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How to negotiate when buying a caravan

Buying a new caravan can be daunting. It’s not a cheap buy so it’s understandable why people walk into the dealership a little wary, unsure of what they are looking for and worried they will be ripped off. Luckily, with a little preparation and a few simple tips on buying a used caravan, you can approach your next caravan purchase with confidence, especially when it comes to securing a great deal. Check out our list of tips and tricks, below to help you secure a great deal on your next caravan.

Where to start when buying a caravan For most of us, buying a new caravan is a sizeable purchase and often a commitment to keep the same caravan for at least the next few years, so it makes sense that we should always properly prepare before the purchase, and ask ourselves a couple of serious questions beforehand.

  • What’s your budget? It’s important to understand what your budget is before you even start wondering what caravan you would like to buy. Knowing your limit on what you'll be able to spend will help in the haggling process because you'll know when to walk away. You may not know your budget until you've sold your old caravan, but our caravan valuation tool can tell you how much your caravan is worth to help give you an indication.

  • Who are you buying from? When it comes to haggling for a caravan it is easier to do so with used caravans over 4 years old. It’s even easier if you’re buying privately as it is often that the seller wants a quick sale so they can buy a new caravan themselves. However, you have got more rights when buying from a dealer, including a warranty. So weigh up your options from a new to second-hand caravan, and private seller or caravan dealership before you choose where you are going to purchase your new caravan from.

  • Pick your top 5 caravan To begin with you don’t need to know exactly which caravan you want but minimising it down to your favourite few, or at least to the style, for example, do you want a Swift or an Bailey. Having a plan of what you're looking to shop for will assist you have more of an idea of what you're trying to find with regards to value. This also helps with the next tip on research – nobody’s got time to research hundreds of caravans!

  • Do your research Don’t buy a caravan without any information to being with. Do plenty of research around the caravan you want, how you’re going to pay for it, the manufacturer, the dealership and its rivals. Once you are equipped with all the information you can head into the dealership with your eyes wide open and know exactly what you’re talking about.

  • Know your caravan Once you’ve picked your perfect caravan, continue the research into all the different specifications you can be offered and which ones you want. Knowing exactly what you would like makes it much easier to haggle, and knowing what you'll get makes it much harder for the dealer to short change you.

  • Value your caravan If you’re looking to try and do a part exchange it's crucial for you to understand how much your caravan is worth. You can get a free caravan valuation with this will provide you with a far better idea of the amount you'll have left to haggle. The more you get for your old caravan, the better deal you could get.

  • How long has the caravan been on sale Finding out how long the dealer has had the caravan on the market can be a good bargaining tool. If they have had it for a while it's more likely they're going to want to get rid of it and be more willing to offer you a much better deal.

What to do at the dealership Once you’ve done all the behind the scenes work and you are sure you know exactly what you’re after and the amount you’re willing to spend, it’s time to go to the dealership. This is where the haggling starts:

  • Be nice It may seem like a silly tip, but politeness will really go a long way when trying to get the best deal on a caravan. Remember, the more the dealer gets from the deal, the larger their bonus are going to be, so if you’re abrupt they'll be less inclined to want to give you a good deal. But if you offer a friendly encounter they'll be more willing to knock off extra money.

  • Don’t rush There’s no rush when it comes to buying a caravan. Well, that’s the impression you would like to give to the dealer at least anyway. If they think you’re desperate for a caravan they could become more stubborn with their offer, but if they think you have time to walk away and shop around, they will want to keep your custom. Also, you'll be parting with a lot of hard earned money so you would like the caravan to be right for you, so take some time.

  • Start small Don’t go straight in with the highest offer, As this will leave you will no room to haggle. Start with a lower offer with every intention to increase, so it's like you’re willing to meet them half way.

  • Look out for faults Thoroughly check the caravan. Don’t be afraid to walk around the caravan checking for any scrapes and dents, check the windows and the interior for any damage. Make a note of any small defects and use these to haggle more money off the offer.

  • Ask for extras If you’re not pleased with the price they provide, see if they will contribute a couple of extras to sweeten the deal. For example, hook up lead, gas bottle and water tank which won’t cost the dealer much, but could save you enough money to make the deal work for you.

  • Don’t be afraid to walk away If the deal isn’t right for you, walk away. You don’t have to decide there and then. Head to a competitor and see what they have to offer. If the caravan dealer knows you’re willing to walk away without a deal, they will do anything they can do keep you.


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