Perhaps the ultimate deal is the one that you buy with no money down. Real estate investors consider this the Holy Grail - the "hole-in-one" of RV parks purchasing. We've done this twelve times over the past two decades. So how do you buy an RV park with no money down?
Finding a deal that has the right ingredients
To pull this off, you first have to find an RV for sale with the right raw material. It needs to be a property that has been perpetually mis-managed, and one that shows very poorly. Yet it must have great underlying "bones" and a market with good potential. Basically, you're looking for a property that looks ugly but is a beautiful swan when you clean off that ugly duckling demeanor.
Convincing the seller that you need to use your down-payment for capital improvements
Now here's an important step in pulling of a zero-down deal. You've got to convince the seller that the "ugly" property is going to require a huge amount of capital to fix - namely the amount of money you were going to use as your down-payment. But here's the trick: the actual amount needed to fix the property is actually not large. For example, an RV park can look horrible if it is not mowed. But the actual cost of the mowing is not much. It's a question of bang for the buck issues, things like mowing, tree trimming, and repairs that look awful but don't actually cost much money to complete.
Educating the seller on the benefits of seller financing
Here's the next part of the equation. The seller has to look at self-financing as a great idea. This is perhaps an easier mission today than ever before, as interest rates on savings are so low right now that the interest rate on your RV park loan might be five times more (1% CDs vs 5% RV park loan). And that does not even include the tax benefits, as the seller only pays tax as the principal is received, meaning that they will earn interest on about a third of the price that would normally go to the IRS and state taxes on day one.
One of the most important building blocks of getting these steps done is to "bond" with the seller. When you "bond" with the seller, you gain their trust and friendship. A seller who does not trust you will not even think about carrying the financing with 0% down. So build that "bond" from your first encounter. Our favorite opening question to get the "bonding" going is "so how did you come to own this RV park?" The answer to that question could take an hour, and be a good listener as it's not only a good part of "bonding" but also a chance to learn a great deal of information about the property.
Putting it all together
The key to buying an RV park with zero money down is basically 1) find a deal that shows poorly but can be fixed for very little money 2) convince the seller that you need to use your down-payment to fix it (when you really don't have to spend much at all) 3) get the seller to agree to carry the financing and 4) make sure you are continually bonding with the seller to gain their trust. It's that simple.
Most buyers think that finding a zero down deal is just plain random luck. That's completely false. To do a zero-down deal actually involves strategy, execution, and perseverance. We've done it many times, and you can, too, if you follow these logical steps.