How To Stay Updated on NC Park Models

20141019_150115We started this blog back in 2009 when the RPTIA was the oversight agency for Park Models and it seemed clear where this was heading in NC. A lot has changed in 5 years. Much of the information we provided in 2009 has changed so please use this information with the knowledge that is could be out of date and invalid.

Each county in NC can make certain decisions regarding how Park Models (now called Recreational Park Trailers) are taxed and where they may be placed.

Here is the most recent memo from the NC Department of Insurance regarding setting Park Models up as permanent dwelling structures.

Recreational Park Trailer (Park Model) – Permanent Dwellings (Revised 09-03-2014).pdf

We hope to keep this site updated as we learn more about recent developments in the industry. Until then, please go to Coral Sands Point Recreational Village’s blog as they are keeping up to date. Also, they just launched The Great American Tiny Home Building Contest where first prize is a deeded waterfront tiny home lot at Coral Sands Point.


Deeded RV Lots vs. Leased RV Lots – What’s the Diff?

Typically, Park Models are placed in one of the following locations:

·        RV Park – land you lease

·        RV Park – land you own

·        Other land you own

Most people make the decision to purchase a Park Cabin AFTER they have pinpointed a location for it.  For example, you may have decided you want a vacation home at the beach and have located an RV Park that will allow or requires a Park Cabin.  Or, you are finally ready to put a cabin on that mountain lot you bought years ago.  Or, your mother-in-law is coming to live with you and you need to provide temporary extra quarters at your home.

Why does it matter?  In North Carolina, whether you place your Park Cabin on land you lease or land you own has a huge impact on the retained value of your Park Cabin. 

Although the individual NC counties have some latitude in this area, the position of the NC Department of Revenue is that if the Park Cabin is installed on land you own, strapped down and underpinned, it is considered “real” property that increases (or rarely, decreases) along with the value of the land.  If it is placed on property you lease, it is considered “personal” property and declines in value each year (like a car).

You should definitely check with the county where your Park Cabin will be located to determine how it will be taxed annually.  In a future post, “Mobile Home or RV? How Your North Carolina Park Model will be Taxed Annually,” we will discuss this topic in more depth.

Of course, if the most important thing to you is being in a particular location, your options are certainly limited to what is available in that area.  However, if you are simply looking for a vacation cabin (on water, for example) and would prefer to build equity over time, then you may want to do some research to find which waterfront NC RV Parks or campgrounds have lots available for purchase.

Leasing a NC Park Model/RV Lot

This is the most common scenario because it creates the most residual income for the park or campground owner.  As evidenced in the previous paragraph, this may NOT be the best option for you, depending on your specific needs.

In MOST cases, Parks and Campgrounds that lease land on which you may place a Park Model also sell Park Models and Park Cabins and they require that you purchase from them.  This, of course, limits your control over the selection of manufacturer and ultimately, you lose control over the quality of your cabin. And, it puts more money in the hands of the campground owner to whom you are paying an annual lease.

Some NC RV Parks and NC Campgrounds that lease Park Model lots include:



Annual Lease

Carolina Marina

Belews Lake (near Greensboro)


Twin Lakes

Chocowinity, NC

$1,280 – $2,050

Topsail Sound

Holly Ridge, NC


Carolina Village

Franklin, NC


Purchasing a NC Park Model/RV Lot

Some campgrounds and RV parks have converted their sites, or the sites in a portion of the park, to deeded RV lots.  When you purchase one of these lots, you receive a fee simple deed (just like your primary home).  Depending on whether the lots are being sold as land condominiums or not, you may also receive partial ownership in the park’s common areas.  (More about land condominiums in a later post)

Note – Take care that you are purchasing a deeded site and not a long-term (100 yr) lease.  Be sure to ask and read all fine print before you sign.

