Buying a Holiday Home FAQs
Holiday home buyer’s briefing
Tens of thousands of people enjoy the freedom of leisure home ownership on holiday parks in Britain. The caravan will be yours to enjoy throughout the year whenever the park is open – for both short breaks and longer stays. There’s no need to book ahead, and all your home comforts will be ready and waiting.
But before you commit to buying a holiday home, it’s worth spending a few minutes understanding how holiday home ownership works, and what factors will help ensure that you’ll get the most out of your purchase in the years to come.
Here are the answers to some of the questions you may already be asking
- and others you might be glad we mentioned!
How far afield should I look for the holiday park?
To get the most out of holiday home ownership, many people choose a park location no further than two or three hours’ drive from where they live.
- How long does it take to travel to the park? Can you use different routes to vary the journey? How long will it take? If the park is only a couple of hours (or less) away, you could use your holiday home a lot more. This gives you the opportunity to visit at the drop of a hat on a Friday night without worrying about motorway traffic or a 4 hour journey. This can offer spontaneous visits and surprise weekends away.
When can I use my holiday home?
This is a great question to ask.
It is important to check the months of the year in which a park is open for you to use your holiday home. Some parks are open all year, but many close for two or three months in winter.
At Discover Parks we are open from March 1st to January 2nd. This means that you can spend Christmas and New Year at your holiday home.
Is my holiday home just for leisure use?
Yes, most definitely.
This is a crucial question before you purchase, and the sooner you ask it in the whole process the sooner you will know if the park is right for you.
At Discover Parks you can use your holiday home for short breaks and longer holidays - and some retired people spend many of the summer months in their second home. But it cannot be used as your main residence as this would breach the park’s site licence, and you would have none of the protection in law provided to occupiers of residential parks.
Don’t be surprised if your chosen park asks you for proof (at the outset and at intervals in the future) that you have a permanent home address elsewhere.
How can I tell if the park is right for me?
It is really important to visit several parks to get a feel for what’s on offer. Discover Parks have a small number of hire holiday lodges, holiday caravans and self-catering cottages giving you the opportunity of a short break in order to better judge the park and surrounding area. If you wish, ask the team to introduce you to some existing owners for an informal chat about their experience.
How long can we keep a new holiday home?
When you buy a holiday home or lodge you will get what is called a ‘licence agreement’. This states the period of time that your leisure home can be kept on the park. The length of time depends on a number of factors - new or pre owned, lodge or caravan. Ask this question before you commit, we do not want this information to creep up on you.
As a generalisation, at Discover Parks you can keep new lodges for longer than new holiday homes (caravans); you can expect to find a 20-year licence agreement for a new lodge, and 15 years for a new holiday home. Licence agreements for pre-owned holiday homes is dependent on age and condition.
The length of the licence agreement is one of the first things to look into when you are considering a particular park, because it hugely influences the way in which you will be calculating the amount of investment in your leisure home and your plans for its eventual replacement.
Can I let out my holiday home?
At Discover Parks, we do not allow sub-letting of holiday homes. The park atmosphere and happiness of our owners is an integral park of the 'where life feels right' mood on park. We believe that the uncertainty generated if everyone can let out there holiday home will be detrimental to what we have created.
If letting your holiday home is important to you, shop around, and you will quickly find that some parks don’t allow you to do this at all and some parks positively encourage you to let out your holiday home. Many of these parks have schemes in place to let your home for you.
Are my family and friends allowed to stay at my holiday home?
Although we do not permit letting, we do allow your family and friends to stay at your holiday home when you are not there – provided that you are not charging them any money to be there.
Why do the holiday home prices vary so much?
Prices for a caravan holiday home or lodge vary up and down the country, and like conventional properties, location is a key factor influencing the cost – together with the range of facilities offered by the park, such as a recreational facilities or entertainment.
There will also be new and pre-owned homes to take into account. What you choose to purchase is a budget decision that is solely down yours to make. There are some advantages to buying a new holiday home such as a longer licence agreement (see above), or an extended warranty, whereas a pre-loved holiday home can offer better value for the home itself but give you a shorter licence agreement.
What’s included in the price?
The quoted price will almost invariably include all of the carpets, furnishings, kitchen appliances and other basic equipment. If buying a new holiday home, there may be options such as dishwashers, washing machines or decking and skirting to consider.
What else should I budget for?
If you are buying a brand new unit – as opposed to buying a holiday home already located on the park – check if there’s extra to pay for having the unit transported from the factory, sited on the pitch, and “commissioned” (made ready for your occupation and connected to the utilities). Other costs to consider will be the annual pitch fee (what you pay for the right to occupy your pitch on the park), utilities such as water, gas and electricity, plus rates and insurance for your holiday home.
Is Council Tax payable on a holiday home?
You don’t have to pay Council Tax for a holiday home because it is not a main residence. At Discover Parks (Arrow Bank, Pearl Lake and Rockbridge) we do charge for rates - a contribution to the local authority business rates that the holiday park pays.
Do I need insurance for a holiday home?
It’s essential to have your holiday home insured. At Discover Parks we require you to produce proof of cover each year.
We offer insurance as part of a group policy but you are free to find your own insurance. There are a number of specialist companies that tailor packages specifically for holiday homes. Among them are Shield Total Insurance, Lifesure, Towergate, Leisuredays, Intasure, Adrian Flux, Eversure, Paul Baker Insurance Services and Coast Insurance.
Will I be asked to sign a contract?
It’s in your best interests to ensure that you sign a written contract (known as a “licence agreement”) from the park. In fact, we would not advise going ahead with buying a holiday home unless you have been provided with a written agreement – and have read, understood and are happy with its terms. It is important that you review and are satisfied with the terms offered to you at the park of your choice.
What should I look for in the agreement?
Check especially how long the agreement runs for as this will lay down how many years you can keep your holiday home on the park. Also check the agreement for any park rules which might apply to you. For example, if you wish to sub-let, is this allowed? Are pets permitted on the park, and will this affect you? Will you have free use of park facilities such as a golf course?
What happens if I decide to sell?
Ask us what happens if you decide to sell. Check the agreement for what will happen if you decide later to upgrade your holiday home or to sell it and leave park, and what the financial arrangements will be.