Gransnet forums


Static Caravan - buy or not?

(48 Posts)
Candy6 Tue 10-Mar-20 09:39:22

Hi ladies, hubby and I are in such a dilemma. We would both like a holiday home on the coast and getting a static caravan seems to be the cheaper option. Problem is, they are still very expensive and so are the yearly site fees. We have found the perfect one but as is usual with us, it’s more expensive due to its location. I really, really like the idea but on the other hand realise it’s a huge financial commitment. The money isn’t too much of a problem while hubby still works full time and although we have provision when he does retire, we’re just not sure if it’ll be more of a problem then. I think we’re probably overthinking it a bit as we’re the worst decision makers ever. I’ve also been suffering from anxiety/low mood for the past 18 months or so and the thought of having somewhere nice to go on the coast really excites me but then I question whether I’m currently in the right frame of mind to make this decision. I know it’s not a life or death situation and it’s only us that can make a decision and compared to what some are going through it’s very minor, but I would appreciate your thoughts/advice on this. Many thanks.

Witzend Tue 10-Mar-20 09:55:18

I’ve been thinking of one, too, but more for dd, SiL and 3 little Gdcs than for us really.

As you say, the site fees can be very steep. But the ones I’ve been looking at online say that provided the static is reasonably new, you can rent it via them, which would certainly help to defray costs.

Of course that would mean certain periods where you couldn’t go, but worth thinking about.
Still haven’t got around to visiting the site, still dithering about it generally.

bikergran Tue 10-Mar-20 10:01:17

Go for it smile enjoy it smile if worse comes to worse then sell it. yes you may loose some money but you will have enjoyed many years of your lovely caravan by the seaside. go for it. I would. My mum n dad had few statics, yes bit of loss in the end but happy memories.

BBQS get togethers, parties, and general little holidays.

supernannyjane Tue 10-Mar-20 10:06:39

Same here. We had an off-season share in a narrowboat for 7 years and it was the annual cost that made us finally sell our share (mooring fees and maintenance etc). And it's purely the site fees that's putting us off a static van. I think we just need to do more research - we certainly don't want a site with a club house/entertainment or a pitch with a sea view, just somewhere within easy reach of the coast. I don't think we'd want to hire to 'strangers' but would happily do so to friends and family at nominal cost just to recoup some of the site fees. So much to think about! Good luck.

Septimia Tue 10-Mar-20 11:28:17

I finally persuaded DH to buy a motor caravan with part of the money he inherited from his dad. Although it's only small and quite old, it was still a lot of money for us.

We've only used it once as winter then arrived, but we're looking forward to visiting lots of places as we did in the past with a 'van. The rationale is that we must make good use of it while we can and, when we can't, we'll at least get some money back on it (I hope!!).

So my opinion is that you should give it a go, try to make as much use of the static caravan as you can (can friends/family use it too?) and enjoy it. There will at least be an assest to sell when you can no longer use it, with any loss of money compensated for by the enjoyment you've had.

Buffybee Tue 10-Mar-20 11:38:06

It depends on how far away it is while your Dh is still working full time. If you can whizz over every weekend, then great, otherwise I would wait until he retires, so that you could spend weeks living by the coast....Heavenly!!!!
If you can afford it, go for it, enjoy life while you can.

Annie26 Tue 10-Mar-20 12:36:55

We had a static caravan for a number of years on the Norfolk coast which is about 2/3 hours from where we live. For the first few years we spent many enjoyable weekends there but then it started to be a bit of a chore and the site fees kept going up and we were using it less and less as were our children and grandchildren. We had to sell it back to the site at a huge loss which was in the t & cs of buying one. Now retired I don't think we would use it any more than we did before and with the money saved can have many weekends away!

eazybee Tue 10-Mar-20 15:21:15

The trouble with static caravans is that you have to replace them when the site owner says so, at considerable cost.

annep1 Tue 10-Mar-20 15:23:43

We have one. A caravan is not an asset. It's an investment in fun and happiness. It will depreciate in value a lot, so if you want one buy it now and use as lonv as possible. You don't need to buy new but I would advise buy one with a galvanised chassis. And rent on a site which doesn't insist on you upgrading if the van still looks ok.
An alternative is to buy a large motor home and park it all summer on a site. It will hold its value better and you can travel with it.

annep1 Tue 10-Mar-20 15:26:13

We got a fantastic used one, year 2010 DG and GCH. Still looks great. No problem with site owners.

