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Selling or Buying a Motorhome: Dealer or No Dealer?

selling or buying a used motorhome, dealer or private?

Selling or Buying a Motorhome: Dealer or No Dealer?

We read a lot of posts on various forums and Facebook pages as we’re sure you do. People are grabbing great deals all over the place for their next motorhome or campervan.  There are a lot of people who will swear by buying privately, but in a straw poll of those posts we found that buying privately was a largely unsatisfactory experience for both parties.  Let us explain our findings

Selling Privately

There are a range of issues that make the act of selling privately frought with issues.  Firstly, there is the act of advertising it.  Not everyone is a marketing professional and a few badly taken photographs and a badly written piece about the vehicle won’t put your pride and joy at the front of the queue on any motorhome sales website. Also, the advertising costs are not for the faint-hearted either.  You are then left competing with the hundreds, if not thousands, of other vehicles being sold privately unless you pay for a more prominent listing. You’ll quickly see that the dealers will win for higher page listings.  You will always struggle against that type of competition.

To sell your motorhome you could try AutoTrader, Out and About Live or Caravans for Sale

Setting up your advert

OK, so you’ve taken the plunge, selected a web site to anvertise on, and taken your 10-20 photos of both the inside and outside of your vehicle. You probably can’t easily generate a Google 360 degree interactive photosphere of the inside, or make a comprehensive walk-around video of it.That is often beyond most people, to be frank.  However, people looking for motorhomes are looking for video content more than just photos, these days.

You then need to write some enticing text to draw in your potential buyers, perhaps a brief history, a list of its features, fixtures and fittings, service history and so on.  So… how long did that take you?  An hour, a whole day?  was that a good use of your time? But, hang on a second, that’s just the start, isn’t it?

Waiting for a buyer: Patience!

Your advert is live and you’ve set it up to run for a whole week.  You may be interested to know that some models can sell in a few days, others take months… possibly several months.  so if yours doesn’t sell within 4 weeks, or 8… or 16, what’s your plan B? I guess it’s either pay more for advertising or sell it to a dealer?  We’ll come back to that option later in this article.

Time set aside for viewings

OK, so you have had it advertised for a couple of weeks and you’re getting some enquiries, nice one! but, if you’re not fully retired, then who knows when you’ll get a call.  That can be a right pain in itself.  Next, you have to organise to have them come round to you to see the vehicle.  Often, this is in the evening,  and during the winter, when it gets dark (and cold) at 3:30pm you’ll want to stay with your visitors, perhaps make them a drink and generally take at least an hour going through your standard spiel about the vehicle.

Timewasters

If you’ve been down this route before you’ll know that there are plenty of these about… they will happily make arrangements to pop over to see you and the motorhome.  You then stay in all evening and they don’t bother to turn up as they saw another vehicle on the web and they prefer that one instead… couldn’t be bothered to tell you though.

Have your stress levels gone through the roof yet?  Don’t worry, you’ll get there…  read on.

Haggling (negotiating by any other name)

So… you’re nearly there… you’ve actually found someone interested, arranged to show them your pride and joy one evening. How wonderful it all seems.  They’ll hang on your every word, trust you implicitly and pay the asking price. Then you hear those immortal words “How much!  it’s not worth what you’re asking for it!”.  tell you what, I’ll give you £(insert your own figure – £10k less that you’re asking) for it.

At this point, we have to leave the conversation abruptly as it may deteriorate quickly and we don’t like the sight of grown men coming to blows… or blood…

I’m sure they came to an agreement and struck a deal. But, that’s just not a nice place to be. But we see it all the time, perhaps not so extreme, but certainly close.

Buying Privately

It’s no less a traumatic experience to buy from a private seller either. So the process starts well enough with a Google search for a specific vehicle make or model or you just go to your favourite motorhome sales website and search there. You might see three models that you like the look of, 2 are from dealers, one is a private sale… Hmmm, dilemma. Dealer or No Dealer?

Try the private sale first… Same price or slightly cheaper. Nice! You fancy yourself as the ‘Great Negotiator’ in any case, so you can knock it down a few grand. and so the sorry story starts.

Fear of being ripped off

Even the most experienced of us, when it comes down to it, can be ripped off by a smooth talking individual who wants nothing more than to get rid of a damp, unserviced van.  He’ll have done a great job of covering up all the faults, the van is already nice and warm, so the heating works, doesn’t it?  It starts first time, but he’s run it for an hour before hand so it’s still warm. all the damp have been nicely covered up or minimally repaired. Smells clean, looks clean, works fine – or so you thought.  Hand over the cash, drive away… your problem now.

Warranty, what warranty?

Although, if it’s a young vehicle with a manufacturers warranty, it can sometimes be transferred (if the previous owner did things right). That’s not the case with an older vehicle though.  It will rarely come with any warranty, manufacturer or 3rd party. There will often be no habitation service, or it was done some time back, so the validity of it is always suspect. No engine service or cam-belt change – watch the mileage and check when its due as it can be expensive.  Absolutely no guarantees on the heating or oven. Not even a working battery in the Carbon Monoxide or smoke alarms. Gas systems and the appliances that burn it can be a real source of serious problems.  Tyres are another issue that seemed to gain a lot of criticism of private sellers… the list goes on.

