The beauty of owning an RV is that you have the ability to wake up in a different location nearly every morning. Full-time or half-time RVers know this better than anyone. However, there are some RV owners who feel the need to quit life on the road and put down some roots but want to keep their RV life. This is where the private RV lot comes in.
RV lots are available for purchase at many locations around the country. Lots can be found at urban resorts, on golf courses, or by rural lakesides.
There are various ways to search for a lot including online options such as RV Park Store, RV Property and even through Good Sam. Some lots have more basic amenities and some are pure luxury. With many of these lots, you get the benefit of living in a world-class location without having to pay full price for a vacation home.
“The main reason people buy a lot is that it belongs to them and they can do their upgrade packages and set it up how they want,” says Mark Abercrombie, General Manager of Two Springs RV Resort in Palm Springs. “Rather than parking on someone else’s lot and getting what they get, lot owners can set up outdoor kitchens, landscaping, and their own personal items. It’s like their home away from home.”
Two Springs offers full hookup sites with 30 and 50 amp electrical, sewer and water service. The resort amenities include a putting green, swimming pool and hot tub, recreation hall, and a bocce ball court.
Abercrombie mentions that their park accepts a wide range of campers and trailers from large Class A motorhomes to smaller travel trailers. They say that these days so many resorts, parks, and campgrounds are busy and require advance reservations. In response, many RVers look to buy their own lot close to an area they love. Before purchasing your own lot, take a look at these tips first.
1. Do the math
Abercrombie says that if an RVer were to rent a lot at Two Springs for $750 per month during the Palm Springs high season, the cost would be around $4,700. On the other hand, the homeowner association (HOA) fees for a similar purchased lot is only $2,600 per year.
Of course, there is the initial lot cost upfront, but after several years of ownership, the per year cost will go down. In addition, the lot can be rented out to other RVers when not in use and perhaps sold later on down the road.
Lot prices can range widely among locations, so do your math before purchasing a lot. Some basic RV lots away from popular locations can cost as little as $7,000 to $10,000. Some lots with luxury amenities such as private hot tubs can go for as high as $250,000.
Also, take into consideration the growth and climate of an area. Are you buying in an up-and-coming location or city? Is the camping season in your chosen location extremely short and only beneficial for a few months?
2. What amenities do you want or need?
How would you like to park your coach or fifth wheel next to a private lot with your own cabana and hot tub? Or maybe you just need a fishing hole a few feet away. Lot amenities range from mini luxury resorts to a dirt patch in the forest.
Resort amenities also range from gated golf courses to simple, family-friendly campgrounds. Take into consideration the amenities you really need and want to use before taking out your wallet since lot price and HOA fees will reflect the amenities offered. Most lots come with the basics such as electrical, water and sewer. Other amenities such as WiFi or cable might come at an extra cost.
3. How long do you want to park?
Many RV lots are purchased and only used for several months out of the year. Some mountain-based lots are only open in the summer and fall due to snow. Warm, desert lots are great in January and February, but not in July or August.
How long do you want to use your RV lot? Can you squeeze more time out of a lot located in a more temperate climate?
Abercrombie also mentions that some RV lot owners will use their lot in the shoulder season and then rent it out in the high season to recoup their purchase or HOA costs. One way to consider a lot is to rent one in the resort or area for a few days to see if you can spend several months there.
4. What to do about financing and taxes
RV lots can be financed, but usually only by a bank located in the lot’s location. The RV resort may have their own financial institution that they work with so that could be the first step.
Because many banks don’t loan money for recreational property, paying for a lot in cash might be the best thing to do. As for taxes, every property is different. For example, the Two Springs RV Resort includes taxes in their HOA fees.
5. What comes with the lot?
If you are considering purchasing an RV lot, make sure you know what comes with it. Is the lot a pull-through or will you need to back your rig in? Many resorts offer upgrades that can include storage sheds, outdoor kitchens, cabanas, RV shelters, and other cool options.
However, make sure ahead of time if you are allowed to add any of these upgrades yourself without an extra cost. Also, ask the resort if you are allowed to adapt any surrounding landscaping to your needs or add trees or bushes for privacy.
Another important thing to ask is if your RV is even allowed on the lot or in the resort. Does your vintage trailer fall outside of the resort’s RV age restriction? Does the resort only allow motorcoaches or campers under or over a certain width or height? If you need to invest in a new rig before buying a lot, take that cost into consideration as well.