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Old 08-22-2023, 09:58 AM   #1
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RV Resort Lot Ownership

Hey all, I've been a little less active on the JOF lately as I've picked up some other hobbies, and RVing has unfortunately become less of a focus.

I'm precariously close to owning an RV lot, and I'd like to get some feedback. It doesn't seem like there's an active discussion forum dedicated to RV Lot owners that I could find. Plenty of support for CG owners/managers though.

We've RV'd quite a lot, and we've stayed in resorts similar to the one we're about to have ownership in.

So a little background: Our lot will be roughly 5,000 sq feet, situated in the gated portion of an RV resort along the TX Gulf Coast. It currently has a very large cement pad, and a little landscaping, but otherwise a pretty blank canvas. Our short-term goal is to add in some "outdoor living space" over the next several months, and hopefully rent for months at a time to "winter-Texans", snow-birds, or otherwise full-time/long-term RVers. Our own personal use of the space would be somewhat limited; we're looking to this to be more of an investment than for us to use regularly at this point.

So, I guess my primary question is this: As the type of RVer I mentioned above, what are you looking for in a longer-term site rental as far as on-campsite amenities are concerned. The resort has all the amenities one would expect (laundry facilities, showers, pool, playground, activities, etc). So I hesitate a bit thinking of putting any of those amenities on our individual property.

So I'd like to start with some outdoor living space. Part of our "outdoor living space" will likely include a simple, covered outdoor kitchen/bar area, and likely an outdoor sitting area (potentially covered), maybe to include a gas fire-pit. Eventually we might like to put in a small structure that contains some storage, and washer/dryer. But that's about as far as I think we really want to go. Several other properties in the resort have full "Casitas" on their lots (at least 1 bedroom, living area, full kitchen, at least one full bath). I don't see us ever wanting to do that because it just doesn't make sense to us from an RV space rental standpoint.

What are your thoughts? What would your ideal longer-term RV spot include? What might it look like? What might be a deal-maker or deal-breaker? Where do you look to find an RV spot? Alternatively, where should we list our spot?

If you're a lot owner, what was your thought process? How is your lot designed? How do you get it rented? Do you know of any forums or other places where RV lot owners get together to share ideas?
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Old 08-22-2023, 12:11 PM   #2
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I am neither a lot owner, nor a seasonal camper but to answer your what if question, I would like some type of exterior decking with a railing. I would like some method of storing and protecting firewood. A nice sitting area around a fire pit with some privacy type landscaping. Ideally a separate outdoor cooking area for the grill / griddle / smoker that was convenient to the main entry point of the camper or at least to the outdoor kitchen area of the camper. if equipped. Lastly a designated space to park my tow vehicle.
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Old 08-22-2023, 01:14 PM   #3
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I have never considered such a rental spot, but it sounds interesting. To me it almost sounds like an HOA for RV sites.

I would start with what do you want as your rental rate range. How much profit do you want? If it is an HOA, what are their rules. There could be a lot, so read the fine print, before the purchase.

You could always add features over time. What would concern me would be the portable things like furniture that people could ether take with them when they depart or have stolen from your lot , especially when the lot is empty.

I like the idea of a nice shed that has an attached open living space. Combination lock on the door, renters could then pull out some comfy chairs. Place for them to store items like bikes while they are out and about. Of course you have to have a table and chairs.

Please keep us up to date on how you proceed. This sounds like an interesting adventure. Not familiar with anything like this in our area. Good Luck.
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Old 08-22-2023, 02:41 PM   #4
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This is GREAT! Thanks guys!! Keep it coming!!

Surprisingly, I didn't think of how the outdoor areas would be positioned in relation to the RV, I've just been thinking about it in relation to the property itself, and trying to be conscious of future "expansion" plans. This is REALLY good feedback. As is the idea about setting it up so there's some privacy on the site. PLENTY of parking space for the largest towables/tow vehicles. In fact, I could put my MH (33 ft), my Toad (Jeep JLU), my wife's Tahoe, AND our boat (23 ft) all ON the site, ON concrete, EASILY.

Like I said, I've stayed at places like this before, but it's been a long time, and I don't remember what I liked and didn't like about those sites specifically enough to design a layout.

