Safety Tips for Driving Your RV

Driving safely can mean the difference between life and death, so it’s imperative to learn and abide by the rules of the road. Whether you’re a less experienced driver or a senior who would like to brush up on the best ways to stay safe behind the wheel, there are many things to consider when driving your RV on your next road trip.

One of the first things you should do is get familiar with your vehicle. If your RV is new or if you don’t drive it that often, be sure to go over where everything is before you start your engine. Different models have different locations for the same button or switch, so familiarize yourself with where everything is.

Being prepared and comfortable with your RV is the first step. Read on for more tips on how to drive your campervan safely.

Minimize distractions

Safe driving is dependent on minimizing distractions. Playing music, talking to passengers, and looking at your phone may not seem that risky, but these actually are very dangerous activities because they take your attention away from the road. All it takes is a split second of inattention to put you and your passengers in danger.

Keep distractions at bay by preselecting a playlist to listen to for the drive, keeping passengers to a minimum (especially if you are an inexperienced RV driver), and putting your phone away the entire time you’re behind the wheel. If you know you’ll need to deal with important phone calls while you’re driving, set up a Bluetooth to connect your phone to your camper van’s stereo system, and put your phone in a dashboard holder to keep it closer to eye level.

Be patient

Slow drivers may wear on your patience, but it’s important to keep your wits about you, especially if the roads are wet or slick. Stay a safe distance behind the vehicle in front of you, especially if you’re on a curvy or two-lane road. If you’re on a tight schedule, leave early to give yourself enough of a cushion to arrive on time in case you run into traffic or get stuck behind someone who isn’t in as big of a hurry as you are.

Many people have at least one accident across the span of their lifetimes, and some have many more than that. Sometimes, an accident that doesn’t seem like that big a deal (such as a fender bender) can actually cause pain later. No matter how small an accident is, it’s always a good idea to get the other driver’s information and establish a timeline. If you start to feel pain in your neck or back, see a doctor right away because these injuries can cause chronic pain later in life. In fact, one study showed that people who have been involved in an accident are 84% more likely to develop chronic pain.

For more information on how an accident in your RV can contribute to health issues, read more here.

Keep your RV in good shape

It’s imperative to make sure your RV is in good condition before every trip. Check your tires, windshield wipers, and gas gauge before setting out. Make sure your windshield is clean, especially if you’re going to be driving with the sun in your eyes, because the bright sunlight on the horizon can really reduce visibility if your windshield is dirty. Get the oil changed regularly as well, and make sure fluids are topped off before you leave.

When venturing out on your next road trip, there are several things you can do to help you avoid getting in an accident in your RV. By familiarizing yourself with your vehicle, minimizing distractions, being patient, and keeping your RV in good condition, you can arrive at your destination safely.

Camping Checklist: 5 Camping Essentials

Are you ready to tackle the great outdoors? Getting away from the concrete jungle offers a world of benefits for your mind and body. Camping, and all the rustic charm and beauty that comes with it, can lower your stress improve your mood and reconnect you with nature. On top of that, the hauling and hiking will get your muscles moving in ways that a sedentary office job never has. Camping is a way to unplug from our technology addictions and live joyfully in the simplicity of nature.

With all that said, you can’t just throw a tent in the back of your car and go. Camping takes planning, problem solving and critical thinking. You have to ask yourself some important questions and do your research before you lace up those hiking boots and hit the trail.

Weather
You’ve circled the long weekend on your calendar weeks ago and the countdown is nearly at an end. When you chose this time of year, the weather could have been hot, mild, warm or cool — but that doesn’t mean nature kept up with the status quo. Check for rain, sun or other weather patterns just around the bend. If you’ve been planning to camp near a river or a stream, or your campsite requires you to hike across it, be sure to take a look at water levels. Most importantly, be sure to learn the weather forecast for morning, noon and night. Some of the best camping in the country, like Yosemite or the Grand Canyon, are known for having 20-30 degree fluctuations in a single day.

Cooking
When packing for a camping trip you have to think about a lot of contingencies. First, consider food. Will you be cooking over a campfire, grilling or surviving off granolas and apples? Once you decide how you’ll cook your food, you’ll know what you need to do ahead of time to make cooking a breeze.

(Speaking of cooking and breezes, you’ll need to consider how you can prevent wildfires on your camping trip. Wildfires are surprisingly easy to start and extremely dangerous. If you plan to cook over a campfire, you need have an effective way to put it out, like with sand or water, and don’t ever leave a campfire unattended or walk away from a stove or lantern that’s still hot.)

