The process for buying and selling a residential park home is very different from the process you may be familiar with for buying or selling a traditional property, this is partly because you are not buying the land itself.
If you are buying a brand new home it will have to be purchased via the site owner on whose land you want to site it, you will therefore be unable to buy it direct from the manufacturer, unless you own your own land.
Most site owners will allow you to select the manufacturer and you can then visit their factory or showroom and essentially design your own home, from room sizes and uses to colour schemes and furniture, it really can be very bespoke. Some may have a preferred manufacturer, in many cases though new homes - show homes - will already be on site but if the site has empty plots then of course you will have more choice.
Once you have selected your home the site owner will confirm the price and arrange for transportation, siting, the connection to utilities, and any additions you have chosen such as brick skirtings, steps etc.
All residential homes should be built to BS3632 and all should come with a 12 month manufacturers warranty. Some will have an extended 10 year warranty such as ‘GoldShield’ or 'Platinum Seal’, it is certainly worth checking this with the site owner.
We strongly recommend that you use a solicitor when buying a park home, preferably one who specialises in park homes, because the law relating to park homes is very specialist. We would suggest Park Home Legal Services who are part of the Barcan Kirby Group based in Bristol (www.barcankirby.co.uk) but there are of course others you can choose.
The main reason we recommend this is that you are investing a considerable sum of money and it is important to ensure that you are getting what you think you are! Does the home have planning permission and most importantly is the site a fully licensed residential park, where your security of tenure is protected by legislation?
When you purchase a pre-owned home you will be buying direct from the current owner - the site owner is not allowed to be involved in the private sale of park homes and must not interfere.
There are a number of estate agents who specialise in the sale of pre-owned homes including ‘Seekers’ (www.seekersestateagents.com) and ‘West End Park Homes’ (www.weea.co.uk). In addition quite a few traditional estate agents will also market park homes whilst many people try and sell privately with signs in their windows!
There is now legislation in place (Mobile Homes Act 2013) which sets out the process for the buying and selling of pre-owned homes and once again, we would strongly recommend that both buyers and sellers engage specialist solicitors. A significant amount of money is at risk and there are pitfalls as with the sale and purchase of any property.
We would also suggest that you have a survey particularly if you are buying an older home - once again there are specialist park home surveyors such as Phoenix (www.phoenixparkhomesurveys.co.uk) and Anthony Manners & Co (firstname.lastname@example.org). There are also specialists who undertake surveys and refurbishment of the chassis and jacks which of course support the home and are therefore very important ! One of the leading ones are Park Home Chassis Services (www.parkhomechassis.co.uk).
Selling your park home is now subject to new legislation which is explained below. You can of course sell your home privately or use an estate agent, some operate locally and some offer a nationwide service, some charge a flat fee, say £2,000 payable on the sale, some charge a non-refundable fee of considerably less. Just remember that the site owner is entitled to receive up to 10% of the sale price - and it usually is 10% but it is worth checking your Written Agreement.
You will need to provide the buyer with a certain amount of relevant information such as the Written Agreement, the site rules and any surveys you may have and guarantees for things like new roofs, double glazing, chassis refurbishment.
The law is designed to ensure the buyer receives all the information they need before they purchase and the park receives the information it needs at the appropriate time.
Step 1 - the seller gives the ‘Buyer’s Information Form’ (Schedule 1) to the purchaser 28 days before they are committed to the purchase unless a shorter period has been agreed in writing, it needs to be accompanied by essential documentation such as a copy of the Written Statement (this is the agreement between the homeowner and the park and sets out the rights and responsibilities of each party) , and a copy of the park rules.
Step 2 - the Notice of Proposed Sale (Schedule 2) is for homeowners resident on the park before 26th May 2013 to provide information to the park about the sale. It tells the park the name of the buyer, their age(s), if they have any pets or vehicles to be parked as some of these may contravene site rules meaning the site owner can object to the sale. For example the park may not allow pets or have an age limit.
Step 3 - the Assignment Form (Schedule 4) is completed between the homeowner and their buyer and transfers the rights and responsibilities contained in the Written Statement to the buyer. The buyer then pays 90% of the sale price to the seller.
Step 4 - the Notice of Assignment (Schedule 5) is completed by the buyer once they have purchased the home and is sent to the park informing them of the change of ownership. The Notice of Assignment requests the park owners’ account details into which the new owner pays the commission - usually 10% of the sale price, within 7 days of receiving the bank details.
Different rules apply in Scotland.
For more information and advice contact LEASE, a Government agency which specialises in giving advice related to park homes and park home legislation - call 020 7832 2525 or online at parkhomes.lease-advice.org.
We also recommend checking out this website, parkhomefacts.co.uk for some good advice if you are considering the purchase of a new or second-hand park home.