The added value of van conversions

May 02, 2024 by

Van life, and making a van more liveable, is an appealing trend to many van owners, leading to a rise in van conversions. But what happens when owners want to sell their converted vans? To find out, our experts delved into our converted van listings to find out whether modifying a van for life on the road can add value and even leave sellers with a profit.

We also look into which modifications are the best for adding value during a van conversion and what owners can do to maximise their financial gain. With the help of our van conversion experts, we’ve compiled our top tips, along with examples of converted vans that made a profit when sold.

Can converting a van lead to profit?

According to our experts, a converted van under five years old with high-quality modifications can add value by up to £15,000.[1]

Of course, this increase in value depends on how owners decide to sell their converted van. Most platforms and dealers only provide an overall vehicle valuation based on the Standard Trade book price, which doesn’t account for any additional parts or new modifications a van might have.

Instead, to get the best possible price for a converted van, owners need a valuation that takes all modifications into account. At Carwow, we have a unique approach that accurately reviews each campervan individually, considering all its added features instead of relying on generic vehicle data. This considered approach is why initial online valuations aren’t available for these vehicles.

What are the best van modifications for adding value?

The key to adding extra value to a converted van is to integrate the highest-valued modifications, as these will help get a larger return on investment (once you choose to re-sell). The question is, which modifications are the best?

Research conducted by our experts has revealed that a pop-top roof has the most potential for adding value, providing up to £5,000 to a converted van.[1] If this isn’t a feature you want for your van, worry not! There are plenty of other modifications that can add value.

Here are our top recommendations:

  • Pop-top roof: can add up to £5,000
  • Kitchen/sink/fridge/storage: can add up to £3,000
  • Rock and roll bed: can add between £2,000 and £3,000
  • Diesel heater: can add an average of £2,000

Maximising the value of a conversion – our expert tips

Adding value to a converted van isn’t only down to using the best, high-quality modifications or selling it through the right platform. There are plenty of other factors to consider that can help maximise a van’s value and get the most profit.

To help get your converted van’s full worth, we’ve compiled a list of our top tips:

Choose the right van model to convert

When it comes to conversions, some models are more appealing than others and can add to the overall value. For the best return on investment, our experts recommend the following van models: Volkswagen Transporter, Ford Transit Custom, Volkswagen Crafter, and Mercedes Sprinter.

Ensure you have full conversion documentation

There are no official legal regulations when it comes to converting vehicles into campervans and motorhomes. However, for warranty and resale purposes, full conversion documentation is a must, including gas and electricity certificates.

With the rise in popularity of van life, some owners are choosing to DIY the conversion themselves. But, we recommend having a recognised and qualified conversion company carry out the work, as this will be better for securing that additional value.

Know what to avoid

Some features can detract value from a conversion, so it’s important to know what to avoid. An engine or gearbox remap, for example, are among the modifications to steer clear of. The main reason is that they usually add complications with certain trade warranties, therefore devaluating the conversion as a whole.

Learn which details add extra value

There are a few other bits and pieces that can help increase the value of a converted van. Having a full recorded service history, for example, is easy to organise. Features such as a towbar or a rear canopy are also attractive to buyers and can add to a campervan’s appeal.

Change the vehicle type to ‘motorhome’

This is a tip that our experts have discovered. Changing a vehicle to a ‘motorhome’ or ‘campervan’ with the DVLA will typically lower the average cost of insurance premiums, making it cheaper than that of a vehicle classed as a ‘van’. This makes it more appealing to buyers, giving it a boost in resale value.

Converted van examples

At Carwow, we review each converted van on an individual basis, helping each owner sell their vehicle for a price that includes the added value of any high-quality modifications. Take a look at some of our real examples:[2]

VW Transporter Highline

Sold for: £41,500
Book price: £29,500
Added value notes: A nice camper conversion with full sink, storage, bed, and awning.

VW Transporter Highline

Sold for: £40,000
Book price: £28,650
Added value notes: Featured a Sportline Kombi body kit, tasteful modifications, and seat upholstery.

VW Transporter Sportline

Sold for: £40,300 +VAT
Book price: £24,750 +VAT
Added value notes: Featured a Sportline body kit, seat upholstery, and tasteful wheels.

Renault Trafic Crew Van

Sold for: £22,000
Book price: £18,050
Added value notes: Featured smart racking and BulkHead. The carpet and floor were lined.

Mercedes X-Class Pickup

Sold for: £35,383
Book price: £28,650
Added value notes: Featured £3,000 wide body arches, black grill, black badges, decor smoked tail lights, and lockable roller cover.

VW Transporter Highline Panel Van

Sold for: £26,000
Book price: £17,400
Added value notes: Not a full camper conversion but was still over CAP by a lot. Featured a fitted pop-top roof, carpet lining and soundproofing in the rear.

VW Transporter Startline Panel Van

Sold for: £26,000
Book price: £13,250
Added value notes: A very good example of a full camper conversion. Featured a pop-top roof, rock and roll bed, full kitchen/fridge/storage setup, and leather interior.

About this data

[1] Figures regarding the average added value of a converted van and of various modifications have been sourced from Carwow’s internal listings data. The £15,000 average added value applies only to vehicles up to five years old.

[2] The converted van resale examples were sourced from Carwow’s internal listings.