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Got a question about downsizing? Simon Sleep, senior business development manager for Willerby Bespoke is here to answer your questions - £200 voucher to be won

(81 Posts)
CeriGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 20-Oct-21 11:07:30

Created for Willerby Bespoke


There’s a lot to consider when thinking about downsizing your home later on in life, from finance to community and lifestyle. If you have a question about downsizing or park home living, post it below and you could win a £200 voucher:

-Everyone who shares a question on the thread below by 3 November will be entered into a prize draw
-One lucky Gransnet user will win a £200 voucher for a store of their choice
-Simon Sleep will be back on 11 November to answer a selection of your questions

About Simon Sleep
Simon Sleep is the senior business development manager for Willerby Bespoke park homes and lodges. With over 20 years of experience within the industry, there's not much Simon doesn't know about park homes. Simon has dedicated his career to designing homes that make the customer's dreams a reality. He understands that park homes are more than just a home, they're a lifestyle!

Here’s what Willerby Bespoke have to say
“If you are looking for a more relaxed lifestyle, lived at a pace to suit you, in a community of like-minded people, then a park home could be the perfect answer. Here at Willerby Bespoke, we place you at the heart of your home creating a truly unique design that is tailored to suit you and your needs.”

Perhaps you’ve considered downsizing but you’re unsure if it’s the right decision for you? You may be interested in finding out how much equity you could release, or maybe you’d just like some more information on the processes involved in moving? Whatever your question on downsizing may be, post it below for Simon to answer.

Thanks and good luck!

Gransnet T+Cs apply

SimonWillerbyBespoke Thu 11-Nov-21 17:01:17


I’ve heard heating a park home is expensive. How well insulated would you say the6 are compared to a bricks and mortar house?

Hi @Lollin, This is a fantastic question. Willerby Park Homes are all built to surpass BS3632 regulations, a British residential standard. For our internal walls we use Oslo Wall System™ which outperforms plasterboard on thermal efficiency, sound insulation, strength and durability. Our unique building methods keep our homes incredibly warm whilst keeping running costs to a minimum. Double glazing is standard in any park home.

SimonWillerbyBespoke Thu 11-Nov-21 17:01:44


What is the largest number of bedrooms park homes have?

Hi @mumofmadboys, Our park homes are fully bespoke, so in theory you can have as many bedrooms as you wish! Depending on the size of your park home, most homes have no more than two or three bedrooms, in order not compromise the size of the living space. We can create other rooms such as office spaces, craft rooms or utility rooms. We work with you to create a home that suits your lifestyle.

SimonWillerbyBespoke Thu 11-Nov-21 17:02:23


Willerby as the manufacturers of a park home would not be responsible for the running of the park presumably. How many years are your new park homes guaranteed for? Has Willerby any commercial links to a particular park home owner group?

Hi @Nashville, Willerby Bespoke only manufacture the park homes and do not own any or have legal affiliations with any park. This however does not mean you are not protected as a home owner. Along with your residential rights covered by the Mobile Homes Act, all our homes come with a 10 year GoldShield warranty (similar to the NHBC Buildmark warranty for new builds) so the home is guaranteed to last for at least that long. Willerby Park Homes are designed to last a lifetime when they are maintaned and the manufacturer guidance is followed.

SimonWillerbyBespoke Thu 11-Nov-21 17:03:51


My concern with Park homes is that they don't keep their value as well as bricks and mortar. Is there a limit to how long you can keep it before replacing with a newer model?

Hi @Lexigran, It is a myth that park homes don't hold their value like bricks and mortar properties. Providing your home is sited on a fully licensed residential park and not a leisure or holiday park, it will actually appreciate in value like an ordinary house. Prices of park homes fall in line with local property prices so the area the home is situated will determine its value. On residential parks, there is no time limit (in years) on the lease of the plot which means the home and plot are owned by the resident in perpetuity. Leisure parks which have a different licence which has a limited timespan typically between 10 and 30 years. Willerby Park Homes are designed to last a lifetime so would never need to replace it.

SimonWillerbyBespoke Thu 11-Nov-21 17:04:28


I suppose park homes are 'short term leasehold' as the park owners have freehold of the land? What sort of charges apply for park maintenance?

I've heard that utilities are bought from park owners, with no choice of company or price - as part of the contract. How do costs compare with average domestic rates?

As the homes deteriorate/devalue in the same way as vehicles do, what contract 'lifespan' do they have before a new one has to be purchased?

Hi @Hetty58, Park homes are neither leasehold or freehold as the land they are situated on remains the property of the site owner. The park home itself is yours outright however the land itself is not, so under the terms of your site agreement, you pay an annual ‘ground rent’ on the land. This is a monthly fee paid to the park owner and often goes towards the upkeep of communal facilities such as electric gates and road lighting. The annual ground rent may increase over time however you are protected by the Mobile Homes Act 2013 it must not exceed the rate of RPI so there will be no nasty surprises plus any rent increases are always stated in writing with notice. Utility costs are comparably cheap and in most cases you have full control of who your energy supplier is to get the best rates. See our answer to @lexigran above for information on selling and depreciation.

