Have you ever dreamed of being able to simply pack your bags and head off to your own holiday home when ever the fancy takes you? Figures published by the Resolution Foundation estimated that 3.4million people in the UK have a second home that they leave empty as an investment or use as a holiday home.
With the UK tourism industry booming due to BREXIT and the ongoing restrictions caused by the pandemic, this could be the perfect time to finally take the plunge and turn your dream into a reality.
You need to think about whether you want to rent your holiday home out or just keep it for your own use and that of family and friends. How far do you want to travel to get to your holiday home? Do you want quiet and rural or are you looing for a park with lots of facilities and entertainment you can enjoy?
Understanding what you want your overall holiday home experience to be is just as important as the financial considerations.
Once you have a good idea of what’s on your wish list you can then start delving into the detail of holiday home ownership.
Our experienced holiday sales team at Bridge Leisure have put together a list of questions to help you navigate your way to buying a holiday home that’s right for you.
1. Can the park help me with financial arrangements?
The park may be able to introduce you to a lender to help with financing your holiday home.
2.Once I’ve purchased my static caravan are there any additional costs?
You pay an annual pitch fee which contributes towards the park’s maintenance, future developments and the running costs of the park. Other costs to ask about before you buy are local authority rates and water charges. Also check how electricity and gas are charged and billed.
3.What are the pitch fees?
The biggest cost when you buy a holiday home will be the pitch fees. They tend to vary depending on the facilities available and level of service on the park. When you buy your holiday home the cost of pitch fees for the first season may be included.
4. Can I pay my pitch fees in instalments?
Lots of parks allow owners to pay their pitch fees in 2 instalments or even monthly. It’s worth finding out what the options are and if there are any discounts available for paying in full.
5. How often do pitch fees increase?
Pitch fees can occasionally increase due to things like inflation and park investment. Make sure you enquire with the park about the possibility of pitch fee increases in the near future.
6. How much is gas and electric and how/who do I pay?
Find out if your gas is bottled or piped. Also ask your park how these costs are charged and how frequently.
7. Is the park open all year round?
This is important so you can plan your holidays around the parks opening times. Some parks are open all year round, others have a shorter season.
8. Does the park have facilities and entertainment?
Investigate what facilities the park has and what entertainment is on offer. You might also find it useful to see what there is in the local area too.
9. How long can I keep my static caravan on the pitch?
Some parks have restrictions on the amount of time your caravan can remain on the park so it’s important to ask this question before you sign on the dotted line!
10. Can I choose where I have my holiday home on the park?
You might prefer a pitch close to the facilities, or one tucked away in a quiet corner. Once you’ve chosen your park and the holiday home it’s important to spend time looking at all the pitches available to you.
11. Can I take my pets?
Most parks are pet friendly but if you’ve got a four-legged friend as part of the family double check with the park what their rules are regarding pets. Don’t forget to ask about what facilities there are too – some have dog walking areas, kennels, dog showers and certain areas of the parks’ facilities where dogs are allowed too.
12. Are there any park rules?
Ask to read the park rules. They’re likely to be pretty standard but make sure you’re comfortable with everything before you buy a holiday home.
13. Where can I park my car?
Some holiday home pitches have parking spaces, others don’t and you’re able to park your car in a car park close by.
14. Does the park have internet access?
Check out what internet access is available and what the service is like. Don’t forget to ask if there’s a charge for owners to use the Wi-Fi.
15. What do other owners think on the park?
When you visit the park, have a walk around and chat to existing owners. Most will be happy to share their experiences with you – it’s a great way to find out what ownership is really like.
The Holiday Home
16. Can I live in my static caravan?
Most parks are designed to be used as holiday homes rather than a primary address, so they can’t be used as a permanent residence. You must have another address as your permanent residence. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy plenty of trips to your holiday home though!
17. Do I need insurance?
Yes, you will definitely need caravan insurance. It’s up to you if you have it arranged by the park (if they offer it) or if you arrange your own.
18. Can I sublet my holiday home?
It might be important for you to be able to sublet your holiday home when you’re not using it to earn income to offset some of your running costs. The park may have a sublet scheme you can join or you could manage it yourself. If you join a park scheme, make sure you read the details re commission etc. Sometimes parks will only let you sublet your holiday home if it is less than a certain age so definitely check that out too.
19. Can my friends and family visit me?
You can choose to allow family and friends to use your holiday home. Just check with your park if you need to register them to be able to use the facilitates on park.
20. Can I sell my caravan?
If you decide to upgrade your holiday home or sell it and move on, your park will be able to offer assistance. Just ask how much commission they’ll charge. Alternatively you may want to sell your holiday home privately. Either way, the park should be able to guide you.