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Park Model Homes: The Ultimate Buying Guide

CEO Khai Intela
In the world of vacation homes, RVs, and Airbnb, there is a trend that is steadily gaining traction. Meet the park model home. As you begin to explore the world of tiny homes, you will...

In the world of vacation homes, RVs, and Airbnb, there is a trend that is steadily gaining traction. Meet the park model home. As you begin to explore the world of tiny homes, you will soon realize that the park model home is rising to the top. Park model homes offer flexibility, affordable investment opportunities, and a turn-key short-term housing solution. With their unique features and benefits, park model homes are becoming a popular choice for those seeking a cozy and convenient living experience.

Luxury Park Model interior living room

What Is A Park Model Home?

A park model home is a tiny home built on a chassis and wheels, manufactured to the ANSI A119.5 RV code. These homes are considered recreational vehicles and are designed to be parked at a long-term or even permanent location, usually in an RV or Mobile Home Park. While park models are commonly used for temporary housing and recreational or seasonal vacation homes, they are not typically meant for full-time living. However, park model homes provide the camping vibes with the conveniences of a modern home. They require connections to the site's electricity, water, and sewage.

To qualify as a park model home, it must meet the following criteria:

  • Have 399 or fewer square feet of living space (except in Florida, where it is 499 square feet)
  • Built to the ANSI A119.5 RV code, making it a recreational vehicle
  • Have a registration, tags, and insurance, like any other RV

There are several names for a park model home, including a park model RV (PMRV), an RV park model, or simply a park model. Regardless of the name, a park model home offers a fascinating opportunity as a temporary housing solution, ADU (accessory dwelling unit), or a short-term vacation home or rental.

park model homes

What Is The Difference Between A Modular Home And A Park Model?

A modular home is a prefabricated home built in a manufacturing facility, delivered to your site in sections or modules, and put in place with a crane. On the other hand, a park model home is built on a trailer and can be delivered and moved without the need for a crane. Modular homes are required to be built to the HUD construction code and can be used as permanent dwellings. In contrast, park models are classified as recreational vehicles, requiring tags, registration, and insurance, and are not designed for full-time residences.

What Is The Difference Between A Park Model And An RV?

Park model homes and RVs are built to the same standards, called the ANSI A119.5 Code for recreational park trailers. Both RVs and park models are registered the same way and require tags and insurance according to state requirements. The primary difference lies in their usage. RVs are designed to be mobile and moved regularly, while park model homes are intended for longer-term situations, such as campgrounds or vacation locations.

Interior park model cabin home

What Is The Average Size Of A Park Model?

An average park model home is approximately 12 ft wide and 33 ft long, with no more than 400 square feet of living space (excluding any loft areas or porches). The size of a park model home is limited only by the total width allowed on roadways during transportation. You can enhance your living space by adding a deck or porch after parking your park model, especially in warmer areas of the country.

Are Park Model Homes HUD Approved?

Park model homes are designed and manufactured according to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI119.5) for Park Model Recreational Vehicles (PMRV). This classification excludes park model homes from the HUD's definition of manufactured homes. However, a special version of a park model home, known as a HUD Park Model Home, is approved for the state of Florida and built to the Housing and Urban Development standard. It's important to note that this park model is still considered a recreational vehicle and might not be eligible for installation in some modular home parks.

Can Park Model Homes Be Moved?

Due to being built on a chassis with wheels, park model homes are relatively easy to move. To move a park model home, simply remove the skirting, disconnect the utilities, and hook up to a transport vehicle. While an RV is designed to be a home "on the road" and can be easily moved, a park model requires stabilization and connection to on-site utilities for use as a living space. Professional assistance is recommended for transporting a park model home due to permitting requirements and oversize load escorts.

Can You Live Full-Time In A Park Model?

Park model homes are primarily designed as temporary housing solutions, such as vacation homes, hunting lodges, camping cabins, or a place to live while finding another housing solution. While park model homes are suitable for more sustained living than traditional RVs, they are typically best used for a few months at a time. The regulations regarding full-time living in park model homes vary across local and state governments and townships. It is advisable to park your park model RV in an established campground or mobile home park and review the regulations specific to your area.

Park Model cabin loft

Park Model Home: Site Preparation, Utilities, Delivery, And Setup

One of the many benefits of investing in a park model home is the simple setup process. With a simple gravel or concrete pad and access to basic utilities, you can easily install a park model home. The utilities required are standard RV hookups for sewer, water, and electricity. Before purchasing a park model home, it's important to contact your local zoning office to confirm if it is approved for your location.

Site Preparation

Since park model homes are built on trailers with wheels, site preparation is straightforward. All you need is a level stone or concrete pad. After delivery, the park model home needs to be stabilized with concrete blocks, RV jacks, or other permanent stabilization methods if you don't plan on moving it soon. Depending on your location and local regulations, you may also need to secure the park model to the ground with hurricane ties or similar fasteners.


Once you have chosen your site location, you need to install the infrastructure to support your park model home. This includes a standard 100-amp electric hookup, a garden hose connection, and a 3" sewer discharge pipe hookup. Installing utilities may be the more challenging part, but once completed, you'll be ready to enjoy your new "home."

After preparing the site and utilities, it's time to deliver your park model home. Most manufacturers include delivery in the initial cost, but it's important to confirm this to avoid any surprises. Park model homes are considered oversized loads, requiring permits and escorts for transportation. It is recommended to ensure all necessary details are in place before the delivery.

park model cabin exterior with porch

Final Setup And Making Your Park Model A Home

Once your park model home is delivered and hooked up to the utilities, it's time to turn it into an inviting oasis. There are many ways to make this happen, depending on your personal preferences and long-term plans for the park model home.

