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Why are RV pads (in nice 55+ parks) so cheap? The annual carrying costs are also very low. I'm  tempted to buy one for our retirement years when we plan to snowbird.Ultimately I want to be parked in one spot for Dec-Mar.

In Florida last year, pads in Punta Gorda or Zephyrhills were scarce and in the 40-50K range. And the Alligator Park in Punta had steep monthly assessment of $200+. Only $55 at Green Gate Grove for a much nicer park.

I had a bad 1st experience in Harlingen last year but it was a bad park and bad location. I like the shopping, restaurants, natural areas etc, it has what I am looking for. I must be able to bike daily in safe areas and walk or bike to stores. I do not need to be near water, I get my water fix in the summer.

In RGV they are listed starting at 12K.

Is anyone familiar with Green Gate Grove in Palmview TX (Mission area)?

It was 49 (high) today here in MN...dreaming of warmer winters soon.

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Be careful. You may only be purchasing a lease. Many places do not give you a deed to the property. I would only purchase a deeded lot. 

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7 hours ago, ToddF said:

Why are RV pads (in nice 55+ parks) so cheap? The annual carrying costs are also very low. I'm  tempted to buy one for our retirement years when we plan to snowbird.Ultimately I want to be parked in one spot for Dec-Mar.

In Florida last year, pads in Punta Gorda or Zephyrhills were scarce and in the 40-50K range. And the Alligator Park in Punta had steep monthly assessment of $200+. Only $55 at Green Gate Grove for a much nicer park.

I had a bad 1st experience in Harlingen last year but it was a bad park and bad location. I like the shopping, restaurants, natural areas etc, it has what I am looking for. I must be able to bike daily in safe areas and walk or bike to stores. I do not need to be near water, I get my water fix in the summer.

In RGV they are listed starting at 12K.

Is anyone familiar with Green Gate Grove in Palmview TX (Mission area)?

It was 49 (high) today here in MN...dreaming of warmer winters soon.

I stayed in Green Gate Grove for the past 3 winters for a couple of months.  We really liked the place and the people.  What did you want to know about it?

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Questions I have about Green Gate Grove (3G)...

I've heard it said that the "wind blows all the time" in the RGV. Is wind less of an issue at 3G since it is further inland?

Is it safe (sidewalks or bike lane) to bike into Mission for shopping?

For the snowbird season, do folks run AC? How many hours per day on average? ( We only have 1 15000 BTU unit.)

Why does it take so long for lots to sell? The one I am looking at is $12,500 and I believe it has been on the market for 3-4 years.

 

Thank you, I will be down there in Nov for a visit and might buy a lot. I find the situation very desirable so far.

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15 hours ago, Twotoes said:

Be careful. You may only be purchasing a lease. Many places do not give you a deed to the property. I would only purchase a deeded lot. 

There are advantages and disadvantages to both deeded and to leased lots, especially if in an RV community. Escapee co-op parks are "life lease" situations and we live in a co-op that is patterned after the Escapees system but ours is a corporation where each share is tied to a specific lot. Operationally they are pretty much the same as both elect a board of directors from the membership who manage the business affairs of the community. Co-op parks tend to be much less costly to live in but they do not have a deed and so do not tend to appreciate like a deeded property often does. Where we live it is a co-op that allows small houses, as well as an RV pad and our annual cost, is only $800 plus you pay your own electric bill. Water, sewer, trash collection, and streets are included in your annual dues as is the case for most co-op communities. In a co-op you also only pay taxes on the improvements to the lot.

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15 hours ago, ToddF said:

Why are RV pads (in nice 55+ parks) so cheap? The annual carrying costs are also very low. I'm  tempted to buy one for our retirement years when we plan to snowbird.Ultimately I want to be parked in one spot for Dec-Mar.

In RGV they are listed starting at 12K.

 

6 hours ago, ToddF said:

Questions I have about Green Gate Grove (3G)...

Why does it take so long for lots to sell? The one I am looking at is $12,500 and I believe it has been on the market for 3-4 years.

In the RGV at least, it is very much a question of supply and demand. And right now, the supply is much higher than demand. 

The University of Texas RGV has been conducting a bi-annual study for many years. The estimated number of Winter Texans in the Valley peaked in 2000-2001 at 143,000.  The last figures (2015-2016) put the numbers at 96,000.  So you can imagine that there is a lot of availability. 

Here is a link to the report itself if you are interested:

2015 - 2016 Winter Texas Report

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50 minutes ago, Kirk Wood said:

There are advantages and disadvantages to both deeded and to leased lots, especially if in an RV community. 

I agree completely. We have some friends that wanted a lot in the RGV a couple of years ago, and insisted on a deeded lot. So that found a nice resort that had a section with deeded lots along with several sections of leased lots. Now they are thinking of moving to a different area and guess what? Rather than just allowing a simple lease to terminate, they are faced with putting their deeded lot on the market in an area with thousands and thousands of other options. 

In retrospect they'd have saved money and had exactly the same amenities and experience had they simply leased one of the lots in the exact same community. 

Edited by mptjelgin

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I wonder if gas prices play a role in the RGV. Gas was $1.51 in 2000 vs 2.63 now. Although it was only 2.00 last Fall. I'm figuring $1,200 year just for the annual run from MN to RGV RT.

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1 hour ago, mptjelgin said:

The University of Texas RGV has been conducting a bi-annual study for many years. The estimated number of Winter Texans in the Valley peaked in 2000-2001 at 143,000.  The last figures (2015-2016) put the numbers at 96,000.  So you can imagine that there is a lot of availability. 

Here is a link to the report itself if you are interested:

2015 - 2016 Winter Texas Report

Here's a link to the current edition of the report: Winter Texan Report 2017-2018

During the 2017-2018 winter, 106, 000 winter Texans "migrated" to the RGv.

