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Park Homes - An affordable investment

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Park homes are becoming increasingly popular with the British – so popular that 250,000 of us are living in them in the United Kingdom alone. Park homes are attractively designed, single-storey places on private estates which have to be licensed by a local authority for residential use. When looking to own a residential park home the variety of property and diversity of locations means it is not an easy decision to make – you have the whole of the UK, and a big chunk of Europe to choose from.

A park home can be luxury lodges with up to three bedrooms, a large mobile home with eight berths, chalets or attractive wooden cabins. Depending on opulence, size, type and location, prices can range from below £30,000 to £200,000-plus. Park homes differ from caravan holiday homes in that they are built to a higher specification and designed to be lived in year-round and through all the weather that the British climate can throw at us.

With more than 2,000 parks and villages in the UK alone there is a huge choice of locations with hundreds more options abroad – in France, Spain and Portugal. This means that all the sun spots of Europe are open to buyers as well as the best places that Britain has in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In the UK there are some urban sites but most are in pleasing rural areas.

Very much, but not solely, for the over-50 age groups who tend to be in the majority of buyers, there are many reasons for people to buy a park home.

So what is the motivation to buy a residential park home?

  • People who want to escape the pressures of town life
  • Those looking for a place in the country with all the benefits of rural living
  • Those who have a big house and want to trade down
  • A retirement home
  • A holiday home
  • Affordable housing
  • Reducing one’s property investment and freeing up capital for more leisure pursuits
  • A first-time buyer wanting to take a step on the property ladder
  • Buying to rent

 Winter Park Homes

Some purchasers of park properties fear they are moving to cramped quarters. Whatever the individual’s taste in style of park home, they are getting an affordable, attractively-designed detached property which is spacious and with enormous flexibility in design, layout and room sizes. Park homes, which are built to a rigid British Standard for quality, can come with comfortable lounges, spacious and modern kitchens, separate dining areas and fully fitted bathrooms and shower rooms. 21st century parks are all hooked up to mains power, drainage and water. Even more choices come with deciding on fully furnished, part furnished or unfurnished arrangements. For those for whom owning a bricks-and-mortar property had become a DIY treadmill, park homes are low maintenance.

Largely park homes are for year-round occupation but where they are installed on a holiday park, there may be certain restrictions about living there for 12 months. It could be that the occupier has to leave the site for a certain number of weeks per year to comply with licensing restrictions. This should be checked at the time of buying.

Living in a park home is a growing trend with an estimated 250,000 people in Britain who have taken up this lifestyle in at least 76,000 properties.

Peace of mind for those embarking on park home living comes in the National Park Homes Council (NPHC) which comprises leading park property manufacturers and residential park home site operators.

It is a division of the National Caravan Council and operates a Quality Award Scheme which independently assesses sites. It also has its Gold Shield 10-year Warranty Scheme covering the structure of new park homes built by the majority of manufacturers. It is available free to people who buy on registered parks.

If a prospective park home purchaser is dealing with a reputable manufacturer and site operator, the process of buying should be straight forward. The main consideration is knowing exactly what your costs are. Ask for all charges to be specified including the delivery of the new home to the site, its installation and connections to main services. Other costs to consider include site rent and council tax. Also ensure you are clear on what maintenance is the park's responsibility.

Unlike buying a bricks-and-mortar home, there are no legal formalities with park homes involving the need for a solicitor. It has been likened to buying a car.

Potential buyers can do their own research by checking the park is attractive and well maintained and what local amenities and shops are nearby. A good site operator will not object to you talking to other residents about the park.

Be aware about children living at the site or staying over and which pets are allowed.

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