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I want to live in a caravan - am I mad?

(91 Posts)
mrsnonsmoker Mon 24-Jun-19 12:26:35

I love caravans, I love the Kent coast. I'll only get around £120k equity out of my current house and would like to have most of my capital to spend, so having a caravan as my main home seems to allow me to do that - looking at some sites they have 11.5 month seasons etc - what can go wrong? hmm

I'm 60 now so I am thinking in about 5 years time. Come and tell me some horror stories or encourage me? What happens if you are ill - is it harder being unwell in a caravan than in a house? I like the noise of kids and cars so not looking for somewhere quiet; I wonder if these places have a good community feel too?

glammanana Mon 24-Jun-19 12:36:15

When you reach 65 and if you decide to go ahead with your plans re living in a caravan (static mobilehome) please be aware that even if bought new they only have a certain life span where they are sited so you may have to replace it if you expect to live for 20+ years after purchase and if you decide that you don't enjoy the move you are obliged to sell back to the Park owner at their given value not your own value so be very careful what you decide.

gillybob Mon 24-Jun-19 12:39:19

You won't get any horror stories from me mrsnonsmoker .

Whilst we never lived in it, my DH and I had a lovely static in Northumberland and seriously considered selling our house to live in it at the time of the financial crisis. As it turned out we ended up having to sell both.

Having owned a static I would just point out some of the things you need to consider before making the final decision.

1) The yearly rental costs (ours was over £3k per year when we left).

2) Where will you go during the closure of the site?

3) the cost of heating tends to be a lot higher as a caravan is not as well insulated as a traditional home.

4) will you be forced to upgrade your model every so often? The site we were on would only allow caravans up to a certain age.

5) other costs such as insurances, gas safety checks etc.

Despite the above I loved our static and probably could have been very happy living in it. I also had this weird feeling that doing the usual chores in a caravan never seemed like work. I always felt like I was "playing house" although I suppose that novelty could wear off in time.

There were loads of retirees living on the site where we had our static and their was a real sense of community too.

You can be unwell at home or in a caravan. My mum took very poorly once while staying with us and I called an ambulance just as I would have if she had been in her own home. No problem at all.

gillybob Mon 24-Jun-19 12:40:34

their there

gillybob Mon 24-Jun-19 12:41:12

Meant to add that I would have another static caravan in a heartbeat.

EllanVannin Mon 24-Jun-19 12:44:56

The cold weather in winter ?

mrsnonsmoker Mon 24-Jun-19 13:19:51

Yup site fees are a consideration, I did know about the age of the model and had forgotten so thanks I needed to put that on my list as well. Cold - hmm. I'd be more worried about it being too hot in summer but I see the point yes its a concern.

Keep the pros and cons coming Grans!

gillybob Mon 24-Jun-19 13:29:59

I always felt very safe in our static too. Not sure why? I think maybe it was the fact that everyone seemed to look out for each other. Caravans do get vey hot in the summer as well as very cold in the winter. The utility prices (ie water, electricity, gas) are almost always controlled by the site owner so no shopping around for the best prices.

Urmstongran Mon 24-Jun-19 13:30:24

You could always have holiday or visit family during the 2 week site closure.

A friend always books into a lovely B&B nearby her caravan site and it’s been a regular booking now for six years. She loves living in her caravan - little amount of cleaning - she makes me giggle when she says she does housework for 10 minutes every day whether it needs it or not!

She has a bench and pots of flowers outside and a small shop on site for essentials.

Sometimes there are disputes with neighbours over parking allocations but that’s the only thing she has found stressful.

She said it’s a peaceful yet friendly way of life. Very relaxing.

lovebeigecardigans1955 Mon 24-Jun-19 13:33:27

I've heard that insulation can be a problem but newer ones are better.
Site fees go up, not down.
You may not be allowed to live there all year round.
There might even be rules about not being allowed to grow anything in your tiny garden which is more than one or two feet tall.
Once you start dipping into your equity it can soon disappear. What if you live to 100 years old?
There are some very good sites which have visiting doctors, hairdressers and the like.
There was a magazine devoted to the subject but I'm damned if I can recall the title. Try googling 'magazine static caravan sites' and see what comes up. It contained a few horror stories about terrible site owners who behaved very badly indeed - criminal proceedings involved.
I hope you find something to your satisfaction.

gillybob Mon 24-Jun-19 13:35:02

Sometimes when I can't sleep I walk from the site entrance right up to our old caravan, open the door and walk in. I can still smell it. I touch the curtains and sit on the sofa.

