Maximising the value of your caravan.
When it comes to the resale value of your caravan, caravans are a lot like cars; the better they’re looked after, the more they’re likely to be worth.
The trouble is, very few manufacturers or parks give you an in-depth guide on everything involved with looking after your caravan. As a result, most people don’t take all the steps possible to make sure their caravan retains as much value as possible over the years.
At WeBuyEveryCaravan, we’re passionate about all things caravan related – so we’ve put together the UK’s most comprehensive guide on maximising the value of your caravan. We’ve broken it down into eight sections, so you can quickly skim through to find the most relevant parts for you.
It’s worth noting that we’ve written this guide to help you get maximum value for your static caravan – but almost all of these points are also relevant for touring caravans and motorhomes too. Remember, we buy any caravan – so whether you’re looking for an outstanding quote – or just some advice around selling; we’re always happy to help.
1. Buying the right caravan in the first place
It’s not uncommon for people who are looking at buying caravans to consider their resale value further down the line. While this might be something you’d consider if you were investing in bricks and mortar property, it’s a lot less important with a caravan. In fact, we’d go as far as saying you shouldn’t consider it at all.
Well, the most important thing about owning a caravan is the enjoyment that you’re going to get from it – so that should be the first thing you consider. Don’t be tempted to buy one with more bedrooms than you need (or any other detail you think will adjust the resale price) just because it might be worth a little more in the future – just buy the caravan that you fall in love with!
The truth is, your caravan will always sell – regardless of make, model, heating, bedrooms, length – or any other detail. What’s more, most of these details won’t impact the price enormously; two virtually identical caravans in the same condition will be worth pretty much exactly the same price – even if one has a couple more beds.
What about the purchase price; does that affect resale value?
Of course, a caravan that costs £70,000 now will be worth more in a couple of years compared to one that costs £25,000 – but again, you should avoid spending more money just because of potential future resale value.
Buying a caravan is likely to be one of the biggest financial commitments you make in your life – so making sure the money aspect is comfortable is the most important thing to think about. It’s better to enjoy yourself in an affordable holiday home compared to worrying about money in slightly more plush surroundings!
2. Be careful with modifications
One of the first things you’ll be asked when you sell a caravan is whether or not any modifications have been made. While it might not have occurred to you to make any significant changes to the caravan, some people do; so caravan buyers need to make sure they have an accurate picture of what they’re providing a quote for.
Modifications will often change the value of your holiday home – but it depends on what they are and how extensively the work has changed the caravan.
Sometimes, people like to remove fixed furniture from the caravan – to replace it with loose, aftermarket items that are more to their taste. If you plan to go down this route, you will need to be very careful – as fixed furniture is often built into the structure of the holiday home early in its manufacture. As such, taking it out can be very difficult, very time-consuming – and will often leave holes and gaps!
If you want to make sure your caravan retains as much value as possible, keeping it in its original state is the best plan. If you’re not happy with the upholstery, carpet, flooring, or fixed fabrics (like curtains or pelmets) then you will be able to find companies who’ll replace those for you – and, as long as you have it done to a professional standard, this won’t damage your resale value (as long as you choose appealing colours – hot pink or bright green might not be everyone’s cup of tea!)
There are some modifications you can make that won’t require such a large amount of work. Sometimes, people change pictures, door handles, light fittings, and so forth. The best bet with these? Take the originals home and keep them in your loft or the under-stairs cupboard. That way, you can put them back into the caravan when you sell it, and the person you’re selling to will be impressed at how much of the original equipment’s still in place!
3. Avoiding damage
Damage to a caravan is likely to be the thing that most significantly impacts the price that you’re offered if you choose to sell it in the future. Now, there’s a good chance that you’ll have had any damage repaired on your insurance – and if so, the work will generally have been done to an excellent standard, so this probably won’t cause any problem.
Of course, avoiding damage in the first place is always the best plan. As such, there are plenty of little things you can do to limit the accidents you might have.
As a quick guide, the following points are a good start:
- Making sure your doors don’t blow open on windy days; or, if they do, making sure there’s a catch that’ll stop the handles denting or piercing your exterior panels.
- Closing roof vents on windy days to avoid covers snapping off and flying away.
- Being careful if you ever handle gas bottles; they’re big and heavy and can cause some serious dents!
- Being careful with kitchen surfaces; not placing hot pans on surfaces and making sure you use chopping boards, etc.
- Making sure you have wedges or doorstops in place to stop interior handles damaging wall-panels.
- Following manufacturer/park drain down procedures to avoid water damage
- Avoid resting bikes or external structures (benches, boxes, etc) against exterior panels.
- Using catches for windows; to avoid them swinging open and to stop handles hitting panels.
These might feel like tiny, fussy details – but over the course of the years you might own your caravan, these little bumps and knocks can add up. Get into the habit of being careful with the small details – a quick lick of paint might fix a little bump at home, but caravans tend to be a little more fragile!
4. Minimising damp
Damp can be a serious issue if it takes hold in your caravan; so much so that we have seen caravans written-off by insurance companies because of damp that can barely be seen.
The trouble is, aside from your kitchen taps and bathroom fittings, virtually everything that carries water is hidden away behind panels. Leaks can go for months (sometimes even years!) before they’re detected – at which point, the damage is often already done.
As a caravan owner, damp should be considered your number one enemy (even more so than your kids/grandkids muddy trainers) – so keeping a lookout for it is vital. These are some of the warning signs to watch for:
- Staining of interior panels (both walls and ceilings)
- Constantly needing to top up your boiler pressure
- Cracks or splits in shower trays
- Damaged or deteriorated sealant around baths/basins/sinks
- Damage that may have caused splits/holes in exterior panels
- Wet patches under the caravan when the base is otherwise dry
- Boggy ground under your caravan when the surrounding grass is dry
We know this is a long list – but don’t worry; it’s not here to scare you – it’s just a precaution. Generally, you won’t have any problems with damp into your caravan, but since it can seriously impact the price you’re offered when you sell – it’s worth knowing the warning signs so you can act sooner rather than later.
