Where to buy a motorhome

MMM editorial

Now you've made the biggest decisions such as layout, style and size of your motorhome - so it's time to get out there and buy one.

The buying process is probably the most exciting, but most difficult aspect of buying your motorhome.

It's not just a case of choosing to buy from a dealer or privately, you also need to consider when it's the best time to buy.

First though, we'll take a look at where you can find your dream motorhome.

Dealer (independent, franchise, NCC-approved)

Dealers are a great place to browse new and used stock. If it's new you're after and you know which manufacturer you're looking for you can easily find out which dealers are appointed as a franchised dealer.

You can't let yourself assume that a new Auto-sleepers dealer would have only used Auto-Sleepers. The majority of dealers will offer a good range of used models, both bought at auction and taken in part exchange.

When buying from a dealer, the vehicle should be fully valeted before you pick it up and will generally come with a warranty of varying lengths of time depending on the vehicle's age. 

All new motorhomes will get a manufacturer warranty, while older ones, whose initial warranty has expired can often be offered with a dealer warranty.

When you pick your 'van up you'll get a full, formal hand-over, very much like purchasing a house. Make sure you note down everything that's said!

One main bonus of buying from a dealer is that you know where you need to head if there are any problems, which is not the case when you buy privately. The dealer you buy from should arrange all warranty work and issues you have with your motorhome.

There is a dealer standard called the Approved Workshop Scheme, which is managed by the National Caravan Council (NCC).

Motorhome shows
The National Motorhome Show, Peterborough

Shows are a fantastic place to see the dealers and the motorhomes you have shortlisted in one place. Most of the big players will attend indoor and outdoor shows throughout the year. And, if you're still confused by everything and just want to get a good idea of what is on the market, what you should expect to pay and what dealer offers are around then a show is your place to start. 

Visiting an outdoor show really gives you a feel for the whole-lifestyle. It's an opportunity to meet more experienced motorhomers and chat with exhibitors about your requirements.

Outdoor shows take place throughout the year and are dotted around the UK. 

You can always head to the Shows section of this website to find out when and where shows will be held.

Internet and auction
outandaboutlive.oc.uk website

The internet is a great place to pick up a bargain with sites such as this one with motorhomes for sale and eBay. If you decide to buy this way, do not part with any cash until you've inspected the 'van.

Ask the seller for a test drive, proof of ownership, service history, etc.

Don't let yourself be tempted with what appears to be a once-in-a-lifetime deal. And certainly don't say 'yes' on the spur of the moment.

Take your time, inspect the 'van and do all the necessary checks.

And remember, if it appears to be too good to be true. It probably is.

Then there are real-life auctions, organised by companies such as the BCA in Measham. You'll probably be up against a bunch of traders but pledge a few quid more and you can drive away with a bargain.


Trawling through the back of magazines such as MMM and Which Motorhome is a great way to find a secondhand bargain but also gives you a grasp on prices and what you'll realistically get for your budget. 

Again like the internet and auctions this is something more suited to experienced motorhomers - you really need to know the weak spots of motorhomes to assess the state of one - both mechanically and in the habitation area.

You can get an independent inspection carried out on a potential 'van but once you've paid it's your problem. 

That said 'vans offered in the classifieds or on outandaboutlive.co.uk are often sold at a much lower price than you would pay at a dealer.

The choice is yours, but as the latest MMM survey found, almost 50 per cent of experienced motorhomers still plan to buy a new motorhome from a dealer next time around.

When to buy

The majority of motorhome designs are revamped every year with manufacturers usually bringing out a new range in time for the October NEC show. 

This means that once the start of a new season approaches, dealers are keen to clear the forecourts of last years stock.

Expect some fantastic slashes on pricing, with unregistered (but last season) models available with huge discounts

If you're looking for a used model, then the most popular time to sell is the end of the season. So if you can hold off until winter there will be more choice, and probably some bargains.

To return to the Motorhome Buyers' Guide home page click here

More useful Motorhome pages:

Motorhomes for Sale  |  Motorhome Reviews  |  Sell Your Motorhome  |  Motorhome Advice  |  Motorhome Buyers' Guide

Motorhome News  |  Motorhome Features  |  Motorhome Forums

MMM (Motorcaravan Motorhome Monthly) Magazine  |  Which Motorhome Magazine  |  Motorhome Shows