Guide to buying a new static caravan
Owning a holiday caravan in your favourite locality can be a worthy investment. “We want a holiday property which we can invest in”. A familiar statement from many families looking at holidays in the UK and wanting one that will offer value and can be used whenever they choose. Let us introduce you to the static caravan. Well actually that term went out with gas lamps and two- burner stoves! Holiday homes as they are now referred to, reflecting the modern sophisticated units they are.
How do you choose a static caravan?
You can buy a holiday home new from around £15,000 but at this price you’re talking budget, entry-level models – basically equipped with no items such as fridges. The interior design will also feel rather plain, with simpler furniture and exterior design too. The insulation may be reduced, potentially limiting the use you will get out of the unit. Don’t forget that the price “landed” i.e. direct from the factory and then sited, can vary significantly depending on the park operator’s charging structure.
Spending £30,000 to £50,000 will bring you into the luxury class of holiday home. New modern interior designs with a better specification including double glazing, fridge, domestic oven (plus quality fittings). Some may even be built to residential park home standards, so can be lived in all year round.
Although holiday home dealerships aren’t as prolific as touring caravan dealers, there are some excellent set ups, where dedicated sales staff can point you in the right direction in choosing your dream unit. Don’t forget you will be looking at the home with a longer term view to ownership, than say a car. Will it just be the family using it, or will friends be invited for the occasional weekend? You can also find the park you like and check what’s available there too. Many park owners have a separate display area for new homes and they also know what pitches the unit will fit on to. Finance is another area where dealers can help with competitive terms.
A key decision in the buying process will be how far do you want to travel, say on a Friday evening, after a long working week? Well it may surprise you that some owners can live 30 minutes away, or up to a three-hour drive!
Look carefully at the area you want, seaside or countryside retreat? See if there is a well-stocked shop and/or facilities, which may include a café, restaurant, swimming pool, etc (that could affect the ground rent charged). Are pets and children allowed? Some want “adults only”. Will the park allow you to sub-let? The operator may simply want the purchaser using the home. Does the park get very busy? Will the park operator expect you to upgrade your new home after 10 years? Some will allow older units to stop on over 20 years old, as long as the unit is kept in a good serviceable condition.
Do the parks’ pitches allow for off-road parking (which will be essential for most)? Some will also come with a small garden, for which the home owner is expected to maintain. If gardening isn’t your bag, then maybe a plot with just grass cut by the operator is what you want. Don’t forget that decking and balconies are popular additions to homes. Check this can be done and also that the pitch permits the size you’re after.
Many parks do have a sense of community. Like the UK used to be in many towns and villages, with other home owners keeping an eye out for anything or anybody suspicious. Park operators are also likely to have CCTV in operation, as well as barriers. It’s all there for your peace of mind.
When the park closes for the end of season some park will let you visit your holiday home for a day, but no overnight stays. It’s best at the end of the season to take any valuables back with you. Also make sure to check your holiday home insurance covers you against theft and storm. Where parks are exposed to high winds, the unit will need to be anchored down (your insurer will no doubt ask the question). So this should be included in the pitching fees for your new home.
Retired people can spend many weeks away in their holiday home. Family sharing can help you get the best value for your money. Also as with a house, the more you use it, the better for keeping the interior aired and damp at bay. When you leave the home over a winter period, don’t forget to turn your water off and drain the system, where applicable, in case of burst pipes.
One thing is for sure, UK parks offer locations and facilities for every taste. Taking our advice we hope that your experience will be a pleasurable one, offering breaks for many years to come.