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snowbeetle

Best Strategy - Buy Low / Buy High?

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Hello,

 

We are buying a new (to us) house but it won't be ready in time for the children to start school. .. so the perfect solution is a 4 berth touring caravan (we have the pitch sorted)!

 

We will live in it for a month or two, then it will be sold on as we will be eyeball deep in DIY for about 2 years and won't be able to use it.

 

We have 3 weeks to choose and buy one and have no experience. Help!

 

Money is a scarce resource for us because we are taking on the house 'project' :D We have enough to spend up to 10k, but here's the catch, we need as much of it as possible to come back to us in the end!

 

We are baffled by the plethora of choices out there, need to make a swift decision, and don't know if we will lose/hold on to more money by buying a cheap van and selling on cheaply - or do the higher end vans hold their value better for re-sale?

 

Any insight is useful and gratefully received as currently we are completely blind! Hopefully the experience will be useful when we finally can become long-term caravan owners - all a big adventure for the kids. :D

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You'll minimise your losses by buying privately and selling privately - but you'll be selling at the slow time of year when summer caravanners have quit for the year.

 

If you don't know anyone with good practical knowledge of caravans to look over potential purchases, pay an AWS mobile engineer to check over before you buy.

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Whatever is bought now, or in three weeks from now, would be very difficult to sell in Winter. In Spring there would probably be a lot of competition as dealers dispose of their trade-ins.

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Whatever you finish up buying, get a proper damp report.

 

A seemingly minor area of damp can be costly to repair as was the case for me at just over £2k.

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Thanks for giving us the lie of the land.

 

It probably isn't the best time of year for doing what we're doing, there isn't any choice in that for us though unfortunately.

 

We will make a handy buyer for someone though won't we! Buying at the end of the season. :D

 

Any suggestions on whether a cheap or pricey caravan would hold it's value better?

 

TIA :D

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If it's only for a couple of months I'd be inclined to go cheaper, when it comes to selling again you might find it easier to get your money back, we've brought vans on the cheaper end of the scale when we first started caravanning and sold on EBay for more than we paid for them ;) As long as it is clean, damp free and has all you need for your family regarding space etc then go for it! Will leave you more money for your renovation :)

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Have you considered hiring for the period you need? The only certain way of fixing your costs from the outset.

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Have you considered hiring for the period you need? The only certain way of fixing your costs from the outset.

 

Good Suggestion, it did cross my mind but because we aren't sure of the hire period I rather took it that it could run on and end up costing a fair bit with no prospect of any return, so I must admit I didn't look into it deeply. We checked out renting static on a park for the duration but at the notice we have none were available at a price we could afford. :)

If it's only for a couple of months I'd be inclined to go cheaper, when it comes to selling again you might find it easier to get your money back, we've brought vans on the cheaper end of the scale when we first started caravanning and sold on EBay for more than we paid for them ;) As long as it is clean, damp free and has all you need for your family regarding space etc then go for it! Will leave you more money for your renovation :)

Thanks Mayblossom, that sounds encouraging. :D

 

Sometimes you just need to hear an outside perspective to stop your own self from going round and round questioning your own ideas, especially when those ideas are essentially based on assumption, rumour and the colour of next doors cat. ;)

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If it's only for a couple of months I'd be inclined to go cheaper, when it comes to selling again you might find it easier to get your money back, we've brought vans on the cheaper end of the scale when we first started caravanning and sold on EBay for more than we paid for them ;) As long as it is clean, damp free and has all you need for your family regarding space etc then go for it! Will leave you more money for your renovation :)

Mayblossom,

 

if you don't mind me asking, what kind of price could we be reasonably expect to pay for a cheaper 4 berth caravan in fair condition do you think? The range seems really wide when we look - anything from 500 - 5000 and I have no sense of a benchmark to compare it to.

 

Oh my - how green I am! :D

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To live in a caravan with a couple of school age children you need to buy a strong caravan which will not deteriorate with daily use.

That pretty well rules out the UK produced caravans because they are a bit flimsy for a family to live in, and you will not get your money back on a caravan with the interior in poor condition. I would buy a Hobby, Burstner or one of the better German caravans. If you look around there are some with UK specification interiors - shower, oven etc. They are quite cheap and its possible £10k would do, and you would have a bit more space. Getting your money back is perfectly feasible provided its a nice looking caravan. Why not tell the forum when you see a caravan you fancy and get some inside information from someone who might have a similar one? As said, get an inspection done by an AWS mobile engineer.

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Mayblossom,

 

if you don't mind me asking, what kind of price could we be reasonably expect to pay for a cheaper 4 berth caravan in fair condition do you think? The range seems really wide when we look - anything from 500 - 5000 and I have no sense of a benchmark to compare it to.

 

Oh my - how green I am! :D

Think you could find something suitable for about £4500, just been looking at a 2004 Bailey Senator Arizona, 4 berth with large end bathroom at a dealers with 3 month warranty, priced at £4995, good vans with lots of storage and plenty of space, I've had two of the senator range in the past and loved them :)

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To live in a caravan with a couple of school age children you need to buy a strong caravan which will not deteriorate with daily use.

That pretty well rules out the UK produced caravans because they are a bit flimsy for a family to live in, and you will not get your money back on a caravan with the interior in poor condition. I would buy a Hobby, Burstner or one of the better German caravans. If you look around there are some with UK specification interiors - shower, oven etc. They are quite cheap and its possible £10k would do, and you would have a bit more space. Getting your money back is perfectly feasible provided its a nice looking caravan. Why not tell the forum when you see a caravan you fancy and get some inside information from someone who might have a similar one? As said, get an inspection done by an AWS mobile engineer.

