A Guide to Upgrading Your Static Caravan to a New Holiday Home

21 December 2022

If you’re thinking about upgrading your old static caravan to a brand new holiday home then you’ve come to the right place. We have all the information you need to make a smooth transition into a modern holiday home, with all the benefits that come with it.

We’ll cover all of the important factors you need to consider, including:

Why Upgrade?

If you’re sitting reading this in your modern Willerby holiday home then you might be wondering why you’d ever need to upgrade. After all, these things are made to last, right? Well, there are a few reasons why someone might feel the need to upgrade their static caravan.

If you’re sited on a holiday park, then there’s a good chance that there is an age limit on your caravan. Most parks stipulate that all static caravans must be replaced when they reach a certain age - usually between 10 and 20 years old. If your home is getting close to that age then you’ll need to be thinking about upgrading soon. If you’re not sure of the rules on your park, just ask - they’ll be happy to help.

A lot of first-time holiday home buyers don’t go straight for an all-singing, all-dancing top of the range lodge or caravan. They’ll start lower down the range, as a way of dipping their toe in the water - then more often than not, they’ll realise how wonderful owning your own holiday home really is, and how much they enjoy the lifestyle and freedom that it brings.

So we often see first-time owners coming back after a few years, ready to upgrade their holiday home. Sometimes it will be for something bigger, to give them more space or to allow more family to visit at once. Sometimes people want something better insulated and more energy efficient so they can use it more often throughout the year - whatever the weather. All of Willerby’s 2023 range conform to our own Willerby GreEN Standard, which means they’re great at keeping warm in winter, cool in summer - and are cheaper to run too.

Whatever the reason, moving into a new holiday home needn’t be difficult - but understanding some key points will make it much simpler, and help you to feel in control.

Selling Your Old Static Caravan

If you’ve decided to upgrade to a beautiful new holiday home then you’re probably going to need to sell your old one. While this is a little bit more complicated than selling a pair of trainers on eBay, it doesn’t have to be difficult.

If you’re buying your new holiday home from your park then the easiest option is likely to be a part exchange or trade deal. Remember that park owners want their parks to look lovely and fresh, so they’ll be keen to make your static caravan upgrade as easy as possible. This means that you’ll often get good value for money part-exchanging - though you may need to be ready to negotiate to get the deal you want.

Distributors will also often offer part exchange details if you’re buying a new holiday home from them. They’ll be used to removing and siting caravans, so the process should be as simple as buying through your park.

If you decide to sell your old static caravan privately, you’ll need to be aware that there will be a lot more that you’ll need to take care of. You’ll need to show potential buyers around your home, and when you agree to a sale you’ll need to work with them to arrange a removal that suits you both. It’s also vital that you check the rules of your park regarding selling. There may be restrictions, and it’s likely that they will take a percentage of the sale price as a commission.

This all assumes that you wish to keep the same pitch, in the same park. If you want to move to a larger pitch, or to a different park then you will need to speak with your park about ending the lease on your pitch, or transferring it to a new one.

Once you’ve sold your old static caravan - or agreed on a part exchange price - you should have a better idea of what your new holiday home budget will be. But there are some more things to consider before you go shopping!

Stay or go?

The next thing you need to decide is whether you want to stay on the same plot, move within your current park or even move to a completely new park. This will all depend on your reasons for upgrading your old static caravan.

If you want more space, then you may find that you have to move to a larger pitch - even if it looks like a larger holiday home will fit. There are health and safety rules that specify the minimum amount of space between units, and if your new, bigger home puts you too close to one of your neighbours then your park won’t allow it.

On the other hand, if you’re happy with the size of your caravan but you want to upgrade to something with a higher specification that you can visit all year round and will be more efficient to run, then it might fit comfortably on your current pitch.

Of course if you just want to move to a new location - perhaps you want to be closer to the coast, or to family - then a park move might be unavoidable.

Whatever the reason, it’s worth having a conversation with your current park as early in the process as possible. They’ll be able to advise you as to what your options are, and may even have sister parks in other areas of the country that you can transfer to. They’ll want to keep your custom if they can, so they’ll do the best they can to help get you sorted.

If you’re buying through a distributor, it’s still important to talk to your park to make sure that they know what is happening all through the process. The distributor should be speaking to your park too, and will work with them to make sure that everything goes smoothly.

Once you’ve sorted what your new pitch will be and how much space you have, it’s time to go shopping!

Choosing Your New Holiday Home

So if you’ve come this far then you should know how big your new holiday home is going to be, where it’s going to be sited and an idea of the specification you want. That should help you to narrow down your list of possible options a fair bit.

