Guide to Buying a Holiday Lodge
Buying a holiday lodge is a great way of being able to escape to a favourite, beautiful place any time you want. This idea has, perhaps, never been so attractive. With the high quality of lodges on the market and the rise of the ‘staycation’, buying a holiday lodge is an increasingly popular thing to do. If you are thinking of buying a holiday lodge, this guide is designed to help you make an informed decision.
Know what you are buying
When buying a holiday lodge, you buy the lodge itself outright and a licence for the lodge to occupy the land it is on for a certain amount of time. It is important to be clear about this as you will need to pay a regular plot fee (ground rent) for the right to stay on the land. Sometimes, you will also pay a maintenance fee to the park. Don’t forget to factor in council tax payments too. Check carefully what these costs are before making any purchase.
The licence will lay out the terms and the duration of your agreement with the park owners. You do not need to have a solicitor present to sign a licence agreement, but you may want one for your own peace of mind. Read the terms of the agreement carefully, paying particular attention to any time limit imposed on your stay there and to any obligations to maintain your lodge (there will be some) contained in the agreement.
If you are buying in order to let out your holiday lodge, check that the park you are on and the licence agreement you sign, allows for this. Also check with your insurer that you are covered if you let your holiday lodge out. Our advisers at our Park Home Assist Northampton office will be happy to help.
Be clear that you are buying a holiday lodge not a permanent residence. A holiday lodge on a holiday park with planning permission for holiday homes cannot be used as a residence. You must have a separate permanent residence and must provide evidence of this regularly (in the form of utility bills etc.).
There are, of course, residential parks which have lodges built to higher specifications so that they meet the requirements of a permanent residence. If this is what you are looking for, start by looking for residential parks.
Take your time when buying a holiday lodge
Try out a park you are interested in for a few days (or more if you have the time) and tour the area. Some people will visit more than once, perhaps in peak season and then again off-peak, before buying. You will, hopefully, be spending a great deal of valuable vacation time in your new holiday lodge so take the time to thoroughly experience the park it is in and the area around the park.
The holiday park
Make the acquaintance of the management and politely resist talking to sales staff until you are sure you want to buy. Ask as many questions as you have. If you have children or pets or expect regular visitors who have them, it is a good idea to ask straight away if this is permitted on the park, as a negative response can be a deal breaker.
Talk to your potential neighbours. Most good parks will view their existing occupants as their best salespeople and their management will often help you to find others willing to share their experiences.
Your potential future neighbours are part of the experience and are an invaluable source of information. Ask about how the park management responds to maintenance and repair needs, how they deal with unusual events and new developments they may have planned. The more you can chat with your neighbours, the more likely you are to pick up tips and secrets about the park and the area, which will all help to make your stay better and assist you in your decision to buy.
Walk, drive, cycle or bus around the area you are interested in. Take in the sights and local attractions. Check out the local eating establishments, pubs and entertainment. You may not need all of this in one stay but you are going to want to visit a lot and to make the most of your newly bought holiday home.
Chatting to the locals, especially those running local shops and services can bring many benefits. From finding out what happens in the area in off-peak and winter, to discovering where the local youth hang out of an evening. These and other insights can all contribute to a good decision when it comes to buying a holiday lodge in the nearby park.
Here is a list of a few questions you may want to ask of the park management or its occupants.
- When does the park open and close?
- Are there any restrictions in place, which govern how long and when you can use your lodge?
- How long is the licence or lease?
- How long has the park’s licence to run, if it isn’t a permanent one?
- What is the build specification of the holiday lodge?
- What warranty is the park offering?
- What is the annual ground rent?
- Do I have to pay a further maintenance charge?
- Are there any further plans for development?
- Is the park a member of the National Caravan Council, the British Holiday & Home Parks Association, or similar professional body?
Is it a good investment?
A holiday lodge is first and foremost an investment in a good quality of life. As we mentioned earlier, the quality of many holiday lodges these days is very high, using high specification materials and set in beautiful locations making them a joy to live in. For the same reasons, it can be a decent investment financially too.
Reselling is rarely a problem as the market for well-sited park lodges is a large one. Note that you do not have to sell back to the park itself. You may want to for convenience but it is not an obligation.
A holiday lodge, although often (but not always) less expensive than a bricks and mortar house, is a substantial financial commitment. You may want to seek to finance buying your holiday home. Check that your holiday lodge carries either British Standard 3632 or British Standard European Norm 1647 as these would qualify you to arrange finance with a specialist finance company.
Can I get an extended warranty?
All new park lodges should come with a two-year manufacturer’s warranty. You are also free to take advantage of a number of specialist warranty schemes that last ten years if your park is registered with one of these schemes. Your eligibility may be affected if you decide to let out your lodge to paying guests. Ask your park managers about this.
Buying a holiday lodge is a big decision and it can make a hugely positive impact on your leisure time. We hope this article helps you to make an informed decision.
When you’ve bought your holiday lodge, then you’ll need to arrange holiday lodge insurance. Call our award-winning insurance team on 01604 946 796 who can help you get the right policy to meet your specific needs.
This is a marketing article from Park Home Assist, specialist insurance providers specialising in insurance for park homes and leisure homes.