Buying Guides: When they're useful and when they're not
We felt that having never lived in a motorhome before we couldn't be certain exactly what type of motorhome was going to suit us. Therefore, finding one that was fair price and so minimising the risk of losing too much money if we changed our minds was much more important than agonising over specifics of design etc. We didn't feel it was realistic to expect to get it 'right' first time. The feeling that we might want to resell and/or choose another motorhome in the near future was further enhanced by the statistics we read on how often people change their motorhomes (on average 3 times to find the 'right one'). Getting a good deal (not the cheapest price, but a fairly priced, reliable, quality motorhome) would hopefully allow us to recoup most of the cost if we did decide to resell it. Plus, we were very aware that in the used vehicle market there was always a chance that there could be unforeseen faults develop shortly after we bought the motorhome and we hoped that by getting a good deal it would, as best we could, minimise this risk of extra costs and feeling 'ripped off'' or that we'd overpaid.
Why getting a good deal on our first motorhome was so important to us
However, the reality of working out whether a used motorhome was a good deal or not was actually not at all straightforward. With so many vehicle and habitation parameters to choose from and different sellers putting different weightings on all of them, there just didn't seem to be any consistency in pricing across the market as a whole. In the end it took a lot of work, standing back and assessing a much broader market segment and comparing new listings to the previous ones which had sold the fastest, to actually develop our intuitive sense of whether a used motorhome was fairly priced at all.
The difficulties of working out the fair market value of a used motorhome
The unseen factors determining the price of a used motorhome
Our Dilemma: Balancing price, resale potential and reliability
Our online searching strategy and first motorhome preferences
Looking for a motorhome that was a great deal did have it's drawbacks as well, particularly the speed at which the best deals were snapped up by other buyers. This is one of the major factors that some dealers prey on to try and panic people into signing for motorhomes before they've really had a chance to think about it. We did, initially, find it hard to find a good balance between staying calm but moving quickly when a good deal, which seemed to fit our few design preferences, did appear on the market.
The importance of moving quickly and staying calm
viewing experiences, what the advertisement said was often very different to the motorhome we found when we arrived. We also had some run-ins with some very interesting and unsavoury sellers, but also some very kind ones as well.
Whilst at the time some of the experiences we had during the buying process were unnecessarily stressful and inconvenient (at an already difficult time for us), had we not had these other experiences we would not have been in the right place to make our ultimate decision. The process we followed might have been worlds away from the systematic approach recommended in the books and buying guides we read, but we felt it allowed us to develop a much deeper understanding of a confusing market and, when we did make our choice, feel much more confident and assured that we had made the right one.
|Setting Off from Durham in 'Homer' on May 8th 2014|
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Does the 'perfect' motorhome for us even exist?
Why we didn't buy our first motorhome overseas