Buying an RV Lot vs Renting
We are looking at an upscale RV lot in Florida. With landscaping and other amenities it could go up to $80 to $100k. Rental for the year is closer to $7k (if available). So around a ten year span for cost comparison.
The site would be rented when we weren't there at $55 a day to generate some income. Minimal cost for overseeing the rental and advertising because we know the owners of the developement.
Although I don't know what percentage of time the lot would be rented out others in the area say there sites are occupied about 40% of the time.
Is anyone in a similar situation that can offer some advice re purchase vs lease?
Greetings from the Florida Panhandle
That's a real toss up.
It means always camping at the same place. Not our style, but to each his own.
On the plus side, you would have a guaranteed campsite in Florida for the winter.
As far as the financial side goes, you would have some income from the rentals of the site when you are not using it. As an income property, you may enjoy some tax advantages.
There also may be some annual maintenance fees that are subject to increase. So, that should be part of your equation.
If you are any good with spreadsheets, you could build a table to help you evaluate your costs (so you can then measure them against the benefits you will enjoy).
We have been doing 4 & 5 month winter rentals in these condo/coop parks in Florida for several years with very good results. We usually locate and deal directly with the owners for the rentals saving some of the mark up of the management staff and also not having to pay sales tax. Our experience is most of these lots remain vacant except during the winter months so if you are personally spending the winter on your lot and expecting to rent during the summer months then income is very limited. Renting also eliminates paying taxes, insurance, and maintenance fees year round and of course the value of holding on to your cash. Surprisingly, the down turn in the real estate market in Florida has not seemed to affect the prices of these lots. We have seen many lots in these condo/coop parks that are priced much more than a condo in a nice development.
This is a subject that was reported on a couple of years ago, by RV View IIRC. The main advantage of ownership was reported that you have a guaranteed site for the winter. So many of the resort style campgrounds have gone to condo type ownership that there was a shortage of camp sites available for monthly rentals at the time. All of the good ones were snapped up in advance. At first, the purchase price for these sites was about $14,000 but due to demand averaged about $100K. Some of the really restricted (think Prevost) were up to $250,000.
To me, this sounds way expensive. Wow. There are some very nice RV resorts for visiting, no?
I hope people who do own condo-RV lots aren't too adversely affected by this dreadful, catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf.
Good Advice from ALL
Everyone here has already posted excellent advice. My one addition is to really check the DEED. Are you buying a "lifetime membership" or a property? If the former it's worthless to sell or transfer. Even the latter is questionable. There are many "condo campground" scams out there. Check the internet.
I however fell into a world class deal with exactly that. I fulltime. I got two unrestricted time share deeds simply for taking over the annual dues on unsellable deads. It costs me about $1200 per year to pay these maintenance dues and I get about 30-33 weeks on the campground each year (I have to move off once every 28 days for 7 days, and the campground closes for Jan-Feb).
The point? The deeds I took over originally sold for $14,000 -17,000 each in the late 1960's. Over time, the maintenance level on the common areas, clubhouses, pools, concrete pads, etc., got poorer and poorer and many members just disappeared - leaving their deeds to be foreclosed rather than paying hundreds of dollars in maintenance fees year after year. (They moved out, aged out, divorced, and died.) The campground turned into a slum.
Then the board decided to go hardcore, raise maintenance costs, do some special assessments to redo wells & water supply lines, etc. and things started to turn around... however the costs became untenable for many members, especially retirees and widows.
The campground also started refusing to foreclose or allow voluntary surrender of the deeds because they needed members and their dues to fix the joint up. Lots of folks individually started selling their deeds - or trying to. In the end most were delighted to just unload them to a responsible party. MOI.
So. Play it all forward 50 years - and here you are getting ready to buy into a beautiful new campground. Where will you be in 3, 5, 10, 20 or 30 years? Will you be bored spitless with that wretched hole in Florida? Is there a possibility that maintenance will double, triple or quadruple - you bet your butt there is.
Wise to buy into a campground at this point in the life cycle? Or should you first go onto e-bay, craigslist and the local Florida newspapers to see if someone else has already reached the "I just want to unload it" point? My sister found a brick and morter vacation condo membership near Disney World for $1500 that originally sold for $23,000. My business partner Bob went house hunting in Florida last November - Found a foreclosed 4 br. 3bath ranch house in a gated community for $115,000 ($400K before the crash) - is currently RENTING it at break even - and plans to retire there in 3 years.
I suppose as a gated community they'd get their panties in a twist if I tried to use his driveway for a vacation getaway in my Airstream.
Best of luck whatever you decide, just proceed cautiously.
Check out Travelers Rest in Dade city, about half are Airstreams, a ton of activities.
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