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.

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, 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??

It is difficult to understand the way some Boards treat the owners that wish to sell their RV lots, prohibiting even small "for sale" signs, offering poorly maintained sales lists (if at all?), and very difficult physical access. These actions really exist against the best interests of all owners. The effect of these actions is to hurt member owners not only from a time-on-market point of view, but price as well.  It is difficult to understand and reconcile these misguided Board behaviors, yet it is common.  Pointing to a park website some Boards say they are gaining exposure, but almost all of such sites are poorly conceived and executed, have little to no outside visitors and generally are ignored as search results found on page 4. 

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” saying that those with listings do well? This suggests that if you have a “good property” and an active agent things should go well. 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 campsites so a foray into the MLS computer may not yield anything at all you can find!

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.

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 re sales 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 horribly fractionalized. If you wanted to sell an RV no problem as 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 everywhere you look, only a hand full (or less) of RV properties at each site. Worse, they are lost in a sea of rental park promotion, used motor homes and flashing banners offering free.. well you know. Talk about hit or miss.....

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. The fact that these sites exist at all points to the lack of a focused Internet location for RV real estate. Please remember these folks can afford to advertise anywhere.

The Facts Please
While an ad, where ever published, may offer an attractive purchase from the seller perspective, will the reader of the ad have an understanding of the value found in your campground? Odds are no complete description of your park is available! The campground computer club web site ( if there is one) is more concerned with pot luck and pottery, and provides little real information. Try to discover monthly fees, boat storage, age restrictions, lot sizes, about trees, etc. and you soon have a lot more questions than answers. These are things a buyer needs to know. Most of these questions are not addressed in normal 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 buyer on wheels this is a very poor assumption. The active bicycle group in your resort may be the activity of choice for your potential buyer. Will he know of it? A 35' long storage spot may tip the balance in your favor. Is this mentioned anywhere? If he calls your park for more information will anyone answer the phone? Is there a phone he can find to call? Is there a phone at all?


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