10 points to consider when buying a holiday lodge
PUBLISHED: 00:01 22 May 2015
If you're planning on buying a holiday home, these helpful tips should see you find exactly what you need.
1: What are you going to use your lodge for?
Are you looking for a weekend place to relax and recharge your batteries, a base from which to explore unspoilt countryside or glorious beaches, a second home for the summer months or an investment property to generate rental income? Making this decision first will ensure you find the right park for the right outcome.
2: How far do you want to travel?
You might love the idea of Dorset or Devon, but could you really face the trek in a car packed with children, dogs and various elderly relatives? Set yourself a travel time limit then do a sweep of parks that fit within your ideal radius (ukparks.com has a pretty comprehensive geographical listing). It’s also wise to check whether your lodge is ideally suited to give you easy access to your favourite pastime. Close proximity to beaches, sailing, golf, a tennis club, culture, field sports and walking will also boost the rental potential of your property.
3: Does your chosen park have an official star rating?
Many lodge parks are now quality checked by official tourist board inspectors, with one and two stars denoting acceptable and good accommodation; three, very good; four, excellent; and five, exceptional. Key aspects like cleanliness and general upkeep are measured, as are less obvious elements like the standard of park signage and tourist information (important if you’re thinking of renting out your lodge).
4: If you’re a nature lover
You might want to find out if a particular park has received a David Bellamy Conservation Award, which denotes abundant, flourishing bird, animal and plant life. Last year alone, more than 600 holiday parks gained the conservationist’s approval.
5: Is your lodge available 365 days a year, or are there restrictions in place?
Some parks are open year round, while others close for up to three months, which obviously has an effect on value-for-money and on profit potential.
6: What additional annual costs should you expect to pay?
All lodge parks are different, so check how much you need to set aside for rates, water charges, insurance, gas, electricity, site-upkeep and any other sundries.
7: What are the park rules?
Request a copy of your site’s restrictions on day one so there are no arguments later on if you decide to put up a pretty picket fence around the property or fire up the barbecue only to discover that boundary markers are a no-no and the owner is a strict vegan with a strong aversion to burning burgers.
8: What is the park’s approach to sub-letting?
Many lodge owners like to offset their investment by renting their property out, but some sites frown on this practice as they want to maintain a secure, neighbourly, family environment, while others limit it to the July/August peak season. This can be a deal-breaker, so check before you sign on the dotted line.
9: Are lodges easy to sell when the time comes?
The re-sale process should be straightforward, but check with the park owner to ensure there are no penalties or restrictions in addition to their usual commission fee. They should also be able to give you a ball park re-sale value, which should be double-checked with an estate agent to maximise yield.
10: Why not try before you buy?
It might seem obvious, but it’s best to book a week (or, at least, a long weekend) in a lodge to make sure you actually enjoy the experience before investing your hard-earned cash. Lodge living is not for everyone, but most find it relaxing and reinvigorating. So, why not give it a try?