Buying Static Caravans

The Process

Buying a static caravan holiday home is a major lifestyle choice. Doing so enables you to own a “home from home”; somewhere relaxing to escape to when it's time for a hard-earned break from the daily grind.

Owning your own holiday caravan also gives you a base from which to enjoy fantastic holidays with your nearest and dearest, year after year.

However, the process of searching for, and subsequently purchasing, a holiday caravan can be an overwhelming one. With so much choice on offer – in terms of caravan models, park type and park location – choosing the unit that best suits your needs means grappling with a vast amount of data. The key to making the right choice is to filter out all the bumf, leaving you with only useful and pertinent info.

This where My Holiday Caravan comes in; we are on hand to cut through that information and deliver you only what you need to know, in handy easily-digestible chunks. So let’s get started.

Questions to ask before you buy...

Lifestyle

The purchase of a static caravan holiday home should be approached in the right way. Don’t think of it as a financial investment, rather as a long-term lifestyle choice.

Talk to a static caravan owner about the benefits of purchasing a holiday home unit and they are likely to list things like “improved family time”, “a more relaxed life” and “truckloads of fond memories” among the perks. They are less likely to mention things like “profits” or “financial investment”, as these are often non-existent. Enter into the purchase for the right reasons or be disappointed; the choice is yours.

To recoup some of the cost of owning a holiday caravan, you can sublet your unit to other tenants when you aren’t using it. However, this is only managing the expenditure; you are still unlikely to turn a financial profit from your caravan.

Park Location

It goes without saying that the location of your holiday caravan is vital to your enjoyment of it. You’re purchasing a holiday home in a place where you hope to be able to enjoy year upon year of top quality holidays, so choose a location that you are in love with.

Distance from your home is another thing to take into account. How much of a difference this makes really depends on  how you intend to use your caravan; if you favour regular weekend breaks over  bi-annual, multi-week getaways, a caravan within a couple of hours drive from your home is the best bet.

If you plan to be away for several weeks at a time, once or twice a year, you will have more scope in terms of where to site your holiday caravan. However, if you plan to give your family and friends access to your holiday caravan also, this may influence your choice of location.

With a rough area in mind, it’s time to focus on what the locality can offer you; things like visitor attractions, outdoor activities and access to local countryside are all factors that can make a certain holiday location more attractive than another.

Points to Consider:

  • How far is the caravan from your home?
  • For how long do you plan to visit at a time?
  • How far is the caravan from the homes of other uses, such as friends and family?
  • What local attractions are nearby?

See our searchable map for static caravans for sale throughout the UK.

The Park

Choosing a location that suits you is only part of the process. Most popular tourist destinations in the UK will boast substantial numbers of parks, all with their own pros and cons and with features that will suit different users.

Visiting the park before you decide to make a purchase is vital. How can you be sure that you’ve found a caravan park that you are going to get years of holiday enjoyment out of if you've never visited it?

Whether you visit the park on a sales day, visit a friend’s caravan on the park or even rent a caravan of your own for a short holiday, getting up close and personal with the park before you buy is vital to making the right choice.

Not only will you be able to get a sense of what it would be like to live on the park, this will also give you the opportunity to meet with the sales team and take a look at the different floor plans and layouts of the caravans that the park have on offer. If you decide to take a holiday with a view to possibly purchasing a caravan, let the park know; many parks will refund you the cost of your holiday if you do decide to purchase a caravan from them.

When selecting a park, it is best to try to narrow your search to parks that offer specifically what you are looking for. Most parks will be tailored to suit the needs of certain “user profiles”; i.e. families with young children, young adults or retirees.

The main differences will be found in the facilities that each park has to offer: While parks aimed at younger people with have more in the way of evening entertainment, a park aimed at families with young children will have facilities tailored to the needs of such youngsters.

Another difference will be found in the atmosphere of the park, with parks aimed at retirees having a far quieter, more relaxed atmosphere than one with young children on it.

While most parks will be open for between 10 and 11 months of the year, closing for several weeks for maintenance during the off-season, some parks will be open for the full 12 months. This has several advantages, the main one being more time to enjoy your holiday caravan, specifically during the festive period, and greater scope to recoup money via subletting.

However, closing the park for a few months during the off-season gives owners chance to carry out vital annual repair work, which brings its own obvious benefits. Also, it should be noted that owning a caravan on a 12-month park is not a license to move into the park permanently; a holiday caravan is a holiday caravan, after all, and should be treated as such.

