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Old 02-17-2018, 01:29 PM   #1
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Does anyone here own a site in a campground? Advice needed.

My wife and I just spent a terrific week in the upper Florida Keys, in a site on the water, Gulf side, looking out over the Florida Bay. We fell in love with the place, and plan to go back there frequently. During our stay, we learned that we could buy a site as an actual piece of real estate that we own and can do with as we see fit. These spots are usually fully booked during the year, and there are not many to be had on the Bay side. Our thought was to own it, camp there when we want and rent it when we are not using it. The management there handles those transactions. We've done the initial math, it seems doable, and seemingly profitable. Yes, we know there are pitfalls and issues; we've already been talking with our financial peeps. We are still exploring this idea, and would like to hear from real folks who actually do this. Thanks in advance for all of your input. Bring it on!
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Old 02-17-2018, 01:39 PM   #2
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If you actually own it and can stay there all year, great! As long as you really love the area as a second home and want to return there frequently.

If it's a limited stay or time share, don't do it. Our experience with these type are not good for the long run.
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Old 02-17-2018, 01:53 PM   #3
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We owned at Out Door Resorts Of America. We stayed there a lot renting then decided to buy one. It was nice to leave our motor home there and drive our car there when we wanted.

The issue we found is it wasnít very kid friendly once we purchased. Most of the people who also owned were retired and liked their quite time almost all day. When we rented we didnít stay near the retired people so it was a totally different vibe. We found that most the owners lived there full time and the ďweekendersĒ were a nuisance to them.

We made a few mods to the lot like bbq island, some concrete hard scape and a few other things. Luckily for us we were able to sell the lot and make a profit.

Havenít been back since.
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Old 02-17-2018, 02:56 PM   #4
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If you actually own it and can stay there all year, great! As long as you really love the area as a second home and want to return there frequently.

If it's a limited stay or time share, don't do it. Our experience with these type are not good for the long run.
Thanks for your input. We are water people. We live in a canal that has direct access to Pine Island Sound and the Gulf of Mexico. Our boat sits on a lift so we can go whenever we want. (yes, we are truly blessed.) We do Christmas at a KOA near Orlando every year, and reserve a spot on the lake because of the view and the serenity. Wife is retired, I have a few years to go.... our hope is to spend a great deal of time there.
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Old 02-17-2018, 03:03 PM   #5
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We owned at Out Door Resorts Of America. We stayed there a lot renting then decided to buy one. It was nice to leave our motor home there and drive our car there when we wanted.

The issue we found is it wasnít very kid friendly once we purchased. Most of the people who also owned were retired and liked their quite time almost all day. When we rented we didnít stay near the retired people so it was a totally different vibe. We found that most the owners lived there full time and the ďweekendersĒ were a nuisance to them.

We made a few mods to the lot like bbq island, some concrete hard scape and a few other things. Luckily for us we were able to sell the lot and make a profit.

Havenít been back since.
Thank you also for your thoughts. This 'resort' is a mostly retirement community, with some nice park models and 5ers and TTs that have been made permanent. Some of these setups are really deluxe. There are also new 3 story stilt homes going up in there on the water as well; one is on the market for 1.2M. There is a boat ramp and marina as well. It's an eclectic mix, but no dive by any stretch. Since we are retirement age, the feel of this place appeals to us. Also, NO ONE gets in there without a pass or ownership; it is well gated and there is 24 hour security. Oh, and this place is spotless.
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Old 02-17-2018, 03:06 PM   #6
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Thank you also for your thoughts. This 'resort' is a mostly retirement community, with some nice park models and 5ers and TTs that have been made permanent. Some of these setups are really deluxe. There are also new 3 story stilt homes going up in there on the water as well; one is on the market for 1.2M. There is a boat ramp and marina as well. It's an eclectic mix, but no dive by any stretch. Since we are retirement age, the feel of this place appeals to us. Also, NO ONE gets in there without a pass or ownership; it is well gated and there is 24 hour security. Oh, and this place is spotless.


Very cool. Outdoor resorts was similar. Thereís I think 7 of them nationwide. It was owner access only unless renting a spot. It was super nice with a golf course running through it. Just wasnít our style after all.

Good luck. Sounds fun.
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Old 02-17-2018, 03:08 PM   #7
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Thanks!
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Old 02-18-2018, 01:41 PM   #8
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On another note...

Camping in the Keys was on my bucket list For this summer, however since the hurricane, we canceled.

How is the recovery looking down there?
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Old 02-18-2018, 02:54 PM   #9
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Recently purchased

Hello,
We purchased a site last summer in Sicamous,BC
The park was still under construction so, we havenít even stayed at our site yet. We travel to the Okanagan/Shuswap area every year, we find it harder and harder to get a spot without booking way in advance. It is not always easy for us to book so far in advance. We really enjoy the area so now we can go whenever we want without worrying about where we are going to stay. We are about 5 years away from retirement. Our plan is, to use the site when we want, rent it out the remainder of the time for now. We will develop the site over the next few years, decks, sheds, gazebo, etc. We will continue to use our motorhome for now, if we decide we want to stay full time, we will buy a park model. I donít really see a downside, with the ever increasing popularity of RVing , quality sites will always be in demand. We canít wait to get down there this summer, and get started, it should prove to be a lot of fun, and a good investment at the same time.
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Old 02-18-2018, 04:37 PM   #10
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Be sure to check real estate tax and maintenance fee history.
Un-planned increases are the bane of time share ownership.
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Old 02-18-2018, 04:44 PM   #11
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Be sure to check real estate tax and maintenance fee history.
Un-planned increases are the bane of time share ownership.


These lots arenít time share ownerships. They are deeded land sites. Although the property it is on is a 100year lease. The only fees that might change would be the owners association fees for maintenance but that would have to be voted on.
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Old 02-18-2018, 05:54 PM   #12
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Can you provide a little more information.

