Holiday Home Buyers Guide
Buying a Holiday Home can be a fantastic leisure investment for you and your family, where you can enjoy quality time and have special memories that can last a life time.
When making a large financial purchase it takes lots of thought, family talks, and some hours of research. Find out what other people are saying and make sure that owning a holiday home on a leisure park is the right decision for you.
Our buyers guide has been written by a team of industry experts who have a combined 60 years of experience working with some of the UK biggest holiday park operators.
This guide is constantly monitored to bring you up to date information as and when it is released from industry recognised associations such as the National Caravan Council.
Think about how often you and your family would use a holiday home.
Families get the most from their holiday home when they use it on a regular basis but befofe you buy, a few things to consider....
- How much do you enjoy holiday parks?
- Do you have a favourite holiday park you visit on a regular basis?
- Would you and the family use a holiday home for weekend breaks and main holidays?
- What size of a holiday home would fit your family needs?
- Would you need a 2 or a 3 bedroom?
- Would you want to use your holiday home during winter months?
- Would you consider having double glazing and central heating?
- Would you be looking at a new or used holiday home?
Think about what the reasons why you should not purchase a holiday home
- Your intention is to live in the caravan 365 days
- You are purchasing the holiday home as a financial investment
- You want to sell your holiday home in the short term to return more than what you paid
What park is right for me?
This is one of the most important aspects of the whole process. Consideration of the type of park you would like to purchase a holiday home is fundamental as there is a wide selection. For example, there are quiet relaxing parks with limited facilities or all action parks with many on-site facilities such as swimming pools, kids clubs, arcades, shops and restaurants. Some parks even offer exclusive members club for holiday home owners and specific park owner events throughout the year.
What should I consider when choosing a holiday park?
- The drive time from home and cost of fuel. Many holiday home owners believe a 2-3 hour drive is sufficient for weekend breaks and holidays
- What is in the local area, such as local events, attractions, shops
- How long is the Park Season eg 10 months
- What is your budget?
- What are the annual running costs after the holiday home purchase?
- What facilities does the park have, such as swimming pool, entertainment, pet friendly, park events, kids clubs
How do I choose my first caravan?
You need to make a call to your chosen holiday park and make an appointment with a member of the sales team. The sales representative will meet and greet you on arrival at the holiday park, and should be telling you all the details of holiday home ownership. Some things to consider....
- Single or twin unit
- Number of bedrooms
- Double glazing and central heating
- New or used caravan or lodge
Is there much difference between a new and a used holiday home?
A new holiday home will have all the modern finishing to the holiday home, such as, integrated fridge freezer, built in oven, smart soft furnishings, with matching curtains, ensuite facilities on some occasions the holiday home is wider in size, will be the latest model, and will have better insulation
A used holiday home is usually the entry level The holiday home will be a few years old, may have had a few previous owners, many do not have double glazing or central heating, may well have free standing white goods, carpets will be worn, and soft furnishing will have sign of wear and tear, will have thinner insulation, may have limited years left to be on the park, you may not be able to resell the holiday home due to its age,
Can I chose my own pitch?
On the park there may be quite a few empty pitches, many park owners have a policy where, if there has been a new development recently built, then the normal rule of thumb is that only new holiday homes can be pitched there. The sales representative will show what pitches are right for the size of your chosen holiday home.
How much are site fees?
Site fees are different on most parks depending on what the park has to offer in terms of facilities and cosmetics of the park.
How often can I use my caravan?
Most holiday park operate with a local council holiday licence, which means the park will have an annual opening day and a closing day, during these dates a holiday home can be used for only for leisure and holiday purposes, when the annual licensed period expires and the park is closed for a few weeks, then the holiday home cannot be occupied for any over night stays, however, many park operators will allow holiday home owners the right to visit their holiday home between usually 9.00am and 3.00pm each day.
What are the running costs?
Ensure that you fully understand the running costs before you purchase the holiday home
- Site Fees: Are paid on an annual invoice, you should receive your site fee invoice 3 months before the actual pay date. Site fees are a contribution to the upkeep of the park and its facilities
- Gas: The gas bottles are usually 47kg bottles these can normally be ordered and paid for at the park reception, they are delivered to your holiday home by the park maintenance team, where they will install and safety check the bottle for you. Some parks have piped gas and this a metered and you should receive an annual invoice for the amount used
- Electricity: You will receive an annual invoice for the amount of electricity used, some holiday home owners take a meter reading every week, when you have chosen your pitch, ensure the meter is read and recorded by the park team
- Insurance: Your holiday home will need to be insured, and a copy of your insurance policy may be required to be given to the park to be filed. There are many Caravan specialist insurance companies offering online quotes.
- Setting up your holiday home: Remember to budget for the set up costs of the holiday home which is all normal house hold accessories such as, bedding, TV, pots, pan, plates and cutlery
- Finance: When you purchased your holiday home, you may have taken some finance, remember this is also a monthly running cost until the agreed term has expired
Can I sublet the holiday home to subsidise the costs?
