Common Pitfalls to Avoid When Buying a Static Caravan
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Posted: September 18, 2020
Buying a static caravan can be an incredibly exciting experience. Whether it’s finding the right caravan park for you or picking out the caravan of your dreams, the entire purchasing experience can be fun. That said, it’s also easy to be blinded by excitement and forget to do the appropriate research before making your purchase.
Summarised, there are a number of pitfalls when buying a static caravan which can be easily avoided if you’re aware of them; which is why we’re here to help.
At Allens Caravans, we manage several caravan parks across England and Wales, complete with luxurious amenities and exceptional static caravans. Leveraging our experience and over, the Allens Caravans team have compiled some of the most common issues people come across, saving you heartache in the future.
Consider bookmarking this page if you’re thinking of purchasing a static caravan in the future!
Assuming Caravan Parks Are the Same
One of the biggest mistakes we see static caravan buyers make is assuming that all parks are the same, with the same rules and regulations. This isn’t accurate. Private organisations run these caravan parks and can incorporate a number of different rules at their discretion but beyond that, caravan parks can also hold different licenses for different types of operation. Put simply, caravan parks can be split into two categories: holiday caravan parks and residential caravan parks.
Holiday caravan parks are licensed to site static caravans which serve as holiday homes. These static caravans cannot be lived in throughout the year and cannot be used as a permanent residence. This is usually reflected in the park rules, as holiday caravan parks tend to close during the winter months, ensuring that nobody can reside in them permanently. In short, if you buy a static caravan on a holiday caravan park, you will not be able to live in it or treat it as a permanent residence.
On the flip side, residential caravan parks are very different. Residential static caravans, sometimes called park homes, are made to be lived in and residential caravan parks are licensed accordingly. This is also reflected in the park rules, as residential caravan parks do not close during the winter months and often have other amenities and infrastructure in place to support the fact that people will be treating their sited static caravans as a full-time home.
Understanding what type of park you will need to buy your caravan from is an essential first step before making your purchase. Don’t fall for the common static caravan pitfall of assuming they are all the same.
Neglecting to Check Park Rules
Aside from rules around times of the year, there are many different rules and guidelines which caravan parks can put in place. After all, caravan parks are private businesses and can layout any guidelines they choose within the law. This means that rules can vary greatly from park to park.
Commonly, parks will outline age limits, curfews, letting regulations and other details about life on the site before you make your purchase. Be sure to ask a park representative, read any relevant literature and research your destination before deciding if that park is right for you.
Not Reading the Terms and Conditions
Just as you would when opening a bank account or buying bricks and mortar property, it’s essential that you read the small print. This is the most common pitfalls when buying a static caravan, or buying anything for that matter. Contracts, leases and other key documentation will inform you of exactly what you are buying and the legalities surrounding that.
If you are unsure about any part of the documentation provided to you by your park operator, it’s important to ask for clarification before you sign or agree to anything. Park representatives are there to help you, so don’t be afraid to use them!
Assuming that Letting Your Caravan is an Option
It’s common for static caravan owners with a property sited on a holiday park to spend weeks or months a year within their holiday home. That said, many will only be able to utilise the property on weekends or after booking annual leave, meaning that their holiday caravan remains empty for much of the year.
With this in mind, it’s common for these static caravan owners to rent out their holiday home for extra income whilst they are not spending time there. This can help offset some of the costs associated with caravan ownership such as pitch fees. Whilst this sounds like a great idea, the truth is that letting or renting your static caravan is only possible on holiday caravan parks and even then, some parks won’t permit it. Letting is completely at the discretion of the park operator and so if you plan on doing this, you should consult them before finalising your purchase.
Forgetting to Consider All of the Costs
A common static caravan buying pitfall is to misunderstand the full costs associated with caravan ownership. This is especially important for those buying a holiday home on a holiday caravan park, where these costs can be in addition to a mortgage or other costs associated with regular bricks and mortar homeownership.
Additional annual costs will come into play once you buy your static caravan. These can include:
- Council tax/local authority rates
- Gas bottles
- Drain down fees
- Winter storage fees
- Pitch fees/site fees
- Ad hoc additional fees
Check any purchasing paperwork for the obligatory fees and take note of their values so that you can calculate the running cost of your static caravan. This should help you avoid accidentally making a purchase that you can’t reasonably afford to continue running in the long-term – a common pitfall when buying a static caravan.
Caravan Age Limits
Finally, it’s important to take a note of your caravan park’s rules surrounding caravan age. Some parks only allow static caravans underneath a certain age to be sited on their grounds – commonly, this will be around 15 years old. If you buy a caravan that’s already 10-12 years old, this means that you might exceed the caravan age limit within a few more years and have to move your static caravan to another park or organise other arrangements.
Some parks will assist you with this process or have specific rules and regulations surrounding moving your caravan. Regardless, it’s essential that you query what the rules are surrounding caravan age and movement within the park you’re interested in, as well as the age of the caravan or park home you want to purchase, otherwise you might get caught out.
With any luck, this list of common pitfalls to avoid will have helped you along your static caravan buying journey. For more information on making a static caravan purchase, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our expert team at Allens Caravans. Alternatively, explore our range of holiday caravan parks and residential caravan parks instead, each situated in areas of awe-inspiring natural beauty for the perfect getaway from busy city living.