Questions to ask when buying a motorhome

Mandy Davies

Written by Mandy Davies

Over the last few years, we've noticed a massive trend towards people new to motorhoming looking to start of their on-road journey. Unfortunately for most, purchasing a motorhome can feel very overwhelming. You don't know what you don't know and being new to the experience can often leave you quite vulnerable to making the wrong decision for your intended purpose.

For many who are new to motorhoming things like floorplan, being short for the supermarket, and must be on a WOF are common misconceptions that can leave them with a little motorhome that really doesn't suit their full time living agenda.

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The first questions need to be asked of yourselves.

These questions are designed to help you get clear in your mind what the lifestyle goal looks like for you. We help hundreds of customers every year all who have unique goals and objectives fueling their desire to own a motorhome. Whether that be selling the house packing up and hitting the road for two years or a getaway from the city on the weekends, or something to park up at the kids' home for family holidays.

So start by jotting down your answers to the following questions. Don't be afraid to sit with them for a while, make sure you and your travelling companion (if you have one) are on the same page and your goals align. It's a significant investment and requires a robust preparation process. 

  • What is your goal - what’s the end result you are trying to achieve?
    • Is it your first motorhome? Do you want to experience the lifestyle a bit on weekends before committing to a more significant purchase?
    • Are you looking to head away for weekends and annual leave getaway?
    • Do you have a specific hobby you need to accommodate while your travelling? Something to support your exploring, walking, tramping or cycling lifestyle.
  • Or are you looking for something that will give you more extended periods off the grid or even full-time periods on the road?
  • How important is it to you to have a sought-after brand and model, should you choose to sell it or upgrade?
  • Where do you see yourself exploring? North Island? South Island? We have so many options as New Zealanders.
    • Campsites?
    • Visiting friends and family,
    • Designated self-contained camping areas or getting off the beaten track and exploring paper roads and the remote regions.
    • How long do you want to be away?

For many still working, this lifestyle is about the option to plan for timeout, whether it be with family, friends or just some time reconnecting with our environment. This could be days or weeks.

As we near or start retirement, it’s a time to reprioritise. It’s tempting to replace work responsibilities, and stresses with unpaid work, even missing the opportunity to unwind altogether. Setting a new lifestyle goal can be liberating and life-changing. Travelling for weeks or months becomes very infectious.

Life is not a dress rehearsal, and as we get older, we realise how vital our experiences and relationships are. There are so many like-minded people out there that you will relate to, laugh with, enjoy and discover amazing places with.

Motorhoming can take us places physically and emotionally, connecting us back with our environment, family and friends.

  • Who am I buying the motorhome for?

It's easy to overlook the primary user's needs and focus on who may possibly come along. Think not about when and IF the grandkids will come along for a day or so in their school holidays and focus on comfort for the primary user 95% of the time. Get clear on what this would look like as a floor plan for your needs rather than focusing on the needs of those who may occasionally travel with you.

If you need help with any of these questions it is wise to schedule a chat with our team who can help take you through these questions to ensure any product you do narrow down is expertly selected for your unique needs.

Book a needs assessment consultation now

What do you ask when you go shopping?

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Many people head off with the intention of finding the ideal motorhome. They've done research online and think they know what they are looking for from a product point of view but that is about where the end. They head off to sales yards without scripting the vital questions that will influence the long-term outcome.

  •  How long has the dealer been in the industry? You are looking for experience and expertise. Your motorhomes resale price is hugely influenced by the dealers' reputation.
  • What resources do they have to offer after deposit and at handover?
  •  What commitment do they have to holding parts and supporting your life on the road?
  •  Do they have a service centre and yearly checks to keep your investment at its very best?
  • Can they offer accurate depreciation statistics? It’s important to know what your purchase will be worth in 3,5 and 10 years. Are they registered valuers?
  • What is the demand for the brand you are considering? Can the dealership connect you with a variety of people that have owned this brand for numerous years and can share their experience?
  •  Does the price include all on-road costs, full fuel tank, full LPG bottles, self-containment?
  • Can they offer discounted insurance premiums?
  • What makes their brand and service better than the competitors?

This is a significant investment and one that unfortunately we do see people get wrong. They run out and purchase something that looks "pretty" without asking the questions that will not only serve you in the short-term (the looks and excitement) but will see you through your traveling for years to come. Asking the right questions is a step in the right direction to buying once and buying right.

We help hundreds of customers every year who feel quite overwhelmed with the amount of product on the market and are anxious about making an expensive mistake not suited to their lifestyle. To avoid this take some time with my team and ensure you are really clear on everything you need to know. 

Book a needs assessment consultation now

Mandy Davies

Written by Mandy Davies

Mandy is heads up TrailLites team of product specialists. Mandy has been sharing her passion for creating dream lifestyles for 12 years. She loves sailing the Hauraki Gulf with her partner Greg, and loves the beach lifestyle she shares with family and friends.