Location
You’ve been looking forward to hiking that Colorado peak to a crystal clear alpine lake for months. You’ve read blogs, flipped through books and talked with the experts at your local camping gear retailer. But if you think that your iPhone GPS will get you there, you’re in for a big shock. The more remote your trip, the more you’ll need to rely on other forms of orienteering, like maps and compasses.

Be sure to also research your intended campsite. Some sites will have potable water, grills and toilets, while others are more primitive. By reviewing the campsite, the drive and the hike, you can be ready for anything nature throws your way.

Safety
No matter where you’re camping, whether it’s in an RV near civilization or at the top of your state’s highest peak, safety should always be a concern. The first thing you should pack, and the quickest to get to, should be a well-stocked first-aid kit. Be sure to have an updated kit with bandages, antiseptic and ointment for the uncomfortably itchy plants that can irritate the skin.

It’s also important to know which kinds of wildlife live in the areas where you’ll be camping and how to make sure your campsite won’t attract them. Consider coolers that lock, heavy duty garbage bags hung high in the trees and clearing food from your site before turning in for the night.

Camping is a great experience. By It’s an escape from the craziness of our busy lives, with an opportunity to experience life in a simple, and incredible, way.

By James Strand

The Madison Group closes a $3.5M loan for the purchase of a RV Resort in Florida

Transaction Description: The Madison Group, a commercial loan consultant and broker, has provided the financing for the purchase of this well maintained Lakefront RV Resort. The park consists of 220 sites nightly and seasonal RV pads, with 26 long-term rental units. The resort was completely renovated approximately 15 years ago with all new infrastructures to include septic systems and city water lines. Amenities include a pool, laundry facility, playground, mini golf, general store, and restaurant. The Park is located on 16.5 acres with boat docks and ramps and the best bass fishing in the area.

Challenges: The varying income for the park made it difficult for traditional commercial real estate financing and impossible for an SBA loan. Also the park was located in a rural area and had a great deal of income from snowbirds. The park had suffered some lower income 3 years ago from an issue with the lake on the property which is the center point of their property. The new buyers, investment team, felt it had a great deal of upside to the park and is looking for a higher LTV loan to limit their investment in the property.

Solutions: The Madison group was able to source a lender that would provide financing on the rural park. A great deal of effort was spent reviewing the income for the park and analyzing how the future income would facilitate sufficient cash flow to service the debt. The borrowers were able to get a loan for $3,570,000, 75% LTV, with a rate of 5.5% fixed for 5 years. The loan adjusts after year five but is a fully amortizing loan for 30 years. This allows the investment group to review financing in year six but reduces their refinance risk.

The financing was arranged by Jeff Meierhofer at The Madison Group.

The Madison Group (www.madisongroupfunding.com) is a commercial loan broker and consultant specializing in financing for investor properties nationwide. TMG provides flexible and reliable capital for real estate acquisitions, refinances, and re-capitalizations for a variety of property types including: multifamily, mobile home parks, credit tenant NNN net lease, office, retail, industrial, self-storage and other commercial properties in the United States. Established in 2001, The Madison Group’s intention is to provide highly competitive loan products through its superior capital market expertise and quality sources of capital. TMG works efficiently and effectively to get the transaction closed and funded.

The Madison Group and Jeff can be reached at 435-785-8350 or by emailing Jeff at Jeff.M@madisongroupfunding.com.

The Madison Group Arranges $910,000 Refinance Loan for a Mobile Home Park in CA

The Madison Group (TMG), a leading source of mobile home and RV park financing nationwide, arranged the $910,000 refinance of a Vintage RV Park in Borrego Springs CA. The client purchased the park one year ago, and wanted to restructure the loan from a quarterly adjustable into a longer fixed rate term. TMG secured the financing with a 15 year fixed term with a rate of 4.90% and a 30 year amortization at 65% LTV. The loan has no prepayment penalty.

This unique 77 pad RV park has an eclectic mix of vintage RVs is always fully occupied by tenants and has a long waiting list. The tenant mixe is 50% weekenders, 40% snowbirds, and 10% full time residents. Most of the leases are month to month. Borrego Springs is a small market with a population of 3500 residents.

TMG overcame several challenge of finding a lender that was willing to finance an RV Park in a rural community. The tenants are not typical for an RV park with very few full time tenants. The property performs more like a mobile home park for snowbirds than an actual RV park, which affects the type of financing that can be acquired.

