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

(92 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?

mrsnonsmoker Thu 04-Jul-19 13:31:07

Good luck with that Hymnbook!! wink

On the advice of a previous poster I joined a facebook group for people on static sites and it makes pretty damning reading. Seems that some sites are really dodgy sad

annep1 Wed 03-Jul-19 20:26:54

hymbook i think you might want to start a new thread 😊.

Hymnbook Wed 03-Jul-19 20:18:45

I would like advice on what products to use to make my eyebrows thicker and darker.

Smileless2012 Tue 02-Jul-19 15:00:24

A couple of months ago we upgraded our 8 year old static caravan that we bought second hand 4 years ago, to a brand new lodge.

It's lovely and I could quite happily live in it. A foot wider than the old static and 7 foot longer, with 2 spacious en suite bedrooms (1 with a bath) and separate utility room with w/m.

As with your friends lincolnimp the internet connection isn't good but the site is beautiful and is open 11 months of the year.

Got us thinking again about buying abroad and spending 4 or 5 months here in the summerhmm.

Go for it mrsnonsmoker you've got plenty of time to look into everything. We got part exchange for our old one and the price we'd have had to have paid without that for the the new was £58K.

Try and buy as near to your preferred site as possible as the transporting and setting up can be pricey.

lincolnimp Mon 01-Jul-19 10:58:57

We have friends who live in a static caravan on a delightful site---all owner occupiers and not allowed to commercially rent out to holidaymakers.
Beautifully equipped, spacioua, central heating, triple glazing. The only downside is there is poor internet connection.
We are planning to join them, though in our case it will be a second home as we are moving out of the area to be nearer our younger grandchildren (property cheaper) and buying the static so that we can visit the older grandchildren regularly. Will also allow friends and family to use it when we don't. Not commercially renting it out---but the odd Waitrose voucher as a ''thank you' would be gratefully received

coleen21 Wed 26-Jun-19 23:41:31

we've (husband and i) have lived in trailers/caravans twice. once for 9 months with a 2 month old baby and the last time being 1 year ago for 11 months. my thoughts...

getting sick. bathroom is smaller. it can be nice if you have no energy, there's less room to have to maneuver. but, i wound up with extreme low iron levels and didn't realize i was so tired all the time because i had to move so little. but when our new home was finished i barely had the energy to walk to our bedroom.

we set up an outdoor kitchen under the awning which i loved in the spring/summer and fall. we don't plan on doing it again. we are now 65 yrs old and just want a full size house. but they are nice for an interim.

yes, the do depreciate in value and not they are not built for long term living quality wise. the components wear out and need replaced much more often than in a standard home.

have fun whatever you decide!

ps...i'm american if the terminology is different.

Jani31 Wed 26-Jun-19 17:58:49

I have just bought a freehold static park home. An over 55 year old site with a building having 2 bedrooms, driveway and garage. No gas, so paying over the top for buildings and contents insurance as basically it is a wood structure. I pay £156 a month for service charges as it is private land for upkeep of road, drainage and street lighting. There are fire alarms on the lamp posts as we have to ring them and warn others before 999. I see that I should also have a fire extinguisher just in case. I do not have a problem with leaving the home for 6 weeks like the local holiday parks. Same council tax, electric, insurance, water and waste rates here, separate here on the South Coast.

Nanof4 Wed 26-Jun-19 16:35:11

Hi, the Facebook group is called:
Park Holidays & Other Parks ‘Action Group’
It is run by a lady called Carol Keeble.
Please join the group & read the posts before you commit yourself to parting with any of your cash/savings

Nanof4 Wed 26-Jun-19 16:29:34

Hi, you cannot live permanently on a site that has an 11.5 month season. It is illegal. These sites are “holiday sites” & not residential sites. To live on a site permanently it has to be a residential site. The local council in the area you wish to live should provide you with a list of legal, residential sites.
If you live on a holiday site you will have to provide proof of address and show that you pay council tax at another (permanent) address. Holiday sites have been getting away with murder for years & now local councils are beginning to clamp down on them.
There is a Facebook site dedicated to just this issue. Lots & lots of very unhappy people have parted with their life savings & been miss sold their caravans/lodges

mrsnonsmoker Wed 26-Jun-19 11:01:57

Wow. I am blown away with all the responses, 4 pages! lots of useful info - thank you all for sharing your memories and experiences good bad and poignant.

