Many people throughout the UK own a home away from home - a caravan that they like to escape to on holidays and weekends so they can relax and unwind. These holiday properties can be a lot of fun and although they are a large investment, there are many reasons why buying a holiday home is worth it. If you can make sure that you get enough usage from your caravan by visiting it on a regular basis, the benefits will far outweigh the initial cost. Lifestyle Buying a static holiday home is the first step in a journey to relaxing holidays, family fun and a lifetime of great memories. The Great British Holiday is enjoying a renaissance; easy travel, the convenience factor and the cost (a single foregin break can more than cover the annual fees for a static holiday home.) And what better way to spend your holidays than in your own private retreat? For young families the family-orientated holiday parks with a safe environment and your kids are sure to make lifelong friends. But caravan holiday parks appeal to all age groups and all lifestyles, and often have generations from the same families using the same park. The Static Caravan Before you start browsing for the “one”, think about what you really Need from a new holiday home. There’s no point buying one if you are about to start a family, so work out what is realistic. Now ask yourself; What is your budget. Finance options are available, and what is best for you. What are my essential requirements? Number of bedrooms / room for all the family / living space. Do I need the Caravan to have anything specific? Central Heating / Washer Dryer / Dishwasher / Front Doors / Exterior Cladding…. Size? Consider whether you need room for things such as sports equipment or a pushchair or do you need to fit friendly Fido or your mother-in-law. New or Pre Owned? Up to what age of caravan will the park take? Sub letting your holiday home is a great way to cover some or all of your annual running costs. Area and Park Location Purchasing your holiday home is a long term lifestyle investment so when making your holiday home choice it is wise that you know what kind of park you are looking for, depending on your lifestyle. Each park is different and can offer you very different things in terms of lifestyle, location, activities, and attractions and park facilities. Here are just a few of the things to consider when choosing a site... What facilities would you like to have on site? Are you prepared to travel to find a shop or would you prefer one on site? Would you prefer there to be a pub/ club/ entertainment on site (no driving involved) and all it’s associated activity / possible noise or would you rather travel away from the site? Would you prefer a site run by one of the large companies or a small family run site? Do you have a dog? Some sites do not allow dog’s, or no more than one dog. Do you have your own transport or would you rely upon the local Railway Station/ Bus Services? What length of season would you prefer? Some sites are open from March-October, others are open for a full 12 months. (But not residential.) What type of area are you looking for? E.g costal, hill walking, quiet, scenic, busy…… Do you intend to hire it out? How often will you be able to use it? How far from home are you prepared to travel? New vs Used New It is possible to buy a caravan that is “built to order” whilst still under construction this enables you to choose optional extras like a choice of having double glazing or central heating fitted. Different sites have different selling avenues, they deal with particular dealers or have links to particular manufacturers, some will allow you to bring on your own caravan onto their site ( the latter are few and far between, and you may be subject to a charge.) You will get a manufacture warranty, when buying a brand new caravan. Buying Used There is often an age restriction which varies on each site, some are 10 years maximum, others have no age restriction, so you need to find this out before going ahead with any new purchase. Once you have decided on your budget you can actually start to view caravans, you often find you can buy a “higher spec” used caravan for the same, if not cheaper, than the price of a brand new one. It may not have factory fitted double glazing, or central heating, this could be added at a later date if the caravan is suitable, it may come with lots of extras, so its always worth weighing up what is the “best buy” for you and your family. It is possible to modernise an older caravan, it can be done quite easily and relatively cheaply, dependant on your budget. Also bear in mind there will be no warranty with a private sale, but there may be one if buying used from a dealer or site’s stock. Depreciation 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. If saving money is your goal, buying a brand spanking new holiday home off the factory line, is no way to put funds back in your pocket. The moment you site a shiny new model onto a plot you’ll loose money, typically £1,000’s. If buying new you will receive the benefits of a full manufactures warranty. Part-exchange vs Private Selling If you need to sell your current motorhome, tourer, or static, you have two options - either part-exchange yours at the dealership, where the dealers gives you a price and knocks it off the total cost of the caravan you are buying, or selling privately - where you list the caravan and get cash from the person who buys it. While selling your holiday home might not be something that has even crossed your mind yet it is actually quite an important thing to consider before buying a static caravan. For example knowing the holiday park rules regarding private sales is something you should definitely be clear on before signing a contract with any holiday park as all sites have different rules regarding sales. This can have a big impact on how you sell your caravan and how much you can sell it for. Part-exchange; This can save a lot of hassle. Yes, it stops you having to advertise the caravan or deal with potential buyers, but, and this is a big but, you also won’t get as much as selling privately. Remember, the dealer will pay less than your caravans value so it can move it along at a profit. So weigh up offers carefully. Selling Privately; This is more time consuming, but you are likely to get more for the caravan, if you are prepared to put the effort in. Options include classified listings on Gumtree (free), Autotrader ( prices from £12.99) and Motor (12-week free ad) Other options include Ebay, or Facebook. Upfront Costs Once you have decided to buy a holiday home, you will of course have pay for it. You can either pay the whole cost upfront or take out a finance deal. Whichever way you choose, expect to at least pay some kind of down payment before you start holidaying. Running Costs What costs are involved in owning a caravan? Owning a static caravan is costly, there are many extra costs you need to consider. Insurance - In a 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 it’s content, this will provide cover and peace of mind should the worse happen. Yearly 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 plots on the same park. Monthly finance payments - if you have any Gas - Gas is a vital source of power to your holiday home. This is usually supplied by the bottle, unless the park has a main gas supply. Electric - Electric is another vital source of power too, and parks will operate different rates depending on suppliers. Gas/ Electric safety checks Yearly drain-down and drain-up - most caravan parks offer this service for a fee. If you are still unsure about Holiday Home Ownership, please call and speak to one of our Product Advisers on 01754 875900.