Whether you want the perfect vehicle for full-time van living, or a modest rig for weekend excursions, looking for a used camper van for sale by owner is one of the best ways to get exactly what you want.
Still, buying any used vehicle can be intimidating and frustrating. And looking for a used camper van can be especially stressful, particularly if you plan on living in it full-time.
After all, you’re going to want to be as sure as possible that your new home is safe and reliable.
Keep reading to learn about the 8 best ways to find used campervans for sale by owner. I’ve also included tips and pointers that came in handy when I bought both of my used camper vans. Don’t worry, it won’t be long before you’re out on the road, loving life in your new dream machine!
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In the old days you had to check newspaper classifieds and special trader magazines to find used camper vans for sale by owner. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, those days are gone.
While you might get lucky and find an awesome van with a “For Sale” sign in the window in your neighborhood, it’s more likely you’ll have to travel to buy your dream rig.
Fortunately, there are loads of websites listing camper vans for sale by owner from all over the country. Personally, I had to travel to Colorado to buy my first used van and San Francisco to pick up my Sprinter conversion.
With that said, you can always start your camper van search by Googling “used camper vans for sale by owner near me.” or “used Class B motorhomes for sale by owner near me” and see what pops up. After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained!
Everyone knows that Craigslist is a fantastic online resource for finding just about anything for sale. Still, when you’re looking for used camper vans for sale by owner, make sure to use the filters to get rid of dealer vehicles.
Seeing as it’s free for an owner to list a used campervan on Craigslist, this can be the place to find excellent deals. In fact, I bought my first camper van – a VW Eurovan – on Craigslist and managed to get the seller to reduce the asking price. But beware, there are plenty of scammers on the platform, so rely on your intuition and never agree to send payment before meeting the seller.
If you’re lucky, you’ll find plenty of used campervans for sale by owner in your area. A good tip to remember is to run multiple search terms, such as “van conversion,“ “conversion van,” and “camper van.”
Alternatively, searchtempest.com is an excellent tool for searching multiple Craigslist areas at once if you can’t find what you’re looking for locally.
Turns out Facebook isn’t just for sharing memes and keeping in touch with your grandma! In fact, Facebook Marketplace is a wonderful way to find used camper vans for sale by owner.
As with Craigslist, there are Facebook Marketplaces in different areas all across the country, so it’s worth checking out different cities if you don’t find your dream van nearby. Best of all, you can get more of a feel for who is selling the van, since you can check out their Facebook profile.
Facebook is also home to a few van-centric groups, including Class B Campervans Classifieds. Here, you’ll find tons of campervans for sale by owner, often with loads of detailed information and photos.
What’s more, there’s usually plenty of discussions about specific van models, so it can be a great place to learn about potential issues. Finally, owners will frequently offer to deliver their camper van to other areas for a small fee.
Even if you’ve never used Ebay, you’ll likely know it involves bidding on items for sale. This can make Ebay an excellent resource for finding good deals on campervans for sale by owner. You may even find there’s much competition for the van you’re interested in.
Of course, buying a used campervan for sale by owner on Ebay comes with potential risks and isn’t for the faint of heart. After all, you’re bidding on a vehicle you’ve never seen in person.
With that said, Ebay does offer a way to get a cursory overview of the vehicle, including vin and mileage verification as well as photos of the interior and exterior. You’ll also get limited vehicle purchase protection if you buy on Ebay.
If you’re worried about scammers, I’d recommend asking the seller for a mechanical inspection from a real mechanic, as well as a grace period between picking up the vehicle and payment processing.
Conversion Trader has quickly become one of the best places to find used camper vans for sale by owner. The homepage is nice and user-friendly – you simply enter the type of vehicle you’re looking for, adjust a couple of filters for model and price, or simply scroll through the most recent listings.
Once you’ve found a vehicle you’re interested in, click on the image and you’ll be presented with all the information you could ask for. Sellers on Conversion Trader tend to highly motivated, so they’ll provide a wealth of information about the camper van as well as tons of photos.
What makes Conversion Trader especially convenient is that most sellers list their phone number, so getting the ball rolling is easy peasy! You have the option to send a message through the site.
Another super cool aspect of Conversion Trader is the inclusion of a builders and services section. So if you find a van that needs finishing or modifying to your needs, you’ll have quick access to professional services.
When I was living on the road full-time with my family, we decided to upgrade from our Eurovan to a bigger rig. In the end, we found a Sprinter conversion for sale by owner on Vanlife Trader.
This website is similar to Conversion Trader, and many sellers list their campervans for sale by owner on both platforms. Between the two, I feel like the filters are more sophisticated on Vanlife Trader and make it easier to quickly find exactly what you’re looking for.
