Are Campervans worth the money at a time of financial constraints like this? I think the answer is Yes, and I think you will too after reading through the rest of this post.
Why would we be planning such a large financial outlay at a time like this? The answer is simple, to save money. Yes, you heard me right, we are planning to buy a Campervan to save money by handing back our rental property and living in it full time.
Our adventure is still in the planning stage right now, but watch this space for future updates.
- 1 Are New Campervans Worth The Money?
- 2 Are Second Hand Campervans Worth The Money?
- 3 What Do I Need To Know Before Buying A Campervan?
- 4 What Do I Need To Know After I Buy A Campervan?
- 5 What Positives Make Buying A Campervan Worth The Money?
- 6 What Are The Drawbacks Of Buying A Campervan?
- 7 Are Campervans Worth The Money? – Summary
Are New Campervans Worth The Money?
In my opinion, new Campervans are not worth the money. The simple reason being, that as soon as you drive them out of the showroom, they have dropped by around 20% in value. You will never get that value back. It is known as the “showroom premium” here in the UK.
If you were to change your mind and drive back to the dealership the next day and try to sell the Campervan back to them, it’s value (what the dealership will offer you) will have dropped even more.
For that reason alone, I can’t ever see myself buying a “New” Campervan or a Car for that matter, straight from a dealership.
Of course “Worth” is a subjective word, and it can mean many other things as well as the actual monetary value of the Campervan, but if you are asking if New Campervans are Worth the “Money“? Then the answer, at least from me, is a “No“
Are Second Hand Campervans Worth The Money?
When we come to Second Hand Campervans, that is a different prospect altogether. When you are buying a second hand Campervan, you have the ability to grab yourself a bargain, if you know what you are looking for, and if you can negotiate it down to a better price than the asking price.
My brother did a lot of buying and selling at Auctions when he was younger, and he always used to say that you make your profit when you buy rather than when you sell. Meaning of course, that if you can get something for a good price, the future profit is as good as guaranteed.
When we bought our last Campervan, we got it for a great price, spent quite a bit of money improving it, used it for a few years, then sold it for quite a bit more than what we paid for it and the price of the improvements combined.
So, Yes, second hand Campervans are worth the money, if you buy at the right price, and especially if you have the opportunity to add some value to it.
What Do I Need To Know Before Buying A Campervan?
Buying something as expensive as a Campervan can be a minefield. Many Campervans have expensive features that you simply don’t need and would never use. So, what’s the point of paying for a more expensive model than you need that has them?
You need to ensure that you are only paying for what you want and what you need, and you are not paying for a load of dead weight to carry around on the road with you.
As well as buying a Campervan of a suitable size, weight and licence classification, there are other considerations to keep in mind. Here’s a short list of handy things that come to mind to help to jog your memory:
- Will it fit your budget? Or, could it be negotiated down to fit your budget?
- Is it in sound structural condition?
- Does it need a freshen up and makeover inside?
- Is it powerful enough for your needs?
- Does it have a service history?
- Is it high or low mileage?
- What fuel type is it?
- What are the fuel economy figures for this model?
- What is it’s top speed?
- Is it suitable for where you want to take it? Campsites, Off Road, Woods, Snow, Desert?
- Is the power output from the leisure batteries sufficient for your needs?
- Does it have enough storage space for all your equipment and possessions?
- How many beds are there, and how are they configured?
- How many seatbelts does it have?
- What the sale includes and what it doesn’t? Awning, Screens, Curtains, Levelling Chocks, Solar Panels?
Be thorough an ask lots of questions before deciding to part with your hard earned cash. It’s too late once you have shaken hands, the paperwork has been signed and you drive off.
What Do I Need To Know After I Buy A Campervan?
So, you’ve done it. You’ve taken the plunge and bought a Campervan. What now?
Now, you have to do all the boring legal stuff, as well as the functional checks before you can play with your new toy.
