These are the books that we have found the most useful. If you would like to learn more about RV Parks and Tiny Home Communities, we'd recommend checking them out. We've included our takeaways, and what makes each book particularly useful.
How to Buy, Sell and Operate RV Parks and Campgrounds by David Reynold
This is the most comprehensive and financially-focused book on RV Parks and their development, and the book I would most highly recommend. This book dives into the specifics of what is involved in developing an RV Park, and is specific in addressing how to solve many of the common issues that pop up at RV Parks. David’s due diligence process is the most comprehensive I’ve seen, and he does a great job of breaking down each step in the purchasing process. David has acted as the agent for hundreds of RV Park transactions, which is unique among RV Park authors, most only have a few reps of buying or developing a RV Park.
Favorite quote: "Seasonal RV Parks and Extended Stay style RV parks exist in a large part to provide affordable housing- there has always been and will always be a need for affordable housing” (Page 26).
Turning Dirt: A Step-by-Step Guide for Turning Dreams of Campground Ownership Into Reality by Andy Zipser
Andy does a great job of breaking down the current societal trends that are coming together to make RV Parks a growing industry. He does a great job of addressing the day to day management of an RV Park, everything from employee management to marketing to your target audience. Andy also does a great job of detailing the different ways to increase your Net Operating Income by charging for things like Wi-fi, pets, late departures, and many more. It is only his limited experience of owning only one park that prevents his book from being more comprehensive.
Favorite Quote: “...thanks to a growing shortage of affordable housing across the United States, the number of people becoming full-timers out of necessity, not choice, has mushroomed” (Page 23).
How to Start, Run, and Grow an RV Park, RV Resort, or Campground Business by Jack Wendling
Jack does a great job of detailing the benefits to developing your own RV Park, rather than buying one at a large markup. There is far more profit to be made in developing an RV Park from bare land, and they can be designed from the very beginning to meet the current needs of the market. Current RV Parks are often built for 1970s RVs, which were far smaller and had much lower electrical needs. In addition, Jack does a great job of highlighting the benefits of having cabins as well as RV spots, and the advantages of having a clubhouse. The only thing keeping this book from a higher rating was that it was targeted a bit more towards a novice owner.
Favorite Quote: “When it comes to real estate asset classes, RV Parks are one of the highest-yielding. This means you can get a ten to twenty percent or more return on your investment (Page 13).
RV Park Investing and Management by Warren Piper Ruell
This was the longest of all of the books on RV Parks, but partially because it addresses two perspectives. It addresses both the owner of an RV Park, and the RV owner. The perspective of the RV owner was a useful one, as it helped me identify the market needs and desires of the average RV owner. In addition, Warren does a great job of digging into the market and advertising portion of running a part, to ensure that you maintain high occupancy levels. The main drawback of this book is that Warren is trying to cover so many topics, that none of them are in-depth.
Favorite Quote: “The trend in the campsite and RV Park sector is that if a facility is well-equipped and located near a residential area or a location where people can reach without much stress, the campground and recreational facility will likely attract a large number of visitors” (Page 528).
These books are focused on development in general, which is crucial to the building of RV Parks. These books are particularly useful when planning and executing an RV Park Development.
Be a Successful Residential Land Developer by Dodge Woodson
This is a comprehensive book that details a step by step process of a development, from the market analysis, to the site selection and due diligence, all the way to the final sale of the subdivided land. Dodge does an excellent job focusing on risk mitigation at every step of the process. He has a relentless focus on due diligence throughout the entire process, as this is the best way to reduce risk. In addition, he has really innovative methods of finding off-market leads, which we have already incorporated into our deal-finding process.
Favorite Quote: “It is not unusual for land developers to double their money when they turn raw land into building lots” (Page xxi).
Real Estate Development: Principles and Process by The Urban Land Institute
This hefty book does an excellent job of going into the details of what it takes for a large scale development. As usual, Urban Land Institute focuses more on large scale development, for example some of their example deals are the development of four acres in downtown Boston into a hotel and skyscraper. But the underlying principles of development are the same, whether it is a large or small project, you’re ultimately turning dirt into a cash-producing asset. Overall, this book does a great job of detailing the specific principles to keep in mind at each stage of the development process. We especially liked the section on affordable housing, as it showed how much demand there is, which is especially relevant for RV Parks, which can offer housing at a far lower price than almost any other type of housing.
Favorite Quote: “The nation’s affordable rental stock has been shrinking for more than three decades as a result of demolition, abandonment, and the conversion of units from affordable to market-rate housing”
Birth of a Building by Ben Stevens
Quick Summary: A comprehensive overview of the steps it takes for a developer to find a lot, buy it, and all of the steps that go into building.
Main Points: There are many ways for a development to go badly. Overpaying for the land is one of the most common mistakes.
Main Points: Rely on recommended professionals for many of the crucial steps of development, such as civil engineers and architects, but don’t let them run the show.
Who Should Read It: Anyone interested in building or development, regardless of their current knowledge level.
Whether We’d recommend it: We’d definitely recommend it, we learned a lot about the specific steps it takes to get a project all the way to completion.
Ultimately, an RV Park is just a multifamily property where each tenant has their own structure, the ownership and principles of management are very similar. These are a few of the books we’ve found most useful for our research.
Multifamily Millionaire, Brandon Turner
Summary: A comprehensive summary of how to find, buy, and manage multifamily properties.
Main Points: Multifamily offers many advantages to single family rentals, because you can consolidate your units under one roof, etc.
Main Points: Far better opportunities to scale your buying and building of wealth with multifamily.
Who Should Read It: Anyone interested in scaling their real estate purchasing, who is interested in multifamily properties.
Whether We’d recommend it: We’d highly recommend it, Keith has actually read it three times, and he still learned a TON from the third time through.
Investing in Apartment Buildings by Matthew Martinez
Summary: Multifamily can offer superior returns over most asset classes, especially when properties can be bought at a discount and steps are taken to increase NOI (Net Operating Income)
Main Points: Never buy at retail prices . Buying at a discount not only improves your returns, it gives you far more security during the inevitable downturns, because your monthly payment is lower.
Main Points: Find a “Farm Area” and focus on it relentlessly. Don’t branch out to a new area until you are a seasoned investor.
Who Should Read It: This book is for beginner or experienced investors who want to buy more multifamily properties.
Whether We’d recommend it: We’d would highly recommend it. It was written in 2009, and some of his advice was specific to that time period, but the vast majority of the book is timeless wisdom.