Park Model Cottages to Go
by Kent Griswold. http://tinyhouseblog.com/pre-fab/tiny-cottages-to-go/
Called park models because they can be parked anywhere, they are a maximum of 400 square feet under federal guidelines and therefore not taxed as permanent dwellings, making them an attractive option for beach, lake or mountain retreats.
Though they are considered recreational vehicles, they look more like small houses. They are available in many different varieties. From rustic to modern and sophisticated, you decide what style is best for you.
Costing $20,000 to $80,000, they are subject to sales tax when purchased, and depending on the state or the municipality, they may require annual licensing and registration, for fees from $30 to about $300.
Park Model photo produced by Breckenridge.
There are several manufactures of Park Homes and I have listed a few below:
Dutch Park Homes Inc.
Park Model Direct
Superior Park Model Homes
Woodland Park Inc.
By Robert Platt Bell
When I was 30, we bought a 27 foot fifth wheel trailer for $7200. It was very comfortable, and we traveled across the county in it for two months. We also took a lot of other trips in it, and it was like a mobile vacation home.
The lesson I took away from that experience was that you could live pretty well, for not a lot of money. If we could have parked that fifth wheel somewhere for cheap, it would have been a more than comfortable retirement home.
However, many RVs are not intended to be used as permanent residences. Also, since they are configured to be towed, they are not very practical for day-to-day living, However, the RV industry does make a type of RV known as a “Park Model” which is designed to be used as a retirement or vacation home for two people.
Park Models are not to be confused with mobile homes or modular homes. While the latter two can also be very cost-effective forms of living – and are often manufactured by the same companies as RVs – a Park Model is a different sort of beast.
A typical Park Model, like the unit shown above, is a single structure and is shorter and narrower than a Mobile home. They typically have one bedroom, one bath, an eat-in kitchen and living room, and perhaps a small “sleeping loft” for occasional visitors (the grandchildren!). Some can be rather elaborate, with wood siding, metal roofs, or the like.
Sine they are smaller than mobile homes or modular homes, they are easy for older folks to keep clean and maintain – who needs three bedrooms and two baths to clean when you are 70? I’d rather be golfing, myself.
They are fairly inexpensive – from about $20,000 or so, on up. And of course, they can be found secondhand in many places, such as Florida.
A few years back, many Baby Boomers started a “Small House Movement” and claimed to “invent” the idea of a downsized home. But the idea was there all along – in the form of a Park Model.
And speaking of Florida, there are many “Park Model” parks there, where you can rent lot space fairly inexpensively – often $400 a month or less. So they can be a very, very inexpensive place to live.
And many such resorts and parks are limited to 55 and over, have golf courses, marinas, or other attractions. Most are gated and very well kept up – not the seedy “trailer park” you may be inclined to think of.
They are, in short, an inexpensive yet dignified retirement option (or winter home option) for many older Americans.
Of course, for some folks, the term “trailer” is not in their vocabulary, and they are too proud to consider a practical yet comfortable retirement alternative simply because of status and pride. These are the same people who refuse to shop at Wal-Mart but complain about being broke all the time.
Me, I’ve done run out of pride, a long time ago.
I could retire today, and never work again, living in an inexpensive yet easy-to-maintain Park Model, in a clean, safe, well-maintained RV park in Florida – and play golf every day.
The only hitch is, I’m not 55 yet!
If you are among the hoard of broke Baby Boomers facing retirement – or perhaps involuntary early retirement – you should think about a Park Model, as the cost of living is reasonable, it is comfortable, and you can realistically live on a Social Security income.
No matter what you think, you do have options! And not bad options at that!
Robert Platt Bell is a Patent Attorney in Jekyll Island, Georgia
Flagstaff, AZ – It’s already past the 100-degree mark in Phoenix, where Mike McConville works as a self-employed cabinetmaker.