Those of you with warnings seem to be warning about the same things so its a buyer beware situation of course. But the positives are the ones I'd heard about so good to have that confirmed. I will go through the links. Its a way off yet as the DCs aren't through uni so I have to provide a home for them for the time being.

Thank you everyone, I knew I could ask a Gran!

Legs55 Wed 26-Jun-19 09:55:40

I live in a Mobile Home on a Residential Park, this is the 2nd Park/Mobile home I've owned.

DH & I bought ours in 2011 on a lovely site, no shops close but we were still driving & Taxis into local Town were reasonable. Site fees were quite high though. In 2015 I sold for a little more than we paid as I was now a widow & wanted to move closer to DD.

I bought an older Mobile Home on a quiet Park in a lovely Devon Town. I have a Post Office/General Store within walking distance. Good bus service to Larger Towns. Site fees are reasonable & Park Owners are ok. I am responsible for my own Utilites, I have mains gas which is great many Parks don't & Calor is expensive but usually this is in tanks rather than bottles & you have your own meter. If electricity is provided by Park Owner they are not allowed to charge more than they pay & they pay a lower price than a normal household so it's swings & roundabouts.

My present home has been insulated since I moved here, due to certain benefits I qualified for a Council Grant of £7000 which almost covered both wall & underfloor insulation. Mine is an old Mobile Home but kept in good repair will last many more years. There is no requirement to replace them. 12 months occupancy as it is Residential & lower age limit is 45, grandchildren may stay for holidays.

I love my home, research is important but do consider permanent sites rather than holiday ones. Permanent sites are regulated & there is more protection for the Home Owner now the Law has been changed.

Justme67 Wed 26-Jun-19 09:43:56

Thank you annepl, I hope too that I shall continue to enjoy my freedom here. Not to everyone's taste, but each to his own, and friends are always welcome and pleased to come and stay..

annep1 Tue 25-Jun-19 23:08:00

Justme67 very useful post of a success story. I hope you continue to enjoy it for many years.

Redrobin51 Tue 25-Jun-19 21:05:06

Something I've always wanted to do but OH not keen. Ring Age UK on 08000556112 and ask them to send you a copy of their Factsheet Nos 71 Park Homes. It is a mind of information of what to look out for, legalities etc. Good luck.x

Alexa Tue 25-Jun-19 20:15:11

Living in a caravan is very nice. The site is the thing to take care about.

Tillybelle Tue 25-Jun-19 17:51:54

Ummm. If it's like camping on a Caravan Club Site, it isn't for me. I stayed a few times on Caravan Club Sites in my little Camper, and I didn't fit in. For one thing, I use plastic and tin mugs. Apparently I should have matching bone china. Then I was wearing the wrong shoes; Crocs to be precise. Apparently they are ugly and the man "can't understand why women wear them". Then the man who'd just gone through the gate waited to let me drive part way in then let go of the gate so it crashed into my van. Which he said was my fault. Then I had one small miniature poodle. Apparently she was too prissy and pampered and not a tough dog. Then I didn't drink alcohol. Apparently people who don't drink alcohol are absolutely horrible and think they are better than everybody else and look own on people who drink (apart from "it's tea" when asked what was in my mug, I had said nothing else). Then I was parked at the back of the site. Apparently the owner should have made a miserable little van like mine park behind the lavatory block.

I'm sure none of this relates to actually living in a caravan, but it was the nearest experience I had and some of the people I met were living in static caravans on a part of the field. I did not go back. I just go to camp in sites that are impassable for larger vehicles than my little van so I know there won't be any caravans.

If you look on You Tube, there are amazing videos of people who live in camper vans. They are brilliant! Those of you who love your caravans will love how they do out their vans. Each one is personally kitted out. They live in them permanently and travel around. However they are in the USA, so the climate is different!