*If you are buying a lot, do you have a deed to the property? Or are you buying shares?
*Is this a home owners association?
*Are there monthly fees associated with ownership? If so, how are those fees governed?
*Is it a corporation, developer, or private party selling the properties?

Here is the reason for all these questions. More and more camp grounds with a mix of seasonal and park model spaces are being purchased by large corporations. Once the corporation has established, they start raising the fees. The fees get to the point that the residents can no longer afford living there. And because of the high fees, not many buyers are willing to make the commitment.

You have started to do your homework, but most of the questions you need answered are with the organization selling them. You may also want a real estate attorney to advise you on this.

It may be a deal of a lifetime or it may be too good to be true. Due diligence time.
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Old 02-18-2018, 07:02 PM   #13
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Be sure to check real estate tax and maintenance fee history.
Un-planned increases are the bane of time share ownership.
Yes. Good thoughts. We've already been on the county website to check taxes, they are reasonable. This is not a time share, but an outright purchase of real estate. We've also got a handle on HOA and maintenance fees, they also are doable.
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Old 02-18-2018, 07:08 PM   #14
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Can you provide a little more information.

*If you are buying a lot, do you have a deed to the property? Or are you buying shares?
*Is this a home owners association?
*Are there monthly fees associated with ownership? If so, how are those fees governed?
*Is it a corporation, developer, or private party selling the properties?

Here is the reason for all these questions. More and more camp grounds with a mix of seasonal and park model spaces are being purchased by large corporations. Once the corporation has established, they start raising the fees. The fees get to the point that the residents can no longer afford living there. And because of the high fees, not many buyers are willing to make the commitment.

You have started to do your homework, but most of the questions you need answered are with the organization selling them. You may also want a real estate attorney to advise you on this.

It may be a deal of a lifetime or it may be too good to be true. Due diligence time.
Great questions. We are definitely doing our due diligence. Still many questions that need to be answered. The property is deeded. Yes, there are common area fees and HOA fees, we know what they are. We do have concerns about the future of this place, but as actual deeded owners of our site we are more comfortable. Real estate in the Keys of this type is getting harder and harder to find, and land prices are rising steadily. To answer your last question, lots are sold from owner to owner, either privately, or through a realtor. Again, your pointed questions are very helpful.
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Old 02-18-2018, 09:53 PM   #15
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We stayed at one of these type of campground a few years back as a short stay camper and asked several owners of their lots about how it was working for them. By and large they were happy. Even met a couple who owned lots in two different parks. The only complaint I heard was that during the economic downturn a couple of families had sold or lost their homes and had moved lock stock and barrel into their camper. The lots were piled with bikes, garden equipment of all sorts and surplus stuff wrapped in tarps. The owners association was having to deal with it.
I can't imagine how you can lose in the scenario you outlined. Enjoy!
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Old 02-18-2018, 10:33 PM   #16
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We stayed at one of these type of campground a few years back as a short stay camper and asked several owners of their lots about how it was working for them. By and large they were happy. Even met a couple who owned lots in two different parks. The only complaint I heard was that during the economic downturn a couple of families had sold or lost their homes and had moved lock stock and barrel into their camper. The lots were piled with bikes, garden equipment of all sorts and surplus stuff wrapped in tarps. The owners association was having to deal with it.
I can't imagine how you can lose in the scenario you outlined. Enjoy!


The place we owned at wouldnít let that fly for a minute.

Their rules were so strict they even had regulations on what type of rv was allowed. No toy haulers. 5ers and Class A only.
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Old 02-18-2018, 11:04 PM   #17
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Purchase price and HOA fees can make it a deal or not. Neighbors can make a deal a good one or not. I know 4 people that bought an RV lot and ONE is very happy.
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Old 02-19-2018, 01:09 PM   #18
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I own 3 lots in an RV park in Idaho. If you pay property taxes to the county AND you are a member of the controlling HOA group, then it sounds like a good deal. But read (several times) the HOA rules and make sure you can abide with them. The property should be yours to use it as you wish within the HOA rules such as YOU being able to rent it out as you wish, if you wish. Make sure you have a vote on HOA dues, and look at the HOA budget yearly. Make sure the numbers balance.
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Old 02-19-2018, 01:22 PM   #19
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I own 3 lots in an RV park in Idaho. If you pay property taxes to the county AND you are a member of the controlling HOA group, then it sounds like a good deal. But read (several times) the HOA rules and make sure you can abide with them. The property should be yours to use it as you wish within the HOA rules such as YOU being able to rent it out as you wish, if you wish. Make sure you have a vote on HOA dues, and look at the HOA budget yearly. Make sure the numbers balance.
Good advice. We will be paying property taxes, and by virtue of ownership we are all voting members of the HOA. We can use it all we want with no limitations, and can either let the management rent it for us, or advertise and rent it ourselves. We're going back there in a few weeks, and I'm going to look at a three year history of gross income from rental. The current owner has 5 other lots there that she owns, some have park models on them, this one we are looking at has a long term TT renter on it now...... If we eventually own it, they will not be there long term......
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Old 02-19-2018, 01:26 PM   #20
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Good advice. We will be paying property taxes, and by virtue of ownership we are all voting members of the HOA. We can use it all we want with no limitations, and can either let the management rent it for us, or advertise and rent it ourselves. We're going back there in a few weeks, and I'm going to look at a three year history of gross income from rental. The current owner has 5 other lots there that she owns, some have park models on them, this one we are looking at has a long term TT renter on it now...... If we eventually own it, they will not be there long term......
I say go for it. We put a park model on one of our three lots and now use that as our home base when we are not travelling in our motorhome.
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