Urmstongran Mon 24-Jun-19 13:45:04

Oh bless you gillybob that brought a lump to my throat.
You went through such an horrendous time during the recession.

We did too (if it’s any small consolation).
x

Dee1012 Mon 24-Jun-19 13:55:09

My ex-partners father lived in a caravan for a number of years.
As many others have said;
Site owners had full control over utilities, even the gas bottles and he paid well over the odds.
To sell your buyers had to be "interviewed" by the site owner and there was an issue with every single one! He sold to the owner for a pittance.
Insurance....they aren't the most secure?

gillybob Mon 24-Jun-19 14:08:25

I remember the elderly couple who had the caravan beside us. Her brother was very famous and equally rich (wouldn't dare say who). They had lived in the caravan for 5 years and for whatever reasons weren't able to pay their site fees on time. They asked for time to pay and were refused by the site owner. They ended up having to sell it to him for a pittance of what it was worth. I remember crying my eyes out for them as they packed up and left the site. That same day a team of cleaners went through the caravan and the new owners to move in only a few days later. Little did I know at the time but we would be in exactly the same boat only a few months later. sad and angry

gillybob Mon 24-Jun-19 14:10:29

I've been back to the site Urmstongran but couldn't walk up to the part where "our" van was. DH couldn't help himself. Apparently it looked as good as new. I was hoping he would say it was derelict. grin silly I know but I was so attached to that caravan, I didn't bat an eyelid when we lost our house.

M0nica Mon 24-Jun-19 16:17:30

Many parks are 'over 55s only'.

M0nica Mon 24-Jun-19 16:18:35

I know how you feel Gillbob, wen my grandmother died, I didn't go down her road for over 30 years, it was too upsetting to go by her house and know she wasn't there.

Harris27 Mon 24-Jun-19 16:24:03

Aw gillybob you are a tonic we're struggling at the moment and looking to downsize before we get any older. You give me hope!

Harris27 Mon 24-Jun-19 16:25:17

Ps . Go for the caravan and be happy! Mrsnonsmoker.

Urmstongran Mon 24-Jun-19 16:28:21

Gillybob is always lovely and upbeat. Always posts fun stuff.
😊
Well, apart from ‘that place’ which depresses her mightily!

Willow500 Mon 24-Jun-19 16:45:34

My in-laws had a static on a seaside site although they didn't live in it permanently and really enjoyed staying in it but lost a huge amount of money when they sold it so beware and research the costs well. I have a friend however who was widowed a few years ago and she moved into one surrounding lakes which is actually only a stones throw from her family - she loves it and just goes to stay with her daughter during the two months required closure.

Good luck.

gillybob Mon 24-Jun-19 17:01:34

There must be another gillybob on Gransnet at the minute ‘cos I’m a fully paid up miserable cow . confused

annep1 Mon 24-Jun-19 17:04:08

We love our holiday caravan. Only thing is its quite cold in Spring. We use an oil radiator in the bedroom at night. However we are in sunny Northern Ireland. You won't get so many cold days in Kent. Its so relaxing, little maintenance. Site fees are expensive but you pay rates for a house. I think as long as you allow for replacing it at some stage.... just in case. I love Kent. As long as you've thought it through if the idea excites you, hey! we only get one life- go for it.

BlueBelle Mon 24-Jun-19 17:10:38

I won’t add a down side mrsnonsmoker it’s something I ve often thought I d love to do I think caravans are lovely and if I didn’t have my house I m in I would certainly consider it myself
MOnica I totally relate to what you say I can’t walk down the road past my mum and dads house although they ve been gone seven years but I can’t bear to see if it’s changed or to even think of anyone else’s in it

Alygran Mon 24-Jun-19 18:04:00

Some friends have recently sold theirs with the site taking a percentage. They couldn’t face another winter. They also had to be out for six consecutive weeks each year to avoid council tax. This was a bit of a problem.
That said if it’s your dream just do it!