SimonWillerbyBespoke Thu 11-Nov-21 17:04:52


What exactly is a park home?

Hi @Authoress, Park homes are detached bungalow-style homes that are located on residential parks. They're chassis built properties, often built in two halves manufactured offsite before being carefully transported and sited in your chosen location. Willerby park homes are completley bespoke meaning are tailored to suit both your style and your lifestyle.

SimonWillerbyBespoke Thu 11-Nov-21 17:06:06


Park homes always look as if they would be very cold - do they really have as much insulation as a standard build? And aren't there lots of problems when it comes to re-selling?

Hi @Grannyjacq1, Willerby Park Homes are all built to surpass BS3632 regulations, a British residential standard. For our internal walls we use Oslo Wall System™ which outperforms plasterboard on thermal efficiency, sound insulation, strength and durability. Our unique building methods keep our homes incredibly warm whilst keeping running costs to a minimum.

SimonWillerbyBespoke Thu 11-Nov-21 17:06:32


We like staying on a site for holiday but to downsize and live on one I would be concerned about it being isolated, and would other park homes be vacant a lot?

Hi @live7, The residential parks are often bustling communities of like minded people who also live on the park year round. They are very different to holiday parks that people may visit infrequently. We would expect that other than when people go on holiday, the homes are lived in all year round.

SimonWillerbyBespoke Thu 11-Nov-21 17:07:01


Are your children or grandchildren allowed to come to stay whenever you would like them to? And are there any policies/rules around dogs or pets?

Hi @Tezhar, Each park defines their own rules but most allow family and friends to stay over, although there may well be a limit on how often this can happen. Most also allow pets, however as with children staying over, they may be restrictions e.g you can only have one dog. It would be best to get all this information from a park before you decided if it was right for you, it will be defined in their terms and conditions.

SimonWillerbyBespoke Thu 11-Nov-21 17:07:21


Are park homes typically sited near the amenities a resident would need - healthcare, shops etc - or would a car be necessary?

Hi @Happiyogi Yes, a lot of parks have amenities on the site, or are located near towns or on good transport routes. We're certain you could find a park where you could still have easy access to all the amenities you need without the use of a car.

SimonWillerbyBespoke Thu 11-Nov-21 17:07:50


Where are park home sites located? Are they in a town centres or further out? I don't have access to car so are they well linked up with public transport?

Hi @Bettybob, There are residential parks all around the country, in rural locations but also in towns with great access to local amenities. Some parks even have facilities onsite so you don't have to go far for your groceries or to post a letter.

SimonWillerbyBespoke Thu 11-Nov-21 17:08:36


I did know a couple who had to vacate the property for two months every year. Not really sure why. Possibly doable in your sixties but not so good once you become more doddery. Is this an issue with your properties?

Hi @Kasimo, This rule only applies to holiday homes. A park homes would be classed as your permanent residence. This allows you to live in the home 12 months of the year.

SimonWillerbyBespoke Thu 11-Nov-21 17:09:03


Hi, can you live in the park home all year round? And can you keep pets in them? Thanks

Hi @Dizzywizz, Yes, residential parks have year round licences and people live in park homes as their permanent home. Whether you can have pets or not is defined in the rules set by each park indivudally, but most allow pets, although they may have a limit on the number of pets you can keep e.g. a park may allow one dog only, or two cats.

SimonWillerbyBespoke Thu 11-Nov-21 17:09:27


How does one start the process of downsizing? We have amassed so much stuff I just wouldn’t know how to filter it all down to a more manageable amount.

Hi @Holidayenthusiast, Often when downsizing a good starting point is to take it on a room by room basis doing a small managable amount at a time. It might also be worth visiting one of our showhomes to get a real feel for the amount of space you might have. This will in turn help you to decide what you should keep.

luckybean Sat 13-Nov-21 16:28:49

I have four bedroom house but only my husband and I living in it. I would like to downsize but what do I do when my son wants to visit from overseas and he is a family of four!

Doodledog Sat 13-Nov-21 17:23:06

No response to my questions about guarantees that rents won't rise exponentially, or that rules might change overnight meaning that owners might have to leave and sell their homes back to the park for a fraction of their value?

I don't know if this is legal on residential sites, but it is definitely the case on holiday parks, and I would be interested to know whether residential parks are regulated, and if so, how and by whom?

FarNorth Sat 13-Nov-21 18:43:04

luckybean It doesn't seem reasonable to keep a large house because of occasional visits.
Your son and family could rent a place near to you, for their holiday.

MerylStreep Sat 13-Nov-21 18:52:05

I would buy a 2 bed property, preferably with a dining room and in there I woul have a good quality bed settee.
2nd bedroom would be for the children.

CeriGransnet (GNHQ) Mon 15-Nov-21 14:07:07

Message deleted by Gransnet. Here's a link to our Talk guidelines.

