Have you ever driven by one of those communities with a million little trailers…and wondered who the heck lives there? Well, WE do! We live there!
We were always curious, but never really thought about living in a park model until we made a reservation for an RV campground 4 years ago and ended up staying in a park model community. Fast forward 2 weeks and we ended up buying a park model for $27,000. Less than we paid for our Honda Crosstour.
Now, we live in our park model 7 months of the year and travel in our RV for 5 months during the summer. It’s gonna sound crazy, but we couldn’t wait to get home to our itty bitty park model after being on the road on the East Coast this summer! Our park model feels like a mansion after living in a 200 square foot RV for so long. 😊
We realize there are several positives and few negatives to living in a park model. Here are a some of our experiences:
Inexpensive way of living
One of the ways we were able to retire at 45 and 50 years old is that we live so cheaply in our park model. We paid cash for our trailer, so we don’t have any ongoing cost there. What’s even better though is that our park model is considered a vehicle. You heard that right…a VEHICLE. That means annually we only pay $250 for property tax and $250 for insurance.
Resort living without the resort price tag
Our park model community is one of the nicer ones. We have 4 pools, 7 hot tubs, 2 gyms, 10 tennis courts, 8 pickleball courts, concerts each week…we could go on and on. All of this is included in the annual fees we pay.
Living tiny is so easy
Once a week, we look at each other and say “it’s time to clean.” We kind of groan and then realize it’ll take us maybe 30 minutes to clean everything top to bottom. Since our park model is 3 decades old, it seems like nothing is fully sealed and dust accumulates pretty quickly. Oh well, a little dust never killed anyone.
Built in community
We didn’t realize a park model came with dozens of friends. 😊 Plus, there are non-stop activities like dances, concerts, potlucks (Carter’s favorite), tennis leagues, pickleball, golf, poker night, etc. We have to use a shared calendar to keep track of our activities. It’s a good problem to have!
The Bad & The Ugly
It’s a mobile home that’s decades old
It seems like there’s always something needing to be repaired. The park model we bought was recently remodeled, so there’s nothing big to fix. Just little stuff like running toilets and baseboards that warped in the summer heat.
The one area that really needs help is the original bathroom. It’s hideous. For some reason, the builder decided to install Jack and Jill sinks in the world’s smallest bathroom. We literally have to sit on the toilet to use the second sink. We’re remodeling the bathroom this winter, so hopefully it will be much better in every way.
Everybody is in your business!
Our neighbors are maybe 5 feet away. And, you can’t help noticing when someone comes and goes, gets into an argument, or has friends over for dinner without inviting you. 95% of the time this doesn’t bother us, but there are times when we wish we were still living in our old home miles from everything and everyone.
There’s nowhere to hide
Thank goodness we get along as well as we do! 700 square feet is pretty tiny. We have a great setup though. The original park model is around 400 square feet and has a bedroom, bathroom, and great room (we’re laughing as we type that) with dining room, living room, and kitchen. We also have an Arizona room with office space, a second living area, second bathroom, laundry, and storage.
This year we added more seating, a stereo, and a TV outside. You’ll find us sitting out there most afternoons. I think it’s Carter’s favorite place…he can veg out on the sofa while watching Pawn Stars, American Pickers, Gold Rush, and Alaska: The Last Frontier. Ugh. I can’t take one more story about Parker Schnabel finding a nugget of gold. 😊
We have annual fees that will continue to increase
We own our park model, but we lease the land it sits on. Not all park model communities are like this, but ours charges us an annual fee to lease the land and basically pay for all of the amenities, security, and general upkeep We’re not locked into a fee, so it continues to increase a little each year.
We have to admit, we never imagined ourselves living in a park model, but for us it makes sense. If you like privacy, tend to be more of a hoarder, or just need more space…a park model probably isn’t the right place for you. However, if you are active and looking for an inexpensive way to retire…a park model community might be perfect.