When choosing a park, it is wise to enquire about how long you will be allowed to leave your caravan on your pitch for. Many parks will allow you to leave your unit there for an indefinite period provided it is well maintained and in good condition, while others will give you a clearly defined time frame within which you may site your caravan on the park. This will be explicitly outlined by park representatives before you buy.

One last thing to check before you choose a park: does the park in question have an owner’s association? These associations can be valuable sources of reliable and impartial information to a buyer.  

Park Checklist:

  • Get to know the park.
  • Decide whether the park feels right for you.
  • Check out the park's facilities.
  • Enquire about events on the park.
  • Find out how long your holiday park is open throughout the season
  • Find out how long you can site your Static Caravan on your pitch.

Running Costs

As with any big purchase, cost is a major thing to consider. As well as the initial capital outlay associated with buying your holiday caravan, there will also be additional and ongoing running costs to bear in mind.

The ongoing running costs of a holiday caravan will be broken down into the following components:

  1. Site Fees - This is effectively the rent on the plot of land upon which your caravan is sited. Site fees vary greatly between different parks and even between different plots on the same park, and will be charged annually. Before purchasing your caravan it is worth researching historic price increases, as this will allow you to budget approximately for any price increases that the park may apply at a later date.
  2. Gas - Gas is a vital source of power to your holiday caravan. This is usually supplied by the bottle, unless the caravan park has a mains gas supply.
  3. Electricity - Electricity is another vital source of power to your holiday caravan. Different parks will operate different rates.
  4. Insurance - In the modern world, insurance is necessary on most things, particularly things as valuable as a static caravan. Insure the caravan’s full value and that of its contents; this will provide cover and peace of mind should the worst happen.
  5. General Maintenance - Thanks to modern building materials and techniques, this shouldn’t be too much of a concern for you. These days, static caravans are well put together units, leaving caravan owners only responsible for the most basic of maintenance. More detail about essential maintenance work is found on our dedicated maintenance page. Remember that, while caravan warranties can be extended, most will not cover damage caused by regular wear and tear.
  6. Finance Arrangements - If you purchased your holiday caravan on finance, always remember to factor any monthly finance payments into your budget.
  7. TV Licence - Do I need a TV Licence for a static caravan holiday home on a UK Park? - As an owner of a static holiday caravan situated on a UK park (for non-residential use) it is not mandatory as long as you have a valid TV licence at your main residence. However, this is on the understanding that the TV in your main residence will not be in use at the same time as the TV in your static caravan. If this scenario is possible, perhaps due to older children staying at home, you will need an additional licence. For more information – please check with the TV Licensing Website click here

Renting / Subletting

Renting and subletting your caravan when you aren’t using it are popular ways to subsidise the running costs of the unit. While you are unlikely to turn a profit from your caravan, subletting in this way can help you recoup some or even all of the annual fees and running costs.

Many parks offer their own rental services, which will see the park owners taking care of booking potential subletting candidates as well as the cleaning and maintenance of the caravan before and after use.

Such services are undoubtedly useful, but will incur a commission charge from the park. This will put a dent in the revenue you receive from subletting, but will make the whole process far easier; it's up to you whether you want to go it alone or to receive help from the park.

Subletting your caravan decreases the amount of time you can use it for holidays and personal use, so it’s important to strike a balance between maximising your revenue from renting and enjoying some quality time on holiday.

If you do plan to go it alone with the renting process, renting your caravan unit to family and friends – as opposed to private individuals – will give you the peace of mind of knowing that the caravan is being looked after, saving on potential cleaning and maintenance costs. However, renting to people you know may prevent you from charging full price for renting your caravan, as they may expect “mates’ rates”.

Joint Ownership

One way of offsetting or reducing the cost of owning a static caravan is by entering into an owning-syndicate. This is where people share the running costs and initial capital outlay associated with purchasing a holiday caravan, and also share the time they spend in the caravan.

This is an increasingly popular method of purchase, but there are a few points to consider. We’ve received substantial feedback relating to problems experienced when entering into such a syndicate; by following our guidelines, you should be able to avert these problems and enjoy a harmonious and mutually beneficial relationship with your co-owners.

Joint Ownership Guidelines:

  • Rota your usage so that everyone knows when they can use the caravan.
  • Establish a firm policy on subletting the caravan to other friends
  • Ensure that all parties are explicitly aware of the costs involved
  • Ensure that all parties are in similar financial positions
  • Discuss a rental strategy that everyone agrees with
  • Discuss a process to settle any disagreements
  • Establish the conditions by which a party may leave the syndicate

Joint ownership syndicates are delicate and should be treated with care; relationships often come to an end because parties have not properly discussed or understood the conditions of ownership.

