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Old 16-05-2012, 09:30
Angela M's Avatar
Angela M Angela M is offline
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Location: Barmouth, Gwynedd - where the mountains meet the sea
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Post Buying a Static Caravan - Advice and tips from GoStatic

So you're thinking about buying a static caravan .... below, you should find enough information to help you to learn about how to begin your search, and at the end, there will be links covering all the subjects below, that have been discussed on GoStatic by our members.
Here's what we recommend you should consider.


Obviously, this will be the deciding factor to keep in mind when choosing a caravan, and where it is to be sited. Also it is worth remembering that personal circumstances can change, so if you 'stretch yourself' too much, you may find you have difficulties keeping up with the running costs in the future.
Some people have a 'plan B' in place, by choosing a site that allows you to hire your caravan out, which would help if you began to find the running costs too much...
Reading through the various threads here on GoStatic, members talk about their site fees varying from around 1200 - 5000 per year, this varies greatly, because of the different areas of the country, and what facilities the site has (such as pool / leisure complex, beach, golf, on-site entertainment etc.).
If you take out finance to pay for your caravan, you need to remember to add this to your yearly costs, which are talked about later on.
Are you looking for a New Caravan? Or would you consider a 'Used' Caravan? (Tips about buying New or Used below)

What costs are involved in owning a caravan?
Owning a Static Caravan is costly, there are many extra costs you need to consider.
Insurance – (it will be higher if you intend to sublet)
Yearly site fees (from around 1200 - 5000+ depending on where you are)
Monthly finance payments (if you have any)
Gas – Central Heating costs can be high, so bear this in mind
Gas/Electric safety checks
Yearly drain-down if carried out by a professional
Fully equipping (listed in link below)

If you are buying an older caravan, you will need to keep up to date with upkeep, maintenance, seals etc. as this will be stipulated in your insurance company.

CHOOSING AN AREA - here are some points you will need to discuss with your family...

How often will you be able to use it?
How far from home are you prepared to travel?
How long will it take to get there?
What will the fuel costs be?
What type of area are you looking for? e.g. Coastal, Hill walking, Quiet, Scenic, Busy.
Do you have mobility issues?
Do you intend to hire it out?
Will your chosen area be popular with holidaymakers?
What length of season would you prefer? Some sites are open from April - October, others are open for a full 12 months. (but not residential)

What size caravan would you consider?
They range from 28' x10' upwards, and can have 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms and sleep up to 8 (sometimes 10) depending on the layout. Some have fold-out double beds in the lounge, others have dining area that converts into a double bed. These are great for unexpected guests, but do tend to be more 'occasional' beds, so are sometimes not as 'sturdy' as the beds in the bedrooms.
If you have teenagers, it's often recommended that they have their own space to retreat to, so you would benefit from having more bedrooms.

If your family has special needs, wheelchair access for example, there are specialist manufacturers that can tailor a caravan to your needs, or there are specialist companies that can adapt 'standard build' caravans to suit your needs. Some caravans have a layout that can accommodate the space needed for a wheelchair user without needing any alterations at all, however this is predominantly in the lounge area, access to the bedrooms and bathrooms would be limited. (We can give you contact details for these companies if you need advice from them).
This will also affect your choice of area and site and pitch, if you need to consider wheelchair access to the site, and it's facilities - (not all sites have good disabled access / or access to its facilities)

What facilities would you like to have on the site?
Our members have caravans on a wide range of sites, from small non-commercial sites in quiet countryside, to large commercialised sites in popular holiday spots on the coast. Are you prepared to travel to find a shop or would you prefer one on site?
Would you prefer there to be a pub/club/entertainment on site (no driving involved) and all it's associated activity/possible noise or would you rather travel away from the site?
Would you prefer a site run by one of the large companies or a small family run site?
Do you have a dog? Some sites do not allow dogs, or more than one dog.
Again, we have members on all of the different types of site, and you can read all the plus and minus points to consider about each type...
Do you have your own transport or would you rely upon the local Railway Station/Bus stop?
Just a few of the things to consider when choosing a site...

When you read through the links at the bottom, you'll be able to read what our members feel are important things to consider when choosing your Static Caravan...


1. NEW
It is possible to buy a caravan that is 'built to order' whilst still under construction (as one of our members has recently done) this enables you to choose colour schemes, co-ordinates, placement of plug sockets, also a choice of having factory fitted double glazing or central heating fitted etc. Others have chosen from displays, or show grounds they have been to.

