Buying a motorhome – it’s a decision you’re unlikely to take lightly. It’s almost certain to mean a significant investment. Plus the wide range of options and choices you’ll need to make can prove bewildering.

Here at Derby Motorhomes, we can help with a lot of those decisions. Although the following top buying tips are aimed at people considering their first purchase in the field, if you’re a seasoned veteran, then you might also learn something new!

The terms you will encounter

As you begin to think about your possible purchase, it will be helpful to familiarise yourself with a few of the terms you are likely to encounter:

Motorhomes

  • these represent the upper end of the type of motor vehicle you may both drive and live in – they are sometimes called motor caravans;
  • at the front, there is the driver’s compartment – usually screened off or separated from the living quarters behind;
  • all tend to be spacious inside and are very well equipped;
  • as the Camping and Caravanning Club’s guide to motorhomes explains, however, there are still several sub-categories, generally divided by their size and the levels to which they are equipped;
  • at the top of the range, for example, are the large, roomy and luxuriously appointed American motorhomes from the iconic Winnebago, some might be so long they incorporate a third axle (a so-called tag axle), others might be coach-built “A” class motorhomes, while still others might be conventional coach-built homes on a standard chassis vehicle;

Camper vans

  • at the other end of the scale are more basic motorhomes, which are typically referred to as camper vans;
  • this is no misnomer, since the camper van is to the motorhome, in much the same way as camping is to caravanning;
  • camper vans are medium to larger size conversions of mass-produced vans – the VW “combo” being perhaps one of the most widely used and affectionately owned versions.

Campervan versus motorhome

Broadly speaking, campervans are smaller and less well-equipped than full motorhomes.

Campervans are often exceedingly ingenious in their use of relatively limited space, but even so, there is a certain connotation of needing to “rough it” a little – hence the reference to camping in their name.

In our experience, motorhomes are usually favoured by families and more mature couples, who prefer a few luxuries in life. Campervans are typically more appealing to single people or younger couples – but that’s by no means a hard and fast rule!

Choosing your motorhome

In addition to that basic difference between motorhomes and campervans, it is vital to appreciate the vast range of motorhomes themselves – whether new or second-hand.

It is worth giving careful thought to how you intend to use your motorhome – in terms of its ease of driving and manoeuvrability, its size, level of accommodation and fitted equipment, and the number of people it needs to accommodate.

Parking and storing your motorhome when it is not in use may also be a significant consideration – especially given the length and size of some versions – suggests Saga magazine in one of its several guides about caravan ownership.

If it is to serve as a motor caravan, a home from home and base from which to enjoy your holidays with relatively little driving about in between, for example, you might want to choose a larger model, with higher standards of accommodation.

On the other hand, if it is to be used mainly for touring, with comfortable enough accommodation in which to sleep overnight, a more basic camper van is going to prove more manoeuvrable, cheaper to run, and may provide the ideal solution.

Big U.S. RVs

These Recreational Vehicles are undoubtedly eye-catching and a byword in luxury but remember that you may need to pass an LGV (Light Goods Vehicle) driving test before you are legally able to drive one.

Big versus small

In our experience, people new to this recreational field often assume that the bigger the motorhome, the better it will be for comfort, facilities and so on.

Actually, that’s not necessarily always so. Some motorhomes that are smaller in terms of their floor area might well have far superior levels of equipment to some that are technically larger. A lot depends upon the marque and the designers’ skills.

Think about a driving techniques course

The vast majority of motorhomes are easy to drive and, in many respects, they’re not significantly different from driving an ordinary car.  In most cases, subject to your age, aspects of the vehicle’s weight and when your licence was issued, you may be able to drive them on a standard driving licence.

However, they are still slightly larger vehicles and may need a little getting used to in terms of things such as parking, manoeuvring, and reversing.  This isn’t exactly rocket science, but there are some modestly-priced courses out there that will help you get to grips with safe driving techniques before you necessarily take your vehicle on the road.

The Caravan and Motorhome Club’s Motorhome Manoeuvring Course, for example, lasts just six hours but covers practically everything you are likely to need to know.

Do your homework – and speak to an expert

Because of the extensive variation in styles, size, and suitability – not to mention cost – you might find it difficult matching what’s on sale to your particular needs and requirements.

For a much better comparison of both new and used motorhomes, therefore, you might want to visit a specialist motorhome dealer.

On that score, the larger, the better and the more comprehensive the range of motorhomes you can view while tracking down your perfect match.

The larger dealers, such as ourselves, who have established a reputation built on many years’ of experience are likely to offer not only extensive exhibition space but additional facilities, such as online chats and listings, to help you narrow down your search.

There are lots of great things to learn about motorhomes, and all of them will potentially have some influence on your eventual decision as to make and model etc.

Most of those lessons are positive ones, relating to different types of benefits that come with different versions of motorhomes. Still, it’s also important to be aware of certain things to watch out for too – and that is where our expertise and experience might come in.

Think, too, about what is important to you. It can be all too easy to go along to a couple of showrooms and be swayed by motorhome characteristics that might subsequently prove to be mostly irrelevant in your particular situation.

