Long term RV Rentals?

11 Replies

Anybody here have experience renting out RV's? Just curious. I was recently obsessing over doing some kind of travel tailer rehab for fun and in search for old trailers noticed some pretty big travel trailers for pretty cheap. Plus they'd be pretty cheap to move (free if you have a pickup or have a friend with one).

For example, you can find a used FEMA trailer about 30-35 ft in length for around $5,000. You could park this on a small piece of land just about anywhere. These things don't look much different than an old small singlewide mobile home might look.

Was thinking it might make a neat student rental if parked in the back yard of my own house very close to the local university. Kind of like a garage apartment only mobile. (If I did this I'd be quite selective - grad students only type deal)

Is it feasable to set one up on a lot in the city with utilities, but with no house? I've seen this done in the county.

I don't really consider this "innovative", but figured it was the best place to post, lol!

Just tossing it out there. Thought it might be kind of a fun topic, too.

Doubt you'll ever get that passed zonning! RV lots are not residential zonning it would be commercial. I know you're always thinking, but do you the the city fathers would bless a string of camping trailers as rentals in Arlighton? :)

From what I've read, those FEMA trailers are completely junk. Cheaply made for temporary use after Katrina.

You can't just hitch up a travel trailer to a bumper hitch. You need the property weight distributing hitch and a brake controller in your two vehicle. You also need a big vehicle if its a very big trailer. Those larger trailers, larger than about 25', exceed the limits of a typical pickup.

Most city locations are going to have zoning restrictions against trailers. Some country locations, too.

Once upon a time I had an ancient travel trailer that I ended up completely rebuilding the front and back ends. This is only vaguely similar to working on a house. The construction is much different. Mine was mostly framed with 1x2's. Yes, 1x2 boards. Laid flat, butted together and stapled at the ends. The paneling on the inside is structural. Different brands use different framing, but until you get up into the expensive ones (airstream, avion), they're all just this stick construction. I've owned this crappy old travel trailer, a coleman popup and a pretty nice 24' motor home. Still, I thankfully own none of them now. Haven't even tent camped since my son is older than scouts. Somehow earning that polar bear badge (camping below 0) pretty much quelled my camping desires.

Originally posted by Bill Gulley:
Doubt you'll ever get that passed zonning! RV lots are not residential zonning it would be commercial. I know you're always thinking, but do you the the city fathers would bless a string of camping trailers as rentals in Arlighton? :)

I have no doubt that a string of RV's on one lot would be okay. Probably just one on an empty lot would not be okay within any city limit. I do see this set up in the country. In particular, out near my parents house east of Austin, there are a couple of RV's seamingly set up for eternity on a particular piece of land. And people park their personal RV's in their city lots beside or behind there home all the time. I wouldn't consider it a major profit center in any event - unless you went whole hog and bought prime real estate next to a major highway near a tourist destination.

I'm just thinking small time. I've said many times I consider myself a real estate hobbyist rather than an "investor". That being said, I'm excited about the prospects for acquiring my third property (a real house, haha!) over the next 6 to 12 months.

@Jon Holdman ,

I used the FEMA trailer really only as an example. In regards to moving them; I imagine Colorado is similar to Texas in that at least 2 of 10 people I know own a truck more than capable of towing these trailers.

I do wonder, though, if much profit could be made buying these trailers and then trucking them down to south Texas or North Dakota to re-sale to the gas and oil field workers.

Hey Brian Hoyt, this is kinda not what you're asking, but you mentioned rehabbing them...a former employer used to buy and sell RV's as a hobby/side business. On the late 80's to early 2000's 5th wheels (bumper-pulls don't resell as well), they made $5-10K on each one. Over the course of 2 years, they probably made $30K profit.

They actually used theirs, so the business model was a little different...it went like this:

Buy a used RV
Rehab it
Use it for a few months in Galveston
Buy another bigger better one while that one's in Galveston
Rehab it
Bring the other one back, retouch it and sell for a profit
Take the "new" one down to Galveston
Buy another bigger better one while that one's in Galveston
Rehab it....

you get the point.

they went through about 6 trailers this way, til they stuck with the one they have now.

And if they sold the current one, they'd turn a $15K profit on it.

Point of all this is, if you're handy and frugal, you can make money at it in our area.

Funniest thing is, the 3rd one they sold...the buyer wanted the truck too. Easy $$

Check on it and if it's allowed, go futher. I can tell you that a travel trailer won't last long with daily living as the tenants won't be overly careful.. Got a dump station? That's the next issue, having 10 hookups on one lot to a sewer. Why not just put up some storage buildings with insulation, they have some as hunting camps, they'd last longer.....LOL!

Towing capacity on a F150 pickup starts at 5500 pounds. Put in a better engine and rear end and you can get up to 11,000 pounds. But you'll pay for that.

An empty 24" travel trailer weighs about 5000 pounds. That would be a fairly small travel trailer. Tiny ones, 19 footers,start about 4000 pounds empty. So, yes, the a typical truck might move a small trailer a short distance. The typical pickup is going to struggle to move a typical trailer any distance. I speak from experience when I tell you that if you want to comfortably tow anything other than the smallest of trailers you really must buy a properly equipped two vehicle. You basic pickup most people are driving around is not it. A pickup with the properly sized engine, the proper rear end, and the proper equipment for the hitch and brake controls is.

People are making good money setting up housing in boom areas. Of course there's more to it than just hauling a trailer to the proper spot. Even in those towns there are zoning regulations.

Zoning is going to be the killer to setting one of these up from scratch. But if you can get past that, and get your proper utilities set up, yeah, I think this could be a money maker.

Depending on the number of units, 10 in Michigan, it requires a type 1 water system, which gets costly.

Sewer is a whole other animal. Licensing is required for the these systems not to metion the captial to get them in the ground. I spend my other time in the utility buisness.

While someone mentioned trucks, are there any other Duramax owners out there? Max trailer weight for my truck is 13k but I have been over that number many times. The truck alone weighs 9k. Gross vehicle and trailer of 22k.

Hey @Ryan M. , the GVWR on the Big 3 1 ton trucks usually has more to do with stopping & stability safety than it does how much it can pull. I've seen people locally pull 1000s of lbs over the limit with Diesel pickups. It's just not "safe" to do so from the Manufacturers liabilty point of view.

I've hauled a 6500 lb Suburban on a 2000 lb trailer (8500lb load) with a 1/2 ton suburban (max trailer weight 5000 lbs). Was it doable? Sure. Could I have hauled a heavier load? Sure. Did it scare the S*** out of me on the highway over 40 MPH, you bet your *** it did. And if I slammed on the brakes, it would have jack-knifed and turned both vehicles on their side.

We are getting way off subject but:

It's all what you feel comfortable with, I would never overload trailers (that is bad news) but with one of my trailers with 15K on it I feel comfortable pulling it b/c I know the trailer brakes work, the trailer is rated for it, along with the tires. The duramax is hardly working. The only time I give the engine a work out is hooking to a sled at a truck pull.

Lets please stay on topic. Thanks.

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