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Where To Buy A Van For A Campervan Conversion

Emily browsing Facebook Marketplace to buy a van for a campervan conversion

Wanting to build out your dream campervan, but first wondering where to even buy a van? Well, this guide will provide helpful resources for finding the perfect van for a campervan conversion. 

If you’re at the very beginning stages of choosing a van, refer to our in-depth guide for the best vans for a camper van conversion. Or if you are still deciding between a new vs used van, we created a helpful guide for deciphering which choice is best for you. 

It’s also important to know your budget, and what is a good price for a used van. Because depending on the market, the prices can sometimes be all over the place. 

For example, we bought and built out our campervan in 2019 for way less than it would cost now. Refer to our vanlife budgeting guide for more details on the cost of #vanlife.

But if you already know what type of van you are looking for and your budget, then let’s dive into these great online resources for where to buy a van for a campervan conversion. 

Pre-Purchase Inspection

First, let’s talk about pre-purchase inspections. We always suggest getting a pre-purchase inspection (PPI) for all used vehicle purchases.

It usually costs around $100-$200, and it could save you tons of money.

A pre-purchase inspection is where a mechanic looks over the whole vehicle’s body, frame, and engine for any issues or damage. The mechanic will then give you a quote for the work that needs to be done to the vehicle.

This can help you drive down the asking price if there are any mechanical issues that need to be fixed. 

For example, Jake and I needed to get new tires ($400+), oil change ($90), ball joints ($1000), etc. So we were able to knock off about $1,300 from the asking price.

Or it may alert you that a van is not worth buying. You don’t want to spend money a bunch of money on a van build using a van that’s in bad shape.

Call around to mechanics near the seller, and find one who offers PPIs. Inform the seller that the sale is contingent upon getting the inspection. If the van is far away from you, you may need to convince the seller to drive the vehicle to the mechanic. This isn’t always easy, but it’s very important for buying vehicles practically sight unseen.

Resources To Buy Used Vans

Here we list tons of great resources for where to buy a van for a campervan conversion.

Some are as easy as walking into a dealership, and others are helpful online resources you might have never heard of. Finding a true gem at a fair price can be a challenge, so you might need to search high and low for your dream van.


Photo by Ben Hessler on Unsplash

The obvious first choice for finding a van for a camper van conversion is to visit a dealership.

  • Mercedes-Benz = Sprinter, Metris*
  • Ford = Transit, Transit Connect*
  • Dodge = RAM Promaster, Promaster City*
  • Chevrolet = Express, City Express*
  • GMC = Savana
  • Nissan = NV*, NV200*


But with dealerships charging premium prices, it’s not necessarily the most economical. (Learn more about why vans are so expensive).

Dealerships are not a great place to buy a van if you are on a budget.

Personally, we find very few perks of buying a completely new van other than you are the first owner and there will (presumably) be no issues. But really the value just doesn’t quite match what you could save from a lightly used van.

However, dealerships also sometimes sell used vehicles. Even if they are “certified” or include a warranty, you still may want to get a mechanical inspection from an independent mechanic.

Used Car Dealership

A lineup of vans with various roof heights.

This leads me to my next choice for where to buy a van for a campervan conversion, a used car dealership.

Buying a used van can save you tons of money because as soon as a vehicle leaves the dealer’s lot, the price significantly decreases. (Learn more about why to choose a New Vs Used Van for a conversion).

Vans are designed to be long-lasting work vehicles. So you don’t need to be afraid of a used van, as long as it’s been well cared for.

If you are used to shopping for passenger cars, you may have internalized the idea that above around 120,000 miles vehicles are towards the end of their life.

But vans (especially diesel ones) often last to 200,000-300,000 miles without too many expensive repairs.

Finding a used van at a dealership might require a little luck. Depending on the dealerships near you, you may not find what you are looking for right away.

So buying a van for a campervan conversion could take time if you choose to shop at a used car dealership.


Craigslist is the OG way to find used goods online. And it can also serve as a great place to buy a van for a campervan conversion. 

Craigslist is a peer-to-peer marketplace, so the price tends to be more reasonable than a commercial company.

