How to accurately value a caravan

Caravan ValuationPutting a price on a caravan is something that both buyers and sellers struggle with most. Sellers will be asking themselves “How much should I ask for my caravan?”, while buyers will be asking “Is it worth that much?” or, “Am I paying over the odds for this?”.

We live in difficult times, only now are we starting to move out of the recession. But people like you and I are still feeling the pinch! So, when you are buying or selling a caravan you need to bare in mind that the seller is going to want to get the absolute best price for their caravan, and a buyer is going to want to pay the absolute least he can. This can make for some interesting negotiating.

Tip: Video below demonstrates how to value your caravan using the Internet

Accurate Caravan Valuation

So how do you know how much a caravan is worth? Well, the value really comes down to a number of factors:

  • Age
  • Condition
  • Service history
  • Extras
  • Sale conditions
  • Demand
  • Personal value

Okay, so we have a few things listed above that can have both a positive negative impact on the value of  a caravan, lets look at each one in a little more detail shall we?

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Age

It pretty much goes without saying that in most cases, the older a caravan is, the less it is worth. There are some exceptions to the rule, but these are special collectors caravans that I won’t go into here. However, when you compare the value of two different brands / models of caravan this may not always apply. For example, a 2010 Swift Charisma would be worth less than a 2009 Swift Conqueror because the Charisma is the entry level and the Conqueror is the top of the range. But if you were comparing two Swift Conquerors a year apart, you could safely say that the one a year newer would have more value where age is concerned.

Condition

This one speaks or itself again, a well looked after caravan is clearly going to be worth more than one that has not been well looked after. In my experience you often find that service history is patchy or non-existent with caravans that have not been well looked after.

Service history

I like to see a caravan with some record of servicing. It demonstrates that the own and previous owners of the caravan cared for it and really looked after it. A service history can also help you to identify any potential future problems that may occur with a caravan. Service centres will often make recommendations for things that may need fixing soon, look out for these. So, if the caravan has a good service record I would say its worth slightly more than one without, although I wouldn’t be able to put a specific value on it. I wrote about caravan servicing and the costs here.

Extras

The extras that a caravan has fitted to it can certainly determine the value. Does it come with; an awning, a caravan mover, air conditioning unit, etc? All of these extras cost a lot to buy, so if you are buying or selling a caravan that has a caravan mover fitted to it, you may feel it is worth more money. To put a figure to it, I personally value a mover at between £250 – £500 depending on the brand and model.

Sale conditions

What do I mean by “sale conditions”?

Is the caravan being bought or sold:

  1. Privately
  2. From a dealer
  3. Being traded in at a dealership

Each of the above will have a different impact on the value of the caravan, or not so much the actual value, but what the perceived value is in that circumstance.

A caravan bought from a dealer is likely to be the most expensive, this is due to the fact that the dealer will offer a warranty and more often than not service the caravan before it is collected by the buyer. The dealer also has their costs to build in to the price of the caravan, this makes the value of the caravan overall a lot stronger. Dealers use a book that follows market trends in order to price their caravans.

If a caravan is being bought or sold privately then the value tends to be around the average price. They are sold as they are, no added value is added on.

If you are trading a caravan in at a dealership you should expect less than the market value. Dealers buy at “trade price” in order to cover their costs and make some profit on resale.

So a caravan that is worth £4,000 privately, might be worth £4,500 on a dealer forecourt and £3,000 as a trade in.

If you’d like to read more about this, I wrote an entire post on the pros and cons of buying from a dealer vs buying privately – you can read it here.

Demand

Demand is an interesting point. Having been a part of the industry for so many years I have seen my share of trends that lead to massive value increases, and also massive value decreases. In fact, in 2008-2009, the value of most caravans actually increased by as much as £2,000! My family’s dealership who normally holds 40-60 used caravans in stock were left with only 2 used caravans in the winter of 2009.

Sometimes there is one particular layout that just “comes in to fashion”, as more people buy them and keep them there are less for sale. With greater demand comes greater value.

Personal value

In my opinion, this is what it all comes down to… What is that caravan worth to you? If you are selling one, does it have strong sentimental value to you after all of the happy holidays you have had in it? If you are buying, is this the layout you have been searching for over the past 2 years?

Self valution


In the video below I demonstrate how to use the Internet to value your caravan for free:

My advice on valuing a caravan

At the end of it all something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Value may also be perceived by the average asking price of the same or similar caravans for sale at the same time, so be sure to have a look around.

Valuing a caravan as a seller

As a seller, if you are not in a hurry to sell you can experiment with your pricing. Remember, you can always come down, but you cant go up. Leave some room for negotiating the price with the buyer, most people will want to feel like they got a deal. Look at what a local dealer is charging for the same or similar caravans, and if you can afford to, slightly undercut that price. you can quote this when it comes to negotiating with a potential buyer too.

Valuing a caravan as a buyer

Use the Internet as your ally. It is likely that someone else is selling a caravan similar to the one you are looking to buy. Go to Google and search for the make, model and year (e.g. “Swift Charisma 555 2005”) and take an average of the selling price, remember to take in to account what we spoke about above. Use classified ad sites like eBay, Caravan Selecta and Caravan Finder to see what other sellers are asking for the same or similar caravans.

Summary

There really is no right or wrong to caravan values. As we discussed above, a caravan might be worth a lot more to someone selling it because of the memories. A buyer might be willing to pay more after a lengthy search for a particular model.

In short, do your research well and you can’t go wrong.

I hope you have found this post useful. Please remember to share the post using the buttons on the left of the page, and subscribe to our mailing list for more helpful, friendly and practical caravanning advice.

Comments (7)
  1. anthony morris August 26, 2014
  2. Roger May 21, 2015
    • Josh Garrod May 23, 2015
  3. Owen Parker July 22, 2015
  4. Steve March 31, 2016
  5. steve May 2, 2016
  6. julia June 15, 2016

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