In this week's Episode 381 of the RV Podcast, we talk about why RVers are buying land, what things to look for, and what's involved.
Since we first started reporting on this last summer, hardly a day goes by that we don't hear from RVers who want to buy their own property so they can be sure of having a camp spot.
It makes no difference where they are located or what kind of RV they want. RVers want to own land and the trend seems to be growing daily.
Our guest this week is our friend Robert Morales, aka Traveling Robert to his huge fan base.
Just as Jennifer and I bought property to develop into our own private RV retreat in Tennessee, Robert bought land in northern Florida. We share what we've both learned and the projects needed to turn raw acreage into an RV campsite.
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The Main Reasons Why RVers are Buying Land
Jennifer and I bought five acres of raw land at the Woodlands of Buffalo Creek, located on the outskirts of Linden, TN, about 90 miles west of Nashville.
Both Robert and I had the same reasons for buying land.
- We wanted to have a guaranteed spot to camp, for as long as we wanted, whenever we wanted.
- We were increasingly frustrated by the difficulty of getting reservations at state and national parks and even many commercial campgrounds.
- We figure the number of people camping has almost doubled, making competition for the traditional campgrounds a major challenge for many months to come.
- The COVID restrictions, social distancing, and worries over whatever comes next is likely to be around for some time yet.
- Neither one of us has the luxury of being able to plan for months, let alone a year in advance. The nature of our work has us always moving and very often changing plans. Thus, having a reliable base camp we can use to explore saves a lot of confusion.
What to Check in Buying Land
In the conversation, Robert and I touched on some things that should be checked when RVers want to own land, such as:
- Beware of HOAs
- Make sure there are no restrictions on using the land for RV camping
- Is there a requirement that a permanent structure be built in a certain amount of time?
- What maintenance fees may be involved (road repairs, utility right-of-way, etc.
- Is water available either through city/county water mains or a well? Does the ground “perk” for a well? How deep? What are the depths of wells nearby? What quality is the water?
- What about powerlines and electricity? Is access near the property?
- Is a city/county sewage hookup available? Is the land okayed for septic tanks?
Costs in turning raw acreage into a private RV campsite
Once you buy the land and get title to it, there are usually lots of other expenses.
Robert, in our podcast interview, noted that each major phase of his Florida land – a well, septic, electricity – seemed to cost between $4,000-$6,000.
That's been my experience, too.
Robert has his mostly complete. I'm still working on ours.
But so far, with our Tennessee land, I have spent a total of $1,500 for the necessary permits for electric, water, and septic.
I installed a circular driveway of about 600 feet. It cost $7,500, with the expenses being tree clearing and munching, bulldozing, and about 19 truckloads of crushed rock and gravel.
My water line, septic field, and septic tank are being installed literally as I write this so I can't give you a cost. We put in a tank big enough for a three-bedroom home. Someday we may build a barndominium home. Or maybe we'll just keep using it for RV camping. But better to have a septic tank big enough for whatever we may want to do in the future.
My electricity is expected in a couple of weeks. They are bringing electric power to the county road out front right now. Again, I am unsure of the final costs but we'll need to run underground cable to our main camping area a couple of hundred feet off the road.
I am anticipating total development costs will run somewhere around $20,000. Maybe a bit more.
But when I am done, my five-acre parcel will have three full-hookup camping spots, each surrounded by pristine mountaintop wilderness in a spectacular setting.
Robert has also developed three full hookup spots on his land in Florida and he says he has been enjoying it immensely.
After the interview, we both agreed to visit and camp together on each other's property.
Curious? Come meet Jennifer, Bo and me in Tennessee on Feb 12
On Feb. 12, the Woodlands is holding a one-day-only sale on multi-acre lots like ours, ranging in size from 5 to 100+ acres. You need an appointment to see the property which you can make through MyRVLand.com
That's a special day for us as it's Jennifer's birthday and Jennifer and I (and Bo) are planning to be down on our property at the Woodlands on Feb. 12. We'll be hanging around our campsite from mid-morning until about 3:30 pm and if you are doing one of their tours, ask them for directions to our property. We'd love to meet you.
We have to split to Nashville at about 3:30 PM on the 12th because were off to Nashville where our son and his family live to celebrate Jennifer's special day.
That's something else we really like about our property at the Woodlands. It's just 90 minutes from Nashville, one of the most exciting cities in the country. They call the area around Linden where we are “Nashville's Big Backyard.”
Besides the wilderness that surrounds our property, we're right near the Buffalo River (an awesome place to kayak and fish), and Kentucky Lake/Tennessee River for great boating and watersports. We also love the town of LInden. It has some fun shops, great food, music, and a relaxed, hospitable lifestyle that has made us feel very welcome.
We've fallen in love with Tennessee
Tennessee is America at its best.— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) January 31, 2022
Join me tonight for my #TNSOTS address as I share America at Its Best policies that reinforce freedom, innovation, exceptionalism & optimism. pic.twitter.com/G2mWldZzun
In his State of the State message not long ago, Governor Bill Lee said, “Tennessee is America at its best.”
We agree. Once the RV campsites are completely ready, we plan to visit often, staying as long as we want. And we'll be inviting friends to come camp with us, hopefully, this spring.
In fact, we're thinking about organizing a multi-day gathering in the area for sometime in May. We'd camp at a nearby state park (remember, I only have three sites!) We'd do hikes, visit a winery, kayak and canoe the rivers, share some great meals, visit our property for a campout and just enjoy each other and the area.
Let us know in the comments below if you are interested. Here is another post on our land process.