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Buying a Site for your Static Caravan

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 24 Apr 2013 | comments*Discuss
Caravan Static Caravan Caravan Park Site

Owning a static caravan is somewhat different to the type you see towed behind cars. A static caravan is larger – quite a lot larger - and more luxurious – what the Americans call a mobile home. It has wheels, but it's a caravan in name more than in fact. It can be moved, although not easily, because of its size and weight; not something you could possibly tow with a car (in fact, they can't legally be towed on the road - in spite of the fact they have wheels, they have to be carried on the back of a lorry).

On the face of it, buying a static caravan and a site for it should be quite straightforward. After all, there are caravan parks for them all over the country – it’s easy to find a directory of them online. But, in fact, the whole transaction is complex, and you need to be aware of the problems before going into it.

The Static Caravan

The first thing you need to know is that you can’t use the caravan as your main residence; that’s not allowed. Many parks close in the winter, anyway, so you wouldn’t be able to stay all year. Instead it’s a holiday home, and quite an expensive investment. Expect to pay £40,000 and up for a good, new static caravan. However, that’s still a lot cheaper than a bricks-and-mortar house, and you’ll find plenty of room. Generally, the price includes carpets and kitchen appliances.

But that money isn’t all you’ll pay. You’d better check the caravan comes with central heating and double glazing. If not, you’ll be paying for them, and it’s easier to have them fitted before the caravan is on site. After that, it still has to be transported from the manufacturer to the site, and then hooked up to utilities, which is known as commissioning.

People do re-sell static caravans, either on a site or to be transported, but be aware that resale prices aren’t that high, as depreciation tends to be steep.

The Caravan Site

If things seem complicated with the caravan, that’s nothing compared to buying the site. First of all you need to find a location, and obviously it should be in an area you like to visit – although the other end of the country isn’t a great idea.

Once you know where you want to be, consult a directory and find a caravan park in the area and see if they have vacancies – which you’ll want to do well before buying a caravan, of course. You don’t buy the site, however. In some ways it’s more like leasing it.

You pay a rent each year, which is often in the low thousands, and the contract is for a set length of time, which varies with the arrangement, but usually for at least a decade. On top of that, you’ll also be paying management fees, and if you decide to sell or move the home, you might have to pay even more. On top of that, what will you have to pay for insurance and utilities? It all mounts up.

On top of that, each site will have its own rules, which will be laid down in the contract, so you should study it very carefully before signing. What if you want to rent out the caravan for weekends when you’re not using it? Make sure it’s allowed. If there’s a pool or other facilities in the park, check to be sure you don’t have to pay extra to use them. Finally, when is the park open? Does it close in the winter, and if so, for how long?

Take all those factors into account when you consider buying a caravan and site. For the right people, it can be wonderful, a good holiday home and weekend retreat, and many love it. Just make sure you go into it with your eyes open.

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I would never buy a caravan again and would advise people to get a tourer and pitch up on holiday parks when you purchase a static van things go wrong believe me they do, these parks don't want to know you have no rights or there aren't any unions etc that can help, things like the ncc are just another posh name to get you to purchase once the parks have your money you get treated with content and if you don't like it you are ask to remove your van so people don't buy just rent I purchased a few months ago £86500 never got any after sales help which is a promise to new buyers etc etc not worth the paper its advertised on and this is from one of the larger well knowsites my new van is in ruined never got one bit of help
unhappy - 24-Apr-13 @ 4:52 PM
Beware if you are thinking of buying a static caravan. It will cost a lot more than the asking price ! If you should need to sell your van, for whatever reason, not only will it have significantly depreciated, but your site-owner may dock a significant commission, even if you have found a private buyer. Be prepared for the fact that many site-owners will kick you off when your caravan becomes 15 years old (20 if you are really lucky) and not only will you have to find a site that may be willing to accept your van, but you will be charged £500 or even £1000 "disconnection fee" by the site that is kicking you off. Then you will need to pay transport costs, reconnection costs, and if you are lucky, end up with your caravan on a site, but it may be nowhere near where you hoped to be. I speak from experience. Certainly never ever buy a static van without a legal contract that has been checked by YOUR lawyer.
Bob S. - 20-Aug-12 @ 8:06 PM
Yes, you need to check the site out very carefully indeed. There always seem to be endless little extras that can cost a fortune every year on top of the rent, and even hit you when you want to sell the caravan. I'd advise people to look around a lot, and have a lawyer go over the fine print and explain it before signing anything. It costs a little but it can save a lot in the long run.
Don - 31-May-12 @ 1:22 PM
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