Static Caravan Advice when buying is essential.
There are many things to consider when buying your own static caravan or lodge holiday home but i'll point out a few of the more important areas to look out for and to make sure you are fully aware of before making what could be the second biggest purchase of your life in some cases.
Selling your Static Caravan or Lodge holiday home.......
But you've not even bought it yet! Circumstances tend to change over time, so at some point you may consider selling your static caravan. The time to find out about the options available to you and get advice is before you buy in the first place and not years down the line when you may find that your options are limited. Just ask what would happen if you decide to sell the static caravan in the future? There are a few options which may be open to you. You may be able to sell your static caravan back to the park operator, although bear in mind that they sell at retail prices and buy from the trade so your offer will be substantially less than what you paid in the first place. This is where some people's perceptions of the industry has been marred - because they did not know this when they bought, or how much they would lose if they took this option. Careful consideration of all the facts prior to purchasing is imperative with such a big investement in your leisure time - that's where solid static caravan advice comes in.
There are other options though.....Selling your static caravan or lodge privately on the plot to another buyer is the best way to get a decent return on your lifestyle investment. It takes a little longer to find the buyer, but you can set your own price for the static caravan holiday home, just be aware of the extra charges that the buyer will have to pay in the form of a commission to the park operator, typically 15% plus VAT. If you rely solely on the park operator selling it for you, be aware that they have their own holiday homes to sell first which make more profit for the park and it will take longer to sell. The more effort you put into it by advertising in the papers, eBay(!), supermarkets and shop windows, etc, the sooner you will find a buyer who is prepared to pay a price you are happy with. Keep in contact with the park team but do not pester them every day to see if they have had any viewers! (it helps to have them on your side, not become a nuisance). Bear in mind that if you are buying your holiday home to go on a premium plot on a park with large investments being made, you will probably retain more of the value than on a park with no investment history or plans (because it will be more desirable to future buyers).
The other option for selling your static caravan or lodge is to find a buyer or trader who will purchase the holiday home to take off the park. This can be a quick option if you need a quick sale, just bear in mind that you will get a 'trade' amount for it and there will be a disconnection fee (check how much this is, can vary from £200 - £1,500 depending on whether a crane is needed and how credible the operator is).
Annual costs involved:
Site Fees - these are annual costs which entitle you to a license for your holiday home, contribute to park services and grant you use of the facilties (check which facilities cost extra or are included, e.g. swimming?). Site Fees vary greatly according to the demand for the park, usually determined by location, length of season, facilities and views. They can range from around £1,000 to over £5,000 per annum so before you go shopping, set your budget accordingly.
Gas/Electricity - establish how it is supplied and how much they charge. How much you will use depends on how often you are using it of course, but ask for a typical bill for someone using it in the way you intend to. Also ask if gas can be bought elsewhere if it is supplied by bottle because more often than not, it pays to shop around for cheaper gas by bottle.
Rates - there will also be rates to pay which contribute to the provision of water and sewerage and general rates. This is a charge indirectly set by the council so not a lot you can do about it except to allow for it when you are budgeting for your ongoing costs.
Insurance - you are free to have your own insurance, although there will be a clause stating that you need adequate public liability cover, usually £2m. Ask how much it is from the park operator and shop around to see which deal works best for you. Remember to weigh up all the facts regarding summary of cover, excess for claims and the costs. I can't advice you on what's the best option with insurance but it pays to do your homework.
Other items - make sure to ask if there are any other mandatory items that you need to pay for. There will be services that can be provided for you, such as a drain down in the winter (to protect the caravan from frost damage - very important although does not have to be done by the operator), an alarm service if you choose to have an alarm fitted to your holiday home (advisable), spring cleans, etc These services are optional and can be handy to have, just make sure you budget for them....
You can offset your annual fees by letting the static caravan or lodge holiday home when you are not using it, some operations will offer a managed letting service for you. Ask them what you need to provide, what the start-up costs are, how much the fees are for the service and what age of holiday home will they accept onto the programme. Bear in mind that on top of the typical 15-20% commission, there are ususally cleaning charges per holiday let, so make sure you establish how much you will expect to come out with after all deductions. Fuel bills will need to be settled by you too as you are getting the income for the accommodation, the operator's income is for marketing and managing your holiday lets and the entertainment and facilities they provide, etc (another reason to establish the costs of gas).
You can also let the holiday home yourself, if the operator allows it - remember to ask before you buy, even if you are not thinking of letting it out, because circumstances do change and you will need to know what options you have for the future. Letting your holiday home can be a great way to reduce the cost of owning, just make sure you know all the facts first and decide if it's for you or not.
If the park operator makes claims that you will make money by letting - ask them to prove it. If they can prove that the income from letting will repay your initial investment, the annual fees and return a profit - please tell me! In the main, it is purely to help offset costs, not to make money and any claims they make regarding this - ask for it in writing or to see some proof. The holiday industry can be affected by so many things, weather being just one of them, so remember, historical evidence is one thing, a crystal ball is entirely another.
Static Caravan or Lodge License Period
Almost all operators have a licence period for the static caravans and lodges they sell. It can be anything from 5 years to 99 years, depending on policies and the age of the holiday home you are buying. This licence can be extended on an annually reviewed basis, depending on the approach of the operator. Some operators choose not to enforce the licence period (usually if they have empty plots) whilst others can be very strict especially if they have no room to develop and have no empty plots. Make sure you know what your entitlement is.
More to come...........such as:
"When is the best time to buy?"
"Which negotiation tactics work best?"
Here's one for free
*** Buy on a Sunday *** I'll tell you if you want to find out why, how much difference it can make and how to go about getting the best deal possible, including the most powerful way to get a better deal.....
*** Please rate my Static Caravan Advice Guide, after all i am fighting on behalf of the consumer in an industry that is cleaning up its act a lot, but there are still some park operators out there who will say and do anything to make as much money out of you as they can.***
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