But triple digit heat is of little concern to McConville and his family. When the weather gets hot, the McConvilles head up to Munds Park, an RV resort near Flagstaff where they own a 400-square foot recreational park trailer or “park model.”
“It’s our home away from home, and it’s a lot cooler up there,” said McConville, 57, who purchased his park model last year.
Marion Steinbrenner is similarly unconcerned with the approach of summer. After spending the winter at an RV resort in Florida, she’ll be spending the next few months at Peters Pond RV Resort on Cape Cod, where she owns a park model.
Still relatively unknown to most consumers, recreational park trailers or “park models” are 400-square foot movable resort cottages that are designed exclusively for part-time recreational use.
Typically upscale in appearance, they often include hardwood floors, bay windows and lofts as well as cherry, oak or maple cabinetry. They also are very affordable, with prices starting in the $30,000 range.
And because park models are technically classified as recreational vehicles, they can be set up on leased or purchased sites in campgrounds and RV parks and used as weekend retreats or seasonal vacation dwellings. That’s precisely what’s happening at many RV resorts across the country.
Munds Park near Flagstaff has sold more than 200 park models during the past two years. “We have 41 lots left, but they’re going fast,” said Cindi Eagleton, the park’s manager. Munds Park leases its campsites for $2,700 per season, which runs from April until November.
Eagleton said the people who purchase park models at Munds Resort are all over the map, demographically. “A lot of them have grandkids and they like that this park is open to kids,” she said. “But we’re also seeing a lot of younger people because it’s affordable. That’s a big change from years past.”
Demand for affordable vacation retreat cottages is so strong that many campgrounds and RV resorts are converting existing campsites for park model use or are adding new sections to accommodate park model owners and renters. While parks making these additions are too numerous to mention here, they are located in vacation destinations all over the country. They include:
- Guadalupe River RV Resort, Kerrville, Texas: This resort in the Texas Hill Country is adding 40 park models to its resort this year, which already 35 parks models, some of which are available for rent while others are privately owned. “We had 150 inquiries as soon as we put them on our website,” said park owner Don Temple. “Most of these folks are families in their 40s and 50s. They are looking for a nice vacation home on the river and don’t want to spend their life’s savings to do so.”
- Camp Holiday, Boulder Junction, Wisconsin: This RV resort in northern Wisconsin has designated an entire section for park model owners. “We don’t have it filled with park models yet, but we have the space,” said Cathy Schneider, one of the park’s owners. “The people who own park models are a good blend of people. We have retired people. But most of our seasonal people are still working. A lot of them live within a two-hour radius of here. They can come every weekend or spend their vacation time here.”
- Birchwood Resort, Kabetogama, Minn.: This resort, located 20 miles southeast of International Falls next to Voyageurs National Park, just started renting sites for park model use this year. The sites can be rented for $3,250 to $4,000 for the entire summer. “I like the look of park models,” said park owner Mark Krupowicz. “They’re attractive. They’re like cabins.”
- Castle RV Park, Castle Rock, Colo.: This 370-acre park, located in a forested location in the mountains between Denver and Colorado Springs, is developing a new section that will accommodate about 200 cabin-style park models. The park model cabins will range from the high $30,000 to about $80,000, while the monthly lease fee will be $650, said Ian Steyn, the park’s developer.
- Of Course RV Resort, Red Lodge, Mont.: This 190-acre park, which is being built around an 18-hole golf course, is located near Yellowstone National Park. Developer Jeanne Rizzotto is selling 99-year leases on 500 sites at the park, which will be used to accommodate park models as well as towable and motorized RVs. Rizzotto is also planning to develop similar resorts in Arizona and Colorado.
For more information on parks that may have park models for sale, check with Kampgrounds of America (KOA), Leisure Systems Inc., parent company of the Yogi Bear Jellystone Park chain, Salt Springs, Fla.-based Elite Resorts of America as well as Chicago-based Equity LifeStyle Properties and Queensbury, N.Y.-based Morgan RV Resorts, which both own numerous parks with park models across the country. Parks with park models can also be located by running a Google search.