- Ensure that the ownership paperwork (V5C in he UK) is put into your name and sent off
- Arrange Fully Comprehensive Insurance adding all possible drivers to it
- Ensure your Driving Licence permits you to drive it
- Do an HPI Check for any outstanding finance (hopefully, and likely, there won’t be)
- Try out everything. From flushing the toilet to checking the incoming power from the Solar Panel. You’d be surprised at what you don’t have time to check out before buying
- Make an enormous list of all the small things you just found (Guaranteed)
- Fix anything that doesn’t work. From notoriously awkward Fly Screens to LED Mood Lights
- Take a longer and overnight Test Drive and Habitation check (Sleep out in it somewhere)
Once you have done all of this, and only then, enjoy your new addition to the family and get to know her.
What Positives Make Buying A Campervan Worth The Money?
Now that you are the proud owner of a shiny new Campervan, or a not so shiny second hand tatty Campervan. It’s finally time to enjoy the positive aspects of Campervan ownership. They include, but are not limited to:
- The world is now quite literally your oyster, as they say. You can go anywhere you want within reason, so go and do it
- Go to a Campsite or go Wild Camping or Boondocking and see which you prefer
- No more paying for expensive hotel rooms
- You are now part of a friendly and helpful band of brothers. Chat to other Campervan owners and pick their brains. You’ll be surprised at just how helpful some of them are
- You can live in your Campervan
- You can work in your Campervan
- You can be spontaneous with your unplanned trips. Finish work on a Friday, get home and decide to go anywhere you want
- A Campervan can help bring your family closer together. You’d be surprised how easy it is to strike up a conversation with your kids when the TV doesn’t have a signal and there’s no WiFi
- Owning a Campervan brings you closer to nature. The physical and mental benefits of spending time in the Outdoors are well documented
- You can spend more time taking in the culture of different places, without having to dash between towns and cities to suit hotel bookings
Quite honestly, I could have spent another hour picking my brain for all the benefits that Campervan ownership gave us, but I think you get the picture from reading through the above.
What Are The Drawbacks Of Buying A Campervan?
Like anything, where there are pro’s, there are always a few con’s. So in the spirit of fairness, it’s only right of me to point them out:
- Campervans can be expensive, actually probably very expensive to buy
- Many people buy Campervans for the perceived dream and leave them sitting on the driveway rotting away, don’t do it
- The cost of servicing and repairs for Campervans is generally more than those you are used to with your car
- Insurance will cost more too
- If you overload your Campervan with things you don’t use, your fuel consumption will go up
- You will have to get used to living in less space than you are used to
- On the European Continent they have a system of Aires where you can freely roam the country in a welcoming atmosphere. Unfortunately in the UK many Cities and Towns frown upon Campervan owners and you may find yourself feeling unwelcome and even get told to moved on
- Services for taking on and emptying Water and Waste can be few and far between in the UK
- If you don’t have a driveway, and your Campervan won’t fit in your garage, you may have to pay for Campervan Storage when you aren’t using it
- If you have a serious breakdown and your Campervan needs to go into a garage for major repairs, you lose your home too for a while, so have a contingency plan
- Campervans are usually bigger than cars and you could find parking difficult in busy places
- Emptying a Thetford toilet is an acquired taste and can be off-putting for some people, but hey, someone’s got to do it.
I have to admit, I didn’t enjoy writing that, but the truth hurts, and people need to know the truth.
Are Campervans Worth The Money? – Summary
So, after considering all the facts above, are Campervans worth the money? My answer now, as it was when I started writing this is a definitive Yes, Campervans are worth the money.
Campervans can be really expensive, or, as you have seen above, you can grab a bargain on the second hand market, if you are diligent and do your homework. You need to know exactly what you want, and why you want it before viewing a Campervan, to save wasting your time and that of the seller.
The pro’s of Campervan ownership listed above, far outweigh the con’s in my opinion. Campervan ownership isn’t for everyone, that’s true. So I think that anyone considering the significant outlay of buying a Campervan should at least rent one for a short period of time and holiday in it to make sure Van Life is for them first.
To make a Campervan worth the money that you pay for it, you have to actually use it. There is nothing worse than seeing a beautiful Campervan sitting on someone’s drive being unused every time you drive by their house. Buy one, take it out, and go and experience some adventures while enjoying your life.