In the market for a new home on wheels? A repossessed motorhome could represent a real bargain – if you know what you’re doing. Read our quick guide to find out all you need to know.
When it comes to buying a new home on wheels, you’ve got a lot of options. You can buy brand new, directly from the manufacturer; get a preloved vehicle from a reputable second-hand dealer; visit a private seller; or try your luck at the auctions.
If you do go down the second-hand or auction route, you could come across a repossession or two. But do these types of vehicles represent a savvy buy or a splitting headache?
Repossession or not, you’ll need to find insurance for motorhomes that ticks all your boxes. Give the experienced team at Motorhome Protect a call and get your cover sorted today.
WHY MIGHT A MOTORHOME BE REPOSSESSED?
With new, top-of-the-range motorhomes costing many tens of thousands of pounds, many hopeful owners will borrow money to buy their dream vehicle. While this is a good option for some, you must always remember that sooner or later you’re going to have to pay the money back.
If you buy your motorhome with money from a so-called ‘unsecured loan’ and fail to make the repayments, then the company that lent you the money may be able to seize goods that you own to the same value as the motorhome. They won’t necessarily take the motorhome itself.
However, if you bought the motorhome on finance, such as a Hire Purchase (HP) or Personal Contract Purchase (PCP), then the loan will be secured on the actual motorhome, so they’re likely to seize that instead. This is called repossession and it can be a stressful experience.
Regardless of its age, mileage or condition, a motorhome has a lot of value (that’s just one of the reasons that insurance for motorhomes is so important). Obviously, the newer it is, the more it’s worth, but even an older motorhome can be repossessed if you owe money on it.
A finance company will usually only repossess a motorhome as a last resort. They want their money back rather than a vehicle potentially worth less than the secured amount, so they’ll want to exhaust all other avenues for repayment first.
To repossess the motorhome the finance company will arrange for a bailiff to retrieve the vehicle. The repossessed motorhome will then be sent to auction as quickly as possible to recoup as much of the money as they can.
It’s worth noting that most repossessed motorhomes are sold on at specialist auctions that are only open to those in the motor trade. So, in many cases, there's no direct way for the public to buy a repossessed motorhome. But that’s not the end of the story.
HOW TO BUY A REPOSSESSED MOTORHOME – 10 TOP TIPS
Buying a repossessed motorhome can be a great way to save, as buyers can often find decent vehicles at a lower cost than elsewhere on the market.
That said, opting for a repossessed vehicle can prove to be challenging if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Follow our quick tips below.
1. Proceed with caution
A motorhome will have been repossessed because payments haven’t been made. Whether this is because the owner has lost their job, got divorced or whatever, one thing is certain, they have a lack of money.
Unfortunately, repossession can be a very stressful experience and some owners might have taken their anger or frustration out on the vehicle. Look out for any potential damage as the motorhome may not have been checked over when it was repossessed.
2. Work out a motorhome wish-list
When buying any motorhome, you’ll want to have a clear idea of the features and facilities you’ll need for the vehicle to work for you and your family. For example:
- Have you got your heart set on a particular make and model?
- Does it need to have low mileage?
- Will you be touring off-grid, or will you be sticking to motorhome sites?
- Are there adaptations you need for a particular disability?
- Are you happy to take on a renovation project or do you want to buy a vehicle that’s ready to roll?
- How many people does it need to sleep?
- Do you have pets or sports gear that needs to be kept safe and secure somewhere?
Knowing exactly what you want (and what you can afford) will mean you’re much more able to spot a genuine bargain that suits your purposes. No matter how great the deal, if it’s unsuitable then your touring dreams will soon be scuppered.
If you’re new to the motorhome club and are unsure about what you want, then attending a motorhome show is a great way to expand your knowledge. You’ll be able to discuss any questions or concerns you have with real experts in the trade.
You’ll find manufacturers and second-hand dealers all in the same place, more than willing to answer your questions. Look through this list of upcoming motorhome shows in 2023 and pop a few in your diary.