For example, the internal upholstery might be especially attractive in one model, but that will count for nothing if the driver and passenger seats prove to be uncomfortable on long journeys.

Before you go to a showroom, think about things such as:

  • how regularly you are going to use the vehicle on long-distance journeys. That might tell you a lot about your requirements for driving position comfort and things such as engine power and tolerable noise levels etc.;
  • just how many people it will need to accommodate, on average, over a typical year. Having multiple extra berths might be a lot less relevant to you than having a larger bathroom area (or vice versa); etc.

Of course, many other things should be on a list of this nature. The point is, have as good an idea as possible about your priorities before you start looking at individual motorhomes.

Look at your budget

Not only do motorhomes come in all shapes and sizes, but there are also just as many variations in the price – and that means giving careful thought to your budget.

It’s also fair to say that new motorhomes or those that are relatively modern, even if pre-owned and pre-loved, aren’t likely to be describable as “cheap”. Having said that, keep in mind the good news – typically they hold their value well in terms of future re-sales (unlike most cars).

Being clear how much you are willing/able to spend in advance is important in terms of influencing your viewing and researching strategy.

At the same time, however, try to avoid becoming fixated on price. True, there’s little point in evaluating motorhomes that you can’t afford. Even so, going around looking for the cheapest possible vehicle you can find isn’t always the most advisable tactic from a finance point of view.

For example, some motorhomes may depreciate rather more quickly than others. It can also be deeply frustrating to find after purchase that you may have saved £2,000 by selecting a cheaper model, but the result is a motorhome that just isn’t meeting your requirements.

While affordability and budget are significant factors, try to avoid thinking about the price before you are clear on your “must-have” requirements. Compromise is always a good thing, but it can be taken too far and leave you full of regret when using your new motorhome. That £2,000 might not seem such a big deal in those circumstances.

Clear your finances in advance

Nothing is more frustrating than getting excited about a particular motorhome, only to find that you can’t secure the financing subsequently. A variation on the same is when the decision on the money takes so long to come through that the vehicle is sold elsewhere in the meantime.

Make sure, therefore, that you have thought about your budget and agreed it in advance, in principle at least, with an individual funding provider. Significant numbers of motorhome dealerships might be able to assist you in your search for funding if required.

You’ll be pleased to know, therefore, that our finance service here at Derby Motorhomes offers a wide range of products designed to help fund your purchase – and, if your motorhome finance application is accepted, clearing those funds typically takes little time at all.

New or second-hand?

There is probably little we can add about the attraction of buying new rather than second-hand.

There’s probably nothing to equal the pleasure and satisfaction of knowing that you are the first ever to drive and sleep in a brand-new motorhome. On the other hand, assuming all else is equal, such as marque and model, a used motorhome is likely to cost less than one that’s brand new. And the depreciation will typically be less.

It’s always advisable to source a used motorhome from a reputable and highly experienced dealer. Purchasing from a street-corner generalist type car dealer might be risky, as they may lack the experience to offer you full advice.

A note of caution if you choose to buy privately

Purchasing privately from an owner is, of course, also an option. Apply all the usual review and research criteria. Do keep in mind that your legal rights of redress should something go wrong post-purchase, may be far more limited than might be the case if purchasing from a company.

Motorhomes typically hold their value far more than the average motor car. That means even if they are pre-used, they’re likely to cost you a substantial sum of money.

As a result, there are crooks out there who will seek to take advantage of unwary buyers typically through a combination of identity theft and selling motorhomes that aren’t theirs to sell.

This is a big subject, and it can’t be adequately covered in a brief article. You should, therefore, research it online and take all steps necessary to protect your interests when buying from a private individual.

Provided you are aware of the possible pitfalls and scams and continue to exercise a buyer’s caution, you might be able to strike an attractive deal on a used motorhome bought privately. Make sure you doubly protect yourself from possible fraud by:

  • making identity checks, to be sure you know exactly who you are dealing with and that the address they are giving you is, in fact, real;
  • verifying ownership of the vehicle – to be sure that they own the vehicle they are selling;
  • conducting outstanding finance checks, to be sure that you are not inheriting any potential debts with the vehicle; and
  • making any cash transfer with as much security protection as you can muster.

Summary

Questions about the size of the motorhome that best suits you, makes and models, use of your recreational vehicle, finance options, and whether to buy new or used, from a dealer or private sale – you’re likely to be faced with many decisions if you’re looking to buy a motorhome.

We have lots of other useful motorhome buying tips plus general advice and guidance for those who are purchasing a motorhome.

Why not contact us for an initial friendly and entirely non-committal discussion? We’d be delighted to help!

Some things in life are destined to remain forever a dream unless you somehow find the ways and means of buying them – it’s not that money can buy you happiness, of course, but it certainly helps in making your dreams come true.

You don’t have to bank on the unpredictable British weather and expect a Summer that is dry, warm, and sunny. If you buy a motorhome, you’ll always have somewhere dry and cosy to see out the worst our climate may bring – or drive it over to the Continent, save on rising hotel costs, and have your own home away from home wherever you are.

