Trailer Parks- Buying, Selling, or Maintaining

trailer parks

The term trailer can be misleading but ‘trailers’ are generally considered recreational vehicles or personal property.  In practice the term ‘Trailer Parks’ may contain RVs, mobile homes, park models, manufactured homes, recreational vehicles, or a mix of all of these.  To get financing on a Manufactured home, according to the FDIC, the unit must be at least 12 feet wide, have a minimum of 600sf, be built on or after June 15, 1976, and be built according to HUD standards- otherwise, the ‘home’ may be considered personal property (like a vehicle).  Manufactured homes built after June 1976 according to HUD standards are discussed in more detail here.  Smaller homes, ‘micro-homes, or compact cottages on permanent foundations have more in common with detached buildings.  Recreational vehicles do not appraise in a real estate transaction and may or may not convey, however, there may be some appraised value in the campsite, utilities, or permanent improvements.   An appraiser or real estate lending institution can be consulted for more information

Mobile Homes– Built before June 1976 (not constructed according to HUD regulations) They do not appraise in real estate transactions and generally, a buyer cannot get a 30-year fixed loan or Mobile Homes.
Single Wide Trailers — built before 1976 are generally considered Mobile homes, see above.
Tiny Homes— These are generally considered RVs.  They do not appraise in real estate transactions and generally, buyers cannot get a 30-year fixed loan on Tiny Homes.
Park Model RV— These are generally considered RVs.  They do not appraise in real estate transactions and generally, buyers cannot get a 30-year fixed loan on Park Models.
Manufactured Homes Manufactured homes are regulated by HUD and are appraised differently than other homes, but buyers can typically get financing for a 30-year fixed loan.
Modular HomesModular Homes are appraised and built to the same requirements as traditional site-built homes.

Trailers, Trailer Parks and County Regulations

Check with your county for more information about Trailers

  • Parking a trailer or RV on your property
  • Renting out a Trailer or RV on your property
  • Living in a Trailer or RV on your property
  • Allowing guests or family to stay in a Trailer or RV on your property

Buncombe County Regulations for Trailers or RV’s

Here in Buncombe County, these regulations apply to RVs:

  • Short Term Vacation Rentals are not permitted
  • Allowed in Zoning districts R3, PS, CR and OU
  • Can be lived in for 180 days or less per calendar year

Trailer Park Utilities or ‘Full Hookups’

Manufactured homes will have permanently installed utilities just like a stick-built home. Water, Sewage, and Electrical set-ups for trailers or recreational vehicles are commonly referred to as ‘Full Hookups’.  What do full hookups look like?  Anyone who has experience with RV camping knows that full hookups could be as simple as a 30 amp plug fastened to a 4×4 post for power, a 4 inch PVC drain pipe for septic, and a frost-resistant hydrant with a hose connection for water service– we will discuss these utilities more below.  When we discuss inspecting the utilities for RVs they are considered separately from the electrical and plumbing systems inside the RV.

Trailer Park Power

Park Models or Mobile Homes may have 100-200amp power like a standard home.  Most recreational vehicles will typically have their own 30 or 50-amp sub-panel located somewhere inside and a power or extension cord that can connect to a Temporary Power source or an exterior sub-panel.  The exterior panel that provides temporary power to the RV is typically fastened to a post, detached building, or main house.  All electrical sub-panels located outside should be labeled Type 3 and corrosion-resistant.

A note on the Ampacity or ‘Amp’ rating

Ampacity refers to the maximum load a system can safely handle.  The ampacity of a sub-panel is typically limited by the wires’ thickness, the panel’s rating, and the distance of the service wires.  These calculations are best performed by a licensed electrician.

