Home or Away?
In July 2016 my wife and I embarked on a 2 week holiday Australia, visiting the cities of Sydney and Melbourne. Whilst we went on some fantastic adventures such as climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, watching the Penguin Parade at Phillip Island and cuddling Koalas and Kangaroos at a Nature Park we knew something was missing. Our 2 year old Lakeland Terrier Poodle cross pup Barney. We knew he was fine and would be loving the attention of spending a week each with our parents but we missed him so much.
It was on our way home that we decided we did not want to leave him to go on holiday overseas again. We started looking into the possibility of buying a holiday home in Scotland. Somewhere we can all go together and create some fantastic memories.
We set out a list of criteria for our search:
• Pet friendly park with great places to go for walks.
• Must have a Sea View - we loved the idea of waking up and looking out over the water.
• Be within a 2 hour drive from our home.
• Has to have 3 bedrooms - spare for our parents and of course Barney gets his own room.
• Chinese takeaway close by (my only request)
• Open 12 months of the year - my wife and I are both off work every year between Christmas and New Year and wanted to be able to get away during this period
Having been brought up on caravan holidays, it was difficult for me to see past St Andrews as a location for buying a caravan but we ruled this out quickly as the park closed down over the winter months. Then we came across Eyemouth Holiday Park. We had visited the town a year before when on a weekend break to Duns and had walked the coastal route from St Abbs to Eyemouth and even though the weather wasn’t great that day, the three of us had a great time. It ticked all our boxes and even had a few added extras such as a local beach, golf course, free entry into the local swimming pool and fantastic hiking routes and coastal walks.
It was decided. If we were going to buy a caravan, it would be in Eyemouth. We just needed to be patient and wait for the right caravan at the right price, in the right location within the park. We didn’t have to wait long. Soon after registering our interest the sales manager Andy got in touch about a caravan. It was perfect. It had the sea view we craved. It had the 3 bedrooms we wanted. It even had wrap around decking – a total bonus as it would allow us to leave the door open for Barney to wander during the summer and provide us with a great spot to sit and watch the sunset. It was a reasonable aged caravan too – 2013 Willerby Sunset model.
The age of the caravan is crucial as different sites have different rules regarding caravans on premium locations. Some have a limit of 15 years old and then you have to upgrade. The pitch lease at Eyemouth was 20 years (running until the year 2033) and then it is based on a year on year review depending on caravan condition. We had a look across the park and there were older caravans in premium plots so this backed up what Andy was saying... If you keep your caravan in good condition, you won’t be moved or asked to upgrade. All that was left for us to do was to negotiate a price and seal the deal. We had just missed out on a promotion the park was running – a 50” 4k TV but we asked any way and we got it. We also had a snagging list of things we wanted done on the caravan before we moved in such as new table top for dining table (old one was covered in glue as the previous owner was a model making enthusiast) and new cisterns in the toilets, as the originals had become discoloured in just a few years. If you don’t ask you don’t get and the park agreed to our requests. After a bit of back and forth on price we finally came to an agreement. We managed to negotiate £3000 off the original asking price, which included the site fees for 2017.
Now came the tricky part of financing the deal and this is something I urge everyone to look into in great detail especially, if like us, you don’t have the funds to buy the caravan outright. Using the finance package offered by the park we would have been paying approximately £18000 in interest over 8 years of payments – that’s 60% of the cost of the caravan. So we did some searching and my wife and I both took out a credit card with 0% interest for 3 years and also took out a personal loan over 3 years to finance the deal. Our payments per month were higher than the park were offering but we would only be paying £1000 in interest. A huge saving!!
With the money in place the deal was done and we got our keys in September 2016 and we haven’t looked back. We try and get down every weekend we can. It has made such a huge difference to our lives as we know look forward to going on holiday every week. It is such a relaxing experience knowing you can get away and switch off from work any time you like. The Scottish weather throws up some surprises but even if it’s too wet and miserable to go outside we can sit and look out the window and watch the boats sail past.
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