You’ve figured out your budget and are ready to start looking for the perfect vehicle to begin your shiny new #VanLife in. Similar to purchasing a home, finding the perfect van for a conversion can be an overwhelming undertaking. With all the options, it's key to find the right vehicle that fits your needs and lifestyle. Hopefully you read our “Comparison Guide for Selecting a Van,” (LINK) and have an idea of what model you’re looking for.
In an ideal world, everyone can afford a brand-new van. The benefits are obvious, including the basic 3 year, 36,000-mile warranty (or better!) that they come with. You pick your colors, your measurements, your custom van accessories and configurations that will make it ~perfect~ for your new lifestyle. While having a custom van ordered to your preferences has its obvious perks, some considerations that people don’t always realize about a brand-new van include their resale value. Yes, you will be paying more upfront, but we’ve seen some pretty great turnovers on used vans with depreciation numbers below the average for passenger vehicles.
Depending on your needs and lifestyle, it may actually be more economical to buy a new(er) van and flip it if you know the #VanLife will only last a year or two. Or maybe #VanLife is the only life and gosh darn it you want something that’s going to last you for the long haul. Or maybe the idea of two previous owners living and farting in your new house gives you the heebie jeebies. We don’t know your life, but it’s something to consider.
If you have the budget, we highly recommend going new for other reasons, especially longevity. You spend all this time and effort outfitting your new van, just to have the engine die or major mechanical failures that weren’t apparent during inspection. Sure, a few dings or scratches are tolerable. Maybe the seats are losing their foam, but to have an obsolete van because its sitting outside for the past three years is not a the best reason.
There is one major and obvious benefit to buying used. If you know someone selling a van and can attest to the functionality of it, as well as hand over maintenance reports, by all means, you found yourself a deal. Getting a used vehicle is not a bad thing, but not spending enough money on what is the foundation of your home could potentially decrease the lifespan to the point where you would’ve been financially better off buying new.
Getting a used van is better than no van at all. Stay tuned for our upcoming post, “The Complete Checklist for Buying Used Vans,” to make sure you have your bases covered when going this route. Let us know about your own van-purchasing experience in the comments below.