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What Are RV Park Model Homes (Park Trailers)?

Park Trailers are recreation vehicles primarily designed and intended to provide temporary living quarters for recreation, camping, or seasonal use. They are built on a single chassis, mounted on wheels with a gross trailer area not exceeding 400 square feet when set up. Each Park Trailer is certified by its manufacturer as complying with ANSI A119.5. Two different types of Park Trailers are offered. One is less than 8' 6" (usually 12' in width), and must be transported with special movement permits from the state highway department. The 8' 6" unit is expandable when it reaches its destination utilizing slide-outs or tip-outs. The wider, less mobile units are usually sited in RV parks for extended terms, typically for several years.

Park Trailers - America's Best Kept Vacation & Seasonal Dwelling Secret

Until recently, Park Trailers were a product known only to America's RV owners, as they were generally seen only in RV parks and resorts. Now, the secret is "out", and others, not previously associated with RV lifestyle, are discovering this exciting concept in vacation and seasonal lodging.

American manufacturers are turning out nearly 8,000 vacation / seasonal cottages each year ... quality-built in weather-free environments, with construction technology utilizing industrial strength adhesives, power-driven fasteners with building materials and systems that provide state of the art comfort and livability. In addition, these vacation / seasonal cottages are affordable with an average cost of only $27,000. These transportable units are typically delivered ready to enjoy, with a fully functional bathroom, kitchen with all appliances, bedroom, and living-dining rooms complete with furniture, carpeting and window treatments. Also included is a thermostat-controlled forced-air heating and air conditioning system ... all in a compact easy to maintain 400 square foot dwelling. The units are typically delivered to a site, hooked-up to the utilities and are ready for occupancy ... that same day. Recreational Park Trailers are usually located near a lake or ocean, in the vicinity of a desert, in the woods or mountains, or in any tranquil setting where Americans go to "get away from it all".

Park Trailers are designed and intended to be used as vacation and seasonal dwellings that offer a family their own private accommodation at a location of their choice. Most owners (93%) have discovered that the ideal site for a Park Trailer is often found in the nation's many RV parks and resorts, where lots to accommodate Park Trailers lease for $1500 to $2500 per year. Many parks offer outstanding amenities like swimming, tennis, fishing, boating and social events, with a golf course or two in close proximity. Other activities likely to be found nearby are restaurants, shopping, attractions, and pastimes typically found in resort locations. Other Park Trailer owners (3%) have placed their units in resort-vacation developments where the land is purchased and owned by the Park Trailer owner.

Most Park Trailer owners place their units within several hours of drive time from their primary residences. Others have discovered that Park Trailers make an excellent seasonal / temporary dwelling they can comfortably occupy in the sun belt to escape the cold gray weather of the northern winters. Southern families often place Park Trailers in the northern climates to escape the summer heat and humidity back home.

While some of the Park Trailer owners (10%) have children at home, most (89%) are over age 50, or are grandparents, with an average age of 60. Retirement has been achieved by almost half of these households and the average income they report is nearly $50,000. 60% of Park Trailer owners were either employed as professionals, managers or proprietors before their retirement or the remaining 40% are still active in those fields. On the average, owners reported having over two years of college, have been married for 32 years and 95% told us that they owned their primary residence.

While 51% of the Park Trailers are purchased outright, financing is also readily available to qualified purchasers who desire that option. A down payment of 10% or more will usually find terms of up to 15 years, making the monthly investment very affordable. Some families even own two Park Trailers, offering them great flexibility with alternative locations. Others have made arrangements to have firms manage and rent their units when they are not using them, gaining income that offsets the cost of ownership. All Park Trailers, no matter where they are located, qualify for an IRS tax deduction of the interest costs incurred if the unit is being used as either a qualified second home or as a rental property.

Although most Park Trailers are designed and intended to be used in seasons of moderate weather (40 to 95 F), special all-weather features are offered when units are going to be located in the snow country or winter climates. Park Trailers so equipped can provide vacation housing that allows the family to experience activities like skiing, ice fishing, hunting or snowmobiling. These same winterized units can also serve as summer, spring and fall get-aways.

Park Trailers come in various designs with prices ranging from $15,000 to $45,000 with $27,000 being the typical investment. Most units are 12' in width and 36' long with a peaked - shingled roof. Some offer gabled windows, and offer siding choices of aluminum, vinyl, masonite or even split logs for a rustic look. Porches or decks are frequently added, as are storage areas. Many look like summer cottages ... others which look more like a traditional but slightly longer RV Travel Trailer are designed for the owners who want frequent mobility. These owner towable units are usually less than 8' 6" in width and shorter than 40' in length. They typically come equipped with a traditional trailer's flat aluminum roof and usually offer tip-outs and slide-outs that will expand the living space to 400 square feet when the unit arrives at its destination.

Units that are wider than 8' 6" are also movable, but must be transported by professionals with specialized equipment and state-issued highway permits. The units 8' 6" and under can usually be towed by a medium or heavy-duty pick-up truck that can be operated with a standard drivers license. While these vacation homes are not large enough for use as a primary residence, they are just the right size for a family's private get-a-way home.

Park Trailers built by members of the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association are constructed in accordance with the American National Standards Institute Standard A119.5, a national safety standard which lists almost 500 safety requirements covering the areas of fire and life safety, construction, plumbing, electrical and LP Gas (see separate story).

Park Trailers are displayed at dealerships located in all across America. Most Park Trailer dealerships are located in close proximity to the areas where the units are to be sited. Some RV Parks or Resorts have dealerships and service centers right in the park, providing the owners convenient after sale service to keep the unit in top shape, ready for family fun.

Although each of our contiguous 48 states received and sited Park Trailers last year, the top ten states were: Arizona; Florida; Pennsylvania; Texas; California ,Illinois, Washington, New Jersey, Wisconsin and North Carolina.

For additional information, we have provided a list of RPTIA's Manufacturer Member production centers complete with addresses, phone and fax numbers . Contact them for descriptive product brochures and listings of their dealers who are serving the areas you are considering. The RV Dealerships who offer Park Trailers are another excellent source of information. In particular, they can identify the RV parks, resorts or developments which provide the sites for these units.

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