As well as being cheaper, second hand caravans often retain their value longer than their newer counterparts, making minor damage less problematic.
Equally, when buying new, delays can sometimes occur with delivery. You’ll also find lots more choice among used models.
But even a second-hand caravan is still a major investment, so take time to get it right, and know exactly what you want before taking the plunge.
Consider how much you have to spend, and how straightforward the model will be to service and buy spare parts for. If you want to sell it on eventually, how easy will that be? A model which seems a great bargain initially may end up costing you more in the long-run.
You also need to take into account:
Size - Your ‘van should be the right size for your purposes, and for the number of people who will be using it. But you also need to feel comfortable towing and manoeuvring it – and have space at home for it when you’re not on the road. Make sure your car can cope, too!
Features – A hot water system, including a shower, and a fridge, toilet, heater and mains electricity should come as standard with any caravan. Ask for a lower price if any of these is missing. Go for user-friendly design features and a model with surfaces which are simple to clean, and a layout which is right for what you need.
Is It Watertight? - If water gets into the structure, the damage to the walls, floor and roof can be substantial. Unfortunately, water penetration may not be immediately apparent. The windows and roof light account for more than half of water penetration in caravans.
You can buy a damp detector from most DIY shops, and this will help highlight any problems.
When viewing, check the interior thoroughly, including inside cupboards, pipes, under cushions and beneath the sink, looking for signs of damp. Obvious attempts at re-covering the walls are another giveaway, as is a musty smell.
Finally, don’t just go for the first model you see, or buy too hastily. See if you can take the model on a trial run, and haggle as much as you can!