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The following are some guidelines to consider when looking to buy a  vintage camper.  This information comes from myself and what I have learned from others and have read. What you might expect to pay for a vintage camper is generally based on what someone wants to pay, condition, location and the demand for the particular item.

Click to goto the BUYING  GUIDELINE  FORM  - - -  Feel free to print out this form and take it with you as a checklist.


I feel the first thing to consider is how much you want to spend or how much you can get to spend on buying a vintage camper.  I would suggest that you don't try to put yourself in debt by getting as much as you can to buy a vintage camper.  Of course, this is a personal choice and if you are willing to spend any amount for a particular vintage camper, then it is your choice. Otherwise, decide a reasonable amount you feel you can spend on a vintage camper and then hope you can find one for that amount or less.  Of course, you may find one that is just a little more than you have set and may decide to go ahead and buy it if everything else makes it worth that amount to you. 

Along these lines you may be looking to buy from an individual or dealer.  Likely if you are buying from a  dealer who has restored or made things better so they can be used safely, then expect higher prices, but you should check the items listed below that apply.  You might find a dealer who took a vintage camper in on a trade and just wants to sell it AS IS and in this case you need to consider the items below like you would when buying one from an individual.

You should take into consideration how much work do you want to do and how much 'more' money do you want to invest after buying the camper?  This can figure into what camper you might buy.  If you don't want to do any work or very little and basically want to buy and use, then expect to pay more because you are looking for a camper in better condition. On the other hand you might want to do it all and may take a 'free' or one in very bad condition.  In that case, the below guidelines may not mean much to you or very little !

Below are some items to check

[ 1 ]  On the outside check the aluminum skin for any damage, windows for any cracks, condition of the tires, any body damage, the edge seams to see if they are intact or pulling away, paint on the hitch and/or bumpers-not rusty, the wiring plug and underneath to see if it is in good condition and connected as should be and the underneath condition, check the light lens to see if cracked or missing and if possible hook up and check the lights, check that they all light and turns work and finally check on the roof to see if seams are in good condition or been sealed-painted and how the roof vent looks and the general condition. Check the propane tank if there is one and see if it is new style and hooked up-line/regulator condition and secured properly.  If the seller doesn't know the condition of the wheel bearings or brakes(if applicable) or other things that need checked, then you might want to have someone check them or check them your self if the seller will allow you. 
[ 2 ] On the inside check the condition of the floor(if you feel any weak spots especially near door or windows) and the flooring material, condition of the cushions and tables, check the operation of all doors, windows-screens and roof vent(if power then see if it can be tested), check the condition of walls and ceiling as to the paint-paneling or any water marks-soft spots(leaks) especially under windows, check the corners very close and inside cabinets looking for any signs of water leaks, look for signs of rodents or bugs or smells and any holes under counters, etc. Check the interior wiring and lights, check the appliances as to condition, then see if you can test them.  Take your time and look good and ask seller about items.

[ 3 ] You should ask the seller if items like wheel bearings, brakes, appliances, propane tanks-lines- inside wiring, trailer wiring and anything that can't easily be checked if they are good. If the seller tells you these items are in good working order and there is no problems then you should ask for a statement from the seller stating this and that if you later(in a reasonable amount of time) find this not to be true, then you can either return the camper for a refund or get reimbursed by the seller for fixing these bad items.  If the seller will not agree to this then you can ask to check them or have  someone check them before you buy the camper.  If seller refuses then you can see if money can be deducted or just move on to another camper.  Personally, I would say thank you and leave.  But, depending on the camper and the problems, you might get some money off and if you can fix the items and the prices is ok, then go for it. 

[ 4 ] But, one thing to remember, in general and in most states, when you buy an item it is usually "AS IS" which means you accept the item in the condition it is in and there is "no warranty" unless the seller offers or you ask for a "written warranty" stating the details of what it covers and it is drawn up and signed.  Otherwise, once you buy the item and take it home the responsibility is on YOU for any repairs.  Generally the exception might be if the seller 'obviously and intentionally' covered up something and you can prove it.  But, what I am saying is you need to check things very good as likely most individuals are NOT going to offer or sign any warranty.  This doesn't mean you should not buy the camper, just that anything old has to many variables of things that can be or go wrong and in general a warranty isn't going to be offered.  So, the bottom line is check very good and ask the seller a lot of questions and you should be able to make a wise decision if the camper is worth buying and it is a fair price.

[ 5 ] As far as prices go, I don't really like to give prices, because as stated above there are many variables that can affect the price.  Some are:
  • What you want to pay and how much you can afford to spend.
  • The overall condition of the camper - how much are you willing to repair.
  • How much more money can you invest after purchase - this means things that need fixed not making it the way you want it to be - we all do that and is more of after paying the initial amount for a camper.
  • Location - buying from a distance is going to add more costs to get the camper home.
  • Demand - some 'brands or camper name' are going to be in more demand, which may cause them to be higher in price and harder to find as there may be limited numbers available, which can increase the price.
So, the price you pay for a vintage camper may be ' free - come take me home' to the sky is the limit.  But, I think if you use the guidelines above and consider all the variables that will affect the price and ask questions, you will make a good decision as to whether the particular camper is worth the asking price or the price the seller will sell it to you. Good luck.

Click to goto the BUYING  GUIDELINE  FORM  - - -  Feel free to print out this form and take it with you as a checklist.

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Last Edited  :  2.27.2010

Web page created by Larry Bush:  March 28.2008
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