We just purchased a two year old campervan. It was not a spontaneous thing. We did do a bit of research on the internet, read various campervan magazines and had spoken to users of such things who could advise and make recommendations.
We shopped around a bit too, looked at different models and sizes and eventually established what we wanted i.e. something that would fit on the drive, that was still big enough to carry who and what we needed, and something splendid enough to give us the reassurance that we will get exactly what we want from it.
I probably do not need to mention that we are not sophisticated purchasers of campervans. We have never even hired a campervan. A campervan has yet to show us what it can do for us. However, the make and model we had in mind is well established, offers all the options we would want and comes very highly recommended by consumers and industry experts.
With all these factors in mind, we set out on our internet and ‘Covid19 appointment-only’ search for what we hoped would be the right model for around what we considered to be the market price.
I have to say here that everything I have said so far about our choice, expectations and market price are, of course, moving targets when it comes to the actual purchase of a campervan because they depend on what is available. Most businesses are, of course, struggling with the Covid19 crisis. However, it is because of this dreaded lurgy that campervans have become more popular.
That said, in between struggling to keep their staff working due to lockdowns and isolations, the campervan and motorhome traders will be struggling to secure related services, such as parts supply and servicing, in order to provide their own service and will be struggling to keep new and used stock rolling in as fast as it rolls out.
For our part, with limited availability locally, we were concerned that if we did not make a decision promptly on something we liked, the sanction for our delay would be that it would not be there when went back for it. We also just wanted to get on with it and accepted that we may have to moderate our expectations and make some sort of compromise in the process.
One thing we did not want to compromise on, however, was the outcome that we wanted to achieve i.e. to be happy with it. Otherwise, what would be the point of it? However, it may be that a particular campervan would promise us all that we wanted, and for that we may be persuaded to amend our budget.
Fortunately, there was a significant development in our search as we spotted a campervan that promised to meet our needs. I promptly agreed an amended budget with the wife and we made our purchase.
At the end of the day, we are very happy with our purchase although, I have to say, I do have a few nagging doubts about the amount we paid. It has been said that I have a tendency to overthink things and I have been trying not to but some thoughts still creep in, like; could we have got this cheaper if we had extended our search a bit further afield?; would the outcome have been the same if we had gone with a lower priced make or model? Of course, I do try to remember and take solace from the fact that, at the time of purchase, our options were limited, our travel was limited and the prices were holding, if not increasing, due to high demand. So we did make the right decision, right?
If we were to sell the vehicle in six or twelve months from now, we might expect to make a loss on our initial outlay as time has moved on but the vehicle is one of the better makes and should continue to hold a good value. Afterall, the condition will still be good, all the knobs and bolts will still be in the right place and these campervans will still be highly sought after.
The reality is that none of the circumstances surrounding our decision to purchase at the price that we paid will matter. Covid19 could be over by then and the campervan market may have slumped from its Covid-high as people start to flog their knee-jerk campervans and look forward to their holidays in the Bahamas once again. So a prospective purchaser’s perception of what the campervan is worth may be nothing like our own.
If we tell them it was a winner for us and they will also get everything they could hope for out of it, they may believe us but they may still consider the amount we are asking for it to be disproportionate to those benefits. They may say that they can get the same model at a lower price or that they could moderate their expectations in favour of a lower priced make or model, something they feel that perhaps we should have done. Some may say that when we were looking to buy, we should have had in mind the sum that is reasonable for the next owner to pay and that it was that which should have influenced our choice of campervan, rather than going for the luxury choice to achieve our desired outcome. They may be right of course and the sum we eventually receive on re-sale may only be a small proportion of what we paid, with the loss leaving us wondering if it was all worth it.
However, can we really be expected to know, at the time of purchase, what we will actually get out of the campervan when all the circumstances at the time were so fluid? The purchase price was not conditional. There were no offers to give us our money back if we later decided we did not like it or to only accept a proportion of the purchase price dependent upon the level of our enjoyment.
We can only hope to get the most we can out of the campervan and, on balance, we like to think we made the most reasonable and proportionate purchase at the time.
If only the purchase of legal services was as straightforward.