What better way to enjoy the outdoor life and freedom of the open than behind the wheel of a motorhome? So, if you are thinking about buying a motorhome, what are some of the most important points to take into consideration?

New or pre-loved?

There’s nothing quite like knowing that you’re the first person to have taken your motorhome on its first outing, nothing like being the first person to have slept in it – so buying a new motorhome lets you in on all of that, together with the reassurance of a lengthy warranty.

The greatest obstacle, of course, is likely to be the cost of buying a new motorhome. Used motorhomes hold their value pretty well, but they do still depreciate, so one that is, say, three years old might offer a significant saving on the new price, if it still has a relatively low mileage.

To help you decide whether to splash out on a new motorhome or get a good deal on a pre-loved vehicle, here at Derby Motorhomes we have a permanent exhibition of both new and used models from which to choose – after you’ve had your own up close and personal inspection of as many motorhomes you’d like to try out for size.

Size matters

Probably the greatest feature of any motorhome is its versatility. You not only get to drive it from A to B, but it also provides shelter in which to take your lunch along the way and your accommodation when it is time for bed.

Versatility also gives you the choice between a motorhome that is a genuine home away from home – with all the creature comforts you might possibly want – and a vehicle that is agile and manoeuvrable enough for negotiating new and unfamiliar routes while still providing more than adequate sleeping accommodation at the end of the day’s touring.

Size, therefore, often represents a balance between manoeuvrability on the move and spacious comfort at the end of the day. Summing up the questions of size, therefore:

  • it is likely to come down to how you are planning to use your motorhome;
  • is your motorhome likely to be used mainly just by you and your partner or do you need the extra berths for a child or two;
  • are your outings and holidays planned mainly in the UK, or will you be taking your motorhome further afield in continental Europe;
  • the balance between practical manoeuvrability, weighed against all the space and comfort a larger motorhome may offer, is likely to swing your judgment;
  • however you choose, Motorhome Planet suggests that you keep a note in the cab of the height and width (metric and imperial) of your vehicle, if you encounter any road width or bridge height restrictions.

Whatever size motorhome you eventually choose, you might want to take advantage of one of the Manoeuvring Courses run by the Camping and Caravanning Club for its members.

Weight

Closely related to the question of how you plan to use your motorhome – and, in turn, its size – is the critical matter of its weight. The bigger your motorhome, of course, the heavier it is likely to weigh and the payload you can carry.

As a guide published by AutoTrader Motorhomes explains, weight is an equally important consideration, especially if you have chosen a vehicle in one of the heavier categories. You may then need to consider whether your standard Category B driving licence qualifies you to drive the vehicle.

The Camping and Caravanning Club explains that you currently need a Category C1 driving licence to drive a larger motorhome with an Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM, the technical term for the maximum laden weight of your caravan) between 3,500kg and 7,500kg.

If you passed your driving test before the 1st of January 1997, you are automatically entitled to this Category C1 licence, but if you took it after that date, you must take a separate driving test to gain the additional entitlement.

In either case, your current driving licence entitles you to drive motorhomes up to 3,500kg MAM – and the majority of motorhomes built in this country therefore comply with this weight restriction.

Layout

The design and planning that goes into the internal layout of every kind of motorhome – from a simple campervan to the largest of leisure vehicles – has become ever more skilled and innovative.

There are countless possibilities when it comes to the motorhome’s layout and you might want to give serious consideration to the one that best suits your proposed use.

If you are likely to be travelling alone or with your partner, for example, a simple layout that requires converting the seating into beds at night might suffice; if you are likely to be holidaying with the family or expect to be entertaining, then a layout that includes a more spacious lounge area and fixed beds may be more appropriate.

Budget

When you have made those necessary choices about the layout, overall size and weight of your preferred motorhome, the final decision might come down to the budget you have available or the motorhome finance that is available:

Your savings

  • some people are fortunate to have savings – and, especially as you approach retirement, you might be looking forward to ways of spending your pension’s lump sum cash pay-out;
  • by using your savings, of course, you avoid the need for finance altogether, so there are no credit repayments to find, no interest to pay, and your motorhome is 100% yours from the start;
  • unfortunately, though, many people’s savings do not extend to the amount necessary to invest in the motorhome of their choice;

Personal loans

  • even for such a relatively expensive purchase, your bank manager might still be amenable to granting an unsecured personal loan, which you repay in monthly instalments over a period of up to five or six years;
  • as it is an unsecured loan, however, with the lender having nothing to fall back on if you default on the repayments, you are likely to need a more or less perfect credit score to secure this type of borrowing;

Dealer arranged finance

  • if you are buying your new or used motorhome from a large and reputable, specialist dealer, however, you might need to look no further than the dealership itself;
  • making the finance available goes hand in hand with any dealer’s main business of selling you the motorhome you have chosen and his standing and reputation in the market is likely to mean that any finance partners are competitive, reliable and duly regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA);