But buying a used van for sale from a website like this does come with some risks. 

The seller might leave out some mechanical issues that the car has, or simply might not even know there are mechanical issues. That’s why a pre-purchase inspection is very important when buying a used campervan for sale by owner.

If you are searching for a van on a budget, Craigslist is your best bet to find a good deal. It is free for people to list their used vehicles and relatively easy to get in contact with the seller.

We suggest searching near your “home” location first for used vans. But if you don’t strike gold on the first search, you could broaden your search radius or switch to a completely different city if you are willing to drive or fly to pick it up. 

Be wary of any vans that seemed to be valued too low. This could be a scam.

Don’t ever pay for anything before actually seeing it in person first. If a seller tries to get you to pay for anything beforehand, it’s likely a scam, and you should look elsewhere. 

When ready to make the purchase of the used van, we suggest paying in a cashier’s check or cash when buying anything from Craigslist. 

Search Used Vans On Craigslist

Facebook Marketplace

Emily browsing Facebook Marketplace to buy a van for a campervan conversion
Emily browsing Facebook Marketplace for a used van

Facebook Marketplace is a great place to buy a van for a campervan conversion. This is actually the place where we found our dream van “Delphie”. 

We feel we got a pretty good deal on our van since it already had an aftermarket fiberglass hightop. Which tends to cost an extra $4000 if you get it done afterward.

Otherwise, Ford E-series vans are not one of the vans that you can stand up in.

Check Out Our DIY Van Conversion Tour On Youtube.

Finding a used van on Facebook Marketplace is very easy if you already have an account. Simply just log into your Facebook account or if you don’t have one, create an account. Then head toward the marketplace to find all sorts of used campervans for sale. 

Keywords to type into the search bar on Facebook Marketplace would be: van, used van, Ford Van, Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit, Dodge Promaster, Astro Van, etc. You can also turn on notifications for keywords, so if a new van is listed, Facebook will notify you. 

One thing I like about Facebook Marketplace is you can usually see if the person selling the van has a “real” account. Looks can be deceiving, but it can provide a little bit more social credibility compared to Craigslist (where you learn NOTHING about the seller).

But do be careful when sharing personal information and when setting up a time to look at the vehicle.

Jake and I talked on the phone with the person just to make sure we got a good vibe before driving over to the seller’s house (which was 6 hours from our home).

And as will all used vehicle buying, you should get a Pre-Purchase Inspection.

But altogether, Facebook Marketplace can be a great online resource to get a great deal on a used van. 

Shop Used Vans On Facebook Marketplace


EBay is another great resource for where to buy a used van. The company has been around for years and has had success selling tons of used items.

EBay often uses a bidding system to sell used items. Therefore, you might strike a great deal on a van because there isn’t a ton of competition. Therefore, if you aren’t competing with anyone for the used van, you might get it for a relatively low price. 

But do note that if you get a great deal, there might be issues with the van that you don’t yet know about. Sellers might leave important details out when listing the vehicle for sale. 

Try to reach out to the seller first and see if they can give you any intel on the mechanics of the vehicle. If they don’t provide this, the first thing you will want to do is get a mechanic to check out the vehicle. 

It does seem like you can order an inspection from WeGoLook for $100, but it doesn’t cover a mechanical inspection. All it offers is up to 58 photos, VIN verification, damage verification, and photos of tire tread depth.

So if you are weary of it being a scam, this is a good option. But if the seller lets you get a pre-purchase inspection from a real mechanic, this route will give you much more peace of mind. 

Therefore, do make sure when bidding that there is a way you can get the vehicle checked first or that there is a grace period between picking up the vehicle and the payment going through. 

But overall, eBay is another great online resource for where to buy a van for a campervan conversion. 

Search Used Vans On eBay

Check Your Local Newspaper

a girl browsing the newspaper for where to buy a can for a campervan conversion
Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

An old-school way for finding a used van for a campervan conversion is to browse your local newspaper. There is usually a “Classifieds” section where people list their items for sale and leave a phone number to call if people are interested in that item. 

