Buying a park home - tips and advice
More and more people are exploring the world of park home ownership, with many sites offering an alternative to retirement living, with a secure, relaxed and quiet environment, with dedicated park owners.
When buying a park home, we understand it can be stressful, confusing and time consuming. However it’s also important you do spend that time and effort in purchasing your new home. There may be a number of details you’ve not thought of so we’ve put together the ‘top tips’ on what to know and do when buying a park home.
Is buying a park home right for you?
Moving into a park home can come with a number of benefits; many park home sites offer you a certain lifestyle and community that allows a relaxed, quiet and sociable living.
There are still some details that we advise you take some time to decide if that move is right for you.
With park homes generally being a smaller dwelling than a ‘bricks and mortar’ property, you may find the maintenance of the property to be more manageable, allowing you to enjoy more time in your home, hobbies and interests you may have.
Downsizing does also come with a few negatives; is there enough room to move in all your possessions, or will you need to arrange alternative storage or selling of larger furniture items and contents?
Ensure that the quiet, relaxed lifestyle is right for you. Most park home sites suit a retirement living, and home owners are likely to be used to this type of environment.
Location, Location, Location.....Where do you want to live?
After deciding if buying a park home is right for you, you need to decide on where you’d like to live. Do you want to stay local to where you currently live, live in a more rural or scenic environment, near the sea, closer to family, or in a city location?
Choosing a location is a big commitment, as it could potentially be where you spend your future years. Getting it right first time, may not be easy but must be done to best suit your needs and living requirements.
Deciding budget and the type of park home you want to live in
After you’ve decided where you want to live, deciding your budget and the type of park home you’d like to buy will need to be your next step. There’s a variety of park homes on the market, and new models being designed and built day by day. You may want to purchase a new park home so ensure you look into additional costs of siting the home when deciding your budget.
You may want to move or downsize into a smaller property, and a park home would generally be classed as either a single or double unit.
There are lots of park home manufacturers so attending park home shows and events where the manufacturers will present their latest models would be a great way to see a number of designs and homes on the market. You could alternatively visit a local estate agent that will be able to advise you based on your demands and needs.
You can even design your own home directly through the manufacturer. This will allow you to meet your exact demands and needs, personalising the home for you.
Older homes may be cheaper than buying a new build but you do need to consider they may come with ‘wear and tear’. So adjust your budget accordingly for home renovations and modernisation of the park home.
Viewing the home and park
So you’ve decided the type of home you’d like to buy and the location you’d like to live in. Now time to view your potential park home and the park you’ll be moving to.
When viewing the home, we recommend you check a number of the following details, this is to not only to decide if the property meets your needs, but if buying a older park home it’s also important to ensure the home is well maintained and in good repair.
Take your time- visit your potential home more than once. It’s a huge commitment to purchase a park home, so ensuring the home meets your requirements is very important.
You’ll have you own idea of perfection, and the type of community and park you want to live in, so take your time.
Is the building structurally sound?
Don’t just view the home on the inside, have a walk around the property to see if it is structurally sound. Look out for signs of maintenance to cover up building work or cracks, such as a fresh coat of paint.
Large cracks could be major issue, and may need a surveyor to assess the property, whereas if the building is slightly older, you may see hairline cracks, that may not be as serious and maybe expected. However, it is always best to check with a surveyor to investigate any concerns that you may have.
Are there any signs of damp?
When entering the property there may be initial signs of damp, like a smell of mould, plaster that may be flaking or even rooms that have been recently painted.
Feel the walls and check behind furniture to ensure there are no physical signs of damp and ask the seller if the home has had any previous damp issues.
Also check ceilings and skirting for signs of damp and mould. Remember to also look closely.
It’s also recommended you check the condition of windows of the property. Checking for cracking paint work, damp and condensation around the window, can determine if they have been fitted correctly and if they are still water tight.
Is the roof well maintained? Flat or pitched?
Park homes come with different types of roofing, most however are usually described as either pitched roofs, which are generally tile effect, or flat roof sr
Pitched roofs generally offer more protection to the home from storm and rain damage, as there it is less likely to pool with water.
Having a good look around the property, ensuring the roof is well maintained, checking for loose tiles, damage such as rotting wood or pools of water is a clear indication that you may need to spend additional money on the property if purchased, not only to replace parts of the roof, but there could be further damage to the home out of view.
Have there been any previous incidents to the property/ insurance claims?
