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by Ron
Let the Buyer Beware

We all know that we have the responsibility to make wise choices before investing large sums of money, but there are some unsound investments that may attract only RVers and we need to be aware of them. When making the purchase of a house the transaction is fairly straight forward and real estate purchases involve a deed to the property; a title search; title insurance; an appraisal and an independent inspection all connected with obtaining a mortgage.

 Usually full-timers have sold their real estate and are concerned only with finding a place to park their RV.  It's natural that many do not want to travel all of the time (especially in the winter) and then a monthly or seasonal arrangement in a southern snow bird park makes sense. Barb and I did this, but we elected to mix it up a little and stay in some different parks and even in different parts of the country. Our reasoning was that we wanted to meet new people and explore different areas. 

There are some folks that seem to prefer the same park or the same area every winter. There is nothing wrong with that, but the problem may come when they want to make their selection more permanent. Unfortunately some of these semi-permenant arrangements turn out to be a bad investment. Friends, along with others, got caught up in a long term lease arrangement whereby they paid $25,000 up front for a 25 year lease in the Palm Desert/Burmuda Dunes area of California. The original owner then sold it to new owners who eventually changed the ownership to one principal who then defaulted on the mortgage. The bank auctioned off the property and the principal owner then bought the property back negating the lease arrangements and evicting the leasors. This was all legal and unfortunately the leases were never recorded by the original owner or the purchasers as an encumbrance against the property. The lessors sued and although the judge agreed that it was unethical; there was nothing illegal in the transactions. Our friends admit that they made a mistake in trusting the owner originally, but I relate their sad story to alert others that there are people out there who can't be trusted. Because of their problem our friends ask that you boycott the seven resorts connected to the one they lost out on (they are listed on www.Reynoldsresorts.com). 

If you can't avoid the instinct to "own something" make sure that you have a deed to the lot and that a lawyer has looked over the transaction. There are several good parks in the Mesa, Arizona, area that have a good reputation and offer deeded lots. Two that come to mind right away are Roadhaven and Greenfield in Apache Junction. 

Likewise, many folks buy into a Coast to Coast affiliated park in order to have a home base (unfortunately we did at a considerable investment and lost it all). Many of these parks are run well, but the members have no ability to look at the books or participate in the management of these parks. You are at their mercy and our best advice is to only join a park that has a very minimum investment and then if you lose it you won't be out much. Escapee Parks on the other hand offer guarantees that will protect your investment. Click here for more information on Escapees.

Are you afraid that they will run out of RV sites in the sunbelt? Are you afraid that the prices will go up? Relax! The desert land extends for miles and the supply will always meet the demand. Almost all of the beautiful parks in this area will have lots of spaces this winter and they are building more all the time.  If you do elect to buy or lease a lot.....please be careful.

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