How To Buy A Motorhome From An Auction


How To Buy A Motorhome From An Auction

I Have Been Attending Motorhome Auctions Since I Was About 10 Years Old. Now I Am 30, I Class Myself As Well Schooled On The Process Of Both Selling And Buying A Motorhome At An Auction. When It Comes To How To Buy A Motorhome From An Auction, British Car Auctions To My Knowledge Is The Best And Biggest Motorhome Auction In The Country. Twice A Month, They Have A Variety Of Motorhomes Being Sold By Finance Companies, The Trade Or Private Individuals.

It wasn’t until recently at British Car Auctions motorhome auction in Nottingham with nearly 150 motorhomes, that a private buyer asked me a question I have seen or heard many times –  “is it safe to buy a motorhome from the auction and is it true that the Blackhorse motorhomes are the only safe ones to buy?” He had been reading online forums that Blackhorse were the only quality motorhomes available, and the rest were trade motorhomes that mainly dealers didn’t want to retail. Firstly, I want to make it clear, all motorhomes bought from an auction are strictly sold as seen. As with anything you buy, whether it is from a dealer, a private seller or the auction, you should always do the correct checks i.e. HPI check, damp check etc. A HPI check is however completed by British Car Auctions, so you will be guaranteed full title, and will be made aware of any insurance claims against the motorhome before purchase. No vehicles can be sold with finance outstanding at the auctions. Get there nice and early, have a good look around the motorhomes that you are interested in and set your price. All motorhomes at BCA are listed online, click here to see current listings – be aware motorhomes are being listed all the time.

Who Sells Their Motorhomes At An Auction?

When it comes to buyers and motorhomes in the auction, I would estimate that 80-90% are bought by the trade. To me this says a lot, if the dealers are willing to buy them at the auction to then retail, surely they aren’t all bad. Starting with the Blackhorse motorhomes there are usually two reasons why their motorhomes are in the auction:

  • Repossessions. When it comes to the motorhomes sold by Blackhorse, they are not checked when they are repossessed from the customer and only put in the auction to try and claw back some of the money owed. A great example of this is one we saw recently go through, was a nearly new Auto-Trail Chieftain that had been turned into a canteen at the back end, it wasn’t until it went through the auction at £20,000 less than it was worth, that they actually questioned the condition. There are also some near perfect motorhomes that go through. As with all motorhomes, make sure you do your checks.
  • There is then the other motorhomes that Blackhorse put in that can be rejects from either a customer or dealer for whatever reason. These are usually nearly new and may not come with any remaining manufacturers warranty. Again, do you checks, inspect the motorhome thoroughly, one persons reject may be another persons bargain.


As for the dealer motorhome entries, these are also a mixed bag. There are several scenarios that dealers auction their motorhomes:

  • Some dealers buy purely to sell in the auctions. Some of this is prime stock that the retailers, let alone the customers bid high to get their hands on it. Some is not so good, but this is where you do your own checks to make sure you are a happy buyer.
  • The motorhome may not be acceptable to that particular dealer to retail and would rather wash their hands of it.
  • Some of the bigger dealerships use something called stocking plans (finance) to buy their motorhomes. In order to stock a vehicle they usually need to pay 10% towards the motorhome and the finance company will pay the rest. Motorhomes are only allowed on a stocking plan for 6 months, after this, the dealer will have to pay the full amount to completely buy the motorhome. This, especially when it comes to £40,000-£50,000 motorhomes, takes up a lot of cash. They then have the option to buy it outright, or put it through the auction to trade it on.
  • Some dealers enter stock, simply because they don’t do well with that particular model, price range or manufacturer.  This is not to say it is bad stock, it just doesn’t sell so quickly off that particular forecourt. If you look at different dealerships, you will find that many of the dealers have fairly uniformed stock in terms of price range and makes – some will sell motorhomes up to £30,000, some like the European manufactured motorhomes, some like to sell premium motorhomes and some like the British made motorhomes. If they don’t do so well with one, they will potentially enter this stock into the auction.
  • There are also times when dealers get or buy multiple motorhomes of the same make and model. They would rather their money be spent on a variety, rather than 3 of the exact same motorhomes for example.

Finally, always check the commission rates. After the hammer has dropped, the commission will be added to the final sale price. BCA buyers fees work on a sliding scale. John Pye auctions work on a percentage. When you set your limit, make sure the commission is factored in.

Overall, the reasons motorhomes are in the auction vary, but don’t at all be put off because of who entered the motorhome. Their are some gems that are sold at the auction, that you may well have bought from a dealers forecourt!


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