“We found a credit union that liked the property and the operator. They offered him the opportunity to refinance his debt into a longer term fixed note and a 30 year amortization. No prepayment penalty on the loan and the increased cash flow will help with ability to purchase another park next year. He no longer has his properties tied up with cross collateralization which gives him more financial freedom” said Angela Kesselman, Associate Director of Finance.
A happy client commented: “I purchased an RV park just over a year ago and I had a terrible SBA loan that required liens on other properties and businesses. I’m not sure how I came across The Madison Group, but from the time I spoke with Angela on the phone the process was a seamless. Once Angela knew the loan would go through, she handed me over to her loan coordinator, Brandi. Now let me tell you, I’ve purchased or refinanced over 10 properties in the last 10 years and I’ve NEVER dealt with a loan coordinator with so much common sense and amazing communication. I plan on buying another RV park this year and hopefully the Madison Group can help me again. I would definitively recommend them to anyone looking for funding.”
The financing was arranged by Angela Kesselman at The Madison Group.
The Madison Group (www.madisongroupfunding.com) is a commercial loan broker and consultant specializing in financing for investor properties nationwide. TMG provides flexible and reliable capital for real estate acquisitions, refinances, and re-capitalizations for a variety of property types including: multifamily, mobile home parks, credit tenant NNN net lease, office, retail, industrial, self-storage and other commercial properties in the United States. Established in 2001, The Madison Group’s intention is to provide highly competitive loan products through its superior capital market expertise and quality sources of capital. TMG works efficiently and effectively to get the transaction closed and funded.
The Madison Group can be reached at 435-785-8350 or by emailing Angela at angela@madisongroupfunding.com.
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How to Turn an RV Park into a Destination

Although RV users are not as susceptible to fuel prices as the average American, due to higher disposable income and more willingness to spend it on their RV trips, it still makes sense to make the guests that come into your RV park stay for more nights. Remember that one RV that stays for four days is the same cash flow as having four different RVs stay overnight. Indeed, one of the best ways to hedge your revenue risk is to have guests stay more nights before moving on. So how do you do it?

Continue reading

How To Earn Lifetime RV Park/Campground Customers

There are over 8,000,000 RV owners in the U.S. And they all have to stay somewhere. But that’s no excuse for not treating every single one as though they are the most important customer in the world. That kind of attitude will propel you to the top of the pile in RV park owners – and reward you with outstanding occupancy and cash flow.

So how do you earn lifetime RV park customers? Continue reading

Marketing your RV Park or Campground with Signage

Marketing an RV resort or campground is tricky.  Customers come from all over and for many reasons.  But one piece of marketing that is always important for RV parks is signage on well-traveled roads and highways.

The first step in constructing a successful signage campaign is evaluating what highways or roads are important to you – where does the traffic come from?  To help you in this matter, you can normally buy a “traffic count map” from your local state right-of-way office.  This map shows how many cars per day travel on the highways and major surface roads.  This will give you a good idea of the volume of traffic.  The next step is to find out more particulars on where your customers are coming from.  The best way to achieve this step is to tape a regional map to a piece of marker-board, and either hang it on the wall or place on an easel.  Every time a customer checks in, put a dot or pin on the map where they came from.  You will soon start to see patterns on where your customers really come from and where to emphasize your resources. Continue reading

RV Resort and Campground Managers, Employees, and Casual Labor

Once you find a potential manager for your RV Resort or Campground, the work is still not over.  Questions such as background checks, credit checks, how much to pay them, what their responsibilities will be, are they an employee or contractor and others still need to be answered.

Should you obtain a background or credit check?  The right answer to this question is probably yes.  Does everyone do it?  No. Continue reading

How To Find An RV Park For Sale

Many investors are considering buying RV parks as not only an investment, but as a lifestyle choice. With millions of Americans approaching retirement, a very fundamental concept is combining one’s retirement years with one’s investment objectives – and this often points to an RV park as the best of both worlds.

RV parks not only offer high investment returns, but a satisfying, enjoyable lifestyle. The opportunity to be your own boss, and enjoy a beautiful scenic area, work with happy customers, and spend a good deal of time outside, is an unbeatable opportunity for most people.

But how do you find an RV park for sale? Continue reading

RV Park Service – Change your Attitude!

The last time I was at a National Park, I noticed that there is a certain “feel” to being there.  It’s a happy, safe feeling, kind of like being a kid at your Grandmother’s house.  And I think you get that feeling from the attitude of the Park Rangers and employees.

So what makes National Park employees different and so attractive as role models for RV Park Management?  I think the reasons are numerous: Continue reading