Thinking about buying a holiday home, in a part of country of your choosing, set in its own manicured grounds? Static caravans have been meeting the dreams of thousands of happy owners for many years.
Before investing in such a home, however, what are some of the things it might be helpful to know in advance?
- so great is the range, so many are the suppliers and sellers, and such a choice of age and condition that it is practically impossible to determine the budget you need;
- although static caravans generally hold their price very well, a second hand or pre-loved model is naturally cheaper than the same one new;
- the price of a new static caravan is inflated by the need to pay VAT – something of a furore was caused within the industry in 2012, when the Chancellor threatened imposition of the tax at a rate of 20% but this was subsequently reduced to a more manageable 5%;
- whether new or old, you need to decide whether to buy from the owners of the park on which the caravan is already pitched or to transport one you buy elsewhere to the site;
- if buying independently from an owner with the static home already onsite, bear in mind the need to factor in the commission that the park management is almost certain to be charging the seller – typically around 15% of the purchase price, plus VAT;
- there is no point owning a static caravan, of course, unless you have somewhere to pitch it;
- the park you choose will charge a rent for the lease of the pitch and this varies from one park to another and often between different pitches at the same park;
- with the lease you are also agreeing to any terms and conditions relating to the management of the park;
- perhaps one of the most important of these is the length of the lease – anything from 5 to 99 years – and may impose conditions relating to the maximum age of the static caravan you may keep on the pitch;
- other conditions may be designed to ensure that caravan owners treat neighbours with the respect and consideration they are due, for example, in terms of avoiding excessive noise and keeping the pitch and its surroundings neat and tidy;
- many parks insist on your static home being adequately insured, especially in respect of public liability cover against claims from other residents, visitors or members of the public who are injured or have their property damaged as a result of your negligence – parks typically expect proof of your having a minimum amount million public liability cover;
- you should note that in most cases, you are not obliged to take the site owner’s insurance but can source your own. This may work out more cost-effective plus gives you the peace of mind of knowing that you have cover that meets your needs;
- at Cover4Caravans we can ensure that all your insurance needs may be met – from public liability cover to protection against loss or damage to your caravan and its contents;
Other ongoing costs
- the services you receive are typically provided by the park owners and since you are buying them indirectly they might include any commission management decides to impose;
- in order to gauge the likely amount of your monthly electricity bills, you might want to request sight of previous bills to former owners;
- in the case of bottled gas, you might want to ask whether this is supplied only by the park management or if it may be bought independently offsite;
- a buyers’ guide to static caravans posted on the website of ebay reminds readers that owners also need to pay local rates in the form of Council Tax;
Letting your holiday home
- many static caravan owners take the opportunity of earning extra cash from their investment and help to offset running costs by letting their second home to visitors;
- to help you do so, many parks offer a managed letting service to find suitable tenants as and when you need them;
- naturally, there is a charge for this service and you may also need to pay a setup fee and for cleaning the caravan after each guest leaves – these costs need to be taken into account when calculating any income you might expect from lettings;
- alternatively of course you may decide to handle all of the lettings business yourself.
Static caravans may make ideal second or holiday homes. You might choose to enjoy one all to yourself or to let it to friends or other paying guests from time to time. There may be more involved in buying and owning a static caravan than first appears, but a little background research – and talking to any other owner who has gone before you – is likely to ensure that you go into it with eyes wide open and years of enjoyment ahead.