There’s lots to consider if you’re thinking of buying a mobile home. Kelvin Bremner reveals the key considerations
Buying a mobile home or a lodge in France is a popular alternative to a bricks and mortar property. There are, however, so many variables and options in the whole process that it can seem a little daunting at first glance. It needn’t be, but it is worth thinking about a few things before you get started: 7Location: region, weather 7Holiday park or residential park? 7Do you want access all year round? 7Do you want this as your primary residence? 7Pitch rental or freehold? 7Big park with all the facilities/entertainment or a quieter smaller park? 7Budget: for purchase and annual costs
Make a list of your requirements, preferences, and deal-breakers, and then give some more careful thought to the location and where you’d like to live in France.
FINDING THE RIGHT SITE
Location: Many people get too caught up in the actual home before they have decided where they want to go. The most important part of the process is finding your perfect location, so think in the order of region, then parks, then pitches and homes together. Holiday or residential? To find out whether you need a holiday park or a residential park, ask yourself if it will be your primary place of residence. Most parks in France have holiday park status, and as a result, you cannot live on-site full time. Some sites do have year-round access for owners when they are closed to tourists, but most have shorter seasons such as March/April to October/November; very often, the closer south and closer to the sea, the shorter the season. Go inland slightly and the rates get cheaper, pitches larger, seasons longer and the parks quieter. There are, however, Parcs Résidentiels de Loisirs (PRLs), which are residential parks that you can live on permanently. These parks are a little harder to come by but there are some great ones out there, as well as some that are not so great! PRLs will often offer pitches for rental as well as freehold sales.
BUYING SECOND-HAND OR NEW?
New or used? This will generally be dictated by your budget. Used mobile homes: It is harder to find pre-owned homes that suit your needs, and you are often restricted to buying a home that is already sited. Many sites won’t let you bring a second-hand home onto their park, unless it is bought through them. People often see a cheap home with a local dealer, and then think they will be able to take it onto a park. However, this is often not the case.
Selling mobile homes (new or used) is often a main revenue stream for a park. So if they do let you bring your own home onto their site, they may ask for an entry fee to make up the lost revenue.
A home that is worth £10,000 un-sited from a yard, could be worth £15,000 on one park or £17,000 on another; again it’s all about location. Two identical houses built in different parts of the UK will have different values; it is exactly the same. New mobile homes: The main benefit of a new mobile home is that you can pick and choose your model and specification in terms of options and extras. Prices and build quality vary greatly between manufacturers; UK-built homes are generally built to be more comfortable and homely, whereas European models are more geared towards a week’s holiday in the rental market. Top tip: Ask your dealer who they recommend in terms of build quality and after-sales service. Believe me, they will recommend the companies that resolve any problems the most efficiently. The fewer problems you have after purchasing, the fewer problems they have!
ADVANTAGES OF BUYING A MOBILE HOME
The biggest advantage is that you don’t just get a home, you get the facilities and community that come with the park. Depending on what you are looking for on a park, you can get full use of swimming pools, bars, restaurants, activities and entertainment, lakes and beaches, or none of the above. But what you generally do get is a great community and a fantastic outdoor lifestyle. All this, and the cost benefits, too, of course. You can have a brand-new, luxury two-bedroom holiday home, in the grounds of a château, for less than £50,000!
LAWS AND TAX IMPLICATIONS
Law and tax implications in France depend on the home and the park as well as the usage of your home. Holiday homes: Generally, there is a 40m2