ESSEX, ENGLAND, March 30, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- With the nation's purse strings tightening, buying a static caravan is becoming an increasingly attractive option to enable cheap UK holidaying and even full-time living.
Whilst many people enjoy years of static caravan ownership pleasure, there are others who experience the pitfalls. To help you make the right decisions, here are 10 top tips for buying a static caravan.
Buying new has its advantages
There's a healthy choice when it comes to buying a new static caravan. However, beware that most sites require you to buy your static caravan through them, so purchasing elsewhere and installing onto a site is often not an option! A big plus of buying new is that you will have several customisation options. Oh, and there's the warranty which can be pretty useful should anything go wrong!
Tread carefully in the used market
You'll find a good choice of used static caravans throughout the UK, but there are plenty of things you need to check before you commit to the purchase. Remember the extra costs if the caravan is not fully equipped, for example is decking included? You will usually need to pay a transfer of ownership fee to the site office (around 5% of the purchase price). Make sure you have a gas safety check done by a Gas Safe registered engineer and have all electrical items PAT tested. And always check the physical structure of the caravan inside and out - look at seals and joints and note any obvious damage.
Know the restrictions on full-time living
Are you buying a caravan as a holiday home or as a permanent residence? Whilst living in a static caravan can be a cost-effective alternative to an expensive property purchase, there are many things you will need to consider. Most importantly, holiday parks will not allow you to live there permanently under the terms of their site license. And you will only be covered by the Mobile Homes Act 1983 if you buy on a fully residential licensed park.
Plan your budget carefully
So, you think you've found the perfect static caravan for your budget, right? Maybe not... Consider the full spectrum of costs associated with ownership and upkeep. Site fees vary wildly from anywhere between GBP1200 and GBP4000 per year. They can also increase rapidly at short notice! Other costs include static caravan insurance, equipping, gas (central heating can be expensive), electricity, safety checks, yearly drain-down, rates and monthly finance payments (if you have any).
Choose the right area
If you're buying a static caravan as a holiday retreat, how far from home are you willing to travel? Remember that you'll want to get regular use out of it, so travelling to and from the site will incur vehicle depreciation and petrol costs, amongst others.
Make sure the site meets your needs
Do you want peace and quiet or a lively and sociable environment? Are there enough things to keep the kids entertained? If you're a dog owner, check if the site allows dogs on the premises - some don't! Crucially, if you're planning on hiring out your caravan, you need to check if the site will permit you to do this and, if so, what the conditions are.
Select your pitch wisely
Most caravan sites are large enough to provide different types of pitches. Do you want to be near the clubhouse or tucked away in more peaceful surroundings? Before committing, talk to your neighbours to see if you get on and ask them about their experiences on the site. You'll be spending a lot of time near them, so this is an important consideration!
Check caravan age restrictions
You may have bought a used static caravan and are looking forward to many years of caravanning pleasure. Your dream could be shattered when you find out that your site requires you to replace your caravan when it reaches 15 years old - sometimes even sooner. This is especially relevant when buying a used caravan - check this with your site!
Think about your living space
What sort of living space do you require? Static caravans are configured in many different ways. They usually have between one and three bedrooms and sleep up to 8 or 10 at a push. Make sure the size and sleeping accommodation options are suitable for your needs - think about who you will be likely to invite to stay and how comfortable everyone will be. Remember the English weather will often confine you to the indoors!
Get the right insurance
Once you've bought your static caravan, you'll need specialist static caravan insurance. Many manufacturers' salespeople will push you towards going with a particular insurer, but more often than not this won't be the best deal! Specialist caravan insurers such as Shield provide cost effective static caravan insurance and will offer you the right policy for your needs.