05 December 2017
Here at Searles, we know that choosing to own your own holiday home is not a decision that is taken lightly. No matter if you are a first-time buyer, or someone with plenty of experience, there are always plenty of questions to make sure you are doing the right thing.
We sat down with Matthew Bentley, our Sales Manager and asked him for his Top Tips for Purchasing a Holiday Home;
I've decided I want to buy a Holiday Home, where do I start?
Choosing the right holiday resort is more important than the holiday home. Take time when researching and don’t be afraid when visiting the resorts to ask to speak to their customers. Think about what you and your family need. You don’t want to find the perfect holiday home and have nothing to do when you get there.
Make sure you make an appointment so you can spend a good amount of time looking at what’s available and write down anything you may want to ask before you arrive for your appointment so you don’t forget when you are there- and remember, there are no stupid questions! Make sure you set aside the time- this is a major decision that you don’t want to rush and appointments can take as little as half an hour up to four hours.
When viewing properties, what should I look for?
Think about the location of the holiday home. Make sure you consider the distance to facilities, as well as potential neighbours.
Modern caravans and lodges do not tend to have too many issues. In the rare occasion when a holiday home has had a leak, it is usually obvious. You would normally look for wear and tear on pre-owned caravans and decide if you need to spend money on replacing things like carpets. Hopefully, if things like this are evident, this will be reflected in the price. You should also consider the ongoing maintenance when planning- for example, wooden decking etc.
I can't afford to pay in full for my new park home- what options are available to me?
A lot of sites will offer a finance package which may be beneficial- but don’t be afraid to shop around or speak to your bank. Many of our customers will speak to their bank for a personal loan. Some of our customers that have a lot of equity in their home will re-mortgage to spread the cost over a longer period at a lower rate. You should consider what the best option for you is, and seek help from a financial adviser if you are still uncertain. If you do choose to borrow, always consider the repayment amount along with the pitch fees and other outgoings you may have.
Are there any other costs I need to know about?
Make sure you ask the sales person this question, as every park is slightly different. You will normally have Pitch Fees, Rates (business rates- not council tax) and services (this would normally be the water and sewage and standing charges for gas and electric- but not used amounts). You will often have to pay for electricity on metered use. At Searles, all our holiday homes are on piped gas so you would be charged for what you use. On some sites, you would consider the cost of replacement gas bottles. Other costs that you may incur are yearly gas checks, winter drain down or alarm contracts. All these are optional but highly recommended. Fairway Court Lodges and Redgate Court Lodges all have different benefits so the fees can depend on the area. Fees on different holiday resorts vary considerably depending on the standard of the standard of the resort and the facilities available and the way you pay them can also vary. At Searles, we offer lump sum payments or direct debits over 12 months.
Should I hire a surveyor or solicitor like I would if I were purchasing a normal home?
Feel free to get any advice from professionals or friends before purchasing, however there is normally no need to involve a third party. Purchasing a holiday home is often easier than purchasing a car. If you buy from a holiday resort that is a member of an organisation like the BH&HPA (British Holiday & Home Parks Association) you will be given a Sales and Licence agreement that protects both you and the park. Your sales person should give you plenty of time to read this and advise you on any questions you have.
Do I sign a contract?
Yes, you should, any Holiday Resort should offer you a contract so you know your rights and it should state things like how long the holiday home can stay on the resort, fees, information of what you can and cannot do if you wanted to sell your holiday home or pass it onto family members, plus the park rules.
Do I need insurance for my new Holiday Home?
Yes, you need to be covered for public liability as a minimum. Plus, if something was to happen you would want peace of mind that the holiday home you have worked hard to own will be repaired or replaced. Most holiday resorts should be able to offer you a competitive priced insurance and will require proof that you have insurance in place.
Will I have a warranty for my new Holiday Home?
You would need to speak to the sales person on the resort you are thinking of buying on regarding warranties but normally a new holiday home would come with at least a year’s manufacturer’s warranty. A pre-owned holiday home being sold by the resort as one of their stock should come with a warranty. If the resort is selling one on commission, these rarely have any warranty so you would need to satisfy yourself of the condition of the holiday home and its fittings before purchase. At Searles, we offer from 3 months to a year on our pre-owned holiday homes subject to the purchase price. This would not cover wear and tear expected from use but would cover things working like they should, e.g. boiler, oven, blown glazing etc.
Can I live in my new Holiday Home?
No. If this is what you want to do, you would need to purchase on a residential site. Holiday sites are strictly for holiday use and you would be in breach of your contract if you were to live there. Reputable holiday resorts will tell you this and require you to show proof of your main residence. Make sure you ask if they have a residential licence if you are thinking of living there. If you are told you can live there if you go away for a few weeks, they are not the sales person you want to be speaking to.
Can I add extras such as decking to my Holiday Home?
Again, this will vary from site to site but normally yes. At Searles, we allow wooden and UPVC decking. These must be purchased from our approved contractors through us so we keep a consistent standard throughout the Resort and maintain our 5 Star rating. Always discuss your requirements at the time of purchase. Often a bundled package of a holiday home, decking, storage boxes etc will get you a better deal.
Here at Searles Leisure Resort our friendly sales team are always on hand to answer any questions you may have. To find out more or to book a viewing, please visit our ownership page, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01485 536026.