Structurally, the property is owned just like any other piece of property. It just so happens to be inside an RV resort area. The entirety of the resort also includes a section for "short-term" guests (weekenders). Our property will be inside the "gated" area that is geared more toward long-term occupants, so security should be just fine. Plus there are SEVERAL full-timers there, and it seems like they tend to keep an eye on things. We are responsible for taxes, most utilities, maintenance of our entire property, and yes, there is an HOA that provides some services as well (I've already read through those documents, and they are strict, but not unreasonable).

The typical renter of our space would most likely not have children, and it would most likely be rented a month(s) at a time (Snow birds/Winter Texans). Perhaps in the beginning we'll look to have a minimum one week rental preference.

I don't think we've even presented a contract to the seller yet, but it should happen any day now. And it's geared for a QUICK closing (like 30 days), so this is all going to move along pretty rapidly.

Our extremely short-term goals are to get it rented as is ASAP. Even with little to nothing on the lot, it's still a nice place to be with the amenities of the resort and the general area. One of my partners can act as GC (required), and he and I have built/designed several things together. So we intend to do the bulk of the "build-out" ourselves. And since I have an RV, we should be able to just stay right on-site while we work. But we also own a regular house nearby, so we have options.

At the 5-year mark, we will evaluate whether we want to put more "permanent" living quarters on the lot. Think MIL Suite, or a "Casita". This would enable it to be rented to snow-birds who want a living space OUTSIDE their rig, or quarters for visiting family/friends, or since it's along the coast, someone with a boat to stay for a week or more during some particular fishing season.
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Old 08-22-2023, 03:12 PM   #5
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We're seasonal. Our lease is annual, but access is only April to Nov. Our trailer stays on the lot during the off season so it means no storage issues when the season is done. We picked the grounds because of the location (real estate 101) and we were looking to go seasonal to put an end to all the issues with reservations, hook up, drive, spend time setting up, spend time tearing down, hook up again, wear and tear on the truck, now we take the CR-V and drive 2 hours to the lake where our 'summer home' is. Yes, even for tax purposes, certain related expenses are 2nd home classified. As far as what you do to your site, that's all personal preferences and what the landlord has put in the contract whether a lease or title/deed restrictions.
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Old 08-22-2023, 06:57 PM   #6
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Assuming the space is in an area I would want to stay for an extended period of time. That would be #1

As a fellow South Texas person we can check that off.

I would be looking for a common area for socializing, a pool, 55+ would be a plus but allowing limited stays for the grandchildren. Laundry.

I would want enough privacy. Ability to cook outside without feeling like my smoker is bothering other people. Gated is a double edge sword, while it keeps people out, I'm not inside with people I don't get to choose. (I live in a wonderful gated neighborhood)

I would look over any association rules and then look to l through the area to see if the rules are being followed. Unenforced rules are worst than no rules because you have some people rightfully expecting certain behaviors and it's not happening.
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Old 08-22-2023, 07:53 PM   #7
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Camper Bob-

My wife and I were owners of a "Campground Membership" for over 20 years. Our "membership" was our lot, we never owned the property but had the exclusive rights of this particular piece of ground within the 69 acres owned by the camping association with a title to this is lot.

That being said, by county ordinance, we could only use the lot 270 days of the year. That was so no one can live there fulltime. So check that out.

We were not allowed to rent out our lot. Check that out.

The By-laws and Restriction of Facilities (or equivalent) need to be scrutinized closely.

Are owners part of the board of directors? (much like a homeowners Association) If so, I highly suggest you attend a meeting to see if the campground is run by normal people or a bunch of idiots with stupid priorities. <<< This, is the reason we sold our membership.

As one who liked to be "involved", I was twice voted to be president of the association only to have to put up with idiotic board members who managed to be sued five times within seven years by members of the association.

So, if all is cool, I suggest just go as a member and enjoy yourself, never volunteer to help the board or be on the board!

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Old 08-22-2023, 09:43 PM   #8
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Not intending to throw water on your idea, but we were seriously looking at buying into an upscale park outside of Las Vegas just like your are describing. Many spaces were all ready sold with the new owners building outside kitchens, fancy brick walls and other improvements. They “promised” we could rent it out and easily pay it off in a few years. We decided against it.

Three years later we went back to see if they were still selling. To our utter amazement where the park used to be was now apartments. Turns out the property went belly up. Never found out if any money was recovered by the owners. A good example of “Buyer Beware”.
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Old 08-23-2023, 09:04 AM   #9
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Great things to look at! Thanks all!!