Once you start searching you’ll be able to use filters for price, model and location. Plus, you can filter everything from how many seat belts are in the van to whether or not it has a backup camera. If you’re flexible, you can leave filter options blank for a broader search.
Depending on how you’ve searched, you’ll be presented with a wide selection of campervans for sale by owner, and clicking on a van will bring up all the information you need. Then it’s simply a case of filling out the contact form to begin a dialog with the seller.
One of the newer websites for finding used camper vans for sale by owner, Vancamper, has to be one of the most user-friendly platforms out there.
On the homepage, you’ll find an easy-to-navigate grid of the most recent vans for sale, as well as a filter button. Here, you’ll be presented with a wealth of options, including year, mileage and model. You can go deep in your search by selecting from a huge list of features and amenities.
When you click on a used campervan that looks good, you’ll get an in-depth description from the seller, as well as photos and a list of all amenities. You’ll also get information about the seller as well as a contact form.
What’s unique about Vancamper are the partner services, which include free camper van insurance quotes and an application for van financing.
Van Viewer is definitely worth checking out if you’re searching for camper vans for sale by owner. It’s another really– easy– to– navigate website where, you’re able to use a bunch of sophisticated filters including location, price and mileage.
Plus, you can select multiple types of chassis if you aren’t committed to a specific type of van. This way, you’re able to compare different used camper vans and get exactly what you’re looking for. Seller-provided information for specific camper vans ranges from sparse to super in-depth on Van Viewer. The included contact form makes it easy to get in touch with the seller.
A great feature of Van Viewer is the Resources section, which includes a range of blog posts on everything from how to make a safe transaction to van life advice.
RvTrader is a long-running website with thousands of vehicles for sale. It’s not quite as user-friendly as the other sites I’ve mentioned. You’ll need to use a lot of filters, and it can be a little difficult to separate used camper vans for sale by owner from those for sale by dealer. Even still, RvTrader is a valuable resource and it’s definitely worth checking out.
Whereas many folks list vans on multiple platforms, some older sellers will often only list their used camper for sale on RvTrader. It’s often the case that older folks will have taken really good care of their vans without putting too many miles on the clock. What’s more, you’re more likely to find a truly reasonable deal from an older person selling on RvTrader.
So, spend the time searching – you might get lucky and find your dream camper van here!
Before starting your search for used camper vans, you should ask yourself a few questions. These can include:
- How many people will be sleeping in the van?
- Is having a toilet or a bathroom important?
- Is it essential that you’ll be able to stand up in the van?
Once you have a clear idea of your specific needs, you’ll have your criteria for narrowing down your search.
Your state of mind is also an important concern as you begin your search.
You should try to stay as objective as possible when looking at used campers and not get emotionally attached to any van too quickly. It’s only natural to get excited, but your emotions can cloud your judgment!
Used camper vans for sale by owner range in price from just a few thousand dollars to over $100K. Although some sellers are willing to be flexible with the price, it’s a good idea to know exactly how much you’re willing to spend.
You should always plan on reserving part of your budget as an emergency fund.
Although it isn’t pleasant to think about, things do go wrong with used campers. For example, I experienced transmission issues with my VW Eurovan and had to find a specialist mechanic to do the necessary work. Trust me – you’ll feel much better knowing you have some money put aside for future problems when they arise.
When you’re looking for used camper vans for sale by owner, you’ll most probably want a van with low mileage. An odometer with fewer miles means you’ll be getting a better quality van with a longer lifespan.
But this isn’t always the case! A used camper van with 150K that has been well maintained is going to be a better bet than a van with low mileage that has been driven hard and not well cared for.
Make sure to do research on the specific van, too. Some vehicles are prone to having issues at higher mileage, while others, like Chevy Astros and Mercedes Sprinters are famous for running like champs well past 200K miles.
If you dream of cruising the highways in a cool, vintage camper van, there are plenty of older, well maintained vans on the market.
However, you should bear in mind that safety standards were different when these vans were produced. Newer vans have airbags, improved crumple zones, and more sophisticated braking.
If you plan on traveling with small children, you should consider buying a used camper van that has the LATCH system installed for child seats.
Although newer camper vans can have mechanical problems, older vans are more likely to need regular maintenance, including replacement parts.
On the plus side, a vintage camper van can be much easier to fix. If you’re mechanically inclined, you can even work on it yourself!
During your search for a used camper van, you might not be thinking about selling it again in the future! But resale value is an important consideration, especially if you’re testing out van life to see if it’s for you.
