There are several benefits that go along with owning a park home, including being able to get away from all responsibilities of owning a larger house and the pressures of living in a possibly overpopulated neighbourhood.
If you have safety and security concerns about where you live currently, residential parks should be able to allay your fears. Many residential parks can only be accessed by key fobs that are given to the residents and visitors are often expected to sign in and out. By their nature and location, parks are normally quiet and restful places to be. Even residential parks that allow younger residents do not have the issues associated with housing estates.
Park homes are the perfect low-cost solution for both first time buyers and retired couples alike who have to depend on a low or fixed income. They are affordable to own and energy efficient with the latest models containing eco-friendly appliances and insulation. Many are sold with appliances and furnishings already included.
While park homes are very low maintenance, they still require some work to be done at least on a yearly basis. It is always a good idea to check the outside walls and roof to see if there are any potential leaks or if they need to be re-coated with a solution that is used to help prevent damage or rust.
There are other similar homes that are not meant for year round use. Holiday homes or static caravans are primarily used as leisure accommodation and usually do not comply with the typical residential standards. Also, a park has to be licenced by the local authority in order to be used for residential use. People who live on a holiday park do not have the protection that is provided by the Mobile Homes Act 2013. Therefore it is very important that you check out the park’s licence before you make your final decision. Many of these parks will not be open for 12 months of the year as a condition of their licence.
Are residential parks just for those who have reached retirement age?
The simple answer is no. While there are many residential parks that feature amenities which are designed for the elderly or those who have special needs, anyone who wants to live in a park home can do so. It is actually a great, low cost option for small families or young couples who are just starting out and would like to have a nice, safe community to live. However, there are residential parks who specify a minimum age for residents.
What costs are involved when it comes to buying or selling a park home?
There are various costs involved when it comes to buying or selling a park home, however all of these costs are much less than any that would be associated with buying a traditional home. Although there will be estate agent fees to pay, there is generally no requirement to pay stamp duty as the prices of homes are traditionally lower than the stamp duty threshold. Prior to the introduction of the updated Mobile Homes Act 2013, it used to be possible for site owners to sell you a home – this is now not the case and all sales should go through an estate agency or a company with an estate agency licence like Park Home Living. It is also not necessary for you to seek out legal advice when buying a park home either unless you feel that you need some extra assistance when it comes to signing the contracts or understanding the Mobile Homes Act 2013.
One of the recent changes in the Mobile Homes Act 2013 is that there is now an onus on the purchaser of the park home to ensure that there is no outstanding finance remaining on the property. This check is possibly best carried out by a solicitor.
If you are not purchasing a new park home, it would be prudent to pay for a survey to make sure that the property is sound, although again this will be cheaper than a survey on a bricks and mortar home. Consider using a specialist company like Phoenix Park Home Services or DCB Park Home Surveyors rather than a traditional surveyor as they will be aware of some of the foibles of park homes.
Of course, there will also be the usual ongoing cost of living fees that you will need to consider. There will be a pitch fee that you must pay in order to rent out the land that your park home is located on. These fees will vary from one park to another and in part will be used to take care of the upkeep and maintenance of the park facilities. These fees are due on either a weekly, monthly or annual basis. When there are increases in these fees, they will need to be made in accordance with the rules laid out in the Mobile Homes Act 2013 so that no residents will be faced with any unexpected raises.
Council tax is payable on park homes but they are generally classed in the lowest ‘A’ or ‘B’ bands. In addition you will need to factor in all your other weekly or monthly expenses like your utility bills or personal loan payments in order to help configure what your monthly budget will be when living in a park home.
Your utility bills, which will include the costs for electricity and gas, will need to be factored into your budget as well as other necessary bills like payment for sewage or water use. Your residential park owner will be able to let you know about who provides services to the park and also if you are responsible for payment or if some of the costs are included as part of the site rental.
The majority of park homes are connected to mains water and electricity as well as gas services. The park owners pass on the cost of supply governed by regulators such as OFWAT to help ensure that there is not a large additional margin added to the resale price. This means that the price you pay will be not much higher than if you had purchased it yourself directly from the supplier.
What should I do if I ever need to resell my park home?
