So you’re interested in purchasing an RV site. As I’ve mentioned before, there are abundant benefits to RV site ownership. Obviously, you know the type of region that you desire, and in most cases, you’ll find many RV resorts with RV lots for sale in your desired area.
Laws of the Land
In selecting the actual RV resort, take the time to review the park’s rules. Make sure that your vehicle conforms to any policies that restrict recreational vehicle type and put caps on the allowable vehicle age. If you travel with a pet, consider the pertinent regulations. Note that some parks restrict specific dog breeds, so make sure Fido won’t get turned away. Also, most parks limit each site to a maximum of two pets. And before considering a park, check out their Good Sam ratings, which grade on amenities, cleanliness and environment.
Setting the Scene
The next thing you want to do is to ensure that you’re amenable to your desired park’s environment. Is this resort located in a tropical area with high humidity? Or does it lie in a desert region with warm days but cold nights? Does altitude play a role? Make sure the park’s environment matches your comfort preferences.
It’s also important to know about insect activity in the park. Do pesky mosquitos thrive in your desired location’s abundant water features and lush plantings? Are there fire ants? These little fellows can swarm your feet in seconds and inflict nasty bites. Is the insect population controlled? Fortunately, a number of parks have hired companies that specialize specifically in the eradication of these critters.
Take a Trial Run
To get complete answers to the above questions, set aside the time to camp in your desired resort for a few days or perhaps weeks. I highly recommend you do this. Remember, if you buy, you’ll be living with your decision for quite some time. By taking a temporary stay, you can judge for yourself as well as glean other pertinent information from talking to the people throughout the resort.
While staying there, get a sense of the community. Is this a quiet, low-key population, or do guests frequently hold social get-togethers? Does the resort offer a calendar of events, with exercise classes, yoga, game tournaments and on-site entertainment? Are there classes in crafts and other areas for folks who’d like to broaden their horizons? Consider your expectations, and make sure your resort jibes with your personality type, whether you’re a wallflower or a social butterfly.
You’ll also want to take a good look at the amenities, which might include a fitness center, rec area, pool and other features. Are these up to snuff? Again, while you’re exploring the resort, chat with other guests about their experiences. You can also get guest impressions by consulting the review section of the park’s listing on the resort’s listing on GoodSam.com. These starred reviews are written by guests, so you can rely on their authenticity.
While you’re doing your research, take a good look at the resort’s surrounding community. Is it close to all of the amenities, restaurants and attractions you’re accustomed to? If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, will you be satisfied with nearby hiking, fishing and hunting opportunities? Are you a boating buff, and if so, are there enough waterways nearby? Is the park close to hospitals, pharmacies and other services that cater to your needs?
Location, Location, Location
Okay, so you’ve done your due diligence and the park has passed your scrutiny with flying colors. Now comes the task of actual site selection. Prospective buyers might think that this merely entails picking the most beautiful site that fits within your budget. Not quite! There are more elements to consider.
When making a selection, you must look at several key factors. Which way will the RV be facing on the lot? This is normally determined by the location of the electrical and plumbing utilities. Where will the afternoon sun shine in relation to the motorhome’s placement? You probably don’t want the hot afternoon sun blaring down on the large glass exposures on the front of the coach — unless, of course, the site is well shaded.
While you’re looking at the position of the RV on the site pad, consider your entertainment needs. Will a satellite dish have a clear view for a good reception? Even if you do not subscribe to any satellite networks, you might sign up in the future. Satellite positioning also might be an issue when you wish to sell the site.
Some regions experience strong prevailing winds that can curtail on-site activities on less sheltered sites. Foliage from the ground up can be of great help in mitigating these events.
One of the pleasures of enjoying your RV site is entertaining friends and sitting around for chats by a fire. This requires a certain amount of privacy as well as a relatively quiet environment. Trees, plantings and other types of shielding can provide this. However, be aware of the public areas and possible traffic that may be nearby. While it may be handy to have the park’s swimming pool next door, it may prove somewhat challenging to have a peaceful evening when neighboring people, or their grandkids, get in the party mood. Having a pickleball court within five or six lots can also be less than ideal. You may not even notice it in the day. However, when the group starts evening play, the less-than-rhythmic hollow click of the ball, occasionally interrupted by the sound of laughter, screams or sounds not yet identified, can be more than annoying. Of course, if you love pickleball, you’ve probably come to the right place.
Signing the Dotted Line(s)
Okay, enough of the “what-to-look-for” routine. Presuming you feel you’ve done your “select-the-site” due diligence, let’s move on to getting the deal done.
I’m not going to go through the procedures of verifying a clear title, assumed warranty or other legal concerns, as these factors vary in different jurisdictions. But make sure that any outstanding property taxes, HOA (Homeowners Association) fees and other liens have been satisfied or accounted for before you purchase.
You should first ask for the association’s “Reserve Fund” status to verify that it is fully funded. If the park is only a few years old, you should confirm that it has been transferred from the developer to the association. If not, you should probably view the current HOA charges and that they cover all the current expenses. The issue here stems from the builder absorbing some of the ongoing expenses. This keeps the monthly HOA fee artificially low and may make the property look like a better buy. Later, when the park is handed over, these expenses emerge, causing an unexpected spike in the owner’s monthly fees.
Generally, when someone purchases an RV site, an association owner’s binder is turned over to them. This outlines an overview of the property and the applicable by-laws. In addition, buyers will receive a remote control for the entrance gate, if applicable. If these are not present, but are applicable, it may cost you in future to replace them.
Well, that’s a general overview of what to look for and expect when buying an RV site. The entire process is fairly straightforward and not as complicated as some may think. It can be a very exciting time and a wonderful step into joining the lifestyle of a new RV community.
Peter Mercer — Staking Your Claim in RV Country