That seems a very blanket statement.

 

3 months is about three years equivalent use for us (a family with young kids).

 

I would expect a British van to last us more than three years.

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That seems a very blanket statement.

3 months is about three years equivalent use for us (a family with young kids).

I would expect a British van to last us more than three years.

I think any building project which involves having a temporarily uninhabitable house needs a considerable time contingency. The occupancy of the caravan could therefore be longer than planned. Buying a second hand caravan means that someone else has already had the use they want from it, so it has the potential to deteriorate a bit whilst being lived in. I'm simply trying to be realistic.

A 10 year old Hobby is likely to be a better buy than a 5 year old UK tourer in my opinion. We've got a 15 year old Hobby motor caravan and although the interior looks dated, it's still as solid as a rock.

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For me this is a very easy question. Buy cheap, I would look for something under £1500. They do exist. Go for a decent size preferably one that comes complete with everything including a full size awning. Don't worry about the external condition make sure everything works. That way when you sell it on you cannot loose much. As I say that is only my opinion I'm sure others will have different views- it's the benefit of this forum.

Let us know what you eventually settle with.

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For me this is a very easy question. Buy cheap, I would look for something under £1500. They do exist. Go for a decent size preferably one that comes complete with everything including a full size awning. Don't worry about the external condition make sure everything works. That way when you sell it on you cannot loose much. As I say that is only my opinion I'm sure others will have different views- it's the benefit of this forum.

Let us know what you eventually settle with.

Exactly what I would do. The more you spend, the more you stand to lose IMO.

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I think any building project which involves having a temporarily uninhabitable house needs a considerable time contingency. The occupancy of the caravan could therefore be longer than planned. Buying a second hand caravan means that someone else has already had the use they want from it, so it has the potential to deteriorate a bit whilst being lived in. I'm simply trying to be realistic.

A 10 year old Hobby is likely to be a better buy than a 5 year old UK tourer in my opinion. We've got a 15 year old Hobby motor caravan and although the interior looks dated, it's still as solid as a rock.

Solid as a rock. Just like the 15 year old British van we recently sold.

For me this is a very easy question. Buy cheap, I would look for something under £1500. They do exist. Go for a decent size preferably one that comes complete with everything including a full size awning. Don't worry about the external condition make sure everything works. That way when you sell it on you cannot loose much. As I say that is only my opinion I'm sure others will have different views- it's the benefit of this forum.

Let us know what you eventually settle with.

My vote too

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Thanks to you all. I have got more information from this discussion than ages going back and forth online. There is nothing better than getting it straight from the horses mouth as it were! :D

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Whereabouts in Cumbria are you?

Bardsea at Ulverston is a good place to see what is available and at what price. You can walk around to your hearts content with no salesmen bothering you.

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Our first caravan cost us £600 3 years ago, bone dry, did a good few trips in it and is now ending its life as a spare bedroom on the farm. So my advice would be to echo what others have said look for something cheap but sound, less you spent the less you have to lose.

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I would also go for the cheaper end for ease of resale. There are far more people who can afford to buy a £1500 caravan than there are people with £10k sitting in the bank to buy one. People spending that sort of money will be far more likely to go to a dealer for peace of mind and a warranty than buy privately so i think, especially off season, it will take you a long time for someone to give you your money back. Whereas with a £1500 van, people will be more likely to look privately as dealers wont have much at that sort of price and probably wouldn't warrant it if they did anyway. I also think you will be more likely to make a few quid profit on something cheap, rather than loose money on something expensive.

 

And if the kids destroy it you have only lost £1500 :)

 

Alternatively, if you have the space then maybe buying an older static might offer you a lot more room and comfort. You can buy them fairly cheap and probably easier to move on off season to someone else with a building project. ..

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Some dealers sell used statics specifically for house conversions. Take a look at the last one here. Yes, I know it is a looooong way away, I just posted it as an example of what is available.

 

BH

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If you go down the static caravan line check out Skelwith Fold near Ambleside. When they take a caravan in as P/X they sell the old one off. Usually its sitting in a layby on the entrance road. We had a static there for 10 years and there was nearly always a caravan waiting to be sold or moved off. As you are in Cumbria its probably not too far to move it.

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if you have to live in it why not get a static, that is what they are designed for. Also more likely to get your money back.

 

I am plus 1 on the lower purchase BUT the more you pay the more you will get. We started just over a year ago to tour with a 1500 van and three changes later have moved up near 15 years and 1. 5m in length to a 12k van. Would I go back. ....NOT while we can afford the better bigger newer van with more kit and less compromises.

 

All caravans have compromises, a mobile home (static) less so as they are not as cramped for room.

 

I certainly would not want to have to make beds every day from a living room or dinet so get something with at list 4 fixed beds would be the major point for me, may not be for you though.

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To live in a caravan with a couple of school age children you need to buy a strong caravan which will not deteriorate with daily use.

That pretty well rules out the UK produced caravans because they are a bit flimsy for a family to live in, and you will not get your money back on a caravan with the interior in poor condition. I would buy a Hobby, Burstner or one of the better German caravans. If you look around there are some with UK specification interiors - shower, oven etc. They are quite cheap and its possible £10k would do, and you would have a bit more space. Getting your money back is perfectly feasible provided its a nice looking caravan. Why not tell the forum when you see a caravan you fancy and get some inside information from someone who might have a similar one? As said, get an inspection done by an AWS mobile engineer.

It's for 2 or 3 month's for goodness sake. Buy real cheap. If anything leaks bodge it up with silicone and shift it on afterwards. ..

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We bought our first big dry van last year for 1000 which would have suited your needs. Go cheap as others suggested. Even sold it for 1800!

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