It is rare to find someone who doesn’t like the sound of taking their home wherever they want. To some people, the freedom you get from owning a camper van is worth any amount of money. But are campervans a good investment?
A campervan is a good investment provided you maintain it properly. The resale value of a well maintained, used campervan is always higher than the resale value of a neglected one. You can also rent out your campervan to make back some of the initial cost. Plus, you are investing in priceless memories for you and your family.
So, it is possible to buy a campervan then sell it for nearly the same price a few years later. In this article, we’ll show you how to maintain your campervan’s value and how to make some extra money by renting it out. Let’s get started!
Why Campervans Hold Their Value
The question of whether campervans hold their value largely depends on the actions of the owner. A well-maintained campervan with a few mods might even sell for a higher price than it was bought for. It is worth noting that buying and selling a used campervan will almost always result in a smaller loss than a new one. That is because a new van depreciates about 21% in value when it is driven off the lot.
Proper maintenance is the best way to make a campervan hold its value. That means changing the oil, checking for leaks, cleaning, and much more. Checking for leaks is particularly important; nothing wrecks the resale value like a damp, musty smell, discoloration, and mold.
It is also a good idea to change the tires and apply a coat of paint to the exterior before selling, as this will make the campervan look good as new. Here are some tips for helping your campervan retain its value:
- Carry out routine maintenance. Frequently check under the hood to make sure there is no rust, leaks, or discoloration. A campervan is a much better investment if you don’t have to replace the engine after a few years.
- Add mods. Installing something like a solar panel or pop-top will increase the desirability of a campervan and send the signal to the buyer that you are an enthusiastic van owner who has probably been taking good care of their baby.
- Go to professionals. Oftentimes, campervan owners will try to improve their vans’ DIY-style. However, unless you really know what you are doing, you might damage the resale value. Professional upgrades and services are a must if you want your van to hold its original value.
- Drive your campervan. You may think that the fewer miles on the odometer, the better, and to an extent, this is true. On the other hand, leaving a campervan dormant for extended periods can end up causing a lot of damage, and that can make it depreciate a lot more than having a few extra miles under its belt.
- Keep detailed service records. When it comes time to sell, having a log of all the services, upgrades, and new parts will convince the buyer that the van is still in great shape. Plus, it will let the buyer know that you are a responsible owner who has kept on top of all the routine maintenance.
Class-B RVs and Campervans Typically Have the Best Resale Value
If you are new to the world of motorhomes, you may not know that they are divided into three separate classes. Class A motorhomes are the largest and most expensive and are what many Americans refer to as an RV. Class Cs are a bit smaller and cheaper, but still large and luxurious. Class B RVs, which many would refer to as campervans, are the smallest and easiest to maintain.
That is a big part of the reason why Class Bs retain their value better than Class A and C; lower maintenance costs mean it is easier to keep a Class B looking and performing good as new.
There are too many things that can go wrong on a huge Class A. Class C motorhomes depreciate at around the same rate as Class A, with Class B doing a fair bit better than both other options. If resale value is your main concern, definitely go for a Class B.
Of course, just because you have a Class B does not mean it will hold its value. Do not get lulled into a false sense of security. You still have to make sure it is in good condition come handover day.
Consider Renting Your Campervan
Figures show that a campervan is used on average for only two weeks every year in the US. Considering you can make about $6,000 per month renting it out, buying a campervan is starting to look like a smart business decision.
There are loads of great services that will help you rent out your campervan, the best two being RVShare and Outdoorsy. Both these sites will allow you to list your campervan for free, then take a small share of the proceeds for their fee.
Renting out a campervan is a win-win situation. The person hiring gets the liberating RV experience without having to buy their own rig, and the person renting it out gets to make money with very little work. If enough people are interested, you can make all your money back on a used campervan in a matter of months. Sounds like a good investment to me.
You might be worried about handing over the keys to your baby to a stranger, but the vast majority of people who rent campers take excellent care of them.
Most people treat a rented RV like a fancy hotel room; there is always the worry that damaging something will end up costing you more than you can afford. Plus, sites like RVShare and Outdoorsy provide you with insurance so you can sleep at night knowing your RV is safe.
Are VW Campers a Good Investment?
The simple answer: Yes. Volkswagen is a respected and recognized brand, and that means that the resale value holds up better than some other brands. These iconic vans’ cultural and nostalgic value makes them more valuable than the sum of their parts.
An old but well-maintained VW campervan can sell for even more than you originally paid for it, meaning that you can essentially get a free campervan for a few years.
Another big reason why VWs depreciate less than other brands is that they are always in demand. First-time campervan buyers will often try and find a VW since it takes very little research to know that they are reliable and popular. Classic models with nostalgic value and newer models with loads of features will hold their value the best, but any VW campervan at all is bound to be a great investment.
In this article, we have focused on the resale value of a campervan. However, this is not the only factor that determines whether buying a van is a good investment. You must also consider the reasons why you want one in the first place.
There are few better ways to make great memories than to take your campervan out and sleep by the beach in a warm and comfortable environment. The freedom and luxury a campervan gives you are by themselves enough to make buying one a great investment.
Good luck making a great investment and making some precious memories!
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Erick is a freelance writer and outdoor enthusiast. Growing up in Nairobi Kenya and now calling Glasgow, United Kingdom home. Sipping on homemade spiced swahili tea and enjoying a good book is his idea of bliss.