I own a static and hope this helps
Firstly go to a caravan dealer distributor near your home. They will have lots of different vans on view. Have a good look around them. They often have open days. Caravans come in different sizes ,as we know, but there are endless layouts .some will suit you , others won't. So get an idea for what you prefer before you look around. For example in some caravans here is open plan layouts where you can be looking at your sink and fridge all the time, it can get a bit annoying after a while.
Once you have got familiar with layouts prices etc
It's time head to Cornwall. Again find a main caravan dealer and have a chat with them.they will know all the sites in the area and the owners. There wil be brochures of the sites in the showroom. Now you will have an idea where you want to go.
Are you buying a brand new van or secondhand.
If buying brand new from a main dealer then there maybe an additional fee running into thousands of pounds for you to be allowed to take it onto a private site.This option gives the most flexibility in that you can choose the van you like best and the pitch you prefer.
Some site owners might insist you buy the caravan through them and not directly from the dealer. This produces a commission for the site owner of 15-20%.
Some sites will have new caravans already sited and you will be presented with a fait accomplis. You will have to take the van, but the layout might not be to your liking.and there will be a premium on top of the list price of the van. Again this could be thousands extra, for siting and connecting the van.
If going for secondhand you are restricted to what's available and where it is sited. It is not usual to resite a van from one pitch to another, but it could cost up to a thousand pounds to move on the same site.
With secondhand it is important to establish how long you will be able to keep the van on site
Some sites allow vans up to 20 years old, some fifteen and some in extreme cases ten years.
Have a good look at the licence that you will be asked to sign, they are written to protect the site owner and not necessarily the van owner.
But in reality the site owner has overall control of the arrangement allowing you to remain on site
This is the most important decision you have to make after choosing your van.
How much sun do you want, how is the van positioned? Will you get the sun in the morning, afternoon.Its a bit frustrating to see fellow owners basking in the late afternoon sunshine whilst you are in the cool shade.
Seating area, view, noise from roads , other site users.
Do you want to rent it out?
Can you rent the van out?
Do you want to be on a site where rentals are the norm and every time that you go you will have different neighbours. And if they are only here for two weeks will they be considerate or noisy?
How much is the ground rent? When is it payable.
When buying a van ask for a discount, not much chance on the purchase price, but you could haggle on say half price site fees for the first year.
What else will you have to pay?
Insurance for fire flood etc, this is compulsory on most sites, reckon on £350 per annum depending on value of van. Insure it " new for old"
Gas and electricity can add a couple of hundred pounds, depending of course on usage and if you have central heating.
You are going to be in the van and on the same pitch for say ten years so spend plenty of time getting the layout of van you like best and the best pitch you can.
It's a great way of life I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.