Winter is almost over, and it will be exciting to see the statistics for RV park occupancy starting soon. With RV sales at 335,000 units for 2014 – a roughly 10% increase and the highest since the “Great Recession” began in 2007 – RV park occupancy should also set records this year. Unseasonably mild temperatures should get more RVs on the road than normal and for longer periods of time. Of course, the addition of 10,000 baby boomers retiring per day, many of which buy RVs and hit the road in retirement, will also give support to a very strong 2015 in RV park occupancy. Woodalls has announced a partnership with Michigan State University to create more sophisticated measurements of national RV park occupancy, so not only should we have great numbers but also better documentation of performance. Overall, we think this will be a very exciting year – as soon as the snow melts off.
Memo From Frank & Dave
The Close Association Of Hollywood And RV's
This is a photo of the 1937 Hunt Housecar, built by Hollywood producer Roy Hunt. Since the early days of Hollywood, the RV has been an integral part of the film industry, serving as mobile dressing rooms to the stars.
This is Mae West’s mobile dressing room, given to her by Paramount Studios. W.C. Fields was probably a frequent guest, as well as the jeweler and liquor salesman. Indeed, the RV has long been associated with Hollywood and movie stars. Here are some current stars that have RVs as a part of their lifestyle.
Identify the goal
The British had one simple goal, to stop the Germans from having air superiority. Similarly, you should have one simple goal of finding an RV park that meets your needs. To accomplish this, you need to think through how much money you have for a down payment, where you want it to be geographically, and how much time you have to devote to it. You need to engineer the “perfect” park based on this loose framework. Only when you can say in one sentence what you are looking for like “I want at least a 50 space RV park in the southwest that requires a down payment of not to exceed $100,000” are you really ready to start looking. And without that goal, you’ll never be specific enough to find anything of value.
The star of “Dumb and Dumber” is no dummy when it comes to family entertainment. Jeff Daniels is a huge RV fan and said “I don’t think you can call yourself a true American until you’ve been behind the wheel of an RV”. He owns a Gulf Stream Tour Master RV, which they call “The Bus”.
This Academy Award winning actor said about his RV “it’s one of my favorite places. I’ve got a house, but even when I pull into my house, sometimes I sleep in that thing in my driveway. It’s really comfortable.” McConaughey owns an International Ocean Breeze Airstream.
This famous rock star owns not one, not two, but three RVs. As far as supporting the industry, he puts his money where his mouth is.
This star of the Fast and the Furious blockbusters owns a 2-story, 1,100 square foot motorhome that is valued at over $1 million. One of its unique features is that it has a sunroof that can be changed from clear to opaque at the touch of a button.
This famous heavyweight boxer and entrepreneur owns a .Mauck Special Vehicle (MSV) that is 25 feet long and has a cutting edge, futuristic design. It is manufactured by Advanced Bus Industries. Country music star Alan Jackson also owns a MSV.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
The stars of Mr. and Mrs. Smith and one of the hottest couples in Hollywood – both in looks and earnings – own a vintage Airstream 245 that they have named the “Luv Sub”. This is around a $50,000 model, but you can imagine how much it would be worth on the collectors’ market with those owners.
The famous Baywatch star and Playboy centerfold has a classic Airstream trailer that she has re-designed to include all white interior and a stripper pole. She calls it a “lovestream” trailer.
Why do so many stars own RVs?
If you read the quotes of many celebrities who own RVs, you see the same themes over and over. The top reasons appear to be: 1) familiarity with RVs because these are the most common form of housing on movie sets and location shoots 2) privacy, as they are constantly running from photographers and the RV provides an enclosed space where they can pull the blinds and relax 3) a shortage of time with their family, so they want to “play hard” and really have great bonding with their families when not at work, which the RV provides.
A Primer On Recourse Vs. Non-Recourse Debt
“Recourse” is defined by the dictionary as “the legal right to demand compensation or payment”. But what does that mean in terms of buying an RV park, and why is that term important? As you will see, recourse – or mitigating recourse – is hugely important to all RV park owners.
It ties back to your RV park loan
The term recourse comes from a provision in all RV park loans that designates the loan as either having “recourse” or its opposite “non-recourse”. A “recourse” loan means that, in the event of defaut, the bank can sue you for any losses on the collateral. Many banks require recourse in order to get the loan, while typically seller financing and CMBS debt does not.
You want non-recourse if possible
This is an easy menu to order from – you always want non-recourse debt. With non-recourse debt, no matter what happens, the lender can never come after you for a penny more than your down-payment. Most Wall Street investors will only sign non-recourse loans, as it’s the safest form of banking. The good news is that most RV parks are owned by the original moms and pops, and they offer non-recourse as part of the sales process.
If in doubt, ask an attorney
Sometimes the loan document will not address the issue, and does not say either recourse or non-recourse. In that event, you need to ask a competent, licensed attorney who can advise you of that state’s rules in the event that recourse is not described in the loan agreement. In some states, if it is unsaid, then the loan is automatically a recourse loan, and in other states it’s the reverse. This is one item that you cannot afford to make a mistake on, so get it figured out before you sign on the dotted line.
You need to understand what recourse is – and what it means – before buying your RV park. The good news is that it’s a simple concept to comprehend and maneuver around.
RV Park Home Study Course
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