3. Stick to your guns when it comes to price
Decide on what price is right for you and don’t blow the budget.
It’s also important to remember that, as well as the purchase price, you’ll also have to consider the cost of any necessary repairs or refurbishment.
And if you’re buying the motorhome at auction then there may also be auction costs or fees to pay, too!
Owning and running a motorhome isn’t cheap – insurance for motorhomes, road tax, servicing and maintenance all add up over the course of a touring year. The last thing you want is for your home away from home to become a source of financial stress, even if the original purchase price was a bargain.
4. Visit a local motorhome dealer
Those in the market for a motorhome will have probably already visited their local dealerships and may be on first-name terms with the salespeople. If you’re in luck, then the dealer might have just bought a repossessed motorhome from a specialist auction and be looking to sell it on.
Buying from a reputable dealer is a good option. They’ve almost certainly checked the vehicle over and prepared it for sale, fixing any mechanical or cosmetic issues. You’ll also have the back-up of their after-sales service, so you’ve got someone to call if anything goes wrong with your new purchase.
The tried-and-trusted word of mouth is the best way to find the right dealer for your needs. Check out customer testimonials on sites like TrustPilot to get a feel for the service.
5. Check with your bank or lender
It may sound strange and might not work out for everyone, but some banks and lenders will let customers look at their list of repossessed vehicles. If there’s a motorhome on the list, then it might be you can get a good deal on it.
But remember the old saying, ‘buyer beware’! Unlike a motorhome dealer, the lender probably won’t have spent any money making the repossessed motorhome ready for sale. So, you’ll have to do your own checks and spend your own money to clean or fix it up.
6. Search online
Do a quick internet search and you’ll find there are lots of companies online that specialise in helping banks and lenders sell off repossessed vehicles at auctions.
These can be in-person auctions or online. Remember to double check if they’re open to private buyers or just those in the trade.
7. Check out online auction sites
Doing research is so important when buying any type of motorhome. To help get a feel for what’s on the market and how much you should expect to pay, look at some UK motorhome auction sites.
There are many reputable online retailers and auction sites that feature motorhomes in their listings. But always use caution, while sites like eBay have plenty of great motorhomes for sale, that doesn’t mean they’ll be a wise investment for you.
Always make sure you’re buying from the genuine registered owner. Find out how to do that on the government's website below. And when it comes to making payment, don’t hand over any money until you’ve had time to conduct a proper inspection and ask any questions.
If you need more guidance, check out our blog on the best places to buy a motorhome. Take a look at our ultimate guide to buying a motorhome while you’re at it.
8. Go to an auction - but don't bid
If you think you might like to buy through an auction, then it’s vital you get a feel for how things work beforehand. Auctions can be a high-pressure environment and you don’t want to make a costly mistake because you’re nervous.
Even if you’re planning on bidding in an online auction, attending one in person is a great way to pick up useful tips and know what potential pitfalls to avoid.
9. Follow these top tips on what to do at an auction
When it comes to top tips the team at Motorhome Protect are always looking out for you – when we’re not finding great value insurance for motorhomes, that is!
To help you navigate an auction sale, take note of these handy hints.
- Get there nice and early – Turning up just before the motorhome you’re after comes up for sale is not a great idea. You really want to arrive an hour or so before the auction starts, so you have plenty of time to have a good close look at several potential motorhomes.
- Take someone more experienced with you – Taking along a friend with motorhome or mechanical knowledge will up your chances of spotting a dud before it’s too late.
- Don’t rush your bid if you’re unsure – If an auction is ending soon, it’s all too easy to rush your decision. It’s much better to let a motorhome go than bid if you’re not 100% happy with it.
- Refer to the catalogue for further details – The catalogue description of the motorhome should be thorough and have lots of key information for you to consider. But be aware, most repossessed motorhomes will be ‘sold as seen’ – so it’s vital you have done your own checks.
- Stay calm – If you’ve been to an auction before then you’ll know they can be very loud and fast paced environments. Resist the temptation to get swept up in the heady atmosphere by staying calm.
