Once you have decided on your park, or even compiled a shortlist, you should start looking at the costs involved. It is critical that you are fully aware and understand all of the costs involved in both purchasing a caravan and maintaining the caravan on the park of your choice. It is strongly recommended that you do not sign any paperwork until you are confident and comfortable that they are all within your budget. Some of the questions you need to consider are detailed below.
How much do caravans cost?
This will all depend on the caravan holiday home you choose. As with cars, there are many makes and models of caravans available to the consumer and these will range from the basic to the luxurious.
The cost of a caravan will vary depending on whether the caravan is new or used, on the make and model, age, size, number of bedrooms and bathroom/shower rooms it has, the quality and variety of fixtures and fittings and so on.
The price you pay for a caravan will also depend on the park you choose to site your caravan on, as a park with a wide range of facilities will charge more for a caravan than a park with no or few facilities.
Caravans can range in price from a few thousand pounds for a small used caravan, to tens of thousands of pounds for a new top of the range caravan.
When looking to purchase a caravan, the best place to start is to decide on a realistic figure that you are happy to spend. Once you have this figure then you can start looking at which caravans are available to you.
Can I obtain finance to help with the purchase?
The majority of caravan holiday homes can be purchased outright for cash or can be purchased with the help of finance, subject to status, the age of the holiday home and deposit criteria.
You may decide to arrange your own finance or, in many cases, the park you choose may be able to arrange finance on your behalf. The specific criteria applicable to a finance agreement will vary, depending on the age, make and model of the caravan holiday home you choose, the cash price of the holiday home, the amount of deposit paid, the amount borrowed and the loan repayment period. On most finance agreements there is also an initial credit facility fee and a final credit facility fee, in addition to the agreed monthly repayments.
It is important to fully understand the details of any finance agreement before you commit to it. You need to understand which finance company is being used, what deposit is required, what the interest charges will be, over how many years the finance agreement is for, what the monthly costs will be, along with many other questions which you will no doubt have.
Remember, prior to signing any agreement, ensure that you have read and fully understand all aspects of the agreement and always remember to check your finances prior to signing any agreement to ensure that you can afford the repayments.
What other costs are involved?
Once you have decided on how much you want to spend on buying your caravan holiday home, you need to consider what the extra costs are that you will have to pay on an annual or regular basis. Remember that these costs will be in addition to any finance agreement repayments that you may have arranged.
Annual running costs will vary, depending on the park you choose and also possibly on the make, model, age and condition of the holiday home you decide to purchase.
Typical running costs may include: Annual Site Fees, Local Authority Rates and Water company charges, Utility charges (ie: gas and electricity) and Insurance. In addition, you may have to pay for extra’s, such as draining down your caravan at the end of each season to prevent any frost damage. Some parks may include some of the above costs within their annual site fees, whereas other parks may charge separately for each of the above (and maybe other charges), in addition to site fees.
We also recommend that you confirm when, during the season, these costs become due, along with details of how you can pay. For example, does your chosen park offer you a choice of payment options or do they expect payment in full when the costs become due?
It is important that you establish exactly what costs are due at the park of your choice before you sign any licence agreement, as no surprises means no disappointments!
Can I sublet my caravan to help cover these other costs?
If you are not going to be using your caravan holiday home regularly throughout the season and you are happy to make your caravan available for others to use, then subletting your caravan for the times when you do not wish to use it, can be a way to earn extra income to help you off-set some of the annual running costs.
You will need to speak with your chosen park to discuss this option. Do they allow subletting? Is there a service they provide that you can use? Can you sublet your caravan privately yourself? Are there any additional costs involved when subletting, for example, cleaning charges, administration fees for key release, charges for entertainment facilities (if applicable)? What are the rules around subletting?
Make sure you are fully aware of the policies, procedures, rules and regulations, if subletting is an option you wish to consider.
Are there any tax benefits to owning a caravan?
If you own a caravan holiday home and decide to sublet it out, then you are required to declare the income you earn to the Inland Revenue, as Income Tax must be paid on the net income from the letting of a holiday home (subject to your personal tax situation).
However, the good news is that the majority of individuals who rent out static caravans to holiday guests are entitled to substantial tax breaks. There are several accounting firms that specialise in this service who you can contact to discuss what is required.
Please be aware that HM Customs and Revenue can request caravan parks to provide them with the details of all owners subletting their caravan holiday homes on their park.