Different sites have different selling avenues, they deal with particular dealers or have links to particular manufacturers, some will allow you to bring your own caravan onto their site (the latter are few and far between, but some can be found on this website).
You will get a warranty if buying a brand new caravan.

There is often an age restriction which varies on each site, some are 10 year maximum, others have no age restriction, so you need to find this out before going ahead with any purchase.
Once you have decided on your budget and you actually start to view caravans, you often find you can buy a 'higher spec' used caravan for the same, if not cheaper, than the price of a brand new caravan. It may have factory fitted DG or CH, or this could also be added at a later date if the caravan is suitable, it may come with lots of extras, so it's always worth weighing up what is the 'best buy' for you and your family. Later on there's tips on what to look for when buying a used caravan, (possible problem areas).

It is possible to modernise an older caravan, we have plenty of information on the site about this, it can be done quite easily and relatively cheaply, dependent on your budget.
Also bear in mind there will be no warranty with a private sale but there may be one if buying used from a site's stock.

Sometimes you may be offered a choice of which pitch you would like.
It's a good idea to sit and watch passers by to see if it is a cut-though, check the noise level of the surrounding area.
What is the view like? You may be indoors a lot in bad weather, would you be happy with that view?
Talk to the neighbours if you can.
Can you park next to your caravan?
Is the lighting good? Is it too bright?
You may not always be offered a choice of pitch, but if you are, choose carefully, it may be vacant for a reason

This is another important consideration, sometimes its not until you've actually started to use your caravan that you realise a different layout would have suited you better, Within this website, you can read owners reviews, where they have written about the practicalities of owning their caravans, and if they could change anything what it would be.
The main area's commented on are the kitchen - which is usually U shaped or Galley style, and the lounge area, some prefer to be able to close off the kitchen completely. If you have a large family, fixed seating style is sometimes more flexible as you have much more seating available.

It is advisable to get in writing, what the sale price includes.
Buying new
Costs involved would be transportation/delivery, connection fees, site fees for that season, and of course the dreaded VAT.

Buying used
Sometimes it's possible to buy a used caravan that is fully equipped, with decking, other times the caravan will come with no extras.
You may be able to negotiate gas bottles, steps, full or partial site fees, insurance, siting, connection fees etc., it's always worth trying to negotiate in our experience, as long as you are reasonable.
There are usually transfer of ownership fees to be paid to the office, this appears to be around 15% but can be higher, and it is usually paid by the seller.

When buying used, it is always recommended that Gas Safety checks are carried out by a Registered Corgi Gas fitter, (cost around 40) along with PAT testing for electrical safety, (around 5 per item) but this cost varies from site to site. this is a compulsory requirement of your insurance company if you intend to hire out your caravan.

Points to look for when buying a used caravan
Don't be embarrassed to look at the chassis, you are looking for excessive rust, or large pieces falling off, or flaking. There will often be a certain amount, especially if near the coast. You can treat the chassis to prevent this.
Probably the most important thing to consider, is DAMP... here's a few tips about where to look.

Examine corners, look at seals, joints etc.,. window frames for expanding joints. Door alignment.

The floor should not be 'springy' to walk on, and should be level. These are most likely to be found around the inside of the door frame.

You need to look for dark patches, or wet patches, these are most commonly found around the corners of door frames, around wall vents, ceiling vents, corners of windows, around capping, in corners especially inside wardrobes, around the boiler, around the fire surround. Look at the wood where it meets the floor, or worktops for 'puffing', also check edging strips coming unstuck, this will show it has soaked up water.
Under the toilet cistern, and in front of the shower, look for cracks in shower tray and along seals in bath/shower.
Look along window ledges for 'rippling'.
Look in the corners behind sofas (just pull them forward).
Generally take a good look around, take time to sit on the sofa's as well, as different types of fixed seating as different comfort levels. If the seating has a sculptured base, (rounded shape under your knees) it can often give more support to your back.

This whole post is meant to help you, at the end of the day, it will be your choice, and armed with this information, you can make the decision. There are bound to be other considerations, depending on your personal circumstances, as it is often said that a caravan is worth what you are willing to pay for it.

Below are links to the topics above, for you to read, these are posts from our members, through their views, ideas, opinions, and hindsight, you should be able to confidently buy your Static Caravan.

