Live in a Park Model Home
Your Money Will Go Farther When You Live in a Parked RV
Cottage style, modern, or rustic, park models are newly stylish and comfortable for a tiny percentage of the cost of a traditionally built home. You will need to consider the expenses associated with living in a park model since once you make improvements, it’s very difficult to move to another location. You can buy or rent a lot depending on the community you choose.
Park model RVs are different than the recreational vehicles you see heading down the road or parked in someone’s driveway. At about 400 square feet, a park model is specifically built to be installed in a mobile home or rv park long-term. They have the same kinds of doors and windows that stick built homes do, as well as higher ceilings and more storage.
Park Model Benefits
Living in a park model can be fun and freeing. An rv park can feel much like living in a village, with lots of walking and visiting opportunities. Your lot should require lots less maintenance and upkeep than a traditional housing lot, but still have a bit of space for personalizing with plantings or decoration. Annual expenses for utilities drop dramatically, as does insurance. And, with less room for storage most people find themselves spending more time doing things than buying things. Living in a park model can feel like being on vacation year round, without the worry of what’s happening back at your other residence.
Typical park model floor plan…stairs usually lead to a bedroom-sized loft with low ceiling.
Images of Washington NC and Newport NC park models for sale at $29,900, and $58,790 respectively courtesy of craigslist.
There are single story and loft park models, 8 and 12 foot widths depending on your state, and lots of style choices. Park models can be full of white cabinets and whitewashed hardwoods for a sun splashed look, or outfitted with darker finishes and fabrics like a cozy cabin. There are typically lots of windows, and generous ceiling heights. Sofas typically convert for guest sleeping, and loft models provide a tucked away spot for reading or putting an extra bed.
Park Model Lifestyle
Where You Park Your Home
Park model RVs are usually parked in RV resorts. There is typically a mix of park model homes and large recreational vehicles in the community. If you choose an RV Resort for your home first make sure they allow year-round living, not all do. Many resorts charge a monthly lot rent with some utilities included. There are also resorts with resident owned lots, where you pay dues but own the land your park model is attached to, and parks that are resident owned where you are buying a piece of the entire community and assigned a lot as your share. Another alternative, often less expensive over a long term living situation is to buy a small plot of land and park your home there.
When looking at rv parks, don’t be swayed by marketing materials. Instead carefully check out the things you care most about with an in person visit. Your hot buttons may be different but here are some things to consider. Do you get a grassy green yard, or is it mostly paved? Are the amenities clean and well maintained? Is the entrance inviting? What about the other park homes; well-cared for or signs of neglect? Are there limitations on the age of the homes?
Is the general location suitable for your needs in terms of level of highway noise, water access, proximity of stores and restaurants, and other things you would have on your list if buying a traditional home?
The resort options comes with varying levels of amenities and utilities included in the lot rent or dues. Some have just the basics covered, but many include lots of extras like a swimming pool, tennis or pickleball courts, water feature, laundry facilities, and clubhouse. It’s very common for Internet access and water to be included in the rent or dues, as well as some level of park security.
Each RV resort will have it’s own unique personality. You can find an rv park for long-term living that is small and quiet, with very low overhead, or one that’s more expensive but large and full of social opportunities. Look at lots of them, talk to neighbors, and visit on the weekends when more people are about. Some parks are exclusively long-term residents while others reserve space for vacationers. You might love this change of pace, or you might be wishing you had thought to ask about it. Same deal with parties and events, check out what’s allowed, and make sure it fits what you won’t mind having going on around you. For example; early to bed, early to rise people might not be a great match for a community that pulses with parties and newcomers in the high season.
If you’re considering living in a park model rv you’ll need to be comfortable with the simple life; storage is in short supply and must be efficiently used. This aspect of park model life suits many just fine, and they relish downsizing and getting rid of all the detritus that follows us through life. There’ll be no walk-in closets for all those clothes that don’t fit anymore, no 8 foot long china cabinets to display collectibles or things that never get used, and no garage for all your tools. In many parks you are allowed to add a storage room. If you have another rv, a boat, a second car, or other vehicle, you will need to see what’s allowed on your lot, and what’s not. For the vehicles that aren’t permitted on your lot make sure to see if they have additional parking spaces available for free or for rent, or how much the nearest commercial storage space will add to your cost of living.
Upgrades and Add-Ons
The most common upgrades people make to their home site include outbuildings, screen rooms, awnings, paved patios, and outdoor showers. Most parks require skirting around the base of the home, as well as entrance decking areas.
Rules and Other Limitations
Some parks limit or prohibit the number and type of pets you can have, washers and dryers, garbage disposals, the number of overnight guests or gathering size you are permitted, the size of outbuildings, the types of add-ons you can do to your home, the use of satellite television, and many other things. The ability to rent your home to other people is almost always strictly governed with the rules ranging from no rentals permitted all the way through allowing short-term rentals so check that out if you intend on your park model providing additional income. Thoroughly investigate the parks you are considering and make sure they will fit your lifestyle. Don’t count on rules being overlooked. You are likely to be in the company of people who liked the rules and will expect management to stick to them.
Costs of Living in a Park Model RV
The costs we cover are the ones that are unique to living in a park model, and based on lots of varying factors. Like any real estate purchase location, quality, features, and condition will play a big part in the price. Your day to day lifestyle expenses should be similar or less than you currently have.
Park Model Purchase from $10,000 and up for used, new models from $45,000 and up
Park Lot Rent from $1,200 to $6,000 a year
Park Lot Purchase from $20,000 to $60,000 plus dues
Land Purchase huge range of prices and site prep costs
Installing and Securing a Park Model from $10,000 and up
Images courtesy of Athens Park Models