Buying a static caravan
Static Caravans have number of different names such as a caravan holiday home or leisure home. Many people refer to them as the ‘home from home’ and some can be quite luxurious, which include central heating, double glazing and power showers. They are also built for a variety of uses such as site offices or canteens.
The static caravan isn’t really designed to be moved about, so great care and research should be undertaken to pick a suitable site, and when found the right plot that suits you. Read through the caravan park or sites rules and regulations. Determine all your extra costs such gas, electricity and water usage. The yearly fees for the site and insurance, and when the season operating times are and so on.
Your other considerations should be the additional facilities provided. The travelling distance; to your caravan and how many times you will be able to use it. The local and surrounding areas and what they have to offer. Perhaps how suitable it is for your friends and relatives, and the options for using it as a rental.
Remember some parks are more suitable for children than others, some of the large holiday companies have family orientated sites with discos, swimming pools etc. If you are retired may want something completely different. Also check to see if there is a limit on the time you can site your caravan for?
The static can vary in size from around 6 to 12m in length and from 3 to 3.7m in width and usually 1 to 3 separate bedrooms, and most are fitted too. Maintenance is minimal, especially on the exterior, but will depend on the amount you use it.
If buying new, a lot of people do buy straight from the manufactures or distributors, who will also deliver it. You will also find new homes for sale on the larger and holiday type parks
Other useful information and types of caravan are covered in our MOTORHOME/CARAVAN TYPES SECTION
Buying a Used Static Caravan
A sensible starting would be to try one out first, there are numerous sites all over the country, and some are run by the big holiday companies such as Haven. This will give you an idea on what it is like to live in one for a week or perhaps a fortnight. What amenities they have, how compact or spacious they are. With the smaller private or family owned parks they may even let you have a couple nights for free.
Depending on how big you family is and the amount you can spend, we will concentrate here on useful tips and hints when buying a used static only.
So now you know within reason what you are looking for, your budget and where in the country you would like it. Then:
1. Check out the surrounding area, walk around the camp and read carefully the owners rules and regulations. There can be limitations -
a) You may have to sell the caravan to the park owners or at least give them first refusal.
b) With some you may have to replace your caravan after it is 10 to 15 years old, irrespective of its condition.
c) While other may not place any rigid ruling if you look after and maintain your caravan.
d) Site fee’s vary enormously, and can be increased by any amount or percentage unless it is writing, don’t forget to ask and also when viewing the park ask the owners as well.
e) Are animals allowed on the park and if so what?
f) Do you like Sky TV? Can you get a good picture; are you allowed to have a dish displayed on the caravan?
g) Any other anomalies such as do you have to buy your gas from the site owners? Check everything out!
h) Change of ownership or move on site fee.
i) Rules on occupancy and residency IE No groups of single women or men.
2. Checking the condition:
When you have a selection of caravans to look, a good idea would be to take someone experienced with you. Always inspect a caravan in daylight hours and when it’s not raining. The main issues are:
Damp: Because this is a very expensive item to put right, it should viewed as a priority and is quite common on older caravans. Small signs may be spotted on the exterior around the sealing joins and window frames. When going inside the caravan you should be able to smell damp, and if you do, be on your guard. Start by checking inside all the cupboards, lockers, and inside any bedboxes. Test the joints, by firmly pressing them to see if there any movement. A break in any seal will eventually lead to internal damp problems and water ingress. When inside the caravan walk slowly around all the floor area ‘heavy footed’ if you can, if you sense any ‘sponging’ underfoot, make a polite getaway!
The Electrics and Gas: All connections and attached hoses should be in good condition. You could always get a plumber to check them out for you.
Running Gear and Chassis: If the jockey wheel has been maintained regularly is will move up and down freely and rotates easily. The hitching mechanism should move freely and the rubber gaiter should not show any signs of splitting. Test the handbrake two or three times to make sure it doesn’t stick, and the grease nipples have not been ignored. Be aware of new paint or underseal on the chassis, it could be camouflaging something else. Not forgetting the hitch and the suspension.
Cheap Extra’s: The seller may not be replacing the caravan, and if so find out what else they will throw in such as leisure batteries and chargers, gas bottles, awning etc. For a little extra you could be saving yourself a lot of money.
Paperwork: Ask to see the handbook and any service history on the caravan. You will know by the amount available what type of owner the seller is. Also enquire as to what amount of use the van gets and if it stands for long periods of time.
The Caravans Age: For newer caravans a HPI check is available. For a caravan made from 1992, there will be VIN (vehicle identification number) and this will be registered on the CRiS (Caravan Registration Identification Scheme). You will find the number on the vans chassis; it begins with SG, and also etched in the windows on later models.
The HPI will highlight any outstanding finance, if its an insurance write-off or has been stolen.
CHECK OUT THE HPI ……
Be Ready to Deal: Don’t forget if you need finance or loan, you could always have a look at our caravan finance RECOMMENDATIONS SECTION . Ideally agree beforehand with the seller on the method of payment, this keeps both parties happy. Don’t forget the insurance, take a look at CARAVAN INSURANCE……