Static Caravan or Timeshare? We talk to an owner who had both and find out...
Winter is one of the most popular times to book up a holiday but with such a lot of choice on offer you can quickly get fed up of trawling through overwhelming holiday websites looking for the perfect retreat.
And if space is an important factor then being cramped into a hotel room on a standard package holiday may quickly lose appeal.
If you love the idea of having a weekend bolt hole either in the UK or abroad, but without the fund commitment a free hold property brings then a caravan or timeshare both offer an alternative option. But which to choose?
Alliance member David Head followed in the footsteps of thousands of others when he went down the static caravan ownership route.
“My 6 berth caravan had a lovely corner position overlooking the sea. When we first bought it the ground rent was only £1000 with no strings attached.”
Caravans can be situated on parkland in some of the most beautiful settings, in the country, on the shores of lakes and on the coast and often come with a large amount of outside space – especially useful if you have young family.
Things didn’t stay the same for long unfortunately.
“The site was sold to a developer who increased the fees to over £4000 a year which we could never expect to get back if we rented it out. Additionally he insisted my buying gas off him at inflated prices and buying his insurance policies and maintenance men.”
This is something suffered by many caravan owners who are charged extras by the park the caravan is sited on. They then face pressure to rent the van out to cover site fees, which also brings with it tax obligations. Add to this the costs of ‘winterisation’ which is the process of turning off the water and draining pipes etc and the costs and obligations can mount up.
And according to David, it doesn’t stop there,
“We did have the freedom to go whenever we liked when the park was open BUT the spring cleaning took ages with a total of 90 feet of outside walls to be scrubbed clean.”
Having fallen out of love with his caravan, but still enjoying the freedom to holiday in Pembrokeshire where the site was situated, David had a look around and didn’t have to go far to find another option.
“Haven Court was a small timeshare resort down the road in the village and had a lot of weeks where original leases had stopped coming. Owners were willing to give you their week with only the legal fees to be paid so long as you took on the remainder of the timeshare lease. So taking on 3 weeks including an August one meant a yearly outlay of around a £1000 compared with £4000 in the caravan. Plus the fact that the apartments were cleaned , refurbished, beds made, and towels changed on Wednesdays – a no brainer really!”
Timeshare has suffered bad press in years gone by, mainly due to some unscrupulous rogue traders who sold products to people that were unsuitable. Much has been done to clean up the industry of late and new timeshare owners are now finding that the resale market is providing some great opportunities at low entry costs.
David is honest about some of the downsides,
“I miss my sea view and the flexibility to go whenever I want. But I can and have exchanged a week with Dial An Exchange who are really helpful or I can give a week to my children plus I can always rent another week at a reasonable price. We also have a long standing manager and a brilliant owners committee of which I am chairman!”
So there are pros and cons of both of these ownership options – important factors to take into consideration when making a decision. It seems that David did and made the right one!
- Freedom to visit as much as you want
- Lovely setting
- Lots of outside space
- Parks often close from October to March
- Site fees can increase
- Caravans will have to eventually be replaced or removed at owners cost
- Great low entry resale opportunities available
- Cleaning and maintenance all taken care of
- Flexibility to ‘exchange’ your week for other resorts including abroad
- Maintenance fees can increase
- You may be subject to availability restrictions in high season (depending on when your week is)
- Beware of being tied into long leases
Found this useful or know someone who will?
Please share using the buttons below