Buying a Used Motorhome Online in 2019? – Be Very Careful


Hi, I’m Chris, I run Horton Common along with my father Robert.

We get a wide range of guests here at Horton Common, from very experienced motorhome owners to beginners. Many of those beginners simply cannot afford a new motorhome when prices start from £50k. Therefore, many of our guests purchased a second hand used motorhome. Some of them through dealers and some of them online through websites such as Autotrader and eBay. Now luckily I’ve not heard of any horror stories from our guests purchasing a used motorhome online, but it does happen. Therefore if you are considering purchasing a used motorhome online they are several things you should consider first to decide if its the route you really want to take.

Buying a Used Motorhome Online
If you are looking to purchase a used motorhome online from websites such as eBay you need to do various checks to protect yourself: Original Image – classic-campers.co.uk

So obviously if you are interested in purchasing a used motorhome online you don’t want to get scammed. Scams do happen, and many of these scammers keep coming up with various new methods to trick potential buyers. On the other hand, there are many genuine private sellers online who either don’t have the time any more to use their motorhome or are upgrading to a new unit. When they go to the motorhome dealer for a trade-in they are not happy with the offer so decided to try and sell their motorhome online themselves. From a purchasers point of view if you do come across a genuine seller there are some great motorhome deals online. But you need to approach any deal with caution and protect yourself. Hopefully, you have the time to read this whole post, if not, please feel free to use the Table of Contents below.

Introduction to Buying a Used Motorhome Online

As previously stated, purchasing a new motorhome is an expensive business, and many of our guests have purchased used/second-hand units. Obviously many people will go to eBay and Autotrader to try and find a good deal. A couple of years back Practical Motorhome did a quick video of a couple who decided to purchase a used motorhome online through eBay for around £3,000. The 5-minute video below is well worth a watch if you too are tempted to purchase a used motorhome online:

Can you purchase a good motorhome online for just £3,000 from eBay?

Don’t Make ‘Unseen’ Used Motorhome Purchases Online

So the couple in the video didn’t want to spend a lot on their first motorhome as they weren’t sure they would actually enjoy owning a motorhome. Therefore its understandable that they didn’t want to spend a great deal of money to find out. As a result with a budget of £3,000 they agreed to purchase a motorhome unseen from an eBay advert. In hindsight, they accept that was a mistake and part of the ‘learning curve’. The reality of that situation was their used motorhome had significant issues.

They found out that this second-hand motorhome had been driven under a low bridge and received damage to the roof. The owners, therefore, had to repair the whole roof which took 4 weeks of work. Later in the video, the owners state they are experiencing damp issues within the motorhome that still need to be addressed. The issue is with such significant damage caused to the roof, trying to stop that damp issue completely will be nearly impossible.

The biggest problem with an online purchase of a used motorhome is from the pictures it may seem in good condition. Its only when you’re up close and personal with the motorhome that you will be able to spot repair work and potential damage. Obviously, if the motorhome is located a significant distance from you an on-site visit/inspection is not going to be practical. Therefore when browsing site such as eBay and Autotrader for used motorhomes, keep the search within say a 30-mile area, or however far you are willing to travel there and back to look at the motorhome in person before agreeing to purchase it.

Motorhome Inspections: Take a Damp Tester With You

So we have established even if you are considering purchasing a used second-hand motorhome online you should not be making unseen purchases. Before you agree to any deal you want to have seen the condition of the used motorhome in person to check the bodywork etc. If we take the motorhome in the video above as an example, its appears that besides the roof damage that damp was another issue. Therefore, before you go and view a potential used motorhome purchase I would encourage you to take a damp tester with you. I’ve previously written a post on damp testers which you may wish to read.

Motorhome Damp Tester

Even a cheap little damp tester such as this could help you avoid making a big mistake when purchasing a used second-hand motorhome: Image – Amazon

Obviously be careful not to damage any of the surfaces with the damp tester probes, they are generally pretty sharp. However, any genuine seller should not really be apposed to you testing for damp if you are careful. If they have an issue with you testing the motorhome for damp ask them to do it while you watch. Ask them to check around the window and door seals in the habitation area, as well as roof lights. Furthermore, underneath the seats and the back of cupboards is a good place to check. Personally, if I saw a reading of 20% or above I would walk away from that purchase. That’s not a definite indication of a damp issue, but its a potential indication.

Always Get A Used Motorhome HPI Check

There is a common saying which I know you have heard many times before, but if it looks to good to be true, it probably is. So lets set the scene, you have found your perfect used motorhome online. You have even gone to visit the seller and inspected the motorhome with a damp meter, and all seems well. The price is amazing and you are ready to agree a deal! Well before you go ahead and hand over your money there is something you should definitely do, get a HPI check.

What Will a Used Motorhome HPI Check Cover?

So the HPI offer either a basic check, full HPI check or a multi check deal. If you are browsing online looking at multiple used motorhomes the multi check deal will save you quite a bit of money on HPI checks.

Basic HPI Check on a Used Motorhome

A basic used motorhome HPI check will tell you if there is outstanding debt (finance) on that vehicle. You don’t want to agree to a cheap deal on a second-hand motorhome only to find out you have been left with the burden of paying outstanding finance. It will also tell you if that used motorhome has been stolen or an insurance writeoff. Obviously vital information that you will want to know so you can quickly walk away from a deal.

Full HPI Check on a Used Motorhome

With a full HPI check on a used motorhome, you are going to get a lot more information to help you make an informed purchase. For instance, you will find out the full MOT history for the motorhome. Furthermore, how many previous owners there have been and the associated dates. Obviously, if a particular second-hand motorhome has gone through a lot of previous owners that may be an indication of its condition and potential problems. The further advantage of the full HPI check apposed to the basic check is that it comes with a £30,000 data guarantee. In other words, a reassurance that if you do purchase the used motorhome based on that HPI data is actually correct. While it won’t provide you with all the data you need you can get a free HPI MOT history check through the link below.

Free HPI MOT History Check

Conclusions on Buying a Used Motorhome Online

If you are considering purchasing a used motorhome online approach any deal with caution. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. However, there are geniue sellers offering good deals, but it will take a bit of work to find them. Always go and see a used motorhome in person, pictures never tell the whole storey. Remember, take a moisture meter with you, but check with the owner before you start to test within the living space. Finally, always carry out a HPI check on the motorhome. You could use their basic check, but thats not really going to provide all the information you require to make an informed purchase at a good price.

Hopefully, this post on purchasing a used motorhome online has provided you with some ‘food for thought’. Once you are set up with your motorhome I hope you consider coming to visit us here at Horton Common to enjoy our amazing views over the Staffordshire Moorlands and Peak District National Park. 🙂

Chris - Site Manager

Hi, I’m Chris, I along with my father Robert we operate and maintain Horton Common.

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