What Is A Park Model RV?
A park model RV is a mix of a tiny home, a mobile home and an RV: it is often used for camping and seasonal/vacation use, and has RV hookups for water and septic (rather than being hard-plumbed-in like a traditional home or cabin). In a way, a park model RV is a stationary RV that has the structure and looks of a home.
Some people choose to live permanently in a park model RV, although they are built for seasonal use only. This is often because of similar challenges to those of RV use where one can face challenges during extreme cold seasons.
Because of that, it is more likely to see full-time living in a park model RV in states that are moderately warm year-round (such as Arizona, Texas or Florida).
It should be noted that the manufacturers do not advertise nor endorse these units for full-time living, and that is mostly due to the fact that these units are not built the same sturdy way a conventional house or cabin is built.
Park model RVs have been created as RV-cabin hybrids for parks near lakes, in the woods or as vacation rental spots, but not in residential areas. These kinds of homes were developed in the 1950’s as a bi-level livable trailer by a company named Pacemaker Trailer Company out of Elkhart, Indiana.
Their goal was to create the biggest amount of livable space in a small area.
The biggest difference between a park model RV and a mobile home is the specifications to which each is built: while the mobile home is built like a home, incl. To HUD specs, the park model RV is following the RV Industry Association (RVIA) and American National Standard Institute (ANSI) standards.
Many park model RVs also have screened-in porches or lanais that add to the livable outdoor area. In addition to that, model park RVs have many floorplan customization options (when compared to mobile homes) and are therefore a popular choice in warm-weather states, such as Arizona, Texas and Florida.
They are most like a tiny home. Some of the common criteria for park model RVs are:
- They are usually less than 400 sq ft in size
- They are usually 10-12 feet wide
- They are built on a single trailer chassis
- They are often set up in a trailer home or RV park
- The wheels and axles are removed after delivery
- The unit is skirted like a mobile home, but the unit is not meant to be mobile
- The unit has a living room, a kitchen, a bathroom and one bedroom
- The unit cannot be set up on private land in many locales.
Can You Travel With A Park Model RV?
No. These units were not built to move around like an RV. They are built to be delivered to their setup site and to remain there. They can be moved to another location if necessary, but they are not built to travel with.
How Much Is A Park Model RV?
A park model RV costs around $50,000-80,000, depending on one’s floor plan and customization choices. With the width almost 50% more than that of a mobile or tiny home, the park model RV seems like a great and pretty affordable option for anyone who is in the market to purchase a small living space for a vacation home.
Keep in mind that there is a transport cost that is added to the purchase of the unit that can easily range in the several thousands of dollars, anywhere from $8,000-24,000, depending on distance, accessibility and economy (fuel cost).
Do Park Model RVs Hold Their Value?
The park model RVs surprisingly really hold their value well. Their financing is similar to that of an RV, so you can expect 10-20 year financing term options.
Is It Worth It To Own A Park Model RV?
Absolutely! They are an excellent investment, especially in the current real estate market and with the rising trend in minimalism and tiny home living.
“As far as holding their value, park model homes are excellent investments. They are built to last 30-50 years or more with minimal maintenance, and their rising popularity means that their rental and resale value is still very high.”
Whether you purchase one to live in, as a vacation spot or a rental, a park model RV has very few negatives. Perhaps the biggest thing is that you should make sure to perform proper maintenance and be familiar with the needs of a park model RV to protect your investment and extend its lifespan.
Can you build your own park model RV?
Yes, you can. There are plenty of online models you can choose from, follow or just get ideas from, either on YouTube or by hiring consultants.
Can you put a park model RV on your own property?
This depends on the state and the community you live in. “Most RV parks and some mobile home parks will allow Park Models. If you want to place it on private property you need to check with your county building department and ask if you can place a Park Trailer/Park Model on your property. Park Models are an RV and they are built to RV codes not HUD Manufactured home specs.” (Source: park-model-homes.com.)
Because of that, many are often considered not as safe for use (incl. Flooding, tornadoes (extreme weather), fire hazard, eye sore/stigma etc.).
How long does a park model RV last?
They are built to last 30-50 years or more and have a very high resale value; thus, they are really rising in popularity, especially with the tiny home movement.
Can you sell a park model RV?
Yes, you can and they actually sell very fast for a premium, so make sure you perform due diligence in establishing the asking price.
Are park model RVs customizable?
“Many park model RVs come fully loaded with features such as full sized showers, living rooms, and kitchens that include full size ovens and refrigerators. They can be customized or purchased directly with multiple rooms whereas RVs are usually going to feature only one bedroom.” (Source: www.platinumcottages.com.)