Typical Amp Requirements:

Modern homes — 200 amp
Townhomes/Condos/ Smaller homes/Park Models/Mobile Homes — 150 amp
Older Single Family Homes from the 60s/70s — 100 amp
Older Single Family Homes 50s/60s — 60 amp
Larger RV or Tiny Home– 50 amp
Smaller RV or Tiny Home – 30 amp
Dryer/Range and larger appliances – 30 amp
A circuit with smaller appliances– 20 amp
A circuit with lights only or small loads – 15 amp

Inspecting Trailer Temporary Power Sub-Panels:

Best Practice Power Installations:
  • Manufactured Homes typically have 150-200amp panels like a standard home
  • RVs should have a minimum of 30 amp, newer or updated RVs will require 50amp.  A Sub-panel that has a 30 and a 50 amp plug with a GFCI outlet is the most convenient for an RV campsite.
  • Breakers, panels, and wiring should be properly labeled, sized, and rated
  • Modern sub-panels require a 4-wire cable — 2 hots, 1 neutral, and 1 ground (rather than 3 wires)
  • Neutral and ground wires should be isolated or not connected to the same bus bar or panel
  • Conduit, or protective tubes, should be used to protect the service wire from damage (below panels and underground).
Common RV sub-panel defects:
  • No sub-panel present– wire or extension cord only.  (This is an electrical and safety hazard and can damage wiring, appliances, and other components) — full upgrade/replacement may be needed
  • 3 wire service only – recommend an additional driven grounding rod at exterior sub-panel to provide an equipment ground
  • Neutrals and grounds not isolated – generally an easy fix
  • Breakers not compatible with the panel – generally an easy fix
  • Corroded panel due to high humidity – this is unsafe and the panel and breakers should be replaced
  • Missing conduits – selective repairs or a full upgrade may be needed
  • Service line not buried deep enough to prevent possible damage – full upgrade/replacement will be needed
  • Under-sized service wires – full upgrade/replacement will be needed

Trailer Park Water Service and Septic/Sewer Systems

Inspecting Trailer Septic/Sewer Systems

When buying a Trailer Park it is highly recommended to have all the septic tanks pumped and inspected or all of the sewer lines professionally scoped and inspected.  All well/spring water systems should be inspected and the water quality should be tested.  The seller should be asked for the Operations Permit for any on-site wastewater or septic system.  A septic inspection company or sewer scope inspection company can be consulted to learn more about septic/sewer systems.

Best Practice Water Service and Septic/Sewer Installation:
  • Permitted and professionally installed
  • Water service line should be buried below the frost line with 14 gauge trace wire to help with the location
  • 3″ or 4″ Schedule 40 PVC waste lines with adequate slope to septic/sewer
  • Frost-resistant self-draining Hydrant for RV water service
Common Water Service and Septic/Sewer Defects:
  • Un-permitted — check with city/county planning
  • Water service line that is not buried below the frost line and subject to freezing/bursting – full replacement needed
  • Waste line exits to the yard, not the sewer/septic system – full replacement needed
  • Septic system is not designed to accommodate an additional septic load of the detached building – check with city/county planning
  • Issues with the septic/sewer system– inadequate, undersized, deteriorating, damaged pipes, backing up, etc…

Trailer Parking Area or Campsite

Best Practice Parking or Campground Accommodations
  • Well-draining compacted soil, gravel, or hard-surface parking, and lounge area
  • Covered areas and other structures should be well-constructed and well-maintained
  • Good access and turn-around areas
  • Driveway should not be too steep
  • Full hookups (water, septic/sewer, and 30/50 amp electrical service)

Asheville Trailer Park Inspectors

Builder Buddy is your resource for Trailer Park Inspections and Trailer Park Campground Inspections in the Asheville area.  We also provide RV Campground Septic Inspections, RV Campground Water Testing, and RV Campground Well Inspections.  Schedule online or call with questions.

They were the best most communicative home inspectors that I have ever worked with. We manage over 75 properties in South Carolina, this was our first time venturing out to North Carolina and they treated us like family! We highly recommend them for any of your inspections. They completed an inspection of over 15 units for us in a timely and professional manner, they know what they are doing for sure. We will definitely use them again.

KMGH Properties

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