To clarify a few things:

-The property is ~5000 sq ft, and will be titled to our LLC; we will absolutely own it outright (except for the mortgage part, yes we are financing it). There is no situation outside of Eminent Domain in which our property will be "involuntarily converted". The area is thriving and vibrant, so I do not anticipate it being a drag on us financially now or in the foreseeable future. Most of the lots in the currently developed parts are owned, and have varying levels of improvement on them already; there are VERY few lots that appear to be "unoccupied". There is another "phase" starting soon, and several of those lots are already owned as well. If for some reason ours gets difficult to rent as an RV space, we can always pivot and put a small house there and rent that out (we have experience in that already).

-I have read over the HOA rules/covenants, and they specifically reference renting/leasing of our spaces. It is all but expected that if we're not occupying it, it will be rented subject to renter's eligibility; there are guidelines. It basically says if you rent/lease it, the renters are subject to the same things the owners are subject to, and you have to certify that you've disclosed those items to the renters. No big deal IMO, especially since we're looking at somewhat long-term renters. There are several rules/guidelines for what you can and cannot do to your lot. They are all designed to keep a certain "look/feel" for the development, and all are completely reasonable. I will personally take a look again this weekend, but it appears that rules are being followed/enforced.

-As it is our permanent property, we are allowed to occupy it for as many or as few days as we wish.

-The resort has various common areas and hosts social activities. It is relatively "kid friendly", especially in those common areas, but we saw VERY few children in the "gated" area where our property will be. There are lots of options for people to be social, or not social (I won't call myself "anti-social", but I do like to be by myself a lot, and I can do that here if I choose).

-I have A LOT of experience "volunteering" on various committees/boards of several different organizations, including my own HOA at home. So I know exactly what that's all about and know exactly where to draw the line for what I will and will not commit to. Each property owned in the development is worth 1 "vote" in the HOA, and all owners are members. I do intend to actively monitor HOA activities and attend meetings as much as possible.

We have LOTS of experience in this area of the state as users. We've RV'd down there for SEVERAL years, we've owned rental property in the area for 3 years now I think. We've just never OWNED something like this before, so this feedback is great!

Keep it coming!
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Old 08-23-2023, 09:58 AM   #10
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Bob, from the perspective that I own and operate a property management company that serves both my rental properties and several condo HOA's, and fully realize that all things are not equal everywhere: If you haven't done the deal on the mortgage yet, it's quite probable that a bank/mortgage company will not write a single member LLC. The reason is that if that one member dies, there's no one to take on the responsibilities of the entity....specifically making the mortgage payments. Obviously you avoid any of that with at minimum you and your wife as members of the LLC. It's a can of worms to transact as a fee simple in your name(s) and then to redo the title work into an LLC after the fact. It throws banks into a total freak out that will ruin more than one day of your life.
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Old 08-23-2023, 12:19 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by muckinfuss View Post
Bob, from the perspective that I own and operate a property management company that serves both my rental properties and several condo HOA's, and fully realize that all things are not equal everywhere: If you haven't done the deal on the mortgage yet, it's quite probable that a bank/mortgage company will not write a single member LLC. The reason is that if that one member dies, there's no one to take on the responsibilities of the entity....specifically making the mortgage payments. Obviously you avoid any of that with at minimum you and your wife as members of the LLC. It's a can of worms to transact as a fee simple in your name(s) and then to redo the title work into an LLC after the fact. It throws banks into a total freak out that will ruin more than one day of your life.
Thank you!

Fully aware of that. This is a multi-member LLC (4 members) that has been in existence for over 3 years and owns another property in the area. Also, we have a VERY good relationship with our banker(s) and Lawyer(s).

This is not our first rodeo with property ownership/financing. My wife and I own 2 other LLCs, (separate from the one that will be buying this particular property), that also own real estate. And our work involves consulting clients on entity structure every day.

But good information for others who may read this and not know about that. Also, it may be technically advantageous to create another LLC to own this property to isolate it from the currently owned property, but we intend to potentially leverage the current property to help finance the new property as we have a lot of equity there.

