Alternative living and small spaces: Mobile homes and caravans
If a traditional mortgage for a brick built home just isn’t your thing and you’re wondering how you can buy a static home to live in, then this article is for you.
We’ve answered the common questions that continually crop up to help you make the best decision going forward but if there’s anything we’ve missed, feel free to ask us via our online chat or make an enquiry.
What is a caravan home?
A mobile home or caravan is a prefabricated structure which is typically used for holiday homes, permanent homes, temporary accommodation and even emergency housing.
Their design allows them to be fairly and easily transported, though many caravans are static or parked semi-permanently in one place.
What are my options if I want to live in a caravan in the UK?
If you’re thinking about buying a caravan situated in a park home, you should be aware that the majority of holiday parks in the UK shut down and are not permitted to be occupied for at least 6 weeks during the winter.
If you’re hoping to live in a caravan permanently, you’ll likely need your own land with the relevant permissions from your local council.
Can I live in a caravan on my parent’s land?
A potential hurdle you might face is that most councils don’t allow mobile homes to be lived in as a permanent residence, though rules and regulations vary depending on where you are in the UK.
For example, in some parts of the UK, static homes are permitted if:
The Caravan is situated in the drive or garden, not adjoining paddock land.
The use must accompany the house i.e: It’s used by a family member or as guest accommodation and not rented as a private residence or a separate dwelling or business premises.
The structure conforms to the legal definition of a ‘caravan’ based on its size, mobility and construction method.
An additional exception to this rule is if you're currently in the stage of a self-build and you want to live in a caravan while it's being built.
How much does a static home cost?
Park homes are generally significantly cheaper than traditional homes or bungalows of an equivalent size, with prices starting from around £40,000 for a second-hand park home, and newer models starting at around £70,000.
The price of a caravan in the UK varies widely depending on:
The age and condition
Whether it’s static or can be transported
What are the pros and cons of buying a caravan?
If you choose to live in a secure caravan park you could benefit from living in a like minded community
They can be cheaper to buy in comparison to a traditional brick built home
They’re the ideal size for retirement or a first home
There may be freedom to move your home
They can be relatively cheaper to run though that will of course depend on your energy usage
The value of a caravan or static home depreciates over time so they are usually not considered good investment purchases
They are typically a lot smaller than the average house so buyers will need to consider if they’re happy to downsize
Caravans can be harder to mortgage and finance, especially if the caravan you’re buying is on a park home as the land on which it stands will belong to the site owner, not the resident.
Can I get a mortgage to buy a caravan on a park home?
Caravans on parkhomes are neither leasehold or freehold so the vast majority of mortgage lenders won’t allow you to secure a loan on a property with no formal legal title at the land registry.
Therefore, park homes can be a better option if you already have enough equity to buy outright, or have savings set aside to help cover the cost.
Some homeowners decide to draw down on the equity they have built up in their property to fund the purchase of a static caravan but this is a big financial decision and should never be taken without proper advice.
If you need more financial assistance to help fund the purchase of a park home caravan, speak to our advisors who can compare your options on your behalf.
Can I get a mortgage for land and a caravan in the UK?
There are lots of UK lenders that provide mortgages for land purchases, though the choice of lenders who will be willing to provide an additional sum for the purchase of a static caravan will likely be reduced.
That poses a problem for a lot of people who have plans to buy land and live the simple life in a caravan but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t find an alternative option for finance or homeownership.
In fact, lots of first-time buyers and second time movers alike are opting for alternative living accommodation including converted shipping containers and even canal boats. You may even be surprised at the range of mortgages that could be available to you if you were to opt for a traditional brick built property.
Do I need planning permission to put a caravan on my land?
If the caravan is parked in your driveway or garden and is being used as an annex of your home, you do not need planning permission. However, if the caravan becomes the main part or your only dwelling, you will need to get planning permission or consent from your local authority.
Is getting a mortgage for a mobile home a good idea?
Getting the best deal on a mortgage or loan for a caravan purchase is usually reliant on your ability to access a range of lenders which is why our brokers work with such a vast choice of banks and lenders right across the UK.
Our team takes the time to listen to what you need and recommend the best route of finance based on information provided by you. If they believe that a mortgage for land and a caravan isn’t affordable or suitable, they’ll always be honest and tell you.
There are lots of factors to consider when applying for a mortgage, from interest rates, repayment terms, exit fees and deposit sizes but with the help of a professional, the route to homeownership can be clearer and quicker.