Buying a motorhome for the first time can be a daunting process as it costs a lot of money. With so many different options and layouts available on the market, we are here to offer a helping hand and have compiled a list of 5 key considerations for first time buyers of motorhomes or campervans in Ireland:
How many of you are there?
Your first consideration when choosing a motorhome is the number of people you will need to accommodate. 2-4 berths are a good choice for couples but if you are planning on using a motorhome to tour for extended periods, we recommend choosing a layout with a fixed bed, or pull down bed. A lot of people purchase motorhomes with 4 or 6 berths with the intention of bringing along extra passengers or the grandchildren, however more often than not the extra beds are never utilised and you end up with a motorhome that's too big for your needs. If you do wish to accommodate the occasional extra traveller it's best to opt for a motorhome with an additional convertible bed or drop down bed. For families, the most popular layouts are luton/overcabs as they have more fixed beds with good daytime lounge space, just be sure to check the number of factory fitted seatbelts in order to meet legislative requirements but more importantly, passenger safety. For the larger family the best layouts will have up to 7 berths. For the smaller family or 4 or 5 you have more options due to increased popularity of dropdown beds, just be sure that you have an adequate no. of factory fitted seatbelts.
Opting for New or Used?
If you are in the fortunate position to opt for a brand new motorhome, congratulations, there are so many exquisite options available with all the latest features and innovations. Just ensure when choosing a layout, that it fits your lifestyle, gives you and your travelling companions sufficient personal space while also catering for your storage requirements. We highly recommend speaking to an expert with years of experience to guide you through the selection process. New motorhomes, as with all motor vehicles depreciate more in the first few years before the resale value stabilises so it’s important to get it right. For this reason also, used campervans are a great option for first time buyers. If you select the correct model and layout, you are off to a flying start, but you may discover after a few runs that you would prefer a different layout, e.g. fixed beds, more lounge space or other, then buying a preowned motorhome gives you better financial security if you decide to sell on or trading up.
Buying Private or through a dealer!
Some people prefer to look out for a bargain of a lifetime and buy privately while others like to buy from the security of a dealership that will vet the second hand motorhome for water ingress and ensure that all heating, plumbing and gas fittings are in good working order. If buying privately there are red flags you need to look out for. Dampness is one of the biggest culprits as structural repairs can cost thousands and in some extreme cases motorhomes need to be written off altogether, whereas a dealer offers security and warranty with a follow up aftersales service.
When purchasing a motorhome you should think of how attractive it will be to potential buyers if you wish to sell on or upgrade in the future. Some motorhomes are easier to sell than others! Left hand drives have a slightly lower resale value than right hand drives and are less in demand. If you are thinking of a van conversion, try to ensure you opt for a factory fitted version or one which was converted by a registered and approved specialist. D.I.Y. conversions don’t always have registered professionals fitting gas, plumbing, electrics and heating, so potential hazards are a higher probability.
Fittings and Fixtures
Consider fittings and fixtures when buying your motorhome, if you are intending to spend long summers in Europe it would be advisable to fit air conditioning units. Other optional fittings include solar panels, bike racks, roof rails, awnings, Satellite TV, external shower hoses etc. Each person’s needs will vary according to their lifestyle. Many second hand motorhomes come fully equipped with such extras and these offer good value for money.
If you are considering a motorhome for the first time, we hope this guide points you in right direction whether you intend heading for the Wild Atlantic Way, ferrying to France, taking short breaks, going to festivals or for simply partaking in outdoor activities. If you would like to know more please contact us on +353 61 379903 or visit our blog posts where we explain the different types or motorhome on the market, and different motorhome layout options.