When you’re considering buying a static caravan, be aware that you’re making a large investment. The caravan will be a holiday home – in most cases you won’t be allowed to make it a permanent home – that you’ll use on the weekends. There are many different makes of static caravans on the market, giving you plenty of choice, but the things to look for often don’t relate to the caravan itself.
When you buy a new static caravan from a manufacturer that’s not all you’ll be paying. You need a site for it and the caravan needs to be transported to the site. With a new caravan, though, you’ll be able to find exactly what you want and the site you desire.
Do plenty of research before buying. See what’s available from different manufacturers and inspect different models, checking the space, room layout and what’s offered with the caravan; these days most will have all the mod cons of a new house. Don’t buy more caravan than you need. Will there just be the two of you staying or will you have regular guests? Do you want a caravan with a washing machine or dishwasher? The more exact you can be, the better your searching experience will become.
Be aware of transportation costs to the site you choose and factor those into your budget.
A static caravan is expensive – if you’ve looked at one, you already know that; other than your house, it might be the most expensive purchase you make. Just like a car, however, its value will depreciate over time. You simply won’t get back what you paid for it if you want to sell it. Take the right attitude, buy it as a holiday home to enjoy and don’t worry about selling it in the future.
By doing this you’re not constantly looking at values and worrying about what might happen and you’re able to make the most of regular visits to the caravan.
Often a caravan park will charge a commission for selling your caravan on site. Before settling on a site, be aware of this. Study the prices for used static caravans and don’t be tempted to pay more than you can afford. Also familiarise yourself with all the charges levied by the caravan park.
Although you’ll pay much less for a used caravan, and you don’t have any transport charges, you need to be certain that you like the site. Stay there for a weekend before agreeing to anything.
Examine the caravan very carefully, not merely the condition but also the structure to ensure you’ll have no surprises later. If possible, have a professional inspect the caravan. The inspection can more than pay for itself in the long term.
Find out about insurance rates, especially if you’re going to rent out the caravan. Be sure that contents are covered, as well as theft, fire and flood. Find a policy that offers new for old and covers the transportation of the caravan as well as disconnecting utilities.
The primary consideration is the location of the caravan site, rather than the caravan itself. Is it close enough for you to go and use the caravan regularly, in other words, will you receive enough value for your money? It’s important that the site isn’t too far from your home (about an hour away is ideal) or over time you simply won’t be able to visit it regularly enough.
Finding a good site can be much harder than finding the right caravan. You need to pay very close attention to the caravan park’s fees, including the fee for putting your caravan on site, the annual charges, and what you’ll need to pay for utilities. Visit the caravan park – even better, spend a weekend there if there are caravans to rent, so you can experience the facilities and talk to people who own caravans there. This might seem like a great deal of work, but if you’re going to be spending plenty of time in the place in years to come you want to be certain you’ll be happy there. Find out how rates have risen and whether there are rumours of imminent increases. Be sure you know when the park operates – is it closed during the winter, for example?
Also see how long you can have your caravan on the site. A number of places do put a time limit, often 10 years. By then the caravans can start to look old, especially if they haven’t been well-maintained, so you might need to find somewhere new with all the associated costs.
If you’re thinking of making income by renting out the caravan for much of the year, beware! Read the contract with the site, as most will not allow this. If you see the caravan as an investment, choose your location well and be sure that the site owners do allow you to rent it out.