The main points are:
- Do not purchase the caravan without first speaking to park management. Remember, you are buying a caravan off the owner. You then need to know the conditions of having it remain on site at the park.
- Ask for a copy of the Occupation Agreement. It includes park rules, annual costs, inclusions and other details. It should be lengthy. If it is only 2-3 pages long, then it is possible that the agreement does not comply with the legislation concerning on site caravans. The Government Act in NSW concerning on site vans in Holiday Parks is: “Occupation Agreement. Holiday Parks. (Long Term Casual Occupation) Act 2002”.
- Discuss future plans with park management. How long can you anticipate having your caravan at their park? Do they have plans to replace your caravan with a cabin in 1-3 years? If so, will you be asked to remove your caravan or will they relocate to another site within the park?
- Does the caravan comply with local council and park regulations? Discuss this with park management. Sometimes caravans may be sold because they don’t comply so you may have to get this work done.
- Discuss what you can or can’t do to your caravan. If you want to add a deck for example, you will need to ensure that it is within site boundaries. You may have to get approval to even paint your caravan.
- Check out other caravans for sale within the park and nearby parks. If there are many for sale, try and find out why? A good park should have a low turnover of caravans for sale.
- What is included in the sale? Some include all furniture. Take photos of the interior at the time of inspection if it does.
- Do your sums! If you are not going to use the caravan on a regular basis, it may be cheaper to stay in one of the park cabins rather than paying out all your money for a couple of weekends each year.
- Investigate the park further. Will it be crowded when you plan to stay? What type of clientele do they attract? Is it oriented towards children? Is it pet friendly? We suggest you stay in an on site cabin for a night or two to get a “feel” for the park.
- Does the asking price sound reasonable? It it is too much, don’t be afraid to ask why. Compare its price to other caravans in the same or nearby parks.
The most important thing to realise is that you are generally buying from the person who owns title to that caravan. It may be towable (a requirement if the caravan is in a flood liable area) or it may be on stumps or “tied to the ground”. You are not generally buying rights to the space it currently occupies, just the caravan itself. You then need to pay an annual fee to the management of the caravan park for the privilege of having your caravan on site. This fee and what it covers varies form park to park.
If you follow these ten steps, you will be far less likely to be disappointed with your purchase. Remember, you are not just buying a used caravan. You are investing in your spare time and holiday aspirations.