Hire purchase

  • one method of motorhome financing almost certain to be offered by such a dealer takes the familiar shape of a hire purchase agreement;
  • this needs an initial deposit, typically around 10% of the purchase price, although you might be able to meet this requirement by trading in an older motorhome in part exchange for the one you want to buy;
  • repayments are by equal monthly instalments, and if you default on these, you risk the motorhome being repossessed by the hire purchase company;
  • that is because ownership of the motorhome is not transferred to you until the final instalment has been paid and it is illegal to attempt to sell your motorhome before that date whilst the outstanding finance balance remains;
  • because hire purchase agreements are effectively secured against the vehicle in question, financial confidence is generally sufficient for a competitive rate of interest to be offered;

Equity release

  • the website Out and About Live mentions the possibility of unlocking some of the capital value in the home you own by arranging an equity release agreement;
  • a so-called lifetime mortgage to achieve that equity release involves no monthly repayments of either capital or interest, which is paid only upon your death or when your home is sold (when you go into long-term care, perhaps);
  • however, you need to bear in mind that equity release is a major decision, which you may not want to take without first consulting an independent financial adviser.

If you have ever dreamed of owning a motorhome, there are a number of financing options available to you – and many dealers may be able to help you turn your dreams into reality. Those options tend to be increasing all of the time. One of the most recent developments, for example, is the extension of Personal Contact Purchase deals to financing the purchase of your motorhome.

For a discussion about any of these motorhome finance options simply contact us here at Derby Motorhomes. You can also read our Motorhome finance guide here for more information.

Hand in hand with the business of selecting a motorhome goes the need to decide how you will pay for it.

The first is typically something that most people find extremely exciting. The latter is sometimes more daunting for some buyers. The good news is that, in the vast majority of cases, the process is relatively straightforward and not one to be feared because here at Derby Motorhomes we can help make it an entirely smooth process.

There may be a number of options open to you in terms of funding your motorhome – and we are always keen to try and ensure that you understand the pros and cons of your various choices of finance. That’s why we have produced the following brief motorhome finance guide.

So, let’s take a closer look at what is involved in motorhome finance and just what are your options.

Using your own capital

For many of us, this might be intuitively attractive.

In some respects, it is the easiest option and the one that offers you the least amount of work. Some buyers also prefer this method because it means they are free from a debt and more independent as a result.

While we would never argue against that, it is worth keeping in mind, though, that it isn’t always necessarily the most advantageous route. For example, if you suddenly needed cash for an emergency, having your money tied up in a motorhome or any other asset, may mean you’ll require some time to free it up.

That is because spending your savings on the purchase of a motorhome removes liquid capital from your financial reserves.

That simply means that once you have invested your capital into a motorhome, if you need cash in a hurry to deal with an emergency, it is no longer available to you at the stroke of a pen on a cheque. While good pre-used motorhomes are typically always in high demand, it may still take time for you to convert your vehicle into cash should an emergency arise.

It’s therefore worthwhile thinking a little about whether using your own money is the most sensible or prudent option – or whether you might want to consider borrowing the necessary funds.

Borrowing

Borrowing the money to purchase your motorhome means finding a lender prepared to advance the loan or extend the credit.

Perhaps the first point to keep in mind is that lenders are keen to find reasons to say “yes” to any financing application – that is their business, after all. But that business interest means, first and foremost, their determination to recover any finance that is lent.

While a lender is going to welcome an application, they will invariably require a credit history check – for confidence in your ability to make the necessary repayments. Credit checking is also a condition of the lender’s authorisation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

This validation process is also known as a credit risk assessment, though having a few minor problems on your credit history is not always a showstopper. Some of the brokers we use understand that very few people these days have an entirely blemish-free credit history record. That said, any motorhome finance provider will reserve the right to decline an application if they feel it is not in your best interests.

The vehicle’s valuation and sum requested

As you might expect, any provider of motorhome finance will need to protect their interests in terms of being sure that the sums they are advancing make sense against the value of the asset concerned.

What this means is that they will be reviewing the price you are proposing to pay for the motorhome against their own industry-standard valuations of such vehicles.

This is rarely a problem and exists for the protection not only of the potential lenders but also the applicant in terms of avoiding you paying more for the vehicle than it is worth.

Our services

We work with some of the leading motorhome finance providers (insert link to: and funds brokers in the UK.

Thanks to that network of contacts, we offer a wide range of finance options – each of which have their unique advantages and issues. A solution that is suitable for one buyer might not be optimal for another.

We would be happy to sit down and discuss just what your options are in a given situation. We will then typically be able to assist you in finding a motorhome loan package that’s both suitable and cost-effective.

Motorhome finance options

So, let’s take a brief look at some of those different finance options:

Personal loans

  • this involves you borrowing a sum of money from a bank or other funds provider;
  • you then purchase a motorhome using that loan and the vehicle is immediately and legally yours;
  • you repay the loan over the period of time that you have agreed with the loan provider;
  • personal loans may be secured or unsecured – and if security is required, this typically takes the form of a charge over the motorhome itself in favour of the lender;
  • that allows the lender to repossess the motorhome (or whatever else you have used as security) in the event you defaulted on your repayments.