Links to the forum
Extra costs to consider
What's important to caravan owners? (A discussion)
What 'Kit' to buy (Discussion)
New Delivery Checklist (Discussion)
Modernising an old girl hints and tips
Caravan adaptations/design recommendations etc
Owners reviews - honest open reviews by owners of static caravans
What I love is - Owners discussions about owning a static caravan
One thing you would change - (owners discussion regarding layouts etc)
Subletting - advice and tips on all aspects of hiring out your caravan
Running costs - as discussed by owners
How long does it take to get to your caravan
Licence/Contract/Terms and conditions
Gas versus electric heating - discussion/advice from members
Coast or countryside - poll and views on both

If you can add to this please do so, but please try to stay on-topic
Angela M
Mod Team

Live life forwards, but learn from it backwards ...

Last edited by Angela M; 14-01-2015 at 10:42.
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Old 17-05-2012, 09:57
Bobsnobs Bobsnobs is offline
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Angie this is excellent I would like to add its worth finding out from the site before you commit:-

Does the site allow tourers & tents or is it just for statics.

Does the park have security barriers.

If they do allow tourers/motorhomes coming and going, Do they have security round the park during the night?

If the site has piped gas how much do they charge per unit? as parks can charge whatever they like for the piped gas.

If site has a pool and you have children do they have life guards on duty?

Are you in a flood area?

Check our various insurance companies as some require the static to be anchored down.

Make sure you read and re-read your licence agreement before making a commitment.
Mod Team

Last edited by Bobsnobs; 17-05-2012 at 10:06.
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Old 17-05-2012, 10:01
Angela M's Avatar
Angela M Angela M is offline
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Barmouth, Gwynedd - where the mountains meet the sea
Posts: 8,812

Thank you Ildi,

I have now added some links directing visitors to our discussions on the forum
Angela M
Mod Team

Live life forwards, but learn from it backwards ...

Last edited by Angela M; 17-05-2012 at 10:38.
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Old 17-05-2012, 10:44
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Babbet Babbet is offline
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Location: New Milton, Hampshire
Posts: 208

Another great post Angela - must have taken you hours & hours to put all that together. Wish we'd had all that info at our fingertips when we bought - makes me realise what risks we took, particularly with regard to possible probs with a 2nd hand van. Fortunately we seem to have landed on our feet, with very few snags, but I now know it was much more by luck than judgement! So I would thoroughly recommend any would-be static owner to read through this thread BEFORE committing themselves, and not afterwards as I have done!
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Old 17-05-2012, 11:01
treetopper treetopper is offline
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Well done Anj...
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Old 22-05-2012, 08:43
shuggiegreen shuggiegreen is offline
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Well done Angela great work and ideal for a newby like me.
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Old 15-07-2012, 13:54
Angela M's Avatar
Angela M Angela M is offline
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Barmouth, Gwynedd - where the mountains meet the sea
Posts: 8,812
Default New members seeking advice...

There has been a lot of new members joining this week, all seeking advice before buying a caravan.
There are lots of important subjects on this thread to help you, so I've refreshed it.
Angela M
Mod Team

Live life forwards, but learn from it backwards ...

Last edited by Angela M; 20-08-2012 at 08:33.
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Old 08-02-2013, 14:37
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colleen82 colleen82 is offline
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With it being the time of year when people start looking to buy statics I thought I would refresh this thread for any newbie members or lurkers out there. Some handy hints contained within to look for and remember when you are purchasing
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Old 08-02-2013, 20:38
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ZumbaGrandadd ZumbaGrandadd is offline
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Come on, don't be a lurker, join in, and have even more fun. It must be boring, sitting out there, not participating, and all on your own.
Father of Buddy Pat's slave-boy
Proud owner of an ABI Hathaway 2004, 4berth, 2Bedroom holiday home.
Our van -
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Old 08-02-2013, 20:48
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bluemax90 bluemax90 is offline
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Originally Posted by ZumbaGrandadd View Post
Come on, don't be a lurker, join in, and have even more fun. It must be boring, sitting out there, not participating, and all on your own.
Good point Zumba, I was reading a thread a couple of nights ago and a "new" poster actually apologised for contributing to a thread - they had joined the forum months before. Perhaps now it won't be so intimidating
If it wasn't for physics and law enforcement I'd be unstoppable
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