Sprinter Swamper campervan conversion with LED Lights
Swamper Campervan with Snorkel and Swamper alloys
Wildworx Swamper Campervan Conversions with Front Runner Roof Rack

Campervans for Sale: How to avoid the scams and find a true gem

Are you looking at Campervans for Sale to take you on your next adventure?

Right now, there are countless campervans for sale online, through various dealerships and listed privately. Unlike a normal car purchase, every campervan is unique. There are so many different options to consider, it can be hard to narrow it down. 

With so many great campers available, it can be tempting to jump on the first van that looks good. Especially because the amount of choice on offer can be pretty daunting. But not so fast… For lots of people this is one of the biggest purchases they will make. Finding the perfect campervan is no easy feat, there is always a risk of fraud or scams lurking from many private sales and even from reputable dealers.

We’ve been in this game a long time now, and picked up some tips along the way. We all want the same thing - an amazing, reliable campervan that doesn’t cost the earth. 

From our years of experience, from being both a customer and dealer, we’ve put together our top tips about how best to navigate the market and end up with the right campervan for you. 

Assuming you don’t fancy commissioning a Campervan Conversion (which can come with its own pitfalls) then you need to start shopping around for campervans that are listed for sale. 

Campervans for Sale

Where to look for a campervan for sale

If you're looking for Campervans for Sale, you may be overwhelmed by all the options at your fingertips. With unlimited online resources, and campervan dealerships seemingly around every corner of the country, finding the perfect vehicle can seem more complicated than ever. 

Dealership vs Private Sale

There are pros and cons of buying a campervan from a dealership vs from a private individual. You can sometimes get a better deal from a private individual but buying from a dealership offers much more protection. 

Ultimately, it really comes down to budget. You might struggle to find a dealership selling campervans for under £20,000 to £25,000. If your budget is less than 20k, you might have no choice but to find a private seller. 

If you’re buying from a private seller then you might find that you get a bit more for your money. However you need to make sure that you get the electrics and gas tested professionally, either before you buy or before you go on your first camping trip.

If purchasing from a private seller you might want to consider purchasing an RAC Vehicle Inspection. This will check over the mechanical side of the van and give you peace of mind. Don’t forget, this won’t include any checks on the campervan elements of the vehicle. 

If you’re buying from a dealer you’re covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015. This states that goods must be ‘of a satisfactory quality’, ‘fit for purpose’ and ‘as described’. While everyone hopes nothing goes wrong, it’s nice to have the added protection.

Where to look?

The top two sites to use are Autotrader and Campers for Sale. You will find most dealerships list their vehicles on either or both of these sites.

For the lower end of the market use Facebook Marketplace. You won’t find many dealers listing their vehicles, but you will find lots of private sellers.

If you’re looking on AutoTrader make sure you head to the “Motorhome” section of the site. Make sure you don’t add too many filters so you don’t restrict the search results. Use the “keyword” search tool at the bottom of the page to refine results. 

If you’re looking for a deal and don’t mind a bit of leg work, try ringing Campervan Hire companies towards the end of the season. They are always looking for easy ways to off-load stock. Generally (but not always) these vans have been looked after better than other used campers. 

They have to have habitation and gas certification to legally be allowed to rent them out. They will generally keep up to date with services and have mechanics in their team to look after the vehicles. Ultimately they’re trying to prevent breakdowns and protect their assets, which could benefit you. 

To get the best deal you need to look in the winter (October through January) Prices peek in the summer months. 

Our top resources for finding campervans for sale, are: 

  • Autotrader 
  • Campers 4 Sale
  • eBay 
  • Gumtree
  • Caravan Finder
  • Campervan Hire Companies 
  • Facebook Marketplace
VW Campervans for Sale from Wildworx

What to look for when buying a campervan: Before you start your search

There are some basic questions you need to answer before you start shopping for your campervan. 

  1. Set your budget: It's important to set a budget before you start looking for a campervan, as this will help you narrow down your options and avoid overspending.
  2. Research different models: There are many different models of campervans available, each with its own unique features and benefits. There are lots of guides about online about how to buy your first motorhome. Make sure you do your research.
  3. Size and layout: Think about how much space you’ll need, and whether you want a campervan with a fixed bed or a pop top roof. You should also consider the overall layout of the campervan, including the number of seats and seatbelts as well as any appliances that are a must have for your family. 
Campervans for sale from Wildworx

What to look for when buying a campervan: Once you start shopping

Whether you’re buying a camper from a dealership or a private individual there are various things you need to check before you part with your money and before you drive away. 

First, you'll want to make sure it is the right size in terms of sleeping and storage space. You'll also want to check on the vehicle's condition, especially its age and mileage. Not only should the campervan be comfortable to sleep in, but it should also have enough power to handle long journeys. We’ve written a full guide on how to choose the right base vehicle when looking for a VW Transporter

Some dealerships will have a campervan that you can use for a night or 2 to test the layout. If possible take them up on that offer. 

Make sure you take the vehicle for a test drive. This is important for 2 reasons: 

  1. To make sure you’re happy driving a vehicle of that size and engine size 
  2. You need to listen for knocking or grinding. Also look for excess revs. Most people are not mechanics, so try and drive a few vehicles of that model so you get to know what’s right and wrong in the feel of the drive

Insurance and Tax

The cost of insuring a campervan can come as a bit of a shock to new owners. It might be a good idea to get quotes for insurance before you start shopping around. The cost of campervan insurance can vary considerably depending on model and specification. 

It’s also worthwhile to look up the cost of tax for the different models of campervan, so you’re able to budget properly.

Don’t forget both the insurance and tax will need to be in place when you collect the vehicle on handover day, so it’s worthwhile having quotes lined up. 

