A holiday caravan may prove the perfect answer if you are looking for somewhere to call a second home from home – whether for your own use or in order to generate a seasonal income from holiday lettings.
If you are looking to invest in a static caravan, then no doubt you will be very excited – and perhaps a little worried too. After all, it is a big purchase and you want to make sure you get the most suitable static caravan for you and in the most appropriate location.
The purchase is likely to represent a serious investment, so the following article may not only help you in your search for a suitable static home but also to suggest some of the potential pitfalls to avoid. Please read on for our quick guide to buying a static caravan.
It might sound like a statement of the obvious, but choosing the holiday park location for your holiday caravan is likely to be critical.
Clearly, it makes sense to have visited the area in order to satisfy yourself that it is somewhere you want to come back to for repeated visits – and the distance from your home is likely to be a determining factor in this decision.
If you are hoping to attract guests in terms of caravan rental, you need to make sure that the caravan you are buying is situated in an area popular with tourists and visitors.
Look closely at the location. Investigate your site thoroughly for things such as flood risks, maintenance and overall appearance including your neighbours’ caravans – plus what is going on in the surrounding area.
Remember also to check for things such as local planning permissions that just might end up with an eyesore being erected directly adjacent to your caravan in the nearby fields.
Static caravan sales
It is not impossible to buy your static caravan from the manufacturer or an independent retailer, but you then have the problems of:
- finding a park and a pitch on which to put it – since many parks may already have all the caravans they are licensed to accommodate, your choice may be severely limited; and
- if you manage to find a park and negotiate the lease of a pitch there, you still have the problem of transporting your caravan there – holiday homes like this are no small items to move, so the cost may be very substantial.
For these reasons, the majority of purchasers buy – either as a new static caravan or as a second-hand static caravan – one already pitched in the park where it is intended to stay.
Keep future resale values in mind. It doesn’t matter how much you are in love with your holiday home and think that you will never part with it – one day you may change your mind.
So, make sure you think in terms of investment or at least protecting your capital when you are looking at buying a given static caravan and at an individual site.
The holiday home park
Care needs to be taken when choosing not just the location of the caravan park or resort, but the actual pitch within the caravan holiday grounds.
The most critical aspect, however, is to distinguish between a park that is for permanently occupied residential park homes from holiday parks which typically close for certain months of the year (usually the wintertime).
How you use it
When looking for a suitable holiday park, you might want to bear in mind that some may be more appropriate than others with respect to the lifestyle you want to enjoy when on holiday – some, for example, may hold a particular attraction to families with small children, others might appeal to young adults and those in search of a much quieter time might opt for a park oriented towards couples.
You are likely to get a feel for the type of park it is when you read through the park operator’s literature and, of course, when you visit the place. Some giveaway clues may be in the way facilities, equipment, play areas and gardens are maintained.
Spend time on the static home site before you purchase and get to know the site owners as well as possible. Look carefully at the pitch rental agreement and any site terms and conditions, in order to make sure that they are not draconian and are ones that you could live happily with.
At the risk of stating the obvious, make sure your static caravan has been subject to a thorough inspection. If this is your first purchase then you may wish to get someone to help you inspect your caravan who understands the area well. Making mistakes in this area might prove to be expensive
In order to keep your holiday home at your chosen park on the pitch it is allocated, you enter an agreement with the park’s owners for the lease of that plot of land.
The lease agreement and the various rules and regulations through which the owners manage the park is an important contract which you need to understand very clearly from the start.
It not only sets out how much you need to pay – by way of monthly site fees or an annual fee – but also covers many other aspects of your tenure, such as:
- the duration of your lease (the length of time your static caravan may stay on the pitch);
- whether your static caravan needs to be below a certain age in order to stay on its pitch – some parks may allow an indefinite occupation of your pitch, provided you keep the caravan well maintained and in a reasonable state of repair;
- your rights with respect to the park owners’ reallocating your pitch to another part of the site; and
- if you plan to let your holiday home, whether the park imposes any further restrictions, such as the age any let caravan needs to be.
Static caravan insurance
Make enquiries relating to static caravans insurance. Note first of all that in most cases, you are not obliged to take the park operator’s cover and are free to choose your own static caravan insurance. Secondly, the cheapest options might not always be those that are particularly suitable. Try to find out what an insurance provider’s views are of the site you are potentially choosing. At Cover4Caravans, we’d welcome the chance to help in your comparisons.
You can read our in-depth article and get some answers to static caravan insurance FAQS here.
Buying a static caravan and owning it should be fun – and for many fortunate owners it is. Just remember though that it does involve a considerable investment of your money and therefore try to approach your decision with a cool and logical head.
Further reading: Guide to buying a static home