Hire purchase

Hire Purchase (commonly shortened just to HP) involves the lender purchasing the vehicle and then allowing you to use it as if it were your own – under the auspices of your designation as the “registered keeper”:

  • typically, you’ll need to find a deposit as your contribution towards the overall cost – the amount of the deposit is likely to be around 10-15% of the purchase price;
  • you will also need to demonstrate to the funds provider that your overall financial position is such that you will be able to comfortably afford the monthly repayments – and that is usually done by way of the credit risk assessment to which we have already referred;
  • each month you will make a regular repayment to the provider of the funds – with the term of the agreement typically extending over a number of years;
  • once you make the final repayment, legal ownership of the motorhome transfers to you.

There are typically very few restrictions on what you can or cannot do with your motorhome when purchasing it under HP – but you cannot sell the vehicle without the advance permission of the provider of the funds because it really isn’t yours to sell until you’ve made that final repayment.

Personal Contract Purchase (PCP)

  • PCP is where you put down a deposit (which can be cash, part exchange or a combination of both);
  • although regular monthly payments are then made, they effectively represent only the value of the lease of the vehicle;
  • the lender defers, until the end of the agreement, an amount roughly equal to its future value and guarantees to this (subject to you meeting the pre-set terms of the agreement);
  • so, if all terms are met, you can simply hand the vehicle back to the lender at the end of the agreement or pay the lump sum to own the vehicle outright – or part exchange it for another.

Equity release

In some circumstances, you may be able to borrow money against equity that you have in another asset.

  • let’s say, for example, that you own a property realistically valued at £200,000 and an outstanding mortgage on it of £30,000;
  • that means, broadly speaking, that you have £170,000 equity in your property;
  • some lenders may be prepared to advance loans, using your property as security, providing the equity exceeds the amount you are looking to borrow;

It is worth remembering that your property may be at risk if you are unable to continue the repayments against any loan secured against it.

Derby Motorhomes for motorhome finance

Thanks to the in-house expertise and experience we offer here at Derby Motorhomes, there is no need to look any further for your specialist motorhome finance. Not only are we one of the leading dealers for Auto-Sleeper motorhomes in the UK but we also aim to arrange the finance you need with any number of reputable lenders.

If your personal financial status is backed by a healthy credit history, so much the better. But even if it less than perfect – and you have experienced difficulties with borrowing or credit in the past – we may still be able to find the finance deal that puts you behind the wheel of your new motorhome in no time at all.

We are FCA registered to advise customers on all aspects of motorhome finance. Why not get in touch today to see how we can help?

Whether you want to buy a new or second-hand motorhome, there is no way around the fact that it is likely to set you back a fair sum of money.

As the charity Citizens’ Advice suggests, the purchase of a motorhome is likely to be one of those larger items for which you may need to borrow money. So, let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about motorhome finance.

How much can I borrow?

You may borrow what you can afford to repay. Those repayments will depend on the amount you borrow, the length of time for which you borrow the money, the amount you have saved to offer as a deposit, and the rate of interest you are offered by any lender.

These are the factors that determine the affordability of any motorhome finance.

How does a finance company calculate that affordability?

The motorhome finance company will consider the amount you are putting down as a deposit, your regular earnings and expenditure and – perhaps most important of all will examine your credit rating.

Any finance company is obliged to check your credit history – which illustrates how well, or otherwise, you have managed borrowing and credit in the past and, so, provides the lender some confidence in your maintaining the agreed repayment schedule on any new borrowing.

Don’t be misled by those advertisements suggesting that there is any such thing as “no credit check credit”.

How can I trust any lender to offer a fair deal?

Lenders providing motorhome finance advice need to be authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – and you may review the FCA register to confirm that here at Derby Motorhomes we have just such authorisation, trading as Motor Plus Derby Limited.

Not only is our motorhome finance business regulated by the FCA but it also means that if you subsequently have any complaint or dispute about your finance, you may refer the matter to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

What forms of motorhome finance do you offer?

Hire purchase

Perhaps the most familiar form of finance is hire purchase.

If your application is approved, you typically need to find a deposit of around 10% of the purchase price of the motorhome you have chosen.

The balance of the purchase price is then repaid in equal monthly instalments over the agreed term of the hire purchase agreement. In some instances, you may be able to opt for monthly repayments followed by a larger, final, “balloon” payment.

It is worth remembering that legal ownership of the motorhome does not pass to you until the final instalment has been paid and that if you default on the repayments, your motorhome may be repossessed.

Personal Contract Purchase (PCP)

You have almost certainly heard about PCPs as they are used to purchase a large number of private cars these days.

Here at Derby Motorhomes, we are currently able to extend this motorhome finance facility to the purchase of your motorhome, too.

For more information on how we can help you with motorhome finance, please visit our dedicated page here or please give us a call on 01332 360222 – we’d be delighted to help.