The Dreaded DAMP

OK, this is a big one… how experienced are you to check for damp?  If it’s obvious (squishy under your finger press type obvious) then fine, but detecting the difference between 15% or 35%, that’s a bit more difficult.  Do you know where to test and do you have a reliable (read ‘professional’) test meter.  Perhaps you can get a friendly mobile engineer to go with you and get his professional opinion. that’s always a possibility and more money, of course.  If you cross your fingeres and hope then be certain that you have the hundreds, possibly thousands of pounds available to pay for

Trust and experience

A private seller doesn’t have to prove anything to you. They don’t have to provide any follow-up service and don’t have a reputation to keep. You don’t know them from Adam and yet you are expected to trust them with a huge chunk of your cash for a vehicle that could fall apart tomorrow for all they cared. OK, you have the law on your side, if you prove they mis-sold it and openly lied on the advert.  Will that really give you peace of mind?

Worst case scenario? Not even close.

The picture we’ve painted seems to be the worst case scenario for selling or buying, but as we read through the forums and on Facebook we found that these problems were occurring over and over again with private sales. Some of them were even happening when bought from less scrupulous dealers! Microwave oven not working, lights not working, engine warning light comes on 5 miles down the road, reversing camera not working. Bike rack falls off, pull out awning damaged. The list is endless!

Do you really have the time to go through everything before you part with your hard earned and not inconsiderable chunk of cash?  When you discover a problem is your private seller going to be interested?  Not on your nelly…

“It was working when I last used it.  Not my problem, mate!”.

At this stage, our stress levels are going balistic… yours too, probably?

Alternative solutions

Anyone would think that buying and selling privately was just a big hassle from start to finish and we’re sure that many of you would agree with us that it can be a lottery.  As we see with the many new car buying services out there people will happily trade their time, and possibly sanity, for the ease of a simpler, quicker solution that gives you back the time you’d otherwise spend on the selling process.  Oaktree is keen to give you the best price possible but please bear in mind we have to give the new owner our outstanding 5-star service when they buy.  Nevertheless, this is why Oaktree is trusted by hundreds of sellers each year to deliver a zero hassle buying and selling experience.

Selling to Oaktree Motorhomes

This section is likely to be really quick, as is the process.  Oaktree has a simple form that you can fill in online.

Here it is: We will buy your motorhome

Once you set the ball rolling it can be incredibly quick to agree the sale of your vehicle and have the money in your bank.  All done and dusted within 24 hours in most cases. and absolutely no hassle.  There are many benefits of using our Motorhome Buying service.

  • No more time and money wasted on advertising
  • You know who you are selling to
  • No strangers coming to your house at inconvenient times
  • You get it done and dusted in 24 hours
  • We provide a free home collection service
  • Your existing finance will be paid off
  • We will deposit the money directly into your bank account!

Have you considered brokerage?

Let us sell your motorhome for you.  This is a largely unknown option and is likely to put more money back in your wallet, but you don’t get paid until we sell your vehicle. We will handle the whole sale for you (including settling of any finance connected with your motorhome) and give a much higher cash return once the vehicle has sold. When we sell it on we will provide exactly the same level of service as we do for our own motorhome stock (3 year free RAC-backed warranty, full cleaning, service and MOT and tax, etc.) all for a fixed brokerage fee (not a percentage) agreed up front.

We will pick up your motorhome and provide storage at our large site in Nottingham. We will pick up from anywhere in the UK.

There are some distinct advantages:

  • No strangers coming to the door or calling on the phone
  • No advertising or listing costs
  • No awkward haggling or time wasters

Buying through a dealer

I’m sure we all recognise that if you buy privately you have little recourse to get anything fixed if it’s not right. It’s down to you and as we all know, getting stuff fixed on a motorhome can be an expensive business.  Even those who have the time and motivation to fix stuff themselves they still need to buy the components in the first place and many don’t have access to the trade outlets, so will pay full price for everything, including VAT.

Legal Protection

So, if you buy a motorhome through a dealer you have a lot of protection, just in case something isn’t quite right.  The old Sale of Goods Act is now superceded by the Consumer Rights Act and is there to provide basic, but robust consumer protection.  For those dealers that employ a service feedback method like Oaktree does by using Trustpilot provides an easy to use way of making sure your voice is heard, whether good or bad.  It’s a good gauge as to whether the service you will receive is up to scratch.

What is the value of the ‘package’ you will receive fro the dealer?

Does it include warranty?  would 3, 6 or 2 months warranty be OK?  What about a full 3 years of RAC-backed warranty totally FREE ?

Will the Dealer you’ve chosen replace the Cam belt.  If you intend to do sufficient mileage that the cam-belt will need to be changed during the 3 year warranty period then Oaktree will change it for you FREE OF CHARGE, BEFORE you need to have it done yourself.

If you buy a motorhome from Oaktree we will give you a full 12 months Road Tax and MOT not just 6 months.

Why buy a used motorhome from Oaktree Motorhomes?

The value of buying through a reputable dealer.

You do the maths, and we don’t think it’s a difficult calculation if you add up all the time you’ll spend and hassle you’ll get by selling and buying a used motorhome privately.  Never mind the cost and the length of time it will take. If you’re buying you may get lucky and grab a great vehicle at a bargain price, many do but statistically the odds aren’t in your favour and even seasoned veterans get it wrong.

If you want a safe, dependable, trustworthy and good value method of buying and selling a used motorhome then Oaktree have the ideal service for you.

Come along and have a no-obligation chat with us as soon as possible.  Buying and selling used motorhomes has never been so easy.

Best wishes to you all, from the Oaktree Team.

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