Reasons to upgrade
When many people buy their first home, they often don’t go straight for a top-of-the-range lodge or caravan until they know that they are using their holiday home as much as they anticipated they would and come to realise how much they enjoy the lifestyle and freedom that comes with it.
Therefore, a common situation we see is people still in their first home who now want to upgrade to a newer model that they can keep for longer or want to go from a holiday home (static caravan) to a larger holiday lodge.
Many holiday home owners also upgrade their caravan or lodge naturally over time too to be able to enjoy the latest décor, a change of style or upsize or downsize depending on their requirement, just as we would with our home or cars.
Holiday homes and lodges can last from 30 to 50 years depending on your exact home and how well kept it is. Holiday parks however will often put an age limit on a home by having licensing periods which may also mean you may need to upgrade your home.
Licensing periods vary so you must check with your park but on average it’s around 15 years for a static caravan and up to 25 years on lodges. Nearly all parks will have an age limit on homes.
First steps to upgrading
Your first step should be to speak to your park, or if you’re planning on moving parks, your new park. Larger parks will have sales teams and show homes on-site so you can start exploring. You can also visit a dealership near to your home or park.
Salop Leisure, a Willerby dealership based in Shrewsbury, said: “If you’re not sure which is the best home for you then a dealership is a great place to look. There are more options than you may find on a park so you can really scour the market to find what you want. If a customer is upgrading, depending on where your home is based, we can help by visiting your park and taking a look at your existing home and its condition to talk you through the options of how you can upgrade.
This could include advice on whether it’s best to part exchange, privately sell or exchange through your park. We can also give you an idea of what your current home may be worth, so you know what you have to spend.”
Can I part exchange my current home?
You can part-exchange your home and upgrade this way, similarly to how you would a car, or you can sell privately.
Often, part-exchanging your home through your park is the best option in terms of value but that’s not always the case.
It’s important to remember that park owners want their parks to look nicer and be more attractive than competitor parks and newer homes help to do this, so they’re keen for their homeowners to upgrade which gives you some leverage when it comes to negotiating. This is often why part-exchanging through your park is how you may get the most for your money.
If you want to try to sell privately, you’ll need to check the rules of your park and whether you can resell on the park. If you do sell your home on the park, the park will usually take a commission.
Can I keep my plot?
Whether you can put your new home on your existing plot depends on the swap you are making so if you definitely don’t want to change your plot on your park, then make sure you know if you need to stick to any size limits before you upgrade.
Health and safety rules for holiday parks mean there must be minimum distances between homes, so even if you are upgrading to a home that is only slightly bigger don’t assume that it can be located on your plot. Even if it looks like it will fit, if it breaches the minimum required distance from someone next to you then you won’t be able to put it there.
If you’re upgrading from a static caravan to a lodge, your plot may well not be big enough so make sure if you want to stay on the same park that there is a plot available that you would like for your new home. If you are buying or part-exchanging through your park, then they should cover all this off with you.
Salop leisure added: “If you’re upgrading through a dealership and you’re concerned about whether you can keep your plot, or you’re not sure if the new home you’re looking at will fit, a dealership can work your park to check all of these points for you so don’t hesitate to ask your dealership to communicate with your park.”
Financing your new home
So, you’ve decided to upgrade, you’ve chosen your new home and you’re ready to buy. If you have finance on your existing home, then you can often roll this over* on to your new caravan or lodge (*subject to status).
If you own your current home but wish to borrow finance to purchase your upgrade, then there are a number of finance houses. Finance will often be arranged by your park or dealer when buying your home or you can secure your own. A finance agreement for a holiday home will always be a hire purchase (HP) agreement (so you can own the goods at the end of the agreement), and you’ll find rates are around 8-13 percent APR – similar to the car industry.
You must apply for finance to upgrade and even if you have an existing agreement, if you want to borrow more to buy your new home, as with any finance agreement, you must reach the lender's criteria and pass the relevant credit checks, or you can be declined.
As well as finance, you will need to carry any existing insurance policies over to your new home or take out new ones to cover the value of the new home. Remember to get a quote so you can factor this cost into your budget as a new home could cost more to insure. Park managers, park sales teams and dealerships can help with this when you’re buying too so be sure to ask.
Parks also require insurance policies to be like for like on individual homes so everyone on the park has adequate cover should something happen that affects more than one home. When you get a new home, even if you’re upgrading, they may charge an admin fee to check an insurance policy is sufficient, which could be up to £40, depending on your park.
Who will move my old home and belongings?
Your park will take care of moving your old home and placing your new home. If you buy from a dealership you will have a delivery cost included and your park will work with the delivery company to facilitate getting your new home into its place. You shouldn’t have to do anything.
When upgrading, your park will often be able to move all your existing belongings that are in your home into your new one, ready for your next visit. If there is a period in between your old home being taken off park and your new home arriving they will often have somewhere to store your belongings for you. If you do keep quite a lot of things in your home and you’re worried about things getting lost or misplaced, you can box up and remove your own possessions whilst your home is swapped. The park may still be able to help with storage too.
If you need more information or have any questions about our homes, call 01482 717599 and our friendly team will be happy to answer all your questions.
Thank you to Salop Leisure for their invaluable advice. Salop is one of the main dealers for the Midlands and can be found at www.salopleisure.co.uk.