Have you thought of taking your motorhome to the Netherlands?

When planning a European tour, many motorhome owners head for the mountains of Austria and Switzerland or the beaches of southern France, Italy or Spain. But you do not need to drive so far to enjoy a continental journey much closer to home. The Low Countries – and the Netherlands, in particular – have a great deal to offer.

Why the Netherlands?

If you don’t fancy another long journey after driving your motorhome off the ferry, the Netherlands offers a perfect solution. Take the ferry from Harwich in Essex to the Hook of Holland and you reach your destination as soon as you roll off the boat. The ferry crossing takes around four hours, according to a recent posting by motorhome owners on the website Out and About Live.

The time saved from driving long distances is time you can use to explore the country – the biggest reason for taking your motorhome to the Netherlands.

Or, take the Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais and drive to the Netherlands – this takes less than four hours says their website.

The Dutch

You are almost certain to receive a warm welcome from the Dutch people you meet. They are friendly and family-oriented, with as great a taste for the outdoor life. Think Holland and you’re sure to think cycling family days out or pottering about on any one of the many stretches of open water.

Although Dutch, of course, is the native language, practically everyone you meet will have (very good) English as their second language – so striking up a conversation is never likely to be all that taxing. As anywhere, though, it always goes down well if you have at least a spattering of the country’s own language.

On the road

Although you’ll be driving on the right, the highway code is very much as you find it at home – although there are one or two differences to bear in mind, warns the Camping and Caravanning Club.

Although the maximum speed on motorways is 130kph (80mph) penalties for breaking this or any other speed limit are tough – and you might even have your motorhome impounded.

Unless otherwise directed, always give way to vehicles emerging from the right and remember that use of your mobile phone while driving is prohibited (but hands-free devices are allowed).

Roads and motorways are toll-free, but there are several different anti-congestion and low emission zones in different cities – so make sure you’re aware of the rules in place if you intend driving there. Sounding your horn in cities is also illegal.

Overnight in your motorhome

When it’s time to turn in for the night, you must park your motorhome on a recognised campsite – so-called “wild camping” is prohibited and strictly enforced with a possible fine of up to €500 per person, according to the website Caravanya.

Fortunately, therefore, campsites are plentiful, of a high standard, and affordable (according to some sources, prices are ranked the seventh cheapest in Europe).

Ideal for your motorhome tour is Delftse Hout campsite, near the city of Delft, with its typically Dutch architecture and famous for its ceramics. The 5-star site is surrounded by a beautiful park, has mostly grass pitches, is family-friendly and has English-speaking staff. If you thought the whole of Holland was flat, just visit the southern part of the country towards its borders with Germany and Belgium. Set in rolling hills, with stunning views across South Limburg, is the 5-star Camping Panorama Camping Gulperberg

Buying any motorhome represents a more significant investment than buying a runabout car. Buying a motorhome in the distinguished class and luxury of an Auto-Sleeper is likely to be a still bigger investment.

So, how might you go about financing your Auto-Sleeper purchase?

Savings

If it has long been your dream to own a motorhome, you might have been saving over the years for the tidy sum likely to be required.

Even if you are among the fortunate few who have savings enough to purchase an Auto-Sleeper, however, you might be spending the entire amount in one big hit, with no further savings to fall back upon at any later stage in your life.

Equity release

For homeowners who have reached the age of 55 or over, the dreams they nurtured in owning a motorhome might be realised through equity release.

Typically, this involves a so-called lifetime mortgage on the home that is owned, so that you have the cash released through its equity but make no repayments on the loan until the property is sold, you go into long-term care or you die.

According to a story in the Financial Times on the 4th of April 2019, a staggering £1.08 billion had been raised by homeowners in this way during the final quarter of 2018 alone.

Auto-Sleeper finance

Auto-Sleeper finance, on the other hand, helps you avoid having to do anything quite as drastic as blowing your savings or unlocking the equity in your home in order to purchase a motorhome.

A reputable Auto-Sleeper dealer is almost certain to be able to offer a range of finance options – and, to do so, must be registered with and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Those options might include:

  • a personal loan – for the whole or just part of the purchase of your Auto-Sleeper – with repayment terms spread over several years;
  • hire purchase – which typically involves you paying an initial deposit of around 10% of the purchase price – and equal monthly payments until the final balance is cleared; or
  • Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) – the widely popular method of car finance which has also been extended to the purchase of motorhomes and which leaves you the option of returning the vehicle at the end of the contract agreement instead of paying the final “balloon” instalment to complete the purchase.

As with any finance credit agreement, of course, the terms of your Auto-Sleeper finance is going to depend on your creditworthiness – the healthier your credit score, the more favourable the rate of interest you are likely to be offered and the better your chances of securing the credit you need.

In many instances, the lenders have user-friendly online calculators that help you decide how much you need to borrow, the repayment terms and any other conditions that may be attached to your Auto-Sleeper finance deal.