Whether it’s water damage, accidental bumps and knocks, or a tear-away toddler with a pack of felt-tips; your caravan could end up baring some wear and tear. As such, it’s worth understanding where to turn if you need repairs and want to make sure they’re done properly.
Around 90% of caravan repair firms’ work comes through insurance companies; so, if you’re going to claim through your insurance, they’ll give you a list of local companies who can help. That said, you might want to avoid claiming on your insurance – in which case, maximising the future sale value of your caravan will rely on picking the right repair service.
When looking for a good caravan maintenance company, your first port of call should be your park. In many cases, the park you’re on will have someone who can help you with minor issues in your caravan. If they can’t, there’s a good chance they’ll know a firm locally who provides good service. Although there may be exceptions to this rule; it’s usually fine to trust the advice of the park you’re on; after all, they’re probably pointing you in the direction of the company they use to fix caravans that they rent or sell (and they’ll usually guarantee that work).
If you’re not sure about the company who’s provided a quote, check them out on Google. Most reputable repair services have a website and will be listed as a business. Many will list the insurance companies they’re authorised to work for too; which is a good seal of approval.
The best fix to the damage that’s been caused might not always be the cheapest one, but if you want to make sure your caravan is worth the maximum amount when you come to sell it, it really does pay to have the work done properly.
6. Keeping up with servicing
‘Servicing’ is generally something that people associate with their car – but parts of a caravan need servicing too.
The good news is, a caravan service is generally a lot less costly than the one you’ll have done on your car. In fact, in most cases, it won’t come to much more than £100 each year.
The service you’ll need to have done relates to the gas system and appliances in the caravan. Strictly speaking, having your gas appliances tested isn’t a legal requirement – although many parks and insurance companies insist on it.
At HolidayHomeBuyer, we strongly advise that every caravan owner has an annual gas safety check done – and we believe the law will soon reflect that. Gas leaks (even very small ones) can cause serious injury or death. Quite simply – avoiding having your caravan tested is just not worth the risk.
Aside from the safety aspects, having a gas check done will help you keep tabs on the health of the water heater or combi-boiler in your van. Sometimes, a couple of quick adjustments can save serious repairs further down the line – and a well-maintained boiler is shown to last up to 5 years longer than one that’s just been left alone.
In much the same way that a stamped service book will get you a better price for your car, a well-maintained boiler and gas system in your caravan will mean a better price when your holiday home is ready for new owners.
Although it’s not something that all parks allow, buying or building bespoke decking around your holiday home is something that many owners look to do – but how does it impact your resale value?
Well, it depends on who you sell your caravan to. If you’re selling your caravan to someone who plans to keep it where it is, decking often adds real appeal, and you’re likely to be able to recoup some of the price you paid for the deck. Then again, if you sell to someone who trades caravans, they’re probably unlikely to be interested in the deck.
Don’t worry though, even if the person buying your caravan doesn’t want to keep it in place; you’re unlikely to have any problem selling it.
If you’re selling to a trader and the deck needs to be moved, the best place to start is back with the company who installed it for you. Many decks are modular, so they can be sold as a pre-owned model – even if they need a little adapting. The company that installed your deck will have the knowledge required to move it quickly and easily too, so you’re unlikely to incur and surcharge from the park when it comes to ‘de-siting’ your caravan.
That said, larger parks’ maintenance teams can often move and reinstall decking too – so it’s worth chatting with your park manager, owner’s department, or maintenance team directly. They’re usually the people who are asked about decking when someone’s looking to have it installed – so they may be able to put you in touch with people who are in the market for a deck like yours.
8. Finding the best resale price
Ultimately, maximising the price of your caravan relies on getting a good price from the person or company you’re looking to sell it to. Even the most well-maintained holiday home can lose the value you’ve tried so hard to keep if you sell it to the wrong person or take a poor offer.
As such, it’s worth shopping around – or using a service that’ll shop around for you. Parks are often affiliated with local traders, so they may be able to put you in touch with people who can provide quotes.
In days gone by, some parks insisted they bought the caravan back from you – sometimes at a reduced rate. Fortunately, big changes in the way holiday parks do business mean this is no longer the case. Now, parks tend to just want first refusal of your holiday home. In these instances, they’ll listen to how much you’d like to sell for, then give you a yes or no answer. In some cases, a park may even offer you an inflated price – especially if it means they can free up the pitch that your caravan is on for another, new model that they stand to make a good profit on.
If you’re planning to sell your caravan, it makes a lot of sense to keep seeking quotes until you’ve got a good idea of what it’s worth. That said, if you’d rather we did that work for you – we’d be happy to help!
At WeBuyEveryCaravan, we work with a huge range of caravan traders across the UK. We shop around on your behalf, to make sure you’re getting the best price possible.
Why do we care what your caravan is worth?
We’re proud to work in a totally transparent way. We don’t hide the fact that we’ll be paid a small commission from the trader who buys your caravan – but that isn’t what we’re striving for.
At WeBuyEveryCaravan, 84% of our customers sell their caravan through us because of the outstanding service and price we’ve provided for a friend, family member, or another caravan owner on their park. We know that if we work hard to find a great price for you, you’re likely to tell someone – and we believe that’s the very best way that we can continue to grow our business!
If you’re planning to sell your static, tourer or motorhome, fill out the form on this page and let us shop around for you – we’re certain you’ll be impressed by the price we’ll find!