SimonWillerbyBespoke Mon 15-Nov-21 15:12:37


I'm also wondering what a park home is. Is it like a retirement village? Or from other people's questions I'm wondering if it's a glorified caravan park? (Nothing wrong with caravan parks but I'm not sure I'd want to live in one).

Hi @StickChildNumberTwo, a residential park is community of residential properties. There are many benefits of becoming a park home owner. It’s an affordable property solution compared to a conventional house of a similar size. If downsizing, you’ll release equity from your current property to enjoy your retirement. It gives you the opportunity to retreat to a beautiful, quieter location and escape the hustle and bustle of city and town life. With over 2000 parks across the UK, there are lots of places to live. Park homes are a low maintenance property with low running costs and single-level living. If buying new, you have the opportunity to design your own home to your exact specification including choice of layout, number of bedrooms and colour scheme. You can also specify whether you want it fully furnished or require any integrated kitchen appliances. Park homes are modern and clean, and there is no DIY to do when you move in. Feel safe and secure in a gated environment with some parks having CCTV and park wardens for peace of mind, 24 hours a day. With Willerby park homes, you benefit from 10 year warranty protection on your new home with GoldShield. In buying a park home, you’ll be contributing to the local housing supply by freeing up larger homes to young families.

SimonWillerbyBespoke Mon 15-Nov-21 15:13:31


What are the compromises made in building a park home rather than a regular bricks and mortar home, and what are the advantages?

Hi @FishKnife Park homes work just like normal houses and are connected to mains services including gas, water, electricity and phone. Located on private estates called residential parks are divided up into various size plots or pitches. Residential parks are designed for retired and semi-retired residents and normally have a minimum age of 45.

SimonWillerbyBespoke Mon 15-Nov-21 15:14:38


We are moving from Cheshire to Dorset to live near family and honestly a Park Home is probably all we can afford unless we want to move into a studio flat as prices are so expensive 'down south'. We have considered renting first to experience park home life. Do Willerby Bespoke rent out any park homes or are they all purchase only?

Hi @StephLP, Park home prices do tend to fall in line with property prices in the area you are wanting to live so they are unlikely to be cheaper than a studio flat for example. Willerby Park Homes are purchase only, we don't have any to rent unfortunately. With regards to prices in general, location is one of the first steps in establishing the exact cost of buying a park home. In line with the housing market, homes located in the South of England are typically more expensive than those situated further North. In essence, the value of the land the home sits on will determine the final price so you could pay a very different price for the same home on two parks at opposite ends of the country. Other factors including the model and size of home, interior specification and overall plot size can have a bearing on price. Parks by areas of natural beauty or in prime locations may carry a premium. As the manufacturer we provide a recommended retail price however this price is not reflective of the price on park. Once you have found a park, they will be able to advise on prices. Many parks will offer a turnkey price which includes the cost of the home, transport and siting plus any decking or a shed if applicable. As a guide, a brand new Willerby Park Home could cost anywhere from around £100,000 up to £400,000 for a top of the range model in a prime location.

SimonWillerbyBespoke Mon 15-Nov-21 15:15:17


I confess I know virtually nothing about Park Homes, so I'll be interested in the answers to all the questions already posted. In particular, what exactly does it cost to purchase a Park Home, and how much does the maintenance contract add to this?

I probably have a bit of a rosy view of retirement villages, skewed by reading Richard Osman's novels, but I would like to know whether there are any communal facilities at the Parks, for the establishment of weekly murder clubs and so on. grin

Hi @Maggiemaybe, I hope the previous answers have given you some good information about what a park home is and the running costs. Residential parks really are lovely places to live and most parks have vibrant communities of like-minded people. Some parks have residents' associations and organise events like book clubs, dinner parties and even weekly butcher vans!

SimonWillerbyBespoke Mon 15-Nov-21 15:16:06


Are there any guarantees that essential costs won't rise above the rate of inflation? I am concerned that there could be relatively large sudden increases which would eat into disposable income.

Hi @fishnships, you are completely protected by the Mobile Homes Act, which prevents the annual ground rent fee rising above inflation. This gives peace of mind and protection to all residents so you know exactly what you are paying every month. If the land owner does increase the ground rent, notice must be given to all residents in advance. The good news is that all park homes fall under Band A council tax so this cost is very low.

SimonWillerbyBespoke Mon 15-Nov-21 15:16:54


I've thought of downsizing, but will never part with my 4 small dogs and 5 cats. Would there be restrictions on pets in a park home or lodge? I've always just assumed no pets would be allowed.

Also, what about maintenance fees - what, if any, safeguards are in place to ensure that these don't have exorbitant rises each year?

Hi @poshpaws, many parks are flexible on pets so it could be worth asking any parks you are interested in, what their rules are. You'll pay a monthly ground rent for residing on the park, this figure is normally around £150-£200 a month approximately. As explained in some of the other answers, you are fully protected by the Mobile Homes Act which prevents the park owner increasing this amount by any more than RPI.