Top Tips To Consider Before Buying A Static Caravan

Are you thinking about buying a static caravan? Is ownership the right choice for your family? In this impartial guide, we’ll cover the top tips to consider before investing in a holiday home in the UK, and provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.

The Benefits Of Owning A Static Caravan In The UK

The pandemic and its subsequent Covid-19 lockdowns have forced us to rethink our holiday plans. International travel is no longer a viable option, in the short term at least and, many of us are choosing to staycation in the UK instead.

As a result, the demand for static caravans has skyrocketed. According to the National Caravan Club (NCC), caravan sales rose by more than 70 per cent in 2020, leaving many holiday parks running low on pitches and stock. And with more of us choosing to holiday at home in the UK this year, it is no surprise that caravan park bookings are up by more than 200 per cent on previous years.

Many of us will see this as an opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint to help the environment by reducing our use of flights for holidays. Caravan holiday home ownership also appeals to those looking to escape the digital distractions of modern life and spend quality time together as a family. A holiday home should be a retreat to unwind, relax and recharge.

With staycations set to remain the number #1 holiday choice for the foreseeable future, the timing to buy a static caravan has never been better but, before you rush into buying one for your family, there are many things to consider, as we’ll cover below.

Caravan Ownership UK – Getting Started

Buying a caravan is an investment that you and your family will enjoy for many years to come, but it is a commitment that comes with ongoing costs, so it is essential that you do your homework before you buy.

Your Holiday Checklist – Does A Caravan Tick All The Right Boxes?

To get the most out of holiday ownership in the UK, you should be in a position to use your static caravan regularly, be able to travel throughout the year, and enjoy staying in holiday parks. We have found that owners who use their static caravan holiday home regularly for holidays and short breaks achieve the best ownership experience. Buying a holiday home and then selling after a short period of time is not a good option so do your research and make sure ownership is right for you for the long term.

For ownership to be a long-term lifestyle investment, we recommend creating a checklist covering important questions such as:

1. Do you love to holiday in the UK?
2. Do you enjoy staying in static caravans?
3. Do you like the community feel of UK holiday parks?
4. Do you intend to take short breaks and holidays through the year?
5. Do you want to share your holiday home with family and friends?

If you answer ‘yes’ to these questions, a holiday home could be a perfect fit for your family. However, to make the most of your investment, you should consider other factors such as:

How Often Will You Be Able To Use It?

How often will you be able to use your static caravan? Weekly? Monthly? Twice per year? To capitalise on your investment, you should be able to use it as often as possible, with some owners suggesting that you should use it at least ten times per year to make it a viable holiday option. Of course, you don’t have to use it yourself; you can give it to friends and family, or even rent it out to cover some of your annual fees. But the whole concept of this type of holiday home is that you use it regularly for weekend breaks, family holidays, or even as your out-of-office office.

Most UK caravan parks are open 8 – 10 months per year, although some operate all year-round which extends your available time, and whilst you cannot live in a static caravan permanently as your primary residence, you can visit it as often as time allows and take extended holidays such as during the summer school holidays. Choosing the right location is essential. If you can access your static caravan in just 1 or 2 hours, you are far more likely to use it than if it is at the other end of the country, so consider this when browsing holiday parks.

Will You Be Able To Share It With Family & Friends Or Rent It Out?

One of the benefits of owning a static caravan is that you can share it with family, friends, loved ones, or even work colleagues when you are not using it. It allows smaller families and support-bubbles to holiday together, couples to escape with their friends and endless opportunities for last-minute breaks. Much of your essentials will already be at the caravan so packing should be a breeze.

If you have a large family and friends’ network, a caravan holiday home could be a perfect investment. If not, you should consider the option of renting it out when you are not using it, either independently or via your holiday park’s rental scheme, to ensure maximum financial returns to offset your running costs.

Many parks will manage the rental processes in return for a commission on the rental charges or you can choose to do this yourself. From our experience managing bookings, key handovers and cleaning can be intensive so consider these options carefully based on your own circumstance.

Also remember subletting reduces your own time using the caravan and can lead to increased wear and tear.

Is It Affordable?

Perhaps the biggest consideration of all is affordability. Most of us love the idea of buying a caravan or holiday home in the UK, but they come at a price, and if you cannot commit to the ongoing running costs, it might not be the right choice for you. When budgeting for a static caravan, you should consider:

• Initial Sales Price: This can be anywhere from £10,000 to £500,000 plus depending on the size and location of your caravan. This can be paid in full from savings or alternatively many owners choose to pay a deposit and then finance the purchase cost paying a monthly payment.

• Annual Site Fees: These range from £2,000 to £10,000 per year, with averages around £3,000 to £5,000. Some parks offer the option to pay side fees via a monthly payment. This payment covers the fee to use the pitch, maintenance and free use of parks facilities for your family and guests.

• Gas & Electricity: Most holiday parks work on meter systems, so you’ll only pay for what you use, but if you intend to stay in your static caravan in winter or over the Christmas and New Year period, you will inevitably have higher heating costs. You will also have to factor in a annual boiler service.

• Rates, Water & Drainage: Influenced by the size, facilities, and location of the holiday park, these fees range between £300 and £1,500 per year.

• Caravan Insurance: Just like your home, you’ll need to insure your static caravan against risks such as fire, theft, and flood damage; this is essential and required by all UK holiday parks. Fully comprehensive caravan insurance packages range from £125 to £475 per year.

• Cleaning: This is an optional service offered by most caravan parks and costs around £25 per clean.

• Winterisation: This is an annual service designed to keep your static caravan in perfect condition throughout winter when your holiday park may close. It includes draining down the water system and reconnecting, and other essential maintenance. Some insurance companies insist you do this, others don’t, so check your policy carefully. It costs around £70 per year.

Have You Weighed Up The Pros & Cons?

Static caravans are a luxury lifestyle investment that allows you to escape everyday life without the hassle of overseas travel. They are suitable for young families, older couples, and everyone in between, and they are ideal for those who love to get away at the weekends and take impromptu trips. But they are not for everyone.

Take time to consider the pros and cons and the advantages and disadvantages of buying a holiday home in the UK before you commit. If you can afford it, use it regularly, and see a future of holidays for you and your loved ones, caravan ownership will add value to your life. If not, explore all options available before committing, and only sign on the dotted line if you are sure that it is the right choice for you.