Common pitfalls to avoid when buying a static caravan
As experts in matching owners to their right home-from-home, we know that buying a static caravan is an incredibly exciting experience. Whether it’s choosing the right caravan park, picking out the ideal holiday home, or planning how to decorate the interior, the entire process with us is a lot of fun.
However, it’s also easy to be blinded by excitement and forget to do the appropriate level of research before making your purchase. There are a number of pitfalls when buying a static caravan. These range from practical issues such as the size and distance from your home to the financial aspects of ownership. There are banana skins that can be easily avoided if you’re aware of them, which is why we're here to help. Calling on decades of experience in the industry, we’ll tell you about some of the most common factors that first-time buyers slip up on and how to negotiate your way around them.
Choosing a park too far from home
This has to be one of the most common mistakes of all. That three-hour journey might seem like peanuts at first during the initial honeymoon phase of ownership, but once you’ve clocked up several hundred miles on the car driving up and down the country every weekend, you might realise that you’ve made a mistake.
But don’t worry, with Haven you’ve got options. Being one of the biggest players in the static caravan market has its advantages. Over the years, we’ve built up an unrivalled portfolio of parks for our prospective owners to choose from. There are 39 dotted up and down the country, so regardless of where you’re based, a park that’s perfect for you isn’t too far away. But what is too far away?
Chris, an ownership expert at our Perran Sands Park in Cornwall, puts it perfectly.
‘‘The general advice is to aim for a park no more than two hours away from home (especially If you’re travelling with little ones). But if you’ve got your heart set on a certain location that’s far away, there are ways to compromise.”
“One of our owners in Cornwall has a four-hour drive to the park. But the family have a soft spot for the area (who can blame them?). In cases like this, the owners usually visit the park fewer times throughout the year, but for longer periods. There are always ways to make it work for you.’’
It really does depend on your personal circumstances and priorities. Whatever you’re thinking, we’ll be there to offer you advice every step of the way.
Overlooking the costs
A common static caravan buying pitfall is to forget the full costs associated with caravan ownership. Remember that additional annual costs will come into play once you buy your static caravan. At Haven, these take the form of site fees. This is the amount you pay to keep your holiday home sited on its pitch at our park for a year and it will vary depending on the type of holiday home, its size, which park it’s in and the specific location it sits in said park. Naturally, holiday parks in the more popular locations and prime spots have higher fees associated with them. Our fees cover everything from maintenance and security to grass cutting and landscaping.
Don’t just take this article’s word for it though, make sure to check all paperwork for the obligatory fees and take note of their values so that you can work this into your budget. Correctly calculating these fees should help you avoid accidentally making a purchase that you can’t reasonably afford to continue running.
Looking at a caravan as a financial investment
A new static caravan can be expected to last for up to 20 years. Of course, this depends on many factors like how well the caravan is maintained and weather conditions at the park. However, unlike many other caravan operating companies, which make you change your caravan every 5-10 years, Haven owners have no limit on how long they are allowed to keep the caravan.
The initial licence period for the occupation of a pitch on the park is 12 years, but this can be extended. As we always say to our prospective owners, a static caravan is a lifestyle investment, not a financial investment. Static caravans depreciate at a similar rate to cars (about 15% per year). It’s also worth bearing in mind that newer caravans depreciate faster than older ones.
Forgetting the TV Licence
This is a classic static caravan buying pitfall. You won't be liable to pay council tax on your holiday home as it doesn’t serve the function of your sole dwelling (this is known in tax law as a residential holiday home). However, if anyone wants to watch or record live TV on any channel, watch or even download BBC programmes on BBC iPlayer at the same time as someone else is at your main licensed address (home), then you'll need to buy an extra TV Licence for your static caravan.
It’s a cliche but, don’t get caught, pay your licence fee!
Not checking park rules
There are many different rules and guidelines which caravan parks can put in place. For example, at Haven we do not permit owners to live in their caravans permanently. Our sites are open longer for owners than holidaymakers, but they’re intended as a place to retreat to, not to live in all year round.
This means you can’t live at these sites permanently, and there are certain restrictions. Be sure to ask a park representative, read any relevant documents and research your destination before deciding if that park is right for you.
Make no site fee payments when using Let2own until 2030...
Let2own is a contractual lettings product that offers eligible owners a guaranteed letting income at a preferential rate (calculated each year) in exchange for a stipulated number of letting breaks. It also allows eligible owners to pay their site fees and receive their letting income in 12 equal monthly instalments; the monthly site fee amount charged by Haven will be after deduction of the letting income.
Let2own no site fees payment until 2030 is available at Blue Dolphin, Berwick, Caister-on-Sea, Cala Gran, Combe Haven, Craig Tara, Devon Cliffs, Golden Sands, Haggerston Castle, Hafan y Mor, Kiln Park, Littlesea, The Orchards, Presthaven, Perran Sands, Primrose Valley, Seashore, Wild Duck and Skegness. The letting income received will vary by make, model and location. The monthly site fee payment does not include running costs e.g. utilities, rates & insurance. “Make no site fee payments when using Let2own until 2030” is applicable to new customer purchases of new Atlas Chorus 3 Bed or equivalent or superior grade holiday home purchases made through Haven where customers have also signed up to Haven’s Let2own contract. It is not applicable to part-exchanges or private sales and cannot be used in conjunction with our free Site Fee promotion. It is available across 40% of eligible Parks and applies when letting a new Atlas Chorus 3 Bed holiday home for 15 weeks.
An example of how “Make no site fee payments when using Let2own until 2030” operates under Let2own is the purchase of an Atlas Chorus 3 Bed holiday home at Primrose Valley with a monthly site fee of £642.50 and monthly letting income of £759.25. The monthly difference equates to £116.75, which will be credited to the owner's account. Both letting income and site fees are subject to yearly pricing reviews and the monthly site fee costs and letting income shown in the example are based on 2023 figures.
Modelled assumptions on expected annual site fee and letting income charges over the 7-year lettable life of the Atlas Chorus 3 Bed indicate that under Let2own it is anticipated that these customers will continue to receive a monthly credit during this period, however, this is not guaranteed. The modelled assumptions are based on the historical performance of Haven over the past 5 years of trading.
Access to holiday home is subject to park opening times. Images are shown for representational purposes. Park cannot be used as a permanent residence. Haven Leisure Ltd (t/a Haven) is registered in England (No. 01968698) and is a FCA appointed representative of Bourne Leisure Limited. Bourne Leisure Ltd is registered in England (No. 04011660) and is authorised and regulated by the FCA (Financial Services Register No. 312847) as a credit broker and insurance distributor. Registered office: One Park Lane, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP2 4YL.