GrandmaJan Tue 10-Mar-20 15:32:25

We’ve recently been considering a static caravan in Northumberland. It’s interesting to read the pros and cons. I’ve noticed on the company website that there are some for sale that are preowned and look well lived in but I’d prefer one that’s brand new, they look lovely. I was surprised at how reasonably priced they are (and the 2020 site fees included) but the following years site fees do need to be considered.

mumofmadboys Tue 10-Mar-20 15:38:19

I would work out how much it would cost you each year and then compare that with B and B's by the sea or airbnb's and see how many weekends you could afford compared to caravan/ site costs.

annep1 Tue 10-Mar-20 17:33:12

The only thing is B&B is not the same as your own little place. We so look forward to spring arriving and heading to the Mournes to our caravan and our friends.
It is more expensive of course so as Septimia said you need to make the most of it. We would have preferred a new one but at age 65 it didn't make sense financially. The one we got was in almost new condition. You need to be sure. Perhaps you should rent for a few weeks first in the area you like.

grannypiper Tue 10-Mar-20 17:56:59

My DH and i looked into this a few years ago and decided against it, a lot of sites dont allow caravans over 10 years old to stay on the site, so you have to figure out where you will put it and how much it will cost to move it at the end of the ten years

Americanpie Tue 10-Mar-20 18:04:53

I agree with grannypiper, we were going to buy one and then looked into the site fees and other caveats buried away in the contract and walked away from it. The fees rose by at least 5% year on year and the site had to be given first refusal if you needed to sell. There were also other restrictions such as the decking and maintenance must be done by site employees. Please take time to read all the conditions carefully. The off grid gas was also very expensive.

Doodledog Tue 10-Mar-20 18:15:06

We have one, and have had them for many years.

We love it, but they are a significant expense. As has been said, the site fees are high, and the caravans themselves depreciate terribly. Most of the 'better' sites insist that you upgrade after the caravan reaches a certain age, which means that anything over 10 years old is virtually worthless, even if it is in great condition.

Ours have had different advantages at different stages. When the children were little, it was great to have somewhere to go for as often as we liked, and we often took their friends away for a holiday. As they got older, it was somewhere safe for them to go on their own, and I used to go with my own friends when my husband was working (I always got more holidays than he did).

Now, we have one near to where my sister lives, and my daughter lives nearer to there than to our home town. It is great to be able to pop over and see them all, and having our own things there means that it is a real home from home.

Ours is sited near a station, which means that if we have to rely on public transport we can still get there easily, which is important, I think - a lot of sites are in the middle of nowhere, which is great when you have a car, but less so otherwise.

Overall, I am pleased we have it, but I daren't add up how much we have spent over the years - far more than if we had had really exotic holidays every year - but being able to have weekends away whenever we like is something we value (it would drive others mad to keep going back to the same place, though).

A lot of people buy them as a family purchase and share the rent. If you are in a position to do this, it might be worth thinking about? People will sort this out in different ways, but an annual meeting to decide who goes when, so that workers can book their leave in time would probably be enough.