Disclosure: I'm no lawyer, so please don't take anything I say here as "advice" of any kind.
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Old 08-26-2023, 02:21 PM   #12
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What are the maintenance, assessment, and HOA fees that you will be responsible for....forever?
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Old 08-26-2023, 02:41 PM   #13
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FWIW, we just returned from a similar RV park in Port Aransas, Texas. Gulf Waters RV Park. Very well appointed sites and well managed. Reasonably priced.
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Old 08-27-2023, 08:06 AM   #14
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We stayed at a resort like this and I will have to say that a good landscaping (think lights, shrubs, plants) with an open tiki hut/gazebo large enough for an eating area, small fridge and TV was very nice. Love it at night with proper accent lighting against good landscaping and the open tiki hut/gazebo makes for a nice place to be outside in the shade while still being able to feel a breeze or see what's going on around you.
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Old 08-28-2023, 09:53 AM   #15
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What are the maintenance, assessment, and HOA fees that you will be responsible for....forever?
Yes, there will be assessments, and HOA fees, but they are reasonable for what we get in return. Maintenance is on us, but this property is attached to a "short-term" park, and their maintenance crew will do basic maintenance for a VERY reasonable rate.

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FWIW, we just returned from a similar RV park in Port Aransas, Texas. Gulf Waters RV Park. Very well appointed sites and well managed. Reasonably priced.
We have stayed there SEVERAL times. Have not been back in several years because some "Karen" decided to call the office and accuse my 3YO son of "digging up the landscaping". He was driving a little (like 2x the size of a hotwheel) dumptruck in the gravel while I was connecting utilities. I knew the rules, he knew the rules, he was 3, and I couldn't pay him to dig up ANYTHING. The guy from the office came to our site and told us there was a complaint, so I pointed to my son and said "Really?", he took one look and kind of chuckled to himself. So, some "Karen" just didn't like kids and decided to make a false accusation because that's what Karens do. NOT a very "family friendly" place IMO.

Incidentally, this is DW's biggest hangup about this property. That experience jaded us quite a lot when it comes to "ownership" parks. We've asked around, and this place doesn't seem to be much like that. Plus there's a playground on the property, so kids kind of come with the territory (though there aren't many in the "long-term" stay area where our property will be). And ours is VERY well behaved and respectful of others' property.

All of that being said, my initial vision includes similar amenities as several of the sites at Gulf Waters. Some kind of covered outdoor kitchen area/bar/eating area, an outdoor "living area", a small amount of storage... I'm also thinking I like the idea of landscaping it to increase privacy.

The lot sort of runs N/S, so an RV's "nose" would be parked facing South. This is not good from the standpoint that the walls of the RV will take the brunt of the sun throughout the day, but good from the standpoint that the site will pretty much always have a breeze.
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Old 08-31-2023, 07:50 AM   #16
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Update: Sorry folks, this is no longer a consideration for us.

In our due diligence, we discovered there were just too many uncertainties and challenges to make it make sense. We were made to believe it would be "easy", and while we knew better, we discovered it was going to be more difficult than we imagined to make this thing work how we envisioned it.

The HOA is changing, and we heard grumblings that many of the residents did not want to allow the spaces to be rented. We would not have the sway to do anything about this, having only 1 vote at most. There's little to no "rental support" from management or owners in the "front end", so we would be completely on our own to rent this space. We already know the challenges of operating something like that, and none of us have the time or desire to operate as a rental management company.

There will be future development, but what that will look like is VERY uncertain. The owner of the surrounding property (same owner who developed most of the existing properties) could change his mind from minute-to-minute. This property was on the "edge" of what is currently developed, so no telling what would go in behind us, or when.

We also got some information that the market for RV rental spots has a high potential of becoming saturated in the near future. Based on what we were told, there's no way we could compete with this situation.

All of that being said, thank you all for your input!

If I had any advice to offer for someone looking at a similar purchase (but this applies elsewhere as well), it would be to talk to EVERYONE you can. We got some really good information by simply asking people in our network who had absolutely no vested interest in our decisions. We are fortunate to have a VERY wide network to pull from, and we leverage that as much as we possibly can.

Listen carefully to the people who are close to the property (realtors, managers, residents, HOA officers, etc). Sometimes it's not about what they say, but what they DON'T say. If you have 3-4 people who are giving you different answers to specific questions, your "spidey sense" should be alerted. Especially if their answers are unclear, and they're someone in a position who should be able to answer the question clearly.

Oh well, on to the next adventure!!
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