Justme67 Tue 25-Jun-19 17:27:35

Now here is someone who has actually done that, got the video (we moved into a new site and took a video of work being doing around us), no t-shirt I am afraid, and yes we love it, my husband was happy here all the while he was alive, and we moved in 2002. Let's face the facts, on this site and many more, there is age restriction, and a limit to the number of pets you can own. Each Mobile home here has a garage alongside, and all of them have their own electricity meters and gas supplies. Water bill is paid to the site owners, and the yearly sum written down for us all to clearly understand. All the homes are privately owned and occupied, no one is supposed to let their home, and we all live here for the whole year. The water pipes under the house are lagged, and if we wish, we can turn on a small heating supply during the winter months to ensure they do not freeze. Yes, we do get cold in the winter, but warm curtains and a nice carpet help to keep out the cold
and when spring comes, it really feels as if you are on holiday when you open the door, I have no idea why that is, but most people who live on site agree with me. I am not sure why people think it is expensive. You own the caravan and can sell it and move away if you need, yes you do have to pay the site owners a percentage of the sale, but this is something being discussed in Parliament at the moment. You are responsible for your own plot - lots of variation in gardening, and a lovely talking point as you walk to the shops. We are lucky we have Sainsbury, M&S, Lidl, Tesco all within walking distance, but when once you enter our site it is a different world. Do I like where we live, Yes I do, and would recommend it to anyone who wants to take a chance. There is added benefit that there is always someone on call, should you need them.

NanaandGrampy Tue 25-Jun-19 16:55:29

This might prove to be a useful resource


Davida1968 Tue 25-Jun-19 16:19:35

Nope, not a sales rep - just a very ordinary Gran. I'm simply someone who knows what the legislation says...... The OP is asking for information, so I've flagged up a very relevant issue. (People have been caught out by this, and will continue to be so.) Of course the decision is up to the OP.

oodles Tue 25-Jun-19 16:15:08

A very good friend achieved her dream of a park he bit after a few years it became her nightmare, a. Lovely home I'm a beautiful part of the country but you are at the mercy of the owners and managers and you have to get everything through them, it was a small community and things just got horrible, and yes when they sold so much has to go to owner. You might have lovely owners and managers but they can change if the site is sold. When they needed legal advice to try and get them out of the situation there are very few solicitors specialising and they had to go miles across country to find one, too far to go both ways in a day. It's like a mediaeval kingdom. You can take your he bit sites only accept v new ones and yes they do depreciate

driverann Tue 25-Jun-19 16:11:55

I think David1968 is a sales rep for a lodges company. A residential all year site 6 miles from my site has changed from residential to a holiday park because they could not find another buyers to pay £250,000 or more for their very expensive lodges. They now sell holiday caravans.

driverann Tue 25-Jun-19 15:57:38

David1968. If a holiday park is open 11.5 months then the owners of the caravans are fully allowed to stay there for the whole 11.5 months. We pay towards the business rates of the site, therefore we are not skipping out from not paying council tax. Our son and daughter in law had an extension built onto their house that is our part of the house because we helped to pay for it, that is postal address and where we stay the two weeks of the year the caravan site closes.

driverann Tue 25-Jun-19 15:37:51

I would say go for it I have lived in one now for 8 years and love it. The community feel is lovely and the site owners are very nice we look upon them as friends. My caravan has full central heating so I’m never cold.

Davida1968 Tue 25-Jun-19 15:24:00

Here's a bit more on the legal side of this issue. Worth reading!!

pinkjj27 Tue 25-Jun-19 14:15:09

My uncle and his wife went to live in a caravan at aged 69 they loved it and wanted to die there . They are now both in their late 80s and have just had to go back to a council flat due to site fees, But I know they are still considering going back to that life and talk about it being the best way to live.
I know there were issues like they had to be out for six consecutive weeks each year but they just went on holiday.
They loved the community feel and had great freinds there.
You will encounter problems where ever you live and there are no guarantees in life. My husband died before we had chance to realise some of his dreams so I say follow your heart but look into everything and be prepared and go into it with eyes opened .
On a another note I was born in kent before moving to the USA where I was brought up . I often go back to kent which I love much more than USA. I live in the uk now so much nicer.