SELLING AND RENTING RV LOTS


Under Construction
When a real estate developer creates a new RV park and begins offering individual lots for sale, he knows that to get sales, he must expose the project. If no one visits the park, nothing will be sold. A location along a popular main road may provide the necessary parade of RV lot lookers. A major city close by may make promotion simply a local affair. When a park is restricted to a limited group of RVers, motor homes for example, national or regional advertising may be necessary to contact enough qualified buyers. What ever the situation, the park developer is financially motivated to make his project well known to RVers and get the project sold in a reasonable time.


Owners Take Control
When the developer finishes, and a park is controlled by the owners, a very different condition emerges. With little to no interest in public exposure, all forms of promotion stop. Sometimes private parks, wishing to avoid the public and be "secure", ban all in park “for sale” signs, and take steps to severely restrict access. Just as the developer wanted exposure, private parks often want just the opposite. We say they are hiding.


Time To Sell
All of this would make little difference to anyone, except for one big thing.  An owner, at any time, may need to sell his RV property. A health problem, a change in circumstance, or any number of events can trigger the need. Fact: All owners will at some time need to sell! If this happens years after the developer sold out, the park may well have slipped from public consciousness. Unlike a rental park where management strives for directory listings and publicity, the private park exists (quietly) for the pleasure of the owners. All well and good, but what of the need to sell??

Parks which restrict public access and prohibit identifying a lot offered for sale, make selling more difficult. Half of all homes sold, are first found from a yard sign. Your neighbors a few doors away may not know you are selling. Striving for "security" and uniformity, such policy hurts owners not only from a time-on-market point of view, but because access is difficult, price as well.  Some parks point to their website as aiding exposure, but  such sites are rarely structured to be found in search results, and see use limited to owners. Some parks produce "for sale" lists, others offer bulletin board space and yet others open gates on some weekend days.

Odds are no one will buy your property if they can't see it, and they can't buy it if they are unaware it is offered for sale.  You must answer two important questions. How will my RV property be discovered as available to buy ?  How can a prospective buyer visit my RV property?  


The Real Estate Agent
To the rescue ? Maybe... maybe not ! Real estate sales as practiced in the USA is a very local business. Remember, ".. location, location, location" or “lister is king” ? This suggests that if you have a “good property” and an active listing agent, things should go well for the agent and you too. The concept of, (1) get the listing, (2) plant the sign, and (3) wait for the calls, really does work !  More than 50% of homes are sold from yard sign calls. But, can our RV buyer drive by? Is our buyer a local fellow? Probably not!  What if he can’t even get in? Are signs allowed? Does our buyer know of the park? What will your real estate agent do that will make the buyer aware that your property is for sale? Most real estate advertising focuses on single family homes, the main stay of the business. In most locations RV real estate does not fit in the property mix and if it does, it is found near the bottom. Who can blame the ad manager who features a big house selling for 10 times what is asked for the RV property and spends his budget with little real estate magazines that reach those local folks that are poking around for houses? Most MLS (multiple listing service) systems have no category for RV parks or camper lots so a foray into the MLS computer may not yield anything at all!

Assuming normal home sales practice, the agent does provide another basic, valued service; the handling of offers and closing. Most sellers are not skilled in this and it is of special value when a seller lives far way, a common situation in recreational property.


Advertise
How about a “For Sale By Owner” ad? Good idea, but where are you going to place it, a local newspaper, an RV magazine, the Internet? National magazine advertising is very expensive, too expensive unless you are selling several properties. If your area is known for RV activity, a local ad or a specialty placement might do the trick because people know to look, and you will get exposure. Sometimes a 3x5 card on the club house bulletin board works since other owners tell their friends. Perhaps your association offers a list of resales for those that know to call? An inexpensive Internet ad is a good idea with potential National exposure. What site will you choose? A quick look around reveals that RV advertising is fractionalized. If you wanted to sell an RV,  there are several sites with major inventory, but you want to sell RV real estate! You quickly find a few lots offered here, a sale that’s really a rental there, and most places you look, a hand full of RV properties. Worse, they are in a sea of rental park promotion, used motor homes and flashing banners offering free.. well you know. Talk about hit or miss.....

There are several high traffic websites that list RV properties in multiple state locations. This website now lists properties in several states. A few parks and campgrounds do have websites that are regularly served as search results and if your RV lot is located in one of those, it should be included in your advertising, no matter what other advertising you might do. Some folks may be looking at that park, specifically.  When you advertise try to understand where you are reaching in each choice you make.

You could set up your own web site. At any given time there are five or six offering an individual RV property for sale. Generally these efforts come out of luxury resorts with prices approaching $100,000, maybe more. Please remember these folks can afford to advertise anywhere.


The Facts Please
It can be difficult to assume the perspective of a buyer looking around in the RV property market, that is not familiar with your location. The following is written to stimulate your thinking about what is presented in an ad  and the follow up, that hopefully will be necessary.

While an ad, whereever published, may offer an attractive buy from the seller perspective, will the reader have an understanding of the value found in your park? Is a good description of your park is available? The campground computer club web site ( if there is one) is usually concerned with pot luck and pottery, and assumes knowledge of the park. Try to discover monthly fees, boat storage, age restrictions, lot sizes, about sheds, pets, and you soon have more questions than answers. These are things a buyer wants to know. Most of these questions are not addressed in advertising. Space is at a premium. Most advertising assumes familiarity from the buyer.( Who hasn’t seen, “located in desirable Section III” ? Really! Considering the horizon available to a prospect on wheels, this is a poor assumption. The bicycle group in your resort may be the activity of choice for your prospect. Will he know of it? A 35' long storage spot may tip the balance in your favor. Is this information available? If he wants to reach out for more information, will it be available? Is there a phone he can find to call? Is there an Email address?


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