were several months ago. This is also true on the private market – demand is outstripping supply at the moment so, if you’re thinking of selling, now is the time.
So, research used prices and push for the best deal on your trade-in.
If a dealer knows a brand well and will be able to sell your motorhome on quickly, then you will get a more favourable valuation.
Maximise your motorhome value by selling elsewhere
If you feel the offer is too low do not be afraid to get valuations from other dealers, espeically dealers that specialise in the brand you’re selling, as they are more likely to have customers wanting a lower-priced used option.
If you sell privately, remember that buyers will expect to pay less than through a dealer. You will also have to do all the work, fielding enquiries and arranging viewings.
When researching the potential value of your current model, do an internet search for the make and model of your ’van to find others like it for sale. Remember that mileage, options fitted, condition, etc, will all affect the value.
If you can’t find another exact same-age model as your ’van for sale, look for similar size/spec/layout vehicles of around the same age and use their asking prices as a guide.
Ask for a discount
Next, ask what discount is available on the motorhome you are buying.
Dealers will always have room for negotiating if the price they are asking has not already been discounted.
But remember, motorhome dealers have big overheads – showrooms, staff, logistics, insurance, service centres, etc.
They are also responsible for any aftersales and warranty work needed on your ’van. This all comes out of their dealer margin.
You’ll also see new motorhomes advertised with discounted prices – anything from £2,000 to £10,000 off is not unusual, but this may also reflect the fact that a vehicle has been sitting on the forecourt for a long time, is last year’s model or, perhaps, has a layout that is out of fashion.
If a ’van is already advertised with a big saving, you may not be able to haggle too much more off the price.
Time it right
The timing of your purchase may affect the deal you’re offered, too, especially if it involves you buying a stock vehicle rather than one that has to be ordered from the factory.
Dealers are likely to be more generous if the vehicle you’re buying is already on its forecourt, especially if it has been there longer than is normal.
Shows can also be a good place to get a great deal, as dealers often use them to clear stock. Try to buy from a dealer close to you so, if you have to return the ’van for any warranty work, the distance is not great. Any saving could be wiped out if you end up doing several 200-mile round trips, although many readers often choose to include such journeys as part of a holiday.
Once the trade-in value of your ’van and the cost of the new ’van have been agreed, ask about accessories.
A free awning or satellite dish may sound very generous but think what they are worth to you – they are of real value only if you would buy them anyway.
It’s important to note down anything agreed in negotiations and get them added to the contract of sale (signed by both you and the dealer).
This includes things like gas cylinders, the transfer of any kit from your current motorhome to the new one, aftermarket accessories that the dealer agrees to fit, special options you want, upholstery choices and everything else.
But the most important thing to remember is that buying the right ’van with the right layout is far more important than getting a great deal.
Also, if you trust the dealer, then it is worth paying a bit more and sticking with a dealer that provides excellent service and support.