Subletting letting will reduce the amount of time you and your family will spend on the park.
Many parks will allow subletting, and many parks will offer subletting as a service to you, and they will sublet your holiday home on your behalf, and after costs of subletting your holiday home for you, such as, cleaning, bedding, and maybe some repair charges and a commission to the park, a % of the funds will go straight into your on park account to offset your site fees, although never guaranteed to meet the full cost of the site fees.
You can carry out the subletting yourself, but consider who will do the cleaning? who will be at the parks to welcome the guests? who will carry out minor repairs? It will be time consuming, which is why many owners just let the park let the caravan out for them.
How do I maintain the holiday home?
New Holiday Home: Will need very little maintenance, the pitch presentation, such as weeding, grass cutting and strimming, is the responsibility of the park maintenance team.
What is draining down or winterising the holiday home?
Every year the holiday home will require to be winterised, this means ensuring there is no water in the system, if this is not carried out properly it can be a very costly mistake, which is why most holiday home owners get the park maintenance team to carry this job out for them, of course there is a charge.
How often do I have to clean the exterior of the holiday home?
Most holiday home owners will jet wash and polish their holiday home at the start of each season, this keeps the holiday home shining, but also gets rid of Algae and mould.
Can I have a decking on my holiday home?
Ask your park representative, as many parks have a preferred supplier of deckings.
Can I bring my dog to the park?
Most parks do allow pets, however the pet owner has to remain responsible for the pet at all times, such as, pick up any dog waste from the ground, and deposit it in a doggy bin, keep your dog on a lead at all times. Adhere to the dangerous dog act and be aware of what breed of dog is not allowed on the park.
Do I have to pay council tax?
No as holiday parks operate with a holiday licence and you are agreeing that your holiday home is going to be used for holiday and recreational purposes only.
How long can I keep my holiday home on the park for?
Most park will say as long as the holiday home is maintained and kept in good condition then it can stay on the park for many year to come. If the park has what is called a period of tenure, and that could be 10, or 15 years, some parks may have the period of tenure in their terms and conditions, but they do not exercise this term. As the park representative about the period of tenure.
What are the options of paying for a holiday home?
There are 2 ways in which a holiday home can be paid for, cash or finance. Most park operators have a consumers credit licence, and are regulated by the FCA, and the park sales representatives will go through training to comply with the FCA regulations.
- Cash sale, where a deposit is paid and the balance is paid by banks transfer or bankers draft.
- Finance, Where you pay a deposit and the balance is paid by the agreed finance company. If you are taking finance ensure you read the paperwork carefully, how much you are borrowing, at what rate are you borrowing the money, how long is the term for repayment, how much are the monthly repayments, and lastly can you really afford the repayment.
Is the park a member of the Nation Caravan Council Approved Scheme?
If the park is a member of the Nation Caravan Council Approved Scheme, that will add credibility to the park you have chosen, as there are benefits to both parties, the park operator and the holiday home owner.
Is there a complaints procedure?
Most parks will have their own complaints procedure, which usually start with the Park Manager who usually can solve 99.9% of any complaint, although there will a a department at the parks head office dealing with complaints.
Is there a cooling off period, if after I have left the park I think I have made a wrong decision?
If you change your mind for whatever reason, always read the terms and conditions on the back of the agreement, and that will state the time for the cooling off period.
If there is no reference to a cooling off period, ask the sales representative what the procedure is.
Will I need to prove I am a UK resident before I can purchase a holiday home?
You will need to bring some forms of ID before you can take possession of your holiday home, such as, Proof of UK residential address, usually a council tax bill, or utility bill, Drivers Licence,
Now you have asked all the question, It is time to make the decision is owning a holiday home on a park is right for you and your family.
If you have decided YES!! It is right for me and the family and YES we can afford it.
Completing the sale
Now that you have decided you want to own a holiday home the next step is to finalise the details with the sales representative...
- Which holiday home is being purchased
- Price of the holiday home
- Which pitch the holiday home is being sited on
- Agree a hand over date
- Agree any minor repairs or works that need to be carried out
- Agree the pet policy
- Agreed how it is going to be paid for - finance or cash purchase
- Agree the length of pitch tenure
- Agree site fees
- Agreed any special requests
- Ensure you have a copy of the sales invoice, sales purchase agreement, parks terms & conditions, pitch licence agreement and copy of the code of practice
Thinking of selling your Holiday Home
The guidelines for selling your holiday home should be stated within the Park rules or your pitch licence agreement. Many holiday parks will allow you to sell your holiday home privately. However, the park rules usually state that it must be given the first right of refusal.
If the park decides they do not want to purchase your holiday home, you have the option to sell it privately. In this case, you must...
- Complete a private sale agreement
- State the selling price
- If you change the price, you must inform the park and offer them the holiday home at the reviewed price.
- Agree to pay the park 15% commission plus VAT.