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Static Caravan - Is It For Me?


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Hi again,

 

After my post yesterday about getting a static caravan, I thought I would follow up with some details that might help you decide if it's right for you.

 

Firstly, this is my first static so these are just the things that I have found out for myself, my one word of advice is do lots of research. There are some good sites out there as well as the bad.

 

So, what is the reason to get one? Is it better or worse than a seasonal tourer pitch? Isn't there huge costs in running one? What if I change my mind in a year or two? There were many questions that rattled through my head when deciding, these were just a few of them.

 

So, what is the reason to get one?

 

For me, it was because I have seen pretty much all of our country as a driver. Yes there are places I would love to revisit, but I can do that as a weekend treat whenever I want. I wanted a retreat, a place to go where the world slows down, people are happy, where you feel part of somewhere and that feeling is shared by like minded folk. We see it many times when we pitch our vans, a nod, a wave, a gossip and a brew. I wanted that without having to search for it.

 

Is it better or worse than a seasonal tourer pitch?

 

Well, that is a difficult one. There is good and bad for both sides. A seasonal would give me that place but with limited space, there would be a worry if everything was ok while I was not there. My favourite question is 'What if?' So that was used many times in my decision making. I could remove my van if needed, go on a jaunt somewhere else and return to base. I don't need that.

With a static, that is my base. I can go whenever I choose, as little or often as I like. Everything will be as it was left, turn the key open the door, have a wine while the good lady is faffing. There are many differences and there are many needs - each to their own eh?

 

Isn't there huge costs in running one?

 

Well the difference in pitch costs were around £500 more for the static. This will vary greatly between sites. I looked at the costs as a major factor in my choice. I made it rational in that if needed or wanted, I could let out my static to good friends or close family and make it a better value option. It would only take a few let weeks to bring it in line with a tourer seasonal pitch cost. That gave me a better caravan and better facilities for the same costs - no brainer! The running costs of gas and electric were around the same, the only other costs were maintenance and residual values. Maintenance would work out cheaper as it was just an annual gas and electricity test, no running gear to worry about and damp is not (should not) be an issue. They do cost more up front to buy and lose money like a child in an arcade, so it needs to be a long term investment for holiday quality rather than resale of the van.

 

What if I change my mind in a year or two?

 

You will lose money - always. That fact must be in the front of your mind from the start. Selling your van is riddled with flaws. Some sites say you must sell through them and they take a chunk. Some let you sell on your own but charge you for removal and de siting. Some will give you rock bottom price and smile when they do. Some will force you to upgrade in 5 - 10 - 15 years. Read the small print, talk to other owners, get a good feel of whether the site is right for you - not the caravan. I took a long term view that I will lose money, but I prefer to say that I am paying for a better way of relaxing for the next few years ;)

 

The biggest decision you need to make is do you want a holiday home for yourself, or are you going to let it out to cover your costs and maybe earn a few quid along the way? Forgetting the tax man and what is involved on that front, letting out is a major task but can give good rewards, you will not likely become a threat to Holiday Inn shares but you could make something worthwhile out of it. So here is what I found. ...

 

The site is the decider in which way you can let. Some will make you use them to let out, others let you do it yourself. So what's the difference? A HUGE one! My site say I can let out to family and friends but if it moves into more letting then it has to be booked through them. They take a 25% +vat fee but they do all the advertising, brochures, bookings, cleaning, linen, handover etc. This is a good deal, not the best but a good one. My brother has a van on a site and his site owner takes 70%!!!! You will always be responsible for the gas and electric bill so you need to take that into account in any decision to let.

You can, if your site allows you to let, put it on letting websites. These range from around £40 - £100 per year, they give you a page to advertise on with around 6-10 pics, a description box to tempt your clients, a bookable calender (A MUST) but that's it. The rest is up to you. You can promote through social media or create your own website. This all takes time and effort. Also bear in mind that if you are doing it yourself, you need to do handovers, cleaning, laundry, marketing etc all yourself - possible if you are only an hour away, difficult if you're 2-3 hours away. Then you will need to pay cleaners, key holders, laundry swap, inventory checks, damage checks. ... it can become tiresome for something that was supposed to be a relaxing lifestyle!

 

Having it as a holiday home for yourself means you get to know your neighbours, build up a network that will look out for you and you for them, lend borrow and swap, have pride and happiness along with less stress - all the things we look for in going away in our tin cans in the first place :D

 

Choices and options, what will yours be?

 

Any questions just ask, we move in on Friday and I can't wait!

 

Have fun, be safe.

 

H.

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There are many sad stories of owners buying a decent static and then due to changing circumstances having to sell.

 

They are sited on private land and the owners can find themselves in great difficulty because the site owners put many restrictions on the sale.

eg. Allowing the sale but only to them.

 

Not allowing the new owner to leave the static in place unless the sale is via the site owner etc.

 

I hope we hear from static owners who have first hand information regarding this obstacle to selling on.

 

I think there is something going through Parliament regarding this practice.