- Bid late – If the current bid is low then don’t be afraid to start your bidding as late as you can. Although don’t leave it too late, or else you’ll miss out!
- Stick to your budget – No matter how much you want this motorhome, another one is bound to come along, even if you have to wait. Who knows, you might get an even better deal further down the line!
- Be aware of your legal obligations – If you win the auction with your bid, then as a buyer you’re legally obliged to pay the price in full plus any other costs that the auction house sets out.
10. Do your motorhome checks
Whatever way you end up buying your dream motorhome, you need to know what else to check before handing over any money. It’s not enough to just give it a visual once over: you’ll need to be thorough.
As well as the motorhome’s service and maintenance history, make sure you check for:
A damp/moisture meter is a handy device to have in your toolbox. Make sure to check all over the interior and exterior for signs of damp and water ingress. The smell of mould or dampness is a warning sign that can’t be ignored.
When you’re checking for damp, keep an eye out for any signs of rust. Just like damp, rust can be an expensive problem to fix on a motorhome.
Start the engine and listen out for any suspicious noises (if it’s being sold as a runner). As well as checking the engine sounds healthy, you’ll also want to make sure everything smells right, too. You shouldn’t be getting engine smells or exhaust fumes in your motorhome.
Missing or damaged items
From furniture and flooring to cupboards and cushions, check everything is present and correct if it’s listed in the sales particulars.
Further vital checks include:
- A motorhome habitation check
The equivalent of an MOT for the living areas, an expert performs a series of in-depth checks which test the gas, electrical and water systems in your vehicle. If you’re asking yourself “what is a motorhome habitation check?” read our useful Motorhome Protect guide now.
- A Hire Purchase Investigation (HPI) check
Among other things, a Hire Purchase Investigation will flag up if a motorhome is stolen and if there’s still money owing on it elsewhere. It will also cover the mileage. This may have already been done, but it’s always good to ask to see the HPI if you’re not sure. Check the HPI online using the motorhome’s registration number.
There is also a government advice service available for those buying used vehicles. This will help you investigate whether there’s any unpaid credit due on the vehicle and if it’s been flagged as an insurance write-off, along with other potential warning signs.
ARE THERE ANY IMPLICATIONS FOR INSURANCE FOR MOTORHOMES?
Most repossessed motorhomes will end up at auctions, so if you don’t mind taking a punt, this could be a good place to start your search.
If you’re driving your motorhome away from the auction, make sure you have insurance for motorhomes in place.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE THREATENED WITH MOTORHOME REPOSSESSION
Repossession can be something of a grey area and it can be difficult to know what to do if you find yourself in such a muddle. Read on to find out a bit more about what it involves and where you stand.
Many people use finance when buying a motorhome, but even with the best of intentions keeping up with repayments can sometimes become a struggle.
If you arranged the finance through a motorhome dealer, then your agreement should contain information on what to do if you can't keep up with the repayments.
Another useful contact is Citizens Advice, who provide free information on finance agreements and how to handle outstanding debts.
Be aware, if the worst does happen and your motorhome is repossessed, that might not be the end of the matter. The finance company may try to recoup any outstanding amounts that the value of the motorhome does not cover.
When it comes to debts and problems with repayments, getting help and advice sooner rather than later is key.
The free and impartial MoneyHelper website has guidance on different types of credit, dealing with debt and much more.
FINDING INSURANCE FOR MOTORHOMES IS EASY WITH MOTORHOME PROTECT
Whether your motorhome is a repossession or not, buying a motorhome is an exciting experience. But to keep it well maintained and protected you’ll need specialist insurance cover.
Using our panel of insurers, the team at Motorhome Protect will search out insurance for motorhomes that’s tailored to you and your vehicle.
Our cover can include benefits such as:
- Cover for vehicles valued up to £120,000
- Cover for camping personal effects up to £3,500
- Unlimited mileage cover
- Offers for club members
Insurance for motorhomes is easy to arrange with Motorhome Protect!