So, you’ve succumbed to the lure of the open road – the freedom to go where you like, rest and stop wherever you choose – and have decided to buy a motorhome.

But where do you start looking for that purchase? Let’s take a look at your options. They immediately fall into one of two broad sources – do you buy privately or from a dealer?

Private sales

One of the attractions of buying privately is that you are buying directly from the vendor and can tell yourself that you are avoiding the commission or profit that needs to be made by any third-party agent such as a dealer.

A private sale is also more likely to involve a used motorhome, of course, so you may be able to take advantage of the depreciation already reflected in the value of a second-hand vehicle. A buyers’ guide published by Out and About Live claims that the savings on buying second-hand, rather than new, might be considerable. Although it also concedes that the slower rate of depreciation on a motorhome compared to ordinary cars might keep prices rather similar.

Thanks to the internet, your search is no longer limited to class advertisements in your local newspaper or trade journals. Online listings give you the chance to search across the whole of the country for those looking to sell a used motorhome.

Just like buying any vehicle from a private seller, however, it is very much a question of “buyer beware”. You must be prepared to go over the motorhome with a fine-toothed comb – and in this case checking not only the mechanics, but also the exterior and interior integrity of what is going to be your second home.

Your scrutiny also needs to extend to the seller’s legal capacity to sell the motorhome. Do they have title to the vehicle? Is there any outstanding hire purchase or other finance on it? Has it been classified as an insurance write-off?

Using a service such as an HPI checker specialises in helping you to check the possibility of any fraud on the part of the vendor – but the responsibility is very much your own.

Buying from a dealer

Instead, you may avoid much of the doubt and anxiety by buying your motorhome from a reputable dealer. Whether you are buying brand new or second-hand, you have the reassurance of knowing just where to go if you later discover something wrong with the vehicle you bought.

A dealer is responsible for conducting all the financial checks on any pre-owned motorhome. They are able to stay in business only by ensuring that any vehicle has been thoroughly checked inside and out, mechanically and accommodation-wise, after a full service.

Any optional extras or accessories for your motorhome may also be supplied directly by the dealer and properly fitted or installed.

Any new motorhome is going to come with the manufacturer’s warranty, but many established dealers are also likely to extend a guarantee even to used vehicles.

Many dealers are also able to arrange any finance you may need to purchase your motorhome.

Here at Derby Motorhomes, we pride ourselves in the reputation we have established as a leading dealer in all makes of motorhome – specialising in Auto-Sleepers. Thanks to our location in Derby, in the Midlands, we are likely to be reasonably accessible wherever you live in the country – and look forward to the opportunity of demonstrating first-hand a wide range of new and used motorhomes for sale.

Further reading: Financing your Auto-Sleeper purchase