Any park owner is entitled to receive a commission from the buyer of up to 10% of the total sale price of the home. This is required by a law which was been agreed upon by the Government when the Mobile Homes Act was put into action. This payment is meant to be for reimbursement of the park owner’s investment in the land that they own and the make up of the park itself. It also ensures that the park continues to be well maintained and that all fees stay as low as they can. All of the amenities and the location of the residential park help to contribute to the total selling price of the home and its overall resale value. Commission payments help the park to remain a worthwhile investment for both the park owner and the residents alike.
If you ever need to resell your park home for any reason, you can do so by hiring an estate agent, through the park owner, or sell your park home privately. Before you do anything you will need to let your residential park owner know that you intend to sell and also inform them of the price you have in mind. They will also have a good idea of what the current market is like and the prices that can be achieved. Should you decide not to sell through the residential park you will need to keep your park owner informed throughout the selling process as they will be required to give their consent on the new owner. Whilst you own the park home, the residential park owner owns the land that it is situated on and the new residents will have to comply with their terms.
Are park home owners protected by legislation?
Yes, you are protected under the Mobile Homes Act 2013. The Act gives residents certain rights that will help to protect them while they are living in a park home. This Act proclaims that a site owner must provide the home owner with a written statement that includes amongst other things, the terms of sale that will be applied. This is necessary regardless of whether you buy a home that is located on a site or if you purchase one from a manufacturer to bring onto the park home’s site. These terms were written to provide the park home owner with the security of tenure by clearly stating the limited circumstances by which the park site owner can end the agreement.
If you would like to find out more information about this Act and the protection that it provides to park home owners visit www.communities.gov.uk.
What insurance is recommended?
Park homes are an important investment to their owners, just as much as a traditional brick and mortar home is to the individual that purchased it. So therefore you will need to insure your property in the same manner that a traditional home owner would. There are insurance companies that specialize in residential park home building and contents insurance plans. Your park owner should be able to recommend some of these companies to you when you discuss the terms of your purchase.
Why is it different living in a park home?
Many of the modern residential park homes are not that different from living in a traditional home. They also offer pitched roofs, central heating, garden areas, and facilities for satellite and cable television installation. However, one difference is that park homes are typically raised at least one to two feet up off the ground so that home owners or installation specialists will have easy and quick access to the underside of the home. They are also commonly surrounded by brick skirting for both support and decorative purposes.
There are many social benefits that come along with living in a residential park home environment. These areas are like small communities that offer you a secure and peaceful place to live. The majority of residential park owners will invest in their park, keeping the grass cut and landscaped with plenty of trees, decorative shrubs and flowers so that the area is pleasant for the residents who live there.
Are there any shops or amenities located near residential parks?
Some parks have small shops located on site that carry some of the basic everyday essentials that a home owner may need. Others may be located very close to a town or village so that residents only have a short drive or walk to local shops. If being close to shops or a hospital, pharmacy or school is important to you, then you will need to find a park home that is nearby these facilities.
There are also residential parks that offer activities for all of the residents to get involved with. This is especially good for older park home owners because it allows them to stay active in a safe and social environment. Many residential parks have committees, clubs and activities such as community dinners, day trips and birthday celebrations so that everyone has a chance to be included.
What happens if my partner and I get older and we need extra help while living in a park home?
Residential parks are small communities and are the perfect living situation for many people who are facing their retirement years because the homes and sites require very little maintenance to be done by those who live there. Some parks may offer help to those who need it when it comes to transportation into town, shopping and emergency care on site by providing in home emergency pull cords or other devices to ensure the safety of their residents. There are also some parks that will have trained specialists on hand at all times to help in case of a medical emergency.
Just like the purchase of a bricks and mortar property, the purchase of a park home should be treated in much the same way with the same considerations and research carried out. This guide is meant to provoke thought and perhaps answer some of the questions that you might have, but a good residential park owner will be happy and able to answer any additional questions.
Unfortunately over the last couple of years we have seen an increase in flooding across the UK and this has obviously affected park home sites. All insurance companies will ask you if there is a history of flooding or storm damage at the park where you want to live, so asking the site owner for a history of the site would be advisable.
You can also carry out your own checks if you want to be sure – after all your home will cost you a lot of money and you can’t really put a price on peace of mind.
In England, the government website has flood maps where you can put in your site postcode.
In Wales, Natural Resources Wales have a similar website where you can zoom in and out of a map to see if there is a danger of flooding.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) also have a postcode search facility.
The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland have an interactive map that can be searched.
For more information on Lifesure’s park home insurance, call for a free quote on 01480 402460.
Do you recommend checking anything else before buying a park home? What was your experience like? Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below.