For more information about the growth of the park model business, please contact William Garpow, executive director of the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) at (770) 251-2672 or visit the association’s website at www.RPTIA.com.
Even with the current depressed real estate market, it’s difficult to find a better value than park models when it comes to a cottage, cabin, vacation home or even a retirement home. Because of economic hardship and cost cutting, much of the available housing stock hasn’t been maintained as well as it should have been, meaning that anyone who buys a house may well be facing additional repair expenses. An alternative is to find an area that you love and consider buying one of the many attractive and reasonably priced park model homes offered.
When you visit Parkmodelsdirect.com, one of the first things you’ll notice is that new park model homes start at under $20,000. That’s $19,900 for brand new, quality built park model home that is assembled under factory controlled conditions and built to exacting standards. Would you rather pay $100,000 or more to buy someone else’s problem, or spend a fraction of that price to own a brand new park model that can be shipped virtually anywhere in the country?
Most park model homes are built to meet RV industry code, and many are built by the same factories that produce manufactured homes. Parkmodelsdirect.com provides the ultimate buying experience for anyone who is looking for alternatives to traditional housing. Customer testimonials will attest to the positive experiences that customers rave about. It’s difficult to find a better value for park models; Park Models Direct has such tremendous volume that it’s able to offer the best prices imaginable and with factory located sales centers across the country, it’s easy to find park models in your area. Unlike buying an existing home or cottage, choosing park model homes from Parkmodelsdirect.com means you have choices: you select the retailer you wish to deal with, the builder and the floor plan. You can even chose options and upgrades such as a loft, dormers, a cedar exterior, ceramic tile flooring or a cedar exterior. When you walk through the model homes, it’s hard to believe that you’re stepping through a factory built home and not a traditionally built house.
Growth in the area of park model homes has been explosive in recent years and this segment is probably the hottest in the RV industry. By taking advantage of the facilities used to build high-end manufactured homes, park models are available making the most of modern design and the highest quality construction standards. These beautiful homes make the perfect alternative to a cottage, retirement home or cabin.
About the Author:
Eric Steadman works for Factory Expo Home Centers, the leading national factory direct distributor of high quality, factory built homes, including park models. Operating since 1999, FactoryExpo offers the unique option of a factory tour and onsite model village along with a commitment to value-based pricing. For additional information about park model homes, please contact Eric by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The beauty of park models is the flexibility you can experience without having to fork over a small fortune to a homebuilder or contractor. What exactly is a park model? A park model home is a relatively new alternative to the standard RV home. It combines the reasonable price with a more comfortable way to live, as well as having the look of a traditional home and the benefit of being a little more permanent. Park model homes are basically factory built homes that provide many benefits compared to site built or park homess. Growing quickly in popularity, this type of home is safe and affordable.
Park models are safe because they are built to RV industry code, but they differ in the way of appearance, and are usually built with a higher quality construction in mind that is more commonly applied only to park homess. Modern park model homes include details you wouldn’t expect from an RV, including dormers, covered porches, lofts, unique materials such as cedar, and tile floors.
Park model homes resemble site built homes but offer the benefits associated with RVs, such as an affordable price tag and mobility. Of course, quality is important when purchasing this type of home, as it needs to be stable and reliable. After all, you will be living in the home. If you’re considering purchasing a park model home, buy one from a company that has a satisfied client base and a reputation for excellence in the industry.
Park Models Direct manufactures quality park model homes. The company has several factory located sales centers across the country and ships park model homes to the majority of states. Visit your nearest location to learn more about the company’s products, and to see a few examples in person.
About the Author:
Eric Steadman is a writer for various print and online publications, as well as for Park Models Direct, a manufacturer of quality park models. He can be reached at email@example.com. He enjoys writing about the advantages of RV and park model homes for the general public.