Friday, February 14, 2020

Buy Your Own Motorhome Campsite?

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Good Deeds

Should you buy 

your own RV lot?    

Recently a scandal broke when RV lot “owners”  in a commercial campground were left holding the bag when the campground was sold.  They’d paid the original owner for lifetime rights to their campsites. The new owner of the land did not honor that deal.

    If high nightly campground rates are getting you down and you’re thinking of investing in RV real estate, how can you make a wise buy?

    When you own your own RV lot you come and go as you please.. No reservations, no time limits. Owning an RV lot can be a safe harbor or an albatross, so let’s sort it out.  This isn’t about campground memberships or time shares.. We are talking a deeded  purchase of your own patch of ground. 

    At its simplest it might be country acreage where you can install septic, electric and water. Then you can come “home” and plug in as you please (zoning permitting.) Raw land is likely to grow in value and meanwhile you are free to sell the property, continued to use it as an RV lot, or build something else there.     

    At the other end of the budget scale, if luxury is your aim you can easily spend $100,000 or more for a small slab  in a luxury RV resort with swimming pools, tennis and golf.  Monthly maintenance fees including real estate taxes are additional.

Know what the future holds for this area

    If the RV is your full-time home, you might even invest in lots in two camping resorts  move with the seasons. Another choice is to buy an RV lot at today’s prices as a future RV retirement spot but lease it out (if permitted by your contract) until you’re ready to use it.  

    Today’s real estate market is a casino. There’s always risk but also the possibility to profit. As the old saying goes,  “They can print more money but they can’t print more land.” In many popular vacation areas, RV lots are sold out and there’s a waiting list. Worse still, some campgrounds campers and the valuable land is used for high-rise condos.

    Why buy a deeded RV lot in a campground?  (1) Financing is probably available. (2) As a member of the owners’ association you’ll have a vote about costs and management. (3) Unless special circumstances arise, the property can’t be sold out from under you. (4)  If  management has a rental program for your site when you’re out roving, the lot earns money for you.

 Before signing, have a real estate attorney look over the contract in case there are hidden snares. Know exactly what is in deed convenants, ongoing costs, assessment fees,  park rules. Know how rules will affect you now and in the future when, say, you want to install a more permanent structure on the site or whether you must get a new RV after so-many years. Look at the land use plans presently in place to see what might be in store for property adjoining yours.  

 An RV lot purchase can take many forms. Just as in other real estate deals, you’ll see condo lots, co-op parks, long-term leases, rent or lease with option to buy, owner financing, perhaps even short sales and other exotic wrinkles. Know before you buy.

See Janet Groene’s recipes and tips for the RV chef at Camp and RV Cook.


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