Specialist Auto-Sleeper dealers – such as ourselves at Derby Motorhomes – are likely to have close working relationships with several major banks, brokers and financial institutions, offering you a wide choice of different types of finance to suit your particular needs and circumstances.

It is often said that after their main dwelling place, a motorhome is likely to be the most expensive thing that most people will ever buy in their lives.

Whether that is correct or not in your individual circumstances is impossible to say.

What is certain though is that it is a large expenditure and one that should, therefore, be thought about carefully in terms of how to go about funding a new motorhome.

What is funding?

In the case of most buyers, the funds used for the purchase must be obtained from somewhere and through some sort of process. There are a number of different ways of going about that and here at Derby Motorhomes, we’ll try to objectively outline some of those for you.

Funding through pension cash-ins, inheritances, savings and liquidating financial instruments

It may be that you have funds potentially available to you from any of the above sources.

For example:

  • the new relaxed pension regulations might enable you to take a cash lump-sum early;
  • perhaps you have been the recipient of some sort of bequest following the death of a relative or friend;
  • it may be that you have stocks and shares that can be turned into cash.

All of these result in a situation where you will buy the vehicle outright and have no monthly repayments going forward.

You should be clear though that just because you can access the cash through these means, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the most sensible way for you to fund a new motorhome.

That’s because depleting your potential cash reserves might leave you with a problem if you subsequently encounter some sort of emergency where you need liquid capital (cash) fast.

The issues here can be complicated. Please note that we are not qualified independent financial advisers and it may be sensible for you to consult one before cashing in things like your pension savings.

Bank loans

Depending upon your individual financial circumstances and perhaps your history over time with your bank, it may be possible to ask for a standard bank loan for your purchase.

This will give you cash you can then use to pay for the vehicle, with you repaying the loan over time on a monthly basis to the bank.

This is straightforward though the banks are perhaps a little less free with such loans for luxury items than they might have been prior to around 10 years ago. You may also need to have an excellent credit history record and find a fairly substantial deposit towards the vehicle from your own sources.

Hire Purchase (HP) and related dealer finance

This essentially involves a finance company purchasing the vehicle which legally remains their property although you will be allowed to use it as the “registered keeper”. You will repay the funds provider over time and once you make the final payment, the vehicle becomes legally yours.

You may need to find a percentage of the final price yourself by way of the traditional deposit in this way of funding a new motorhome.

Equity finance

This type of funding typically involves you obtaining a loan which is secured against something else you either own or have substantial surplus cash invested in.

For example, if your home is realistically valued at £400,000 and you have an outstanding mortgage on that of £50,000, then you have £350,000 notional equity in your property. It may be possible to borrow against that equity in order to buy your motorhome but remember your home may be at risk if you take out a loan secured against it and find yourself subsequently unable to pay.

Summary

There is a range of funding options available and we’d welcome your contact in order to clarify how we might be able to assist further.

One of the commoner questions we’re asked at Derby Motorhomes relates to the options for financing a motorhome purchase.

We’d like to share some of our observations here on that subject with you but we must point out that we are not qualified financial advisers. Our role here is simply to highlight some of the options that you may be able to choose from when buying a new motorhome.

Using your own cash

Significant numbers of buyers do so and particularly in situations where they have taken a lump sum out of a pension fund or have inherited money from a relative’s estate etc.

In some respects, paying by cash is intuitively attractive. It means you won’t be paying interest charges to a lender nor will you need to convince someone else that you are able to afford the money you are spending. It becomes your decision and yours alone.

However, you may need to keep in mind that some advisers might argue that spending your own cash is not always an optimum solution. If you spend a substantial sum of money on your motorhome from your own cash reserves, then by definition, that money isn’t available for you to use on other things.

True, you could always sell your motorhome in future to get a percentage of your cash back but that can take a little time and while you’re going through the sales process, your funds aren’t available to you.

Using Hire Purchase or a variation thereof

We’re sure that Hire Purchase (HP) needs no detailed explanation!

Suffice it to say, in summary, all that is required is for you to find a sum of your own cash to contribute towards the cost of the vehicle by way of a “deposit”. The Hire Purchase provider will then fund the balance and purchase the vehicle for you to use as its registered keeper.

You will then pay a monthly repayment of the outstanding sum, over some years, until such time as you have paid off the balance. During that period of time, the vehicle legally remains the property of the HP solution provider and you must not sell it without their written permission in advance.

The advantage of HP is that the vehicle is being purchased, in large part, with somebody else’s money, meaning you keep your capital reserves for something like an emergency. Of course, you will need to show that you are financially able to maintain the repayments.

Loans

You could go to a finance company or bank and ask them to advance you a sum of money which you can then spend on buying a new motorhome of your choice.

You will then repay the loan back to them over an agreed period of time.

Once again, you will need to find some form of deposit. You will also typically again be assessed in terms of your creditworthiness and ability to financially meet the loan repayment commitment you are entering into.

Loans offer the advantage of giving you a degree of freedom over where you purchase your vehicle and they may increase your negotiating position a little with a seller or dealership (as to them you will be effectively a cash buyer).

