Saturday, November 30, 2013

Guide to Buying a Static Caravan

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Mobile Home (Photo credit: kenjonbro)
If you’re thinking about buying a static caravan for the first time, here are a few tips about things to consider and esquire about:
  • What are the site’s conditions? Your site, after your static, is the most important thing to you. Check out whether or not it has the facilities you’ll need and also whether or not you’ll be able (and happy) to comply with all their regulations and conditions;
  • Have you selected a static that’s an appropriate size? Buying small and cute might look cost-effective but not if you and your family start to live cheek-by-jowl day after day and frictions start to arise as a result;
  • Does the static have all required facilities? You may think that roughing it a bit is part of the fun and it might well be – for a short period! After that, it might become tiresome, so be clear that it has everything you’ll need to provide the minimum comfort levels and facilities you’ll require;
  • What’s happening in the local area? Your site might be great but if the nearest restaurants, pubs and shops are a 15 minute drive away the novelty of rural isolation might soon wear off. Considerations here also apply in terms of undesirable things going on nearby – for example that adjacent farm might look appealing but will be less so if tractors and machinery start making noise at 4am every morning; 
  • Do you understand what insurance will be required in order to protect your investment? If not then speak to a specialist such as Cover4Caravans or someone similar;
  • What condition is the static in? If you don’t know what to look for when performing an inspection, then get someone to help who does. Remember that, just like with a motor vehicle, things might look fine on the surface but there may be troubles internally or underneath that will result in you needing to some big cheques unless you spot them in advance;
  • What are your site neighbours like? True, this is tricky to ascertain sometimes and you can’t go around interviewing people but even so, look around at the condition of other caravans around you, how well their pitch is maintained, what the pet situation is and so on. Try to talk to a few people around you before making your purchasing decision – unless you’re planning to re-locate anyway;
  • Do you plan to let your static out at times? If the answer is yes, make sure you check before purchase that the site owners (possibly also the local council) will permit it. Insurance might not be a problem, providing you declare your intentions at the outset and don’t start letting out unilaterally without informing your policy provider;
  • Why is the current owner selling? The up-front answer is likely to be re-assuring and bland but some subtle questioning and discussion might sometimes evidence that there are issues other than those being declared. In one sense it might be none of your business but in others, it might give you a legitimate cause for concern;
  • Look closely at local environment issues. Caravan sites perched precariously on cliff-tops, in flood-plains, alongside local rivers or directly on the coast, might all be at risk during times of bad weather. Some sites might be a challenge in terms of finding things such as flood or storm insurance cover;
  • Clarify the site cost issues both in terms of the present and the future. For example, your pitch fees might seem very reasonable at purchase time but might look a lot less so if they rocket next year. Check out past annual increases and look for guarantees about future percentages where possible;
  • Don’t assume you can go to your caravan whenever you wish. Some sites may close at certain times of the year and in terms of site conditions, local council regulations and your insurance provisions, it might not be possible for you to spend more than a specified number of days in your static each year. Make sure that you understand the details here and what it will mean for your plans.

These are a very few basic points but they might help you to avoid making a purchase you’ll subsequently regret! 

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