April 2009 Newsletter

This issue of the RVParkStore.com Newsletter includes:

  1. Article: The Problem With RV Park Appraisals, By Frank Rolfe
  2. Article: Environmental Due Diligence FAQ Part 1, by David VerSluis
  3. Opportunity for Additional Income
  4. RV Parks and Campgrounds For Sale
  6. Featured Listings
  7. RV Park and Campground Memberships For Sale
  8. RV Park Employment
  9. Tell us what you think and send us your articles!

The Problem With RV Park Appraisals

The recent auction of the Seibt Desert Retreat RV Park in Nevada is the perfect example of the problem with RV park appraisals. Most recently appraised for $8.12 million, it sold at auction for $4 million – and even at that price there was only one bidder. So how can an appraiser be that far off in valuing an RV park?

They do not understand the asset class.

An RV park is a very unusual asset for an appraiser to determine the value on. Unlike most forms of real estate, it has a clientele that comes and goes daily, not monthly like apartments or annually like office buildings and shopping centers. As a result, they are not sure how to evaluate the revenue, or the vacant spaces. In addition, they have no experience in valuing it. An appraiser may only do a handful of RV parks in their lifetime. They do not have any real-life concepts of what makes a deal a winner or a loser, and cannot spot the subtle differences in location or amenities that may have a drastic effect on the real value.

They are often corrupted by the lender.

Many appraisers have learned that to get repeat business, they have to deliver what the customer wants to hear. If a bank wants to do a loan, and it needs a $2 million appraisal to close, it will exert influence on the appraiser to hit that target. I have had loans that received mysterious jumps in value on the appraisal after one or two calls from the loan officer to the appraiser. If an appraiser wants to eat, he needs clients – and soon the reality of making a living takes over the esoteric thought of being accurate. Just look at the horrible value casualties since the sub-prime meltdown began. Clearly, factual reporting was not the #1 concern of most appraisers.

They are fairly illiquid, and hard to sell.

When the appraiser makes his opinion on value, it is based on his expectations of selling and the pipeline for buyers. Unlike single family, multi-family and all the other real estate classification, RV parks serve a much smaller, niche group of buyers. As a result, even though an appraisal might appear accurate, the truth is that on any given day the value might go up or down 50% just because there are no buyers present. The business model is very unique at many RV parks, and requires a lot of management. Some buyers are, in fact, looking for a lifestyle in buying the RV Park that transcends just dollars and cents. As a result, the sheer number of potential buyers is small – and so is the potential for a quick sale.

Don’t bet your future on just the appraisal.

An appraisal is an interesting and necessary tool to obtain a loan, but that’s about all that it is. It is not a negotiable instrument. When you are buying an RV park, make sure that you have used proper due diligence. Come up with your own ideas of value, based on income and the prices of other parks that have sold. You will be amazed at how much more accurate your assessment will be than the appraiser’s version. And, if you have done your homework, your own perception of value is the one that will prove to be the winner.

So, was the Seib Desert Retreat RV Park an $8 million or a $4 million deal? Clearly, a $4 million price is all it brought, but there are some pretty big variables. Was the marketing of the sale any good? Did they reach all the potential buyers? Was the sales packet accurate and appealing? I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I do know the answer to valuing an RV park – you have got to leave in your numbers plenty of room for variables that don’t go your way. RV park valuation is normally just a guideline, and you should never take it too seriously. Remember the old Boy Scout saying “better safe than sorry”. That’s pretty much the key to successful RV park appraisals.

Environmental Due Diligence: Frequently Asked Questions: FAQ Part 1

This article contains responses to Frequently-Asked-Questions (FAQs) for MHP & RV Park Investors. We will be following up on this initial FAQ in the next newsletter with “FAQ Part 2”

Are there any requirements to have an environmental site assessment?

Depending on the lending institution that you are dealing with, an ESA will probably be a requirement for financing, typically based on company-specific guidelines and risk tolerance. In general, the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), major commercial banks (typically), Small Business Administration Commercial Loans, and others all require a Phase I ESA or comparable investigation prior to granting new mortgages.

If I am not required to have one, why should I have an ESA on the property I am purchasing?

Simply stated, for your protection. Most purchases of real estate are for one of two reasons–as a residence or as capital investment. One wants to be reasonably certain that they purchase an asset and not a liability–and certainly not a health hazard. This is true for residences and investment real estate, either residential, commercial or industrial. Remember that a properly executed ESA can be a another tool when you come to the bargaining table. A seller also benefits by being able to offer an inspected property to the market, particularly where corrective action has been implemented. Just as important, lenders can confidently make a loan on property where they know that their clients will not be saddled with fines or clean-up costs that may inhibit their ability to repay the loan. Further, if foreclosure is a possibility, then the lender must know whether past activities have resulted in problems that could be inherited.

What is a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment?

The purpose of a complete Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) is to determine the likelihood of hazardous substances or petroleum products being present that could result in a future liability. It may involve an existing release, a past release or the possibility of a future release that could have an impact on soil, groundwater, surface water, or structures

on the property. Although a standard Phase I ESA (per ASTM standards [discussed below]) typically only addresses CERCLA liability, other environmental issues (e.g., asbestos, lead, radon, and wetlands) can also be included within the scope of the assessment.

