Buying lots popular with RVers
Gary Pinnell | Highlands TodaySEBRING - While most RVers rent a campsite for the winter, Linda Haven owns her doublewide and the lot at Lake Bonnet Village, off C.R. 17 between Avon Park and Sebring.
Published: March 14, 2010
Published: March 14, 2010
"I think it's the best hidden secret in Florida," said Haven, who also sits on the board of the co-op association. Her park also allows park models and mobile homes.
Haven and her husband were once carefree, on-the-go campers who regained a sense of permanency by buying their site. It's a growing trend in RV world.
Nationally, more than 25,000 RV sites at 200 RV parks and resorts are privately owned, David Gorin, a longtime campground industry consultant told the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds.
They're actually purchasing peace of mind, says John Lovelette, manager of Camp Florida Resorts.
"Here in Florida, we've had a history of people who have rented a lot, fixed it up, put their mobile homes on it, and then the owner comes along and sells the property and gives the tenant 30 days or 45 days to get out," Lovelette said. "It's going to become a mall or something."
"If you're renting a site, said Emile LaChance, an Ontario, Canada resident who just bought his site at Silver Palms RV Village in Okeechobee, "you've got to be on a schedule."
Renters pay, for instance, for Jan. 3 through March 3. By March 4, they must be gone.
Camp Florida has always sold RV sites, Lovelette said; about 40 percent are owned by residents.
Owners can escape inflation. Currently, a 40 by 65 lot at Camp Florida is available for $42,900. It rents for $350 a month in the summer, $725 in the winter - utilities, cable TV, pool, tennis courts, clubhouse and planned activities included.
"Most parks have a lifestyle," Lovelette pointed out. Also, owners can sublet their park models - 500 square-footers - and actually make a little money.
Lake Bonnet became a resident-owned community in 2002. Currently, two-thirds of the 347 lots are owner occupied.
There are even more reasons to own, said Haven: "In Florida, you can claim it as real property. You can have a homestead on it. And you get a cheaper maintenance fee."
Lots sell for $21,000, or $22,000 if they front the 260-acre lake. Residents are required by their homeowner association to keep their RVs clean.
"It it's dirty, you have to wash it," Haven said. Owners must have permission to sell their lots. But, Haven said, they have a neat, clean place to live.
And they own it.
Highlands Today reporter Gary Pinnell can be reached at 863-386-5828 or email@example.com