Parks that sell deeded RV lots fall into several categories:

Traditional RVs/Campers Only

Traditional RVs/Campers and Park Cabins

Park Cabins Only

Although traditional RVs and campers are designed to be moved from park to park, due to the fluctuating, and sometimes shocking, fuel prices these days, many people are opting to select a favorite location and use their camper like a cabin.  Some RV lots for sale are ONLY designed for pull-through RVs so if you’re dead-set on a location that happens to have this layout, your choices are limited in terms of a structure.

In North Carolina, I’m not sure it makes sense to buy an RV lot for a camper or traditional RV since they will only decrease in value while the value of the land typically increases. 

The advantages to purchasing your Park Cabin/RV lot include:

·        Fixed annual cost over time (no lease increases)

·        Build equity (increased when using a Park Model)

·        Ability to borrow against equity in your vacation home

·        Potential for significant profit when selling

·        Creates an investment you can pass on to heirs

The following chart shows some NC RV Parks/Campgrounds that sell lots.  This list is provided as examples only and some details may have changed.  Be sure to contact the individual Park for up-to-date information.  I have included website links when available.



Coral Sands Point Recreational Village


High Rock Lake, Lexington, NC

Lot Prices:

$75,000 – $85,000

Special Features:

Boating, Each lot is waterfront with individual dock (pier and floater)

Cabins for Sale:

Yes but you do NOT have to buy from the Park owners



Valley River RV Resort


Murphy, NC

Lot Prices:

$85,000 (creekfront) to $149,000 (riverfront)

Special Features:

NC Mountains

Cabins for Sale:




Blue Ridge Mountain Motorcoach Resort


Lake Toxaway, NC

Lot Prices:

$95,000 – $149,900

Special Features:

Note – only allows motor coaches – NO PARK MODELS

Cabins for Sale:




Placing a Park Model in Other Locations

Maybe you bought a lot in the mountains years ago and are ready to convert it into a vacation home but you just can’t afford the time and money involved in building a cabin.  A Park Cabin may be the perfect solution.  As long as you have water, septic, and electricity to the property, just have the cabin delivered, plug it in, and you are ready to go!!

One other rarely recognized use for Park Models is as extra personal living space that is only required temporarily.  These days, with so many of us caring for aging parents, and children that come back home, extra living space can be crucial.  However, these situations are temporary and even if you have adequate property to add on to your primary residence, the cost may outweigh the benefits. The solution? A Park Model!! 

Specific counties and townships may have zoning or other restrictions regarding placing Park Cabins on your property so be sure to check before you plan.


What is a Park Cabin/Park Model?

Park Cabins, also known as Park Models, are recreation vehicles primarily designed as temporary living quarters for recreation, camping, or seasonal use. They are built on a single chassis, mounted on wheels and have a maximum of 400 square feet of living space. (Sleeping lofts and porches/decks are not included in this square footage restriction.)

Although they can be narrower, Park Cabins usually have a maximum width of 12 feet, must be transported with special movement permits from the state highway department and are usually sited in a location for an extended term.

There are actually 2 types of Park Models, depending on the building code that was used to construct it.

  1. HUD code Park Models are built to the national Housing and Urban Development building code similarly to a mobile home.  These are the least common and are most often used in disaster relief areas for temporary housing while permanent housing is being rebuilt.  You don’t usually see these in RV parks or campgrounds.  These homes are labeled with a HUD sticker.
  2. ANSII code Park Models are certified as complying with ANSII A119.5 construction code for recreational vehicles.  Although considered a Recreational Vehicle (RV), ANSII code Park Cabins typically appear, when blocked and skirted, similar to a small cottage.  These cabins are labeled with a sticker certifying that it meets the ANSII A119.5 code.  In many cases, this certification is provided by the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA) but not always. It may be certified by another third party engineer allowed to certify such structures.

For all discussions on this site, we are refering to the ANSII code Park Cabins.  Here are some examples from different portions of our state.

Well, is it a mobile home or an RV?  In a later post I will explain how, when, and why, in North Carolina, a Park Model may be considered an RV and when it may be treated as a small mobile home.