You may find you love your new lifestyle and want to upgrade. Or your life may take you in a different direction, forcing you to sell the van.
Either way, there are plenty of used campervans for sale by owner that will hold their value.
A boutique van such as a Mitsubishi Delica conversion is a solid investment. As long as you take good care of it, will sell for close to what you originally paid.
Once you’ve found a used camper van for sale by owner that you’re interested in, you’ll need to know which questions to ask in order to get a clearer picture of what’s on offer.
Most sellers will be happy to provide detailed information and additional photos via email. Better yet, schedule a phone call with the seller. That’s what I did as I was preparing to buy our Sprinter, and found it much easier to get the information I wanted from the seller.
Use your common sense and intuition: if a seller seems evasive and unwilling to answer questions, you’re probably better off taking your business elsewhere.
Make sure to inquire about the reason for selling, as well as the van’s history and any work that’s been done. Ideally, the seller should be able to provide thorough service history records.
Finally, ask the seller about how they have insured the van, and whether or not they have re-titled it as an RV.
The seller will most likely have valuable knowledge about getting insurance for the van, and should also be able to provide you with records and photos of the conversion process.
These records can come in handy if your insurance company asks for detailed information.
Check out this article about how to get insurance for a conversion van.
It might seem like a no-brainer, but you should always take a used camper van for a good test drive before you commit to buying.
It would be a shame to buy a van that you love only to discover that you hate driving it, so make sure the seat adjusts to your needs, the pedals are positioned comfortably, and you like the way the van drives.
While you’re driving, pay attention not only to how the van handles, but also to any noises it makes. Listen for suspicious rattles or creaks. Even if they’re harmless, they have the potential to make you crazy after hours of driving!
For many people, the idea of meeting a stranger and checking out their used camper van feels intimidating. A couple of good tips are to make sure to meet in a public place during daylight hours and bring a friend along to make you feel more comfortable. It can’t hurt to have another set of eyes and ears when test driving the van.
If you’re really interested in a particular used camper van, you should make an appointment to have it inspected by a professional mechanic. I didn’t think twice about doing this before buying either of my used campervans.
You shouldn’t need to spend more than $100 for an inspection, and having more detailed knowledge about the vehicle will be worth every penny.
Make sure to choose the mechanic yourself
, and, if possible, find one who has experience dealing with the specific van you are interested in.
Often, the mechanic will find issues with the vehicle the current owner wasn’t aware of this can give you bargaining power with the seller if you still want to buy the van.
When you’re performing a self-inspection of any used camper van for sale by owner, there are a few things that may raise red flags and should make you wary of parting with your money.
- The price seems too low. Although there are some amazing deals to be had, if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is!
- Rust. Make sure to check the entire body for rust. Even a small amount of visible rust can mean that the vehicle will be hard to maintain in the future.
- Dampness and water damage. Use your nose! A used camper van with leaks will smell like mildew. Make sure to test the flooring and walls for dampness wherever you can.
- Electrical issues. Take your time and don’t be shy about testing everything electrical.
- Tires. Check the tires for uneven wear, which could mean that the van needs an alignment, or even that the chassis is warped.
Searching for a used camper van for sale by owner takes time and can be a stressful experience. You may feel like you’ll never find the van that’s right for you.
However, if you stay positive and are willing to be flexible, then chances are you’ll find a unique van you can call home.
Here are some of the pros and cons to consider when buying a used camper van for sale by owner:
- Less expensive. Unless you have a huge budget and you’re willing to spend it on a boutique Sprinter conversion, you’ll find that used camper vans are significantly less expensive than new models.
- Already converted. If you want a converted van, but don’t have the time or the knowhow to do it yourself, then buying a used camper van conversion is the answer!
- Unique van. Every used camper for sale by owner is unique, more so if the owner converted the van themselves. I know from experience that it feels good to own a van that is unlike any other camper out there!
- Tried and tested. We can never know what the future will hold, but when you’re buying a used camper van from someone you trust, you’ll have a clear picture of what you’re getting and any quirks the van may have.
- Time and research. Finding a camper van for sale that’s right for you takes time. You’ll need to do a lot of research before you feel comfortable enough to start test driving vans.
- Insurance issues. If you’re set on buying a used camper that has been converted by the owner, you could run into problems when you try to insure it.
- Warranty is unlikely. It’s possible you’ll find a used camper van that is still under warranty, but it’s unlikely. You’ll need to budget for any future repairs that might be needed.
- Always a gamble. Used campers for sale by owner are always going to be a bit of a gamble. Even after the vehicle has been inspected, you never really know if some unforeseen problem will arise.
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