Campervans for sale from Wildworx

How to inspect your campervan on handover day

This is a basic list of what to look for when inspecting the vehicle elements of a campervan. There are loads of guides online. Consider taking the list with you so you can tick off the bits you’re happy with. 

  • Age
  • Mileage
  • Vehicle Specifications
  • Highline vs Startline
  • Engine size 
  • Extras (Sat Nav, Parking Sensors etc) 
  • Colour
  • Service history (check the service book if applicable) 
  • Tyres 
  • Bodywork 
  • Fuel level - pre-agree the collection fuel tank level before purchase
  • How many spare keys will you be getting 
  • Are there any other keys eg to the water tank or additional locks
  • Check the card is in the satnav and hasn’t been removed 
  • Test the Sat Nav and any other media functions

What to look for when inspecting the campervan

This is our list of what to look for when inspecting the campervan part of a van. You need to check the paperwork. Once this is done start at the front of the camper and test every element of the build. 

Try and do this on the day of the handover. We’ve heard horror stories of campers that work fine when they do the initial viewing but parts are then changed or removed when they come to collect. Any reputable dealer will do a full handover, potentially lasting a few hours. This handover should show everything in working order. 

  • Gas safe certification 
  • Habitation certificate
  • Ask if it has ever been a rental vehicle
  • Make sure you test all appliances on the day before driving away
  • Seat swivels
  • Heating system
  • Hob (see the flame) 
  • Fridge and freezer - make sure they get cold
  • Underslung gas tank - ask when it was last filled.
    The Camper should have some gas in it so you can test the systems 
  • Camper Bed - fold it out and put it away yourself 
  • Test all seat belts and buckles - particularly on the camper bed
  • Test all cupboards including the locks 
  • If there is a safe? Make sure you get the code or keys
  • Are there keys to the water tank? Make sure you get given these
  • Pop top roof - make sure you know how to open and shut 
  • Check the canvas for rips or holes 
  • If a second hand van - ask when the leisure battery was last changed
  • Test the tap, sink and ask when the grey water goes
  • Make sure all the lights and USBs work 
  • Solar panels - make sure you understand how they work

Protecting Yourself from Campervan Scams

  1. Research the seller: Look for reviews or feedback from other buyers to get an idea of the seller's reputation. If you’re buying off a private individual, make sure you meet the seller in person.
  2. Watch out for red flags: Be cautious of sellers who are unwilling to meet in person, who are offering the campervan at an unusually low price, or who are unable to provide documentation or proof of ownership.
  3. Be careful how you pay: Never send money to a private individual without seeing the van first. If you’re leaving a deposit with a dealership try and do this with a credit card. This gives you added protection. 
  4. Get a professional inspection: If you’re purchasing from a private individual consider paying for a RAC or AA vehicle inspection. 
  5. Be aware of scams involving finance: Be wary of sellers who offer financing or who ask you to make payments through a third party. These types of scams can be difficult to detect, so it's important to be cautious.
  6. Make sure you double check the registration plate: There are lots of scams around which involve switching the number on a stolen vehicle. There are loads of tools online to check this. Spec By Reg is a good starting point and is free. Check the vehicle specification matches what you’re being sold.
  7. Check for any existing finance: Always run a HPI check. 

Campervans for Sale from Wildworx

Ready to make a deal? What to discuss in the negotiation

Once you think you’ve found the right vehicle and have run any checks, it’s time to make a deal. If you're dealing with a private seller you might only be negotiating on price, with a dealer you can try and get much more included. 

Make sure anything you negotiate is included in writing on the final invoice: 

  • Final sale price
  • Purchase mileage - important if buying from a hire company or private seller
  • Any extras (alloy wheel upgrades or awnings
  • Any bodywork that needs repairing before collection 
  • Does the van need a service? Get this included in the sale
  • MOT - including how many months are left
  • Make sure you understand the VAT status of the vehicle 
  • Collection fuel level
  • Collection date
  • Any other repairs or work that needs to happen before collection

Paying for your campervan

You’re all set, the day has finally arrived for you to collect your vehicle. You need to make sure you have informed your bank that you will be making a large purchase. We’ve had many customers sat in our office for hours trying to make the transfer. Some have even had to come back the next day. It can really take the shine off the day and be fairly stressful.

Campervan Insurance: How to get the best deal and make sure you’re covered

Always go to an insurance company that understands the campervan market. Too often we hear of people who were only insured to the value of the panel van and the insurance company wouldn’t pay out to the value of the campervan, including the conversion. 

The cost of the panel van (base vehicle) is often 20k - 30k less than the total value of the campervan.

Our top tips and tricks when buying a VW campervan 

  • Check reviews of seller, including Google and Trustpilot
  • Choose carefully between buying from a dealer or a private seller
  • Consider a vehicle inspection from the RAC or the AA
  • Narrow down your specification and budget before you start shopping 
  • Try and hire a similar vehicle before you commit to buying 
  • Run the vehicle registration through a HPI check 
  • Check the vehicle for existing finance 
  • Check habitation certificate and gas safe certificate
  • Be mindful of how you transfer the balance and inform your bank 
  • Have your insurance and tax sorted for handover day
  • See everything working before you drive away
  • If you’re purchasing the vehicle from far away, book a night in a campsite nearby on your handover day. This way you can fully test the camper. It could save you lots of hassle down the road.
VW Campervans for sale from Wildworx

Wildworx - Campervans for Sale

Wildworx offers limited edition Campervans for Sale from our workshop in Alcester, Warwickshire. We convert a variety of different models and our team is passionate about helping our customers find the perfect van for their next adventure. Ready to start shopping? View our campervans for sale or get in touch with us today.