A Phase I ESA in the U.S. consist of five basic components:

(1) A review and evaluation of state and Federal (i.e., U.S. EPA) environmental databases that list sites of potential impact within specified search distances;

(2) A review and evaluation of historical use information, including aerial photographs and maps (e.g., USGS, fire insurance, etc.), land title records, city directories, etc.;

(3) Interviews with owners and occupants of the property and with government officials, as appropriate;

(4) Site reconnaissance to determine current and past uses and conditions of both the property and adjoining properties; and

(5) Preparation of a report detailing conclusions and findings generated from components (1) through (4) and presenting appropriate recommendations for corrective action and/or further assessment (e.g., Phase II).

Any Phase I Assessment should follow the standard practice for conducting Phase I ESAs as specified by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) E-1527-05 (latest edition) and U.S. EPA requirements as promulgated in 40 CFR regarding All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI). Sometimes there are also special Phase I protocols developed by banks and other lending institutions, law firms, insurance companies, developers, franchisers, government, or other institutions.

Each site assessment concludes with a report that discusses all activities, findings and information collected during the assessment, and may include recommendations for corrective action or further investigation.

What happens after these assessments?

Often, at the conclusion of the environmental site assessment there are no reported recommendations for corrective action or further investigation (and the transaction may proceed unimpeded in regard to investigating or addressing environmental conditions).

In some cases, there may be the need for some type of corrective action (“routine” or “technical”) that may include wastewater discharge permitting, removal of hazardous wastes, UST closure, etc.

In other cases, subsequent assessment may be warranted, including: Phase II ESA-This involves site sampling and analysis with a site-specific scope.

For specific questions on this or other environmental or private utility issues, please contact Dave VerSluis of Sierra Consultants at dversluis@sierraconsultants.net or 1-800-769-SIERRA (7437). www.sierraconsultants.net

Mr. VerSluis is a 20-year veteran of the environmental industry, and is a Registered Environmental Property Assessor (REPA), a Certified Environmental Strategist (eS), an NSF Certified On-Site Wastewater System Inspector, a NEHA Certified On-Site Wastewater System Installer, and is the Vice President of the Michigan On-Site Wastewater Recyclers Association. Mr. VerSluis is a frequent speaker and advisor on behalf of MHPS.com & RVPS.com clients, specializing in MH & RV communities nationwide.

Would you like to make an extra $100 per week at your RV park, and make your customers happy at the same time? Now you can, with one of our “$20 Old Tyme Photo” systems. 

You can provide your guests high-quality old tyme photos, in historical outfits tied to your local attractions, using green-screen technology, for the incredibly low price of $20, which is about 66% less than normal old tyme photo studios. So they’re happy. And you have margins of about 85%, so you pocket $17 after expenses. Only one per day would give you over $100 per week in additional income. 

The cost for the turn-key system, including all equipment, costumes and three-day training at our facility near St. Louis, Missouri, costs under $10,000. 

If you are interested, call me at (573) 535-0206. 

I look forward to hearing from you. 


Frank Rolfe

RV Parkstore.com

RV Parks and Campgrounds For Sale

We currently have over 500 RV Parks for sale and the list is growing daily. 

If you are looking to sell your RV Park or Campground you can do so Risk FREE.  Find out more about Selling your RV Park

I just wanted to let you know that the owner of the West Glacier KOA which I have listed with you has taken this property off the market. I will need to cancel my listing with you. I have lots of response from your site. Thanks for your help.

Randy Zoesch, Realtor, GRIRealty Executives Flathead Lake / Northwest Montana
Kalispell Center Mall
20 North Main Street, Suite 136
Kalispell MT 59901

Featured Listings:

RV Park For Sale in New Mexico

Beautiful, Ultimate Retirement Location! Right off Highway 64 at the entrance to the Eagle Nest Lake State Park with great views of Eagle Nest Lake.

Find out more about this RV Park For Sale Opportunity!

RV Park For Sale In Southern Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania – LOTS of recreation and PLENTY of tourist activities bring campers to this family RV park.

Find out more about this RV Park For Sale Opportunity!

I was amazed at how many calls I received on my membership for sale. I sold this in less than one month after I placed the listing. I received 3 to 4 calls a week.


RV Park and Campground Memberships For Sale:

This section of RVParkStore.com is growing quickly.  Memberships are being listed and sold quickly.  With about 200 memberships currently for sale, this continues to be the prime outlet to buy and sell campground memberships. 

Best of all, when you are selling your membership, we do not charge you up front to do so.  You only pay us if you are successful in finding a buyer from RVParkStore.com. 

Find out more about Selling your Campground or RV Park Membership

RV Park Employment Listings:

Are you searching for good quality employees or looking for a position with an RV Park?  Then be sure to visit our ever growing employment listing sections.

All listings in these sections are FREE!

Check out the Help Wanted Section

Check out the Work Wanted Section

Post your FREE Listing Here

Tell us what you think!
We’d love to hear what you think of this issue!We need your articles – send your articles to perry@rvparkstore.com to be included in upcoming newsletters (this is a great place to promote your company for FREE!).

Please send your comments, questions, articles, and ideas for upcoming issues to us at:


Your feedback matters to us!

Until Next Time,Dave Reynolds
18923 Highway 65
Cedaredge, CO 81413
PH: 800-950-1364
FX: 970-856-4883


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