JuliaM Tue 10-Mar-20 18:26:25

Its a minefield of redtape and high expenses, you are much better to get a large modern touring caravan and leave it on a seasonal pitch of your choosing. Less redtape and it will hold its value better in the long term, once a static is given notice to leave a site it becomes worth very little, and on a kind of Gentilmans agreement between site owner s, noother site willaccept a Secondhand caravan other than one that they have sold New themselves. The sites also change hands during the lifespan of a caravan with a whole new set of rules and contract, price rises and regulations to bide by, if you refuse to sign the new contract, you are then asked to leave the site and take your static with you. There is a lot of information on the campsite forums of this, m not sure if Gransnet would allow me to post up a link, but happy to chat in PM if anyone would like further information. We went down the seasonal pitch path and we are very glad that we did. Fully serviced seasonal pitches are everybit as nice to live in as a large static.

Doodle Tue 10-Mar-20 19:26:04

We owned a static caravan for a number of years. The site fees were exorbitant and when we sold it we had to pay a percentage of the sale to the site. We had great plans to spend time there but as one of us was always working it never worked out that way. It is a lovely idea and if you want to do it go ahead but be realistic about how much time you will actually be able to spend there and then divide the cost by that amount of time and see if you think it’s worth it. You could always rent a caravan for a few weeks at a time if you can afford it.

annep1 Tue 10-Mar-20 19:42:29

I don't find it a minefield or complicated to be honest. Our yearly fees and insurance are very reasonable. Perhaps its different in England . The only other expense is gas and electricity. Ours is a very good site, run very strictly. There are rules about decking etc but it stops individual pitches becoming shoddy. Sites do vary. You can find a good one. However the touring van is a good option. The advantage of a static is that there are separate rooms and its more spacious.

Floradora9 Tue 10-Mar-20 20:28:48

Friends gave up caravaning because of health reasons and bought a static caravan . After a few months they realised they had done all there was to do round about it and they sold it. The site owner got a good cut of the selling price plus they had paid site fees so it was an expensive mistake which they really could not afford.

Hetty58 Tue 10-Mar-20 20:38:52

We had a four berth tourer for several years. It was possible (just) to cram two adults and four children in it! They are versatile.

You can leave it on a site for the summer holidays, move it elsewhere, keep it at home for handy weekends away - and use it for guest accommodation.

We went all around Cornwall and Norfolk in it and stayed near Alton Towers, kept all the essentials, an awning and barbeque ready to go so with good weather and time off we could have instant breaks.

Site charges are cheap and resale value is quite good too.

Mrst1405 Tue 10-Mar-20 20:39:41

Have you considered a small house instead? A relative bought a small house and transformed it into a gorgeous sea side house. Of course there are bills etc but it's not a decreasing asset.

Smileless2012 Tue 10-Mar-20 20:43:19

We bought a second hand static 7 years ago and last year upgraded to a new lodge on the same site. We were very happy with the amount we received in part exchange.

The site is open for 11 months of the year, the site fees and insurance are £3200. The added expense for electricity is small and the gas at £65 a go works out very reasonable.

There are some statics at least 10 years old and a couple older but that's not an issue with the site owners as long as they are well maintained.

You need to do your research Candy, we looked at 3 sites all within a few minutes drive of one another and have never regretted our decision.

Doodledog Tue 10-Mar-20 20:47:30

The trouble with buying a house is that it has a massive impact on the prices and the general economy of the surrounding area. If a lot of properties in a village are only occupied in the summer and at weekends, there is nobody to support the local shop, or the pub, and soon the original population have lost their amenities.

A caravan site may not be what everyone wants on the doorstep, but they are usually a mile or so out of the way of the nearest village, and screened off with trees. Caravaners will often use the local facilities, so add to the economy, and they don't force younger people out because of rising house prices either.

Septimia Tue 10-Mar-20 21:54:19

A larger touring caravan might be a good idea. Apart from having a seasonal pitch, you could choose a site which has storage adjacent, as friends of ours did. When they were intending to stay in the caravan it was brought out of storage onto the site and put back afterwards - they didn't have to tow it on the roads. The cost of storage and a seasonal pitch is probably a lot less than the fees for a static.