What is a Park Model RV Home? How is it Different?

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RV next to a park model

Park Model RV Homes – What are they?

We get questions about different terms all the time. What is a tiny home? What is a mobile home? Why is a manufactured home different from a modular home? What is a park model RV?
Cavco makes entry line and more “home-like” park model RVs. They also make Park Model RVs that look like cabins.
Here we define the last one – the Park Model RV:
From a past article on the MHVillager: Tiny House versus Park Model Home, here is the definition and features of a park model RV:

A park model home is a regulated temporary living space designed for an RV park setting.

Features of a Park Model RV include:
  • 399 or fewer square feet of living space (Fla. is 499 square feet)
  • Towable on public byways
  • No mortgage available
  • Requires registration, tags and insurance like a vehicle
  • Ideal for RV park or blended RV/mobile home park
  • Retail from $20,000 to $140,000

Here is another definition, as described by Cavco Industries, a home manufacturer that builds Park Model RVs:

A park model RV (PMRV) is a unique trailer-type RV designed to provide temporary accommodation for recreation, camping or seasonal use.

“PMRVs (also sometimes referred to as recreational park trailers) built on a single chassis, mounted on wheels and have a gross trailer area not exceeding 400 square feet in the set-up mode. They are certified by their manufacturers as complying with the ANSI A119.5 standard for recreational park trailers.”

So, how is a park model home different from a mobile or a manufactured home?

For one thing, a manufactured home is installed under a federal building code administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These standards regulate the construction of the homes with regulations on things like fire resistance, energy efficiency, and the home’s quality. In addition, factories build manufactured homes on solid steel frames. Prior to 1976, manufactured homes were called mobile homes. However, they are “mobile” before being put in place. Once sited, they typically stay in place. Though some homes do get moved later.

Regardless, many manufactured homes look comparable to homes built on site. The exteriors on many homes have traditional vinyl siding, gables, porches and decks.

A park model RV is different. While still adorable from the outside, the small size gives them away. Since they cannot exceed 400 square feet (except in Florida), their size make them a perfect addition to RV Parks. They fit right on the same lots!

In addition, a park model RV is for temporary accommodation. People use them for camping, hunting or fishing lodges, short-term vacation lodging and so on. Love the outdoors? An RV park is a great place to vacation! So, the park model RV is a perfect alternative for people to enjoy the amenities of an RV park, without actually having to own a recreational vehicle (or sleep in a tent!).

Park Model RV
The PMRV can be designed as tiny living getaways, such as this interior at Village Farm in Austin, Texas.

How to Buy a New Park Model RV Home

Like manufactured homes, you buy park model RVs at authorized retailers. The cost varies, depending on the exterior and interior features. While the Park Model RV is popular in campgrounds and RV parks, they are purchased for weekend properties and seasonal vacation homes as well.