 

http://www. bbc. co. uk/news/uk-politics-22677508

Ford C-Max and Coachman Festival 380/2 SE 2006    Motto  Carpe Diem

Still trying to find the perfect pitch. ..110 amp Battery+ 65 watt roof mounted Solar and 25 watt Wind Turbine. LED lighting. Status Aerial 315. Loose chattels marked with UV,. Safefill Gas Fitted.

 

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You are right LHD, there are many catches to be wary of, but the key point is research.

 

I have it written into my contract that I will not need to upgrade for the term of my license (10 years) on a 13 year old van. I can sell to whoever I like and the site will take a 15% commission or I can sell back to the site but I know I will get next to nothing for it.

 

I intend to keep it for a good few years as it is in good shape, hopefully for the full term.

 

As I stated above, I have not gone into this as an asset to sell on but more for a better quality of down time. The difference between the seasonal tourer and a static, on a good site, can be minimal in costs but larger in quality and space. The key is finding a site that that works for you ;)

 

H.

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Just a few pics of my new venture. ...

 

post-60969-0-15028700-1400096057_thumb.jpg

post-60969-0-43261600-1400096054_thumb.jpg

post-60969-0-15378300-1400096056_thumb.jpg

 

Plenty of grass cutting which means a beer may be needed ;)

 

H.

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Friends bought one a couple of years back, as a stop-gap between houses, which they are still in. ....however, they didn't realise how much gas they needed in the winter to keep the place warm, otherwise fine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

geoff

Kia Sorento KX-1 CRDI 4WD towing an Elddis Affinity 530

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  • 5 weeks later...

Thanks Honk, what a great summary!

 

We have just started down the road of owning and got lucky very quickly! We have found a private sale on a lovely site and all seems to be going well.

 

We have checked our the site with locals for its reputation. All clear. We have read the site occupation contract thoroughly, and it all seems fine.

 

We have had a very thorough look over (and under!) The caravan and all is in good order and much as you would expect for 7 years old. In fact given its exposure to sea winds it has obviously been well looked after.

 

We have met and got to know the couple who are selling and they are very pleasant genuine people who have been using the caravan as a temporary stopgap whilst buying just up the road.

 

It seems to me that all that remains to be done is to sort out some Bill of sale between us (I am going to check but I don't think the site owners get involved in the actual sale, just the site agreement) and do the necessary paperwork with the site owners.

 

Can anybody think of what we might have missed, offer any advice, or indeed point us to a model Bill of sale?

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It seems to me that all that remains to be done is to sort out some Bill of sale between us (I am going to check but I don't think the site owners get involved in the actual sale, just the site agreement) and do the necessary paperwork with the site owners.

 

Can anybody think of what we might have missed, offer any advice, or indeed point us to a model Bill of sale?

Hi Coyru and :welcome: to the forum.

 

A first point to note is who actually owns the van, if the previous owners have financed it it may still belong to the finance company until they have been paid so I would check that out first.

 

Also you need to look very carefully at what your site agreement states.

How old can the vans be before needing to be upgraded? Some say 10 years old and some are not bothered as long as they are well looked after. Check and check again.

 

What are your site fees and what do they cover? Are you going to get any surprise bills? Who are you going to insure it with? Some will say you can get your own insurance but charge a fee to check the policy.

 

As for a bill of sale, it is the same as buying a car, you just need to use the van serial number instead if the reg number. Bear in mind that you will need to make sure that the gas and electric are safe to use and you have certificates to say so.

 

Good luck with the purchase and hope you have plenty of good years chillaxing ;)

 

H.

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Quote; And do the necessary paperwork with the site owners.

Can anybody think of what we might have missed, offer any advice

 

 

Read the small print and if possible get someone else who has a legal qualification to check as well?

Ford C-Max and Coachman Festival 380/2 SE 2006    Motto  Carpe Diem

Still trying to find the perfect pitch. ..110 amp Battery+ 65 watt roof mounted Solar and 25 watt Wind Turbine. LED lighting. Status Aerial 315. Loose chattels marked with UV,. Safefill Gas Fitted.

 

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Lots of sites take a percentage of the sale & charge an increased yearly site fee if you don't buy directly from the site owner . I recommend you call the owner & make an appointment with him so he can check you out as well as you introduce yourself . i bet there is a charge you won't know about . Get everything up front for the sale of the van. & the site on paper before you put your hand in your pocket . If you jump in feet first you may end up sinking . Great lifestyle if you get it right so good luck with your purchase

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If you let out the van you must have an annual gas and safety check, this is not a legal requirement if you keep it for personal use, you must also have commercial insurance. Gas costs will more than likely be higher as the van is much bigger and looking at your photos it is more than likely fitted with central heating radiators, I would expect gas costs to be around £130 per year based on using 2x47Kg gas bottles (more if on site mains gas as there wlll be a standing charge on the meter.

If you are handy at DIY and can fit cladding round the bottom of the van you will find it keeps the van much warmer as the floor can get quite cold when a cold wind is blowing under the van

Hope you enjoy your new home from home, don't forget to drain down for the winter (not the central heating as this will have antifreeze in it)

Edited by terve
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