Ever stuck for ideas about where to spend your next holiday? Want a second home that’s not too far away? After a place in the countryside where you can entertain your family and friends? Maybe you want to earn some extra money by renting out your holiday home from time to time?
The answer to any one – or all – of these questions might lie in your buying a static home. This is a caravan more or less permanently pitched on a caravan park or resort in a part of the country you like, visit often, and want to share with friends, relatives or even paying guests.
As you drive around the country, it might soon become quite evident that the idea of a static home set in a well-maintained landscape at any number of attractive locations is something that already appeals to many.
If you want to share in what is clearly a widely enjoyed way of spending a holiday or weekend break, what are some of the considerations to keep in mind when buying a static home? You have probably done at least a little background research already, but what follows are some tips and suggestions about things you might need to know.
What is a static home?
What better place to start than the most fundamental question of all – just what is a static home?
- a static home is what many people might also call a mobile home;
- but it is appreciably bigger than a touring caravan and generally stays in pretty much the same place all the year round – it is static rather than touring;
- there is also a critical distinction between a static home and what is generally called a park home – the former serves as a second or holiday home and only the latter provides a permanent, year-round place of residence;
- the housing charity, Shelter, points out that the latter have planning permission granted by the local authority allowing them to be lived in all the year round;
- holiday sites for static caravans do not have this permission and generally close for certain periods of the year – the government website warns that you could be forced to leave if you permanently reside in a static caravan on a site that is not licensed for residential purposes;
- if you are buying a static home, therefore, it is important to recognise the restriction placed on its use as a residence.
The site or resort you choose is important, therefore, not just for its location but also the type of choosing your park is a question not only of geographical location but also the type of park that it is – for static caravan holiday homes or permanent residences.
Some parks might also be more suitable for families with young children and others for the more mature, while some might be close to a bustling town and others set in the depths of the countryside.
Although you are likely to be spoilt for choice in practically any part of the country, it is clearly important to pick somewhere you want to go back to again and again. Travelling longer distances might be fine for the occasional holiday, but to make the most of a second home it might be worth choosing somewhere not so far away.
A tranquil, out of the way park may be to your personal tastes, but if you are planning to let out your holiday home it might be just as important to pick somewhere on a more well-beaten path for tourists.
As a story in the Express newspaper on the 16th of July 2020 pointed out, different parks and resorts are open at different times of the year – some close for the winter season, others may be available for use (but not to live in permanently) the whole year round.
Finding a berth for your static caravan
Although it is possible to buy your static home first and then look around for a site on which to pitch it, this is likely to involve considerable expense in transporting your caravan to your chosen park. Many static homes, therefore, are bought – either new or second hand – already on site.
Either way, one of the most important aspects to consider is the lease agreement with the park itself. This sets out the terms and conditions on which the static home may be pitched on the site and the important question of how much rent you need to pay for the lease of the pitch.
It may also set out the length of the lease and may impose restrictions on the age of any holiday home occupying the site, together with the commission the park owners may charge on the sale of your static caravan.
Importantly, the lease and management agreement may also stipulate the need for the owner of the caravan to hold appropriate static home insurance.
You will need to decide how much you can afford to invest in the purchase of your static caravan, of course, draw up a budget – and try to stick to it.
If you arranged finance for the purchase, then the cost of the ongoing repayments clearly need to be added in. The cost of static caravan insurance, your pitch fees at the park and other running expenses also need to be included in your budget
Once you have chosen an area in which you want to have your second home and have worked out a manageable budget it is time to set about the really exciting business of choosing your caravan.
There are so many makes, models, sizes, and layouts that you are likely to have plenty to choose from, so keep in mind the particular, individual needs and requirements of you and your family. It is not just the number of people likely to determine the size but of choosing the layout and design that best suits the way you intend to use the home – as a base for hiking or water sports, say, or somewhere to stay, relax and just be comfortable.
Deciding whether to buy new or pre-loved might be a question of the budget you have, but when deciding whether to buy insitu or from an independent supplier, you need to remember that transport costs to your chosen caravan park are likely to add considerably to the bill.
It goes hardly without saying, of course, that you are also likely to be interested in knowing as much as possible about the condition of any static home you are interested in buying.
Although there are a number of checks and inspections you may feel confident enough to do for yourself, if you are buying privately rather than from a reputable dealer, the size of the investment you are making may warrant a survey by a specialist professional.
Static caravans have a way of holding their value pretty well, so you are likely to have invested a tidy sum in buying one – new or pre-loved. Insurance, therefore, is a safeguard likely to be high on your list of priorities – and here at Cover4Caravans, we can guide you towards those policies relevant to your particular needs and requirements, at what believe are a competitive market rate.
When you arrange with the park management the lease of the pitch for your caravan you are almost certain also to be presented with a proposal form for the insurance of your static home.
In the process, the site management representative might explicitly insist or somehow strongly imply that the insurance application is as necessary for you to sign as the lease agreement. At that point, step back a moment because in most cases, you are free to shop around for your static caravan insurance cover. You don’t have to buy the site owner’s static home insurance, but may buy it independently elsewhere.
(You can find out some reasons why shopping around for static caravan insurance may benefit you.)
The site owner’s concern is most likely to focus on your having sufficient public liability insurance to cover the risk of personal injury or damage to the property of other park residents, their visitors, and members of the public.
Claims such as this – especially those involving personal injury – may assume substantial sums and it is common, therefore, for public liability insurance to offer a minimum of £2 million of cover.
Even if you have independently sourced your insurance, therefore, the park management may insist on proof of third party cover – and they may charge a small administration fee for doing so. Even then, it may still work out more cost-effective for you to source your own static home insurance.
Further reasons for arranging static caravan insurance
It is not only public liability cover which is important. The Financial Ombudsman Service has published a note on the subject of caravan insurance, and this identifies some of the most common issues encountered by owners. It also highlights a number of elements which are designed to safeguard your investment in such a holiday home.
Typically, such holiday home insurance puts at its core cover for the caravan itself against such potentially major risks as fire, flooding, storm damage, impacts (from vehicles or falling trees and aircraft), vandalism and theft. Similar protection may also extend to the contents of your holiday home.
You may need to bear in mind the very likely possibility of your static caravan lying unoccupied for reasonably long periods of time – either because you are not using it or because the caravan park has closed for the season. When it is empty like this, your holiday home is probably at its most vulnerable. Your insurer may therefore impose a number of specific safety and security conditions to help mitigate the risk of loss or damage.
Indeed, your awareness of keeping your holiday home secure and of generally mitigating any risk of loss or damage is one of the sure ways of earning your insurer’s approval – and, with it, the possibility of a valuable discount on the insurance premiums you pay.
Our guides to static homes
Many thousands of people have enjoyed the pleasure, fun and enjoyment of owning their own static home. A static caravan might make an ideal second home for you, your family, and guests.
The right caravan, pitched on the right park, in a part of the country you love regularly to visit might meet a huge range of your leisure needs.