The next thing to do is speak to your park and see if they have any show models of the holiday homes you would like to upgrade to. It’s really important that you have a good look around anything you’re considering buying, to make sure that it will suit you. Websites and brochures are a great starting point, but you can’t beat walking through the door yourself. The difference between a holiday home (on a single chassis) and a lodge (built on twin chassis attached together) is really hard to appreciate until you see it in the flesh, for example.

If any of your park neighbours have similar homes it’s a great idea to have a chat with them too. Why not give them a knock with some biscuits, and see if they have time to show you around and give you the inside scoop on what it’s like to own.

Willerby has showgrounds where you can have a really good look around a wide range of models in Hull, Livingston and Southport. It’s definitely worthwhile visiting one of these if you can - nothing beats having a proper look around the holiday home you’re interested in. Our certified distributors have several models for you to view too.

Make a list of the most important features you need in your new home, and double check that all the homes you are looking at have those features. Your park, distributor or Willerby representative will be able to explain what comes as standard on each model and what is an optional extra.

You should also have a good idea by this point of what your budget is, based on how much you can sell or trade your old caravan for, how much you have saved and any finance you may be considering. It’s vital to remember this budget and accept that you may have to compromise somewhere, rather than being tempted to spend more than you can afford.

Paying for Your New Home

You’ve made the decision to upgrade to a new holiday home. You know what you want to buy, and where it’s going to be sited. You know what’s happening to your old static caravan. All that’s left now is to pay for it all.

If you already have finance on your current static caravan, then you may well be able to roll this over onto your new holiday home or lodge. This will depend on who your existing finance is with, and will be subject to status - you’ll definitely need to discuss your plans with them before setting your budget.

If you already own your old caravan outright, but you want to use finance to purchase your new holiday home, you have a number of options. Often the park or distributor you are buying from will be able to arrange finance for you, which can make things much easier.

You can also arrange your own if you prefer - there are several companies which specialise in holiday home finance. If you take this route make sure you do your research and make sure the company you have chosen is reputable. Most finance will be a hire purchase (HP) agreement which means you will own your new home at the end of the agreement; make sure you’re clear on exactly how this will work.

Whichever option you choose, make sure you compare the deal you are getting with current interest rates to be sure you’re getting the best value.

Sorting Your Holiday Home Insurance

As well as arranging any finance needed for your new holiday home, you’ll also need to make sure your insurance is all moved across and up to date. You should be able to transfer your existing policy to your new home, but if you’re coming to the end of your contract it might be worth shopping around to see if you can get a better deal.

Make sure you get a quote for the new insurance, as the cost is likely to be different on a new holiday home. Moving pitch or park will also have an affect on your premiums. If you’re not sure, talk to your park and the distributor that you’re buying your new holiday home from. They’ll be able to help you make sure everything is in order.

Parks often require that insurance policies on holiday homes need to have the same level of minimum cover throughout the park, so that everyone is adequately protected should something happen that affects more than one home. When you get your new home, even if you’re upgrading through the park, they might charge an admin fee to check that your insurance is appropriate. This could cost up to £40, so make sure you check with your park to avoid any hidden costs.

Who Will Move My Home and Belongings?

Your park will take care of moving your old static caravan and siting your new holiday home. If you’re buying from a distributor they’ll communicate with your park to make sure that everything runs smoothly. This won’t be free, but the cost should be included in the price of your new home. You shouldn't need to do anything other than agree to the dates and times.

If you’re moving to a new park, then they will take care of the siting of the new home, while your old park will deal with removing the old one. Again, there should be no need for you to get involved.

Moving your belongings can be a little bit trickier, depending on the timing of the removal and siting, and on how much you have in your caravan. In our experience, it’s usually more than you think.

If the old home is being removed and the new one put in place immediately, your park might be able to move all of your belongings as part of the process. If there’s a period of time in between they might have somewhere to store all your possessions, though you might need to box them all up in advance. Of course if you have a lot of things in your home and you’re worried about them getting lost or damaged, you can always box and store them yourself.

Either way, it’s always worth talking to your park to see if they can help, or if they can recommend a local removal or storage company. If you’re moving to a different park then you’ll almost certainly need to arrange moving your own belongings.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Hard

It seems like there’s a lot to think about when you’re upgrading your old static caravan to a new holiday home, but actually a lot of the hard work will be done for you by your park and the distributor you’re buying your new home from. They will have done this lots of times before, and will make the process seem effortless.

But it’s a good idea for you to have an understanding of what’s happening, to help you make the best decisions for you and your home.

If you’re thinking about upgrading to a new Willerby then you can check out our holiday homes and lodges, as well as our beautiful Bespoke park homes. You can also request a brochure or find your perfect park on our website.

If you’d like to have a chat about what kind of new holiday home might be the ideal upgrade for you, or just find out more about our range, we’d love for you to get in touch.