If you don’t physically get your newspaper, you might be able to find a version of it online and or at local stores. If you search for used vans under the classifieds, as always, get a Pre-Purchase Inspection.

Look Out On The Road

a for sale sign in a car window which can be a great place for where to buy a used van for a campervan conversions
Photo by Hilbert Hill on Unsplash

Keep an eye out for vans for sale while you’re out driving. More commonly in small towns, vehicles will be left out on the side of the road to attract people driving by. 

Personally, that’s how my family has always sold their vehicles throughout the years. 

Additionally, many people trying to sell their used car might post a for sale sign in their window. So if you are in the market for a used van, just keep a lookout. You never know, you might be on your way to the grocery store, but purchasing a used van instead!

Conversion Trader

Conversion Trader is a website often used for buying already built camper vans, but they actually have a section for “project vans”.

This is where you might find an empty or partially-converted used van. Sometimes people start a van conversion but change their minds because of big life changes or because they aren’t sure vanlife is right for them. (Is vanlife a good fit for you?)

Upon landing on their homepage, click search vehicles at the top of the page. Next, click on the filters section. It will pop up a screen where you can click on different categories. Here you will find the category, Project Vans.

Another cool feature of Conversion Trader is you can also find builders and services. So if you happen to find the perfect van but it still needs to be built out, you can find some quality builders right there. 

Search Used Vans On Conversion Trader

Vanlife Trader

Vanlife Trader is another website for finding already-built camper van conversions. But, they have a filter for finding empty or partially built vans. 

Once you land on their homepage, click vans for sale. Under the filter, click more, then scroll down to conversion status. Then filter through whether you want a partial build, cargo (empty), or passenger van with the seats still in the van. 

Other than just looking for used vans, Vanlife Trader also has van rentals, van loans, and van builders. So if any of this is of interest, inquire for more details. 

When you find your dream van, you can contact the seller via their message template, social media account, or call them right from the listing. They will also give you a general location of where the vehicle resides. 

Search Used Vans On Vanlife Trader

Cars For Sale

Cars For Sale is a country-wide site for buying used cars for sale. They sell both new and used vehicles. 

You can use their filters to narrow down to find just vans for sale. Also, include your zip code and the distance you are willing to travel for your dream van. If you’re willing to travel the whole county, then you can always change your location to make sure you are seeing all the available vans for sale.

You can add more specific filters such as price range, mileage, year, transmission, engine, fuel type, etc. Once you enter your desired filters, you can hopefully find your ideal van. 

Contact them via phone or email directly to go take a look in person. 

Search Used Vans On Cars For Sale

Auto Trader

A similar website to the above company is Auto Trader. The one feature that sets this one apart is the keyword search bar. You can do a basic van search and it will show you all the vans for sale in your area. 

You can obviously get as specific or general as you please to help find your dream van for a campervan conversion. 

Search Used Vans on Auto Trader


Carfax is another online resource to help you buy a van for a campervan conversion. Their website works slightly different than the others. When searching vans you will need to put more specific information such as make, model, and put in your zip code to find used vans. 

Similar websites to buy a van for a campervan conversion: 

You can even shop for used cars on Capital One Auto Navigator. There are seriously an endless number of websites to help you buy a van for a campervan conversion. 

Takeaway | Where To Buy A Van For A Campervan Conversion

Honestly, there are tons of helpful resources for buying used vans for sale. But depending on your budget and flexibility, you might not find your dream van right away. 

For the cheapest prices, we suggest using the resources listed near the top to find the best deals on a van for your conversion. Using websites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, eBay or your local classifieds will probably provide better deals than a large corporate company. Plus many of them are peer-to-peer marketplaces, so you can maybe agree on a lower price.

With that being said, you need to be extra cautious about dishonest sellers or outright scams. But dealers are not always truthful either. 

Therefore, it’s always important to get a pre-purchase inspection (PPI) or have a second opinion from someone knowledgeable about cars before making a large purchase like this.

We hope this guide helps you find your dream van. If you plan to DIY your own van, check out our helpful van build guides. We cover everything from choosing a van, the building process, furnishing a van, the costs, etc.

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