Ask the home owner if there has been any previous insurance claims in or to the home. Understanding if there has been any work undertaken on the property, such as electrical, pipe work or major home repairs. Is the property the right size for your needs?
Does the home meet your size requirements, are the rooms big enough for your needs, and is there adequate storage? Walk from room to room, open fitted cupboards and wardrobes; you could potentially be spending thousands of pounds on this home, so the current occupier shouldn’t have any issues with you doing this with their permission.
Is the plumbing in good condition?
Asking the home owner if there have been any previous issues with the pipe work, this could affect heating and issues with running water. Check the radiators work and asking how old the boiler in the property is. The older the boiler the more susceptible to breakdown and future issues, you may have to budget for a replacement boiler if this is the case. Run the taps, ensuring the water looks clean and flows at a good pace.
You may even want to employ a park home surveyor to assess the home.
Surrounding areas and local amenities
So you’ve now viewed your potential homes, the next thing is to ensure the location of your future home is right for you. You need to ensure the area meets your requirements and type of living. Check the local bus routes and ease of public transport. How far away are local shops and amenities? Having a 15 minute drive just to get a loaf of bread and a pint of milk may not be to everyone’s liking. So being able to have a short walk to your local supermarket may be ideal.
Is the park in a heavy traffic area?
Take a drive around the park and local area, checking for levels of heavy traffic, local building work, and what amenities are in the area. It’s worth walking around the park and surrounding areas too, this will give you a greater understanding of the area and park you may be moving to.
Speaking to other home owners on the site, have a meeting with the site owner
Taking the time to speak to your potential neighbours and other home owners is an ideal way to gain a great understanding of the site. This will also allow you to meet the people you would be living next to. Walking around the site, you can see if the homes are well maintained and are in good condition. Look out for rubbish and junk left out, and state of gardens. Home owners on the site are very likely to be honest and open about the local area, and may talk to you about the local amenities they use. It’s also a way to get a little more information about the site as well.
You may even find your neighbours will recommend the insurance company they use.
Have a meeting with the site owner; doing this you can discuss site rules, pitch fees, and services to your property. You may also find out your site offers certain maintenance to your plot throughout the year, that you may need to pay for. Also check the park has a permanent residential license.
You may even find the site may have a minimum age limit, excludes children from living on the site and maybe a limit on the number of pets you have if any are allowed at all.
Weather and Flooding
Do some research into the weather in the area and also take time in checking if the site is in a high flood risk area or has been flooded in the past. If there has been previous flooding, has the site owner or local authority put any precautions in place to stop future flooding? Any previous flooding or risk of flooding could potentially stop you from insuring the property.
Are you a keen gardener? If so then you’d ideally like a home that is south facing especially in the Summer time. A south facing home could mean that your home over summer is a warm and light environment, as opposed to one that is dark and cold, which could increase heating and lighting costs.
Completing the sale and legalities when buying a park home
So you’re ready to make an offer and in turn complete the sale of your new park home. However there are still a few legalities and information you need to be made aware of. Take time to also research this and we also advise that you seek legal advice and representation.
You may not be aware but when completing the purchase of the Home, you need to pay the seller 90% of the final price, and retain 10%. This 10% is paid directly to the site owner.
Insuring the property
You’ve purchased your home! Now time to ensure the effort, time and expense of the buying the home is protected by insuring your home and contents. All the work you’ve put in to checking the home is well maintained and good repair, the type and condition of the roof and windows in the property are what the insurance company will be looking for in providing you with insurance.
You now need to find an insurance policy that offers you a range of features and benefits that will help protect your home in the event of a claim. Certain cover should be provided by most park home insurers, such as fire, storm, flood, theft and accidental damage, however you should check what’s covered as not everything is covered as standard, for example you may have to pay extra to include accidental damage cover. It’s also worth checking if the policy includes cover for home care emergency assistance and park home legal advice and expenses. You may find that your park will require you to have certain elements covered, such as flooding and public liability. It is also important to keep your home well maintained as an insurance policy will not cover wear and tear or maintenance issues.
Choose a company that has experience in the market, and specialises in park home insurance. You also want to choose a specialist that covers you for what you need covered. Take the time to speak to an advisor on the phone as opposed to using search engines to generate quotes, this ensures you understand the cover on offer and to know they are meeting your needs and requirements. This will also give you peace of mind you know that if a valid claim occurs you’re protected.