Park Model Skirting

To hide the bracing, tie-downs, wheels, or axles underneath your park model, you can install skirting. Park model skirting is a decorative covering that extends from the bottom of your home to the ground, enclosing all the unsightly elements on the trailer part of your park model home. Traditionally, park model skirting was made of vinyl siding with matching trim, but there are now various skirting options available, including stone veneer panels and authentic log siding. Installing skirting allows for easy landscaping around your park model and enhances the overall appearance.

Add A Deck

Park model homes are limited to 400 square feet of living space, but that doesn't mean you can't expand your outdoor living area. Many park models come with a small porch, but if you desire a larger deck, you can add one beside your park model. Expanding your living space with a deck or large porch is an excellent way to enjoy the outdoors, especially in warmer climates where outdoor living is more common. The size of your deck will depend on the location of your park model.

What Is It Like To Live In A Park Model?

Living in a park model home is similar to living in any other house or tiny home. A high-quality park model home includes all the amenities of a regular home, such as a full kitchen and bathroom. Despite the limited space, park models are designed to optimize the available area and provide a cozy and comfortable living experience. Some park models even have as much room as a small apartment and offer a great living experience for vacations or temporary stays. To get a taste of living in a park model home, check out available options on Airbnb.

Small park model cabin interior

Popular Uses For Park Model Homes

Park model homes, classified as recreational vehicles, offer versatile usage opportunities. Here are some of the most common uses for park model homes:


Campgrounds are increasingly recognizing the value of having park model homes or cabins on their premises. By featuring park models, campgrounds attract a diverse range of campers, including the glamping crowd. Whether a small campground needs one or two park models or a larger property creates a park model community, these homes enhance the camping experience for visitors.

Vacation Getaway Cabins

If you have a perfect property in the mountains or by the lake but don't want to build a permanent home, a park model home is a great alternative. It requires a simple pad and utilities, offering a dream vacation home without breaking the bank.


Investing in a park model home and listing it on vacation rental platforms like Airbnb or VRBO can provide a rewarding short-term investment opportunity. Park model homes offer a unique experience for renters, and with careful management, they can generate passive income.

Temporary Housing

With the housing market facing challenges, having a park model home as a temporary living space can be advantageous. Whether you need a place to stay while building your dream home or want to avoid the stress of finding immediate housing, a park model home offers a quick and convenient solution.

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

A park model home can serve as an ADU, providing extra living space on a property that already has a primary residence. ADUs are excellent for accommodating friends or family without crowding the main home. Additionally, homeowners may choose to rent out their ADU for short-term rentals, creating an additional income stream.

Tiny Homes Vs Park Model Homes

While park model homes are a type of tiny home, not all tiny homes qualify as park model homes. Park model homes are built to specific standards, such as the ANSI A119.5 Code for recreational park trailers. On the other hand, tiny homes encompass a broader range of small homes and houses built on wheels. Tiny homes often do not meet the requirements for permanent residences due to federal, state, and local building codes. However, park model homes offer the benefits of a tiny home, with the added advantage of compliance with RV standards.

Park Model Home Prices

When it comes to investing in a park model home, understanding the price range is essential. While some park model homes are priced in the $20,000-$30,000 range, high-quality new park models typically average between $40,000-$100,000. Luxury models can exceed this range. The price of a park model home varies based on factors such as style, features, and transportation distance. It is important to consider delivery costs, as park models require oversized load transportation permits.

Park Model Home Financing

Financing a park model home is possible, but it differs from typical home financing options. As park model homes are classified as recreational vehicles, they do not qualify for traditional home financing. However, RV loans and insurance options are available for park model homes. Other financing options include personal loans or chattel mortgages, which have higher interest rates and shorter-term lengths.

park model homes 2

Are Park Model Homes A Good Investment?

Park model homes offer excellent short-term investment opportunities. With a relatively low initial investment and high ROI potential, park model homes can be a valuable addition to your investment portfolio. For example, if you purchase a park model home for $100,000, investing $35,000 and financing $65,000, even with an 80% occupancy rate, this investment can pay for itself in approximately two and a half years. The potential returns make park model homes a compelling investment option. Check out our short-term investment calculator to estimate your gross income over 20 years.

Do Park Model Homes Hold Their Value?

With the increasing demand and improved standards in park model home construction, these homes hold their value exceptionally well. As with any investment, understanding the product and its value retention is crucial. While buying a used park model may not be the best idea due to past quality concerns, investing in a new park model home is a smart decision that will retain its value for years to come.

How Long Do Park Model Homes Last?

Park model homes are built to last between 30 to 50 years with minimal maintenance required. The durability of your park model home depends on factors such as its location, frequency of movement, and maintenance. With regular care, your park model home can provide you with many years of enjoyment.

Park model luxury home with porch

Park Model Homes For Sale

At Zook Cabins, we offer a wide selection of park model homes for sale throughout the lower 48 states. Whether you are looking for a simple 12x16 Hut Park Model cabin or a luxurious Rockwood Park Model Home, we have options to fit your needs and budget. Our park models come in various styles, including 1 or 2-bedroom options, with or without lofts, and most feature beautiful porches. Explore our range of Park Model Homes and Cabins at Zook Cabins to find your perfect getaway.

In Conclusion

If you have any questions about park model homes or are ready to invest in one, we would love to assist you. Whether you desire a hunting cabin, a campground home, or a luxury vacation tiny home, park model homes offer a fantastic starting point. Contact us for more information or receive an instant price estimate for a park model home delivered to your location. Embrace the joy of the great outdoors and a slower pace of life with a park model home that suits your needs and preferences.

Luxury park model home with modern kitchen