Land Ownership in the United States
First off a brief, high-level, explanation of how land ownership works in the United States. Generally speaking you can think of land ownership as a series of concentric circles. The outer circle is the federal government, which contains a circle for a state. Inside the state circle is a county (or parish in Louisiana), and in many areas of the country the county may contain a circle for a township. In addition there may be other circles inside the smallest circle. States may incorporate land into other legal structures like cities, towns and villages. Land developers may also set up legal structures on land such as homeowners associations and cooperatives. Each of these circles, or legal structures, can have its own set of amenities and services but also its own set of laws, ordinances, conditions, covenants and restrictions and in most cases taxes or assessments. Whatever land you purchase fits somewhere in this structure. More circles around a property may be more services available but also more rules and fees.
When looking at where to live or camp think about what services and amenities are important to you, what your tolerance is for regulations and what your budget is for taxes and fees. This will help steer you towards a particular set of circles that will be a good fit for you.
Legal RV Camping
Just because you purchase land doesn’t mean the legal structures that govern it will allow you to camp on it. Some jurisdictions flat out prohibit anyone from staying in any temporary structure, including a recreational vehicle, for any amount of time. Others will permit it for a limited period of time while others have a permitting process available that will allow you to use the land indefinitely for camping, provided you follow the requirements of the permit. There are of course exceptions to every generalization but more often than not the following are true:
Finding Legal RV Property
Traditionally you had to reach out to each legal entity with jurisdiction over a parcel of property to find out what rules pertain to that parcel. Finding out these answers can be burdensome and time consuming. Oftentimes finding the right people to ask is the hardest part as there could be multiple levels of governing bodies to consult. Land owners and real estate agents often aren’t marketing raw land for camping and don’t understand all of the implications of doing so.
Landdocker.com was created with the goal of making it easier to find deeded properties to rent or buy where RV camping is allowed. Landdocker is an online marketplace to connect property owners, real estate agents and property managers with buyers and renters looking for RV property that allows for legal camping.
Buying RV Land
The process of buying RV land is similar to buying a house. With landdocker you can browse our listings for free and contact the owner or agent of the property directly with any questions or to negotiate an offer. Once you agree on the terms of the sale you typically open an escrow account with a local escrow or title company. In escrow the buyer deposits money for the purchase, finalizes any financing and finishes any due dilligance on the property. The selller deposits the deed for the property. The title company prepares the deed and obtains title insurance for the sale. After all of these activities are finished and all of the terms of the contract are fulfilled the sale closes and you become the legal owner of the property.
Financing RV Land
While the process of purchasing RV property is similar to purchasing a house, financing RV property may look a little different. While not all banks offer financing on raw land or land developed for RV camping you may find some that do, especially at the local level. Reach out to banks directly to see if your property qualifies for financing. If you're buying in an association ask the developer if there are any financing programs available. Oftentimes the developer will have already worked with a bank to provide financing programs for that project. Land owners may also offer owner financing directly. This is sometimes referred to as a land contract, purchase-money mortgage or installment sale and would typically be drafted by an attorney. While this is a fairly common practice, be sure you consult with your own legal counsel if pursuing this option to ensure your interests are protected.
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Renting RV Land
Landdocker.com also allows you to search our listings of RV rental properties for free. Rental terms can be by the night, week, month, season or year. When you find property that you are interested in renting, call the contact number or fill out the contact form on the listing to be connected directly to the owner or agent of the property. You can then ask any questions and if interested negotiate terms of a rental contract.
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Read more about Developing Private RV Property