By ensuring that everyone understands and is on the same page, you can enjoy a top quality holiday caravan for a fraction of the cost. It may be advisable to draw up a legal document outlining the responsibilities of each member of the partnership, ensuring total clarity and that the interests of everyone involved are protected.

Depreciation

It's a harsh fact of caravan ownership: the value of your static caravan will depreciate. This cannot be avoided.

This is why, we at My Holiday Caravan, reiterate that the purchase of a holiday caravan should not be treated as an economic investment. Instead, its value should be derived from the great holiday times and treasured memories that are generated in and around the unit. If you hope to make a profit from selling your caravan on, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

Your holiday park will generally offer to buy your caravan from you if you decide to up sticks and move on. While this is undoubtedly convenient, don’t expect the park to offer you any more than cost price for your holiday caravan.

Selling your caravan privately will be more effective in terms of the price you receive for it, but don’t forget that the park will have its own restriction, regulations and fees that it imposes on the private sale of units in its grounds.

As with any big purchase, researching it thoroughly to ensure that you are making the right decision is vital.

New vs Used

Anyone with even a limited knowledge of the retail industry will know that buying something used is cheaper than buying it new. However, while this buying process will save you money initially, maintenance costs can mount up in the long term.

Be certain that the used static caravan you purchase is in good condition and that the unit does not require any major maintenance work that you can’t handle yourself. It is also worth bearing in mind that it is more difficult to find potential subletting candidates for older caravans.

Links:

The Static Caravan

Static caravans come in numerous specification levels, ranging from the very basic to the highly luxurious. The model you choose is up to you; usually this choice will depend on your personal preferences and – of course – your budget.

The longer you plan to spend in your caravan, the more important features like kitchen and bathroom facilities become. This is something to bear in mind if you hope to spend extended periods of time in your caravan.

Remember that it may take some time to deliver a brand new static caravan, particularly if it is a bespoke model.

Finance

A finance agreement is an ideal way to spread the cost of your holiday caravan purchase over an extended period of time. Park owners recognise this, and so most park’s with their finger on the pulse will offer finance agreements of their own, often with incentivising rates.

However, remember that such an agreement is still effectively a loan and should be treated as such. Shop around to ensure you get the best deal and be certain not to enter in to any agreements that you might not be able to afford.

Many of the finance agreements offered by park operators will use your caravan as collateral, rather than your home. Check your loan agreement to ensure that you fully understand the terms.

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Location on Park

The park location is one thing, but the location of the individual caravan on the park itself is an important factor that may affect your purchase. We are now reaching “end game” in the holiday caravan purchase process and this should be one of the last things you need to consider before you finalise the sale.

Things to Consider:

  • What pitches do the park have available?
  • What are the annual site fee costs of each pitch? These will generally vary from pitch to pitch.
  • How close is the caravan to amenities?
  • What are the noise levels around the pitch?
  • Does it have good views?
  • Have you visited the plot and looked around it thoroughly?
  • Have you checked out owner feedback?

There can be few better ways to research the purchase of a static caravan than by learning from those who have trodden the path before you. With this in mind, we have set up an Owner’s Feedback section on our website. Broken down into Park Reviews, Caravan Reviews and Ownership Experience, this feature of our site helps to provide you with useful tips and further information, elucidating and illuminating the buying process.

Links

Purchase

Remember to read the purchase agreement thoroughly before you make your purchase, as this outlines the rights and responsibilities of both the seller and the buyers. This agreement will include valuable pieces of information that you may not habve considered, such as:

  • What happens if you sell the caravan or end the agreement early.
  • What the caravan park’s policy is in terms of fee increases.

Many customers also seek the advice of a legal professional to examine the document for them. This is sensible practice before the signing of any legally binding agreement.

Many customers also seek professional legal advice to highlight any areas of concern or unfair terms that you may have missed with in the contract.

Bodies such as the British Holiday Home and Home Parks Association (BH&HPA) and the National Caravan Council (NNC) also offer useful information to buyers of static caravans, so check their websites regularly and sign up for updates on Facebook and Twitter to stay abreast of developments in the industry.

* Any information on this site is for general information purposes only. You are strongly advised to take appropriate professional and legal advice before entering into any binding contracts.

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