• What about buying in the current economy? Top...
    Sometimes you will have more leverage with a Seller (as with homes, currently).
  • What about financing during the current economy? Top...
    I’ve never been unable to finance a campground; even during the downturns. And...rates are still low!
  • How much do I need for a Down Payment? Top...
    Banks generally have been requiring about 25% of the Selling Price. Owner financing sometimes requires more as that is all that the Owner is going to receive for money at the Closing. Seller will need money for expenses such as paying off any mortgage that he may have along with Closing Costs including legal fees, real estate transfer taxes, real estate commission and capital gains taxes. As most Buyers are from out of state, we usually locate bank financing for the Buyer. We do not charge a fee for this service nor do we receive one from the lending institution
  • Where do I get financing to purchase a campground? Top...
    Typically, in New England - usually either with bank financing or owner financing.
  • What kind of financing can I get? Top...
    Banks in this area will usually finance for up to 20 years. Until very recently they have given only variable rate loans (with or without caps). Some banks are now offering 2, 3 and 5 year fixed rates. Banks will usually lend in the range of 1 point to 2.5 points over prime depending on bank, income of the business being purchased and Buyer's experience and credit history. Some banks will now consider loaning additional funds for property improvements particularly if the improvements may help increase income (pool, rec hall, swimming pond, etc).
        
    (Perhaps 80 - 90 % of our sales have involved bank financing.)
  • How do I go about getting bank financing? Top...
    The Broker usually does it for you.
  • What does "Owner Financing" mean? Top...
    Owner financing means that the Seller become the bank. Instead of a bank loaning you the money, the Seller does. You give the Seller a Mortgage and a Note to secure the loan. Usually it is on the property being sold. The terms of financing can be:

    1. for any length of time,
    2. at a variable or fixed rate of interest,
    3. can have a balloon payment.
    Payments are usually monthly, sometimes annually. There may also a "penalty for prepayment" clause or a "no penalty for prepayment clause". The Note will contain other standard clauses, as well.

    What "Owner Financing" DOES NOT MEAN: That a campground can be purchased with No Money Down and the Owner will finance 100% of the Selling Price.
  • Should I build my own campground? Top...
    Almost nobody builds campgrounds, anymore in this part of the country. It probably costs at least twice as much to build a new campground as buying an existing one which would have an immediate Cash Flow versus waiting 3 - 5 years just to break even. If you don't have enough money to purchase an existing campground, the odds are very strong that you cannot afford to build one. Possible exceptions: Developers, land owners, someone with, say, $500,000 in cash or Line of Credit from a bank.
  • What kind of living quarters do they have? Top...
    It depends. Each campground is different. A campground may contain no living quarters, a camper or park model, apartment, cottage, mobile home, small house or large house.


    Broker Note: The primary purchase is a campground, and, within reason, the living quarters should be secondary as they can usually be changed. It is possible for a Buyer to select a campground with much less potential for business development then others that they have looked at because of the former has higher quality living quarters.
  • Are campgrounds complicated to operate? Top...
    For most people, the answer is "no". In fact, along with the "lifestyle" that owning and operating a campground offers, operations, are for the most part quite simple and "common sense" goes as long way. The three basics that will take you a long way in the campground business are:

    1. Clean restrooms and, in general, a clean, neat and attractive property. An inviting entrance, a few flowers, a "Welcome" sign or two is helpful.
    2. Almost everybody who comes camping is there to have a "good time". (That's also one of the attractions of owning a campground - people are there to relax and have fun and reduce the stress that most have had all week in their working environment.)
    3. Keep the children happy and the parents will be happy.

    Generally, Sellers will stay and train the new Buyers by familiarizing them with basic operations. Normal period of time is one or two weeks, depending on the size of the campground, time of years, experience of the Buyer, etc.

    If you can't help them have a good time... don't help them have a bad time!
  • What skills are neccessary in running a campground? Top...
    Skills required for running a campground are simple everyday skills, there are really no special skills requires, but there are some helpful skills:

    Handyman skills are good skills to have; to be able to fix a toilet, broken PVC water pipe, repair an onsite electrical box, fix a lawn mower or, perhaps a washing machine. (If you don't have these skills, send out for a repairman.)

    Answering the phone and taking reservations and/or selling penny candy.

    Advertise your campground. There are only a few camping industry organizations to join, and camping directories to advertise in along with doing a camping show or two.
  • Can I make any money with a campground? Top...
    Like most anything else in life, you usually get out of it what you put in to it.

    Some Owners just plod along and at the end of the year compare their income to the that of the previous year.
    Some put just a little more effort in and generally do better and do it sooner. Some do a Business Plan, either written or in their heads, set financial goals, establish procedures to obtain them, review accomplishments at end of season and revise plans as needed. These are the folks who generally do the most and the quickest.
    Then there's the old, antisocial grouch, whose campground you've all stayed at; and even he is doing "pretty good" in spite of himself.

    CAMPGROUNDS, AS BUSINESSES, ARE QUITE BULLETPROOF.
    Unlike a restaurant or some other businesses, it's very difficult to run a campground "into the ground".
  • Where can I get help running a campground? Top...
    Usually a Seller will stay on for one or two weeks to train you in the general operating procedures of the campground. In addition, the Executive Director of the state campground association will spend several hours with you. State associations usually have one or two statewide meetings per year during which several seminars on different aspects of the camping industry are presented. The are also multi-state camping association and national association conferences held during the year.

    Brokers who specialize in campgroungs, like myself, plus present and former campground owners also conduct seminars and do consulting on a one-to-one basis. Neighboring campgrounds will also help you and refer their overfow to you. Campground owners, by and large are a friendly and helpful group. In some areas the local campground owners go out for coffee several mornings a week. They also often share equipment with one another.
  • When is the best time of year to buy a campground? Top...
    For most Buyers, the Spring is the time of choice, preferably a couple of weeks to a month before the camping season begins. In the northeast the average opening date is around the First of May. Some sooner - some later.

    Except for Memorial Day Weekend, a Buyer would not lose much transient business until Fourth of July week. Seasonal rental monies are usually prorated at Closing.

    Often Autumn is also a good time to purchase for som buyers as long as mortgage payments can be structured so that they are managable through the winter months when the cash flow often shrinks.

    An Autumn sale allows a new Owner to become somewhat familiar with the property and a chance to impact next year's income by:

    1. Designing new brochures.
    2. Exhibiting in one or more camping shows (you'll learn a lot just from the other campground owners who are also exhibiting). You will also be able to talk intelligently about your campground as you will have owned it for several months.
    3. Planning for new activities and improvements
    4. Increase advertising
    5. Raise rates, if appropriate.

    Broker Note: I have sold campgrounds in every month of the year. The benefits of purchasing in the Fall vs. waiting until the following Spring is of such significance that I do an entire 2 hour seminar on this concept
  • What about buying in the current economy? Top...
    Sometimes you will have more leverage with a Seller (as with homes, currently).
  • What about financing during the current economy? Top...
    I’ve never been unable to finance a campground; even during the downturns. And...rates are still low!
  • Does Dunton Commercial Properties co-broke transactions? Top...
    No. Due to the nature and complexities of selling campground/RV parks, Dunton Commercial Properties is unable to co-broke, however, Dunton Commercial Properties may offer a referral fee only when cooperating broker has made appropriate arrangements with this office prior to any involvement in transaction