If you have ever considered buying or living permanently in a static caravan, but have never owned one before, you are sure to have questions such as ‘how much will it cost’ and ‘what are the annual running costs?’ So It is essential reading for anyone considering buying a static caravan to live in permanently or as a holiday purchase.
How much will it cost me?
This is by far the most commonly asked question, but you would be forgiven for thinking that the answer is an obvious one. Whilst you may think so, don’t forget that there are other factors to take into consideration as well as the purchase price of the static caravan itself. Prices generally range from around £15,000 to well over £100,000, but most people can get a comfortable, well-equipped caravan for around £30,000. Assuming you take finance over a 10-year period (at 9% interest rate), this could cost you around £380 a month. But bear in mind that you will have running costs on top of this, which can add between £2,000 to £5,000 a year to this figure, depending on your choice of park and your utilities usage. Make sure you prepare yourself for annual running costs by asking for a complete breakdown of them in writing. This will normally cover everything including annual site fees, insurance, gas, water and sewage rates.
How many months of the year can the caravan be used?
This will depend on the type of caravan park you choose. Whilst some are ‘Mobile Home Community Parks’ where you can happily live all year round, if you like, others are ‘Holiday Parks’ which only allow access at certain times of the year, usually the spring and summer months. Seaside locations are one of the most popular choices for those who wish to live in their static caravan permanently. It’s important to check the type of park before committing to anything, and you can usually find a park to suit your needs in the most popular tourist destinations or anywhere along the coast.
Is there a maximum occupancy length?
You may find that some holiday caravan parks have a maximum occupancy period, but what does this actually mean? Well, in effect this means that you can only occupy your caravan for a certain period of time before you must leave. This can vary from company to company, but could be something like a 60-day period, after which time you must leave the site for 24 hours before returning. Before you start to worry, this is not something which is usually legally enforced and it may not apply to your caravan park at all, but it helps to ask and be prepared in case it does.
What about ‘right to move?’
What if you buy your dream static caravan in the perfect location, with stunning views of the sea and surrounding countryside, but then the caravan park decides to create a new development which will ruin your views? Of course, if this happens to you, you could always ask to move your caravan to the new development. But you may be told the new site is only for new caravans and that in order to move there you will have to purchase a new caravan! The solution to this problem is actually fairly simple; always make sure you ask for a free ‘right to move’ to be included as part of your contract, which will allow you to move if a new development springs up and obstructs your view. In the majority of cases, this is easy to organise.
If we need to sell, is a guaranteed ‘buy back’ price available?
Life can be unpredictable and if you become ill, lose your job or have other reasons why you can’t keep your static caravan, you may need to sell it urgently. Unfortunately, the second-hand price of static caravans is usually worse than second-hand cars. This is because you sell the caravan back to the park, who then have to re-sell it to make a profit. For example, a £30,000 caravan may only be worth £10,000 after a year! This is why it’s always a good idea to ensure a contractual agreement is in place, in case of illness, death or job loss. This means you will get a guaranteed ‘buy back’ percentage, based on the actual value of the caravan you are purchasing.
If we only use our caravan sometimes, can we sub-let?
This really depends on the park in question, but it is always worth asking, as you could offset your annual running costs by sub-letting for just a few weeks, if the park you have chosen allows it for example, you could sub-let during peak season (school holidays in the summer or at Easter). This means you and your family can enjoy your caravan for the rest of the year, whilst also enjoying a financial boost towards your running costs!
Can I speak to other caravan owners?
When deciding whether or not to purchase a static caravan, remember that it is the caravan salesman’s job to sell you one. Whilst most salesmen will be honest with you, those who work on commission may be pushier. By asking if you can speak to other caravan owners, you will get an honest opinion on both the company and the park itself. You should always ask to walk around the park, so that you have the opportunity to chat with other caravan owners. They will usually be more than happy to share their experiences and any problems with you. Joining a group forum for caravan owners online is another great way to receive advice and lets you read about other people’s experiences, which can help you to make an informed decision. A quick Google search of caravan sales companies or caravan parks will usually bring up online reviews which could also be useful when making a purchase.
There are other questions to bear in mind when purchasing your first static caravan, but these are the basics that you should always cover to ensure you get the right caravan for you, at the best possible price. Happy holidays!