Campervan advice: tips for selling your campervan
Whatever your reasons for selling your campervan, it is wise to prepare first and decide which way of selling is best for you.
There are several options and it’s relatively easy to find one that suits you, whether that’s selling through a dealer, through an agent or selling your vehicle yourself.
Selling your campervan to a dealer
Using a dealer is one of the easiest ways to sell a campervan. You can
- trade it in for your next model
- get the dealer to buy it from you for an agreed price and then leave it in the dealer’s hands to sell on, or
- ask the dealer to sell it on your behalf for a fixed price
Trading-in is the simplest and easiest way to upgrade to a newer model. Just as you would with a car, you negotiate the best price for your model and offset this against the retail cost of your new campervan - remeber you can negotatie on the retail price too.
Before you head to the dealer to negotiate the trade-in price on your campervan though, there are several things to do in advance:
- First, give your campervan a full valet inside and out
- Check that everything works and, if something is broken, get it mended or be prepared to take a hit on the trade-in price
- Research the current used prices for similar models so you know what your campervan is worth - have a look here on the motorhomes for sale section which has hundreds of used campervans listed. Remember that those being sold by dealers will have a higher price than those sold privately.
- Pick your dealer carefully - a dealer specialising in the manufacturer of your campervan will be more likely to offer more and may well have a waiting list of potential customers.
- Alternatively contact the manufacturer direct - some will take trade-ins and again may have a waiting list of potential buyers
- Then armed with this knowledge go and negotiate.
Asking a dealer to buy your campervan outright will give you a rapid financial return, but this amount will generally be lower than the market value. The dealer will have overheads involved in stocking your campervan, marketing it, preparing it for sale, servicing it, etc, and will also need to make a profit.
Currently there is a shortage of quality secondhand campervans, so this gives you some room for negotiating a better price, but be realistic.
The final option when using a dealer is ‘sale or return’. This is where you still own the campervan but a dealer will agree to display it on its forecourt for a pre-agreed fee and time.
Your campervan needs to be insured (normally by the dealer, but always check), both on and off the road while it is in the dealer’s care. You may have to pay for any maintenance work required.
Be sure you are aware of all the risks and have guarantees in writing for issues such as
- how long the dealer can hold your money once the campervan is sold
- how much negotiating room you allow the dealer to have
- and what the dealer’s commission is.
We also recommend that ownership of the campervan remains with you, not the dealer, until the sale is complete. This is especially important if the dealer goes out of business so you can prove you own it.
How to sell a campervan privately
Selling your campervan yourself can reap the biggest monetary rewards, but it’s not without its downsides. There are a few ways to do this and the method you choose will depend on things like timescale, your availability, etc.
You can place an advert in your local paper or shop window but you are less likely to get many valuable enquiries.
Place an advert in magazines such as MMM, which is Britain's best-selling motorhome magazine, or Campervan magazine – specialist magazines are read by those interested in the hobby, so your advert has a greater chance of being seen by someone with a genuine interest.
You can also take adverts on websites such as this one (Motorhomes for Sale section).
This is one of the best routes to sell, as most research is done online now and so you can potentially reach millions of buyers for a small cost.
You will need to provide pictures, a description and a price and, of course, handle all the enquiries.
Placing an advert on a generic auction website may be cheaper or even free, but your campervan may get lost in the crowd. You can also get bombarded with questions from non-serious buyers.
Selling privately requires investment, including your time and costs related to preparing it for sale. But the rewards can be the greatest.
If you do decide to sell privately, then make sure your advert is accurate and you take quality pictures. Be honest and realistic about the market value.
Finally, there are dangers in selling privately - don’t hand over the keys until the money is in your account, never allow a solo test drive (make sure you are in the campervan as well as the tester) and make sure that the person driving is insured and has the correct driving licence categories.
Selling your campervan through an agent
There are companies who will market and handle the sale and marketing of your campervan for an agreed fee.
During the time it is for sale, the campervan remains with you and you will handle the enquiries and the sale.
The agent should arrange photographs, create the campervan description and market it.
There is a contract so, if you also plan to market the campervan yourself and actually sell it, a penalty might be payable to the agent, so make sure you read and agree to the contract first.
Selling your campervan at auction
Auctions are used by many traders to both sell and acquire secondhand campervans.
If you enter your model into an auction, do not expect it to sell for its market value.
You can set a minimum price, below which the auctioneer will not sell. Bear in mind, the auction house will take a percentage of the sale price and/or charge a seller's fee. Also be aware that your campervan may not sell at all in which case the aution house may require you to drop your reserve price or remove it completely.
A few companies, such as BCA, hold auctions specifically for motorhomes and campervans (and caravans), so it may be worth selling at one of those.
However you sell your campervan, make sure you are honest about the vehicle’s condition, including any faults. To get the best possible price, it’s good to invest (time or money) in cleaning and preparing it so it is at its best when being viewed. If it’s winter, put the heating on or, if it’s a hot summer day, open the roof vents and windows.
Gather a file with any paperwork including service records and registration documents. And make sure you keep any instruction manuals for equipment fitted with the vehicle.