On the downside, certainly, bank loans are perhaps not typically as readily available for luxury items as might once have been the case.

Summary

There may, in fact, be other options open to you when buying a new motorhome. At Derby Motorhomes we work with a number of motorhome finance specialists to find you the most suitable finance solution for your next motorhome. Why not contact us today to see how we can help?

There is an old joke to the effect that “buying a vehicle is much more fun than paying for it”!

No doubt that’s true but even so, there are a range of options that might be open to you.

Cash

Numbers of people purchase their motorhome using their cash reserves. That often comes from things such as pension cash-ins, life savings, windfalls or sometimes wills and other bequests from relatives etc.

Using your own cash has two big advantages:

  • you don’t have to apply to anyone or seek the approval of a third party in terms of your spending plans. That can make the process fast;
  • your spending doesn’t incur costs in terms of the interest rates and other charges that might be associated with some loans – though that must be modified a little as outlined below.

There are two “cons” to consider too:

  • once you’ve spent your capital, it’s “tied up” and not immediately available should you need it for emergency purposes;
  • strictly speaking, you should consider what’s called the “opportunity cost” of using your own cash. If you could invest it elsewhere and get a good return, then not being able to do so because it’s now been used for your motorhome is a cost to you in the sense of it being a lost opportunity.

Financing (non-bank)

There are several potential options here including those we offer.

Perhaps the most familiar form of motorhome financing is that of Hire Purchase otherwise known as “HP”.

This probably needs no introduction but just in case, it involves:

  • finding a contribution towards the cost of the vehicle from your own finances. A figure of around 10-15% is commonplace;
  • the lender will advance you the balance in the sense that they will buy the vehicle. It becomes their legal property, but they then allow you to use it as the “registered keeper”;
  • each month you will make a set repayment to the funds At the end of the agreed term, the vehicle becomes yours in the legal sense – assuming you have made all repayments;
  • while the agreement is in force, you must not sell the vehicle or significantly modify it without the lender’s/provider’s explicit permission in advance.

This approach has been around for a long time and typically works well and to everyone’s satisfaction.

Your application will need to meet criteria in terms of you being assessed as having sufficient financial standing to indicate that you can afford the sums involved and the monthly repayments. That typically will include a credit history check.

Bank loans

This is another theoretical option for motorhome financing.

It usually works with the bank providing the money for you to go out and purchase the motorhome, with you having again made a financial contribution overall. That contribution may be typically a larger percentage than might be associated with HP.

The question as to whether the bank will demand some sort of security over the loan would be one to discuss with the bank in the individual context of your application.

There are a few points worth keeping in mind with bank loans:

  • some people might prefer to keep their motorhome financing separate from their everyday banking affairs;
  • some banks may move rather slowly in terms of application reviews;
  • not all banks are well-disposed towards loan requests for what they may see as “luxury items”!

There are typically two questions that one regularly encounters in the domain of motorhomes and motorhome insurance:

  • can I live in my motorhome full time and keep it insured;
  • what happens to my house insurance if I am away on extended motorhome trips?

These are related issues but in some respects also very different.

Living permanently in your motorhome

It’s perhaps important to state at the outset that the vast majority of motorhome insurance providers consider motorhomes to be things you use occasionally for recreational purposes.

Typical policies will contain a clause which limits, in some form or another, just how much you can use your motorhome in a given year. That may be some months and that might be entirely satisfactory for the vast majority of motorhome owners. However, if you decide you want to spend your life on the road, it is likely to be inadequate for you.

There is no mystery behind the reasoning here.

Insurance providers have certain algorithms they use to calculate the risk of offering you cover. The facts they use to construct your risk profile include certain assumptions about your permanent address and how much time you will be living there for each year, as opposed to using your motorhome.

If you plan to be on the road all the time, in effect you don’t have a permanent address and that is going to cause many insurance providers a degree of conceptual difficulty in terms of offering you cover.

It may be possible to obtain specialist cover if you do decide to spend your life on the road but the key message here is to avoid simply selling up and driving off in your motorhome on the assumption that your existing motorhome insurance will be valid. It may not be!

How much time can you spend in your motorhome in terms of your home insurance?

This is a very different consideration and not one that is necessarily exclusively related to motorhome insurance.

The challenges here arise from the fact that your existing standard home insurance probably contains a clause limiting how long, in terms of consecutive days, you can leave your property unoccupied before your insurance is at risk.

That period of time is usually somewhere between 30 and 45 consecutive days.

If you wish to go off and spend extended time on the road discovering the world in your motorhome, you will typically need to remember that you may need to contact your home insurance provider for a discussion on the subject of “unoccupied property insurance”. This will extend a policy to cover your property for longer periods when you are not in residence.

Disclosure

A key message that comes out of both of the above points relates to disclosure or, to put it another way, making sure that your motorhome insurance provider and the company that provides your home insurance, are kept fully informed when your situation is going to vary from that which existed when you took out your cover.

Most insurance providers will try to be as flexible and helpful as they can in order to help you to enjoy your motorhome to its full extent