Why buy rather than Hire?
Initially we considered renting homes in regional areas for 1-3 months each as a base and having rental cars to tour the local areas but it seemed difficult to organise.
We then considered motorhomes but from our early enquiries it appeared as though it would cost around $1,000/week to hire a suitable motorhome and even then it would be difficult to get a layout which included all the items that we thought we required.
So for a tour of up to 2 years we thought hiring costs of upwards of $100,000 a little over the top so decided to investigate other alternatives.
We looked at “Buy and Buy-back” arrangements but they seemed to be based around “old clunkers” and the buy-back percentages were pretty dismal.
Outright purchase was our next option and as we thought we would probably spend around 80% of our time in Europe with the remaining 20% in the UK and so started searching for motorhomes in Europe.
We immediately realised the huge challenge of trying to negotiate the purchase of a motorhome in a foreign country and trying to communicate with a motorhome salesman in a foreign language.
Even though we both speak German when it comes to talking about technical motoring terms that is way out of our league .
Purchasing is one thing but registering and insuring a motorhome as a non European appeared to be extremely difficult.
So we thought the safest bet would be to look in the UK and began looking in earnest around March-April 2016.
What we thought we wanted based on our caravan experience in Australia
2 berth only – not a cab over but with a fixed rear double bed
Diesel engine, turbo, auto
Separate shower and toilet
110 litre + fridge freezer
Solar panels and MPPT type solar regulator and a separate leisure battery
Cabin air conditioning
Living area heating
Decent sized fresh water and grey water storage
Not long after commencing our search which consisted of surfing websites such as Ebay, AutoTrader etc we stumbled on to a Facebook page – UKmotorhomefinder https://www.facebook.com/msteersy/ which is owned by Michael Steers from Stafford, about 4 hours by car NW of London.
We began communicating by email and Skype and Michael’s service turned out to be the best thing that could possibly happen for us.
Michael told us about the different classes, brands and layouts of motorhomes and recommended that we should only consider models that would be relatively easy to sell when we get to that step in 2 years time.
We decided on “A class” motorhomes and then narrowed the choice down to the Hymer brand, based on their reputation and good resale values – then came the hard part of choosing the Hymer model.
Nothing over 7 metres in length to aid parking and also to minimise the costs of ferry crossings – the choice was then narrowed to either the Hymer 544, 584 or 524 models.
Michael conducted site inspections for us and we eventually selected a left hand drive Hymer 544 which was configured with most of the items that were on our “must have” and “would like lists”.
Even though we still had about 3 months before we left for the UK we thought we would rather have the motorhome ready to go rather than to start looking once we arrived in the UK.
However, what this meant was that we were going to be making a considerable capital purchase “sight unseen” – something we had never done before and in another country and another currency.
Having made the decision to proceed with the purchase we then set about establishing a contract of sale with the current owners of the Hymer.
We sorted out the terms and conditions and the next step was organising payment – I will cover payment in another page on the web.
The purchase took place at the end of November, Michael picked up the Hymer a week later and arranged to have it kept in secure storage in Stafford until we arrived.