Top tips to buy your used caravan

Written by 
Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
Our authors
, updated on August 23rd, 2023       

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If you are looking to purchase a used caravan in the new year, you might want to look out for certain things. There are things you need to be aware of, so here are the top tips to buy your used caravan.

What is your budget?

Supposedly, you’re buying the caravan used, because that way, you’re scoring it cheaper. This is an excellent solution for someone who is in the market for a caravan, but doesn’t have the finances for a new one. You can compromise by buying a pre-owned one, but be sure to figure out what your budget is and stick to it. If you pay more than you expected to, buying used is no longer worth it, is it? You might as well shell out for a new one.

Did you know that caravans must meet some legal requirements in Australia? These include utilities connections, weight, roadworthiness, as well as hitch capacity. While reviewing a caravan for a possible purchase, make sure to take these requirements into consideration and check that they are met. If you discover that any of these aspects is violated, move on to a different one, because it is not worth it, regardless of the price.

How old is it? What is its history?

When looking at prospects, you also have to inform yourself regarding its history. You need to know:

  • what the background of the caravan is,
  • how old it is,
  • how many owners has it had,
  • in what conditions it was driven in,
  • in what conditions it has been stored, how often it was used,
  • if it has ever had problems, if it has ever been repaired, etc.

You need to ask the seller about all these different details and then make your decision according to their response. Keep in mind the fact that they may be lying to you in order to make the sell, so its always best to get an independent inspection on any asset that you purchase. 

How does it perform on the road?

Ideally, you should be able to drive around with it for a while and/or spend some time inside to see what happens when it’s on the road and whether it can be used or not. Sometimes, a caravan may seem perfect when you look at it from the outside, while it’s stationary, but then it turns out to not be that great, once you take it out on the road.

Does it have any visible damage?

Obviously, you should inspect it as closely as you possibly can, looking for any little bit of evidence of possible damage. Check the structural integrity, the utilities, the paint job, the windows, check it inside and out. Don’t leave a stone unturned, as they say. You want to make sure that it is in pristine condition or that it can be tweaked at a relatively low cost.

Can the price be lowered?

A caravan usually comes at quite a price, because of this, there is usually a lot of room for movement, so haggle and bargain your way to a better deal. Most of the time, you will be able to achieve a much better price than list price. Especially if it has some dents or some other kind of damage, insist that they cut the price to something you’re comfortable with.

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