Edited by docj

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Thank you for posting the "Winter Texas Reports". These are a "must read" for anyone interested in buying a lot in the RGV.

The largest group of Winter Texans comes from Minnesota compared to other states and Canada. Our winters drive us out of here and we can hop on I-35 and make an easy mountain free drive out of it. But gas down and back is a major cost. 

Younger boomers may look at retirement differently, as pointed out in the report. Sitting for 4-5 months with a focus on social activities and happy hour might not be as popular as it once was. 

The area is largely spanish speaking. For example, if a pick up load of Mexicans comes up to your RV and offers to wash it, and you say "NO", you are not going to make any friends that day. :(

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23 minutes ago, ToddF said:

Younger boomers may look at retirement differently, as pointed out in the report. Sitting for 4-5 months with a focus on social activities and happy hour might not be as popular as it once was. 

Although my wife and I surely aren't "younger boomers" a principal reason we chose the Corpus Christi/Rockport area rather than the RGV for our winter Texan roost is that it is a metro area with what we perceived to be a broader range of activities of which to avail ourselves. 

 In a typical week we'll volunteer at our favorite charity (a free medical clinic) once or twice and maybe take in a performance presented by one of several community theater groups. My wife is an avid quilter and she is a member of several quilting/sewing groups in the metro area.  I spend some of my time pecking at a keyboard in support of WiFiRanger and RVParkReviews.com   Between that sort of thing and social evenings with friends, we don't have a need to engage in the classic "RV park" activities. 

Joel (AKA docj)

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The reports cite climate overwhelmingly as the #1 reason folks migrate to the RGV in the winter. Everyone down there Nov-Mar is united in their dislike of cold and snow. That fits with our motivations as well, and anything we get over and above that is a bonus. Not sure about buying though, some good points have been raised here and a strong argument can be made to rent/lease on a year to year basis. If one is interested in and develops strong social ties to the community, owning would seem more logical. After visiting Florida briefly last year, I find the market much more desirable in the RGV. Lots of options and much lower cost. I also prefer an alligator free environment as I have a small dog and just generally am afraid to take walks in areas where there are gators present.

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2 hours ago, ToddF said:

Younger boomers may look at retirement differently, as pointed out in the report. Sitting for 4-5 months with a focus on social activities and happy hour might not be as popular as it once was. 

The area is largely spanish speaking. For example, if a pick up load of Mexicans comes up to your RV and offers to wash it, and you say "NO", you are not going to make any friends that day. :(

Agree. We spent two weeks at a Winter Texas resort last March visiting friends in the area and checking out some old haunts. It was a slightly run down, mid-level resort that was full of Winter Texans who had been coming there for years. Every evening they'd gather for drinks, cards, and an occasional dance. Mornings were shuffleboard, crafts, or some other activity. So while they seemed to stay busy, none of it appealed to my wife or I. Different strokes...

And while there is a lot of Spanish spoken in the area, the primarily language is still undoubtedly English and you'll have no problem getting along with no Spanish at all. A couple of the "off the beaten path" restaurants that my wife and I like are straight Spanish, with menus and waiters using 100% Spanish. But that can be part of the charm of the area. 

As far as a "pick up load of Mexicans" coming up to the RV and offering to wash it, there are definitely services like that and they are very affordable. But we've never received anything but a polite "thank you" when turning them down. 

1 hour ago, ToddF said:

 I also prefer an alligator free environment as I have a small dog and just generally am afraid to take walks in areas where there are gators present.

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there are large numbers of alligators in South Texas and along the Texas coast. They may not be quite as prevalent in the local ponds as they perhaps are in Florida, but I consider every body of water in that part of Texas to be alligator habitat. We volunteered for two winters at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge and there were hundreds of alligators on their tracts. But as long as your dog isn't splashing around near the water's edge there is nothing to be afraid of. 

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1 hour ago, ToddF said:

I also prefer an alligator free environment as I have a small dog and just generally am afraid to take walks in areas where there are gators present.

As Mark said, there are alligators in most waters of the southern half of Texas and there are places that they are just as common as most parts of FL. Pretty much anywhere along the gulf coast that will be true. But Mark is also correct that there is nothing at all to be concerned about for several reasons. The Rio Grande Valley area that most snowbird activity takes place isn't good alligator habitat so they are not common there. Also, the only alligators that are aggressive toward humans are those found in areas where foolish people feed them. It is illegal to do that in TX and they are quite aggressive in the enforcement of those laws so that is very rare. Alligators in the wild are very shy of humans and as long as your dog is on a leash and you do not take him where neither he nor you should be, he will be in no danger at all. 

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18 hours ago, ToddF said:

Questions I have about Green Gate Grove (3G)...

I've heard it said that the "wind blows all the time" in the RGV. Is wind less of an issue at 3G since it is further inland?

Is it safe (sidewalks or bike lane) to bike into Mission for shopping?

For the snowbird season, do folks run AC? How many hours per day on average? ( We only have 1 15000 BTU unit.)

Why does it take so long for lots to sell? The one I am looking at is $12,500 and I believe it has been on the market for 3-4 years.

 

Thank you, I will be down there in Nov for a visit and might buy a lot. I find the situation very desirable so far.

3G, meaning cellular?  Talking on the phone was good, but data was not that great.  We were always close to the clubhouse so we could capture the clubhouses WiFi.

 I did not notice the wind blowing all of the time.  

I did not feel unsafe there at all.  If you walk or bike inside of the community it is 2 miles.  There is a bike bath close by.  

Temps can vary.  Some years are warmer.  Last year was much cooler compared to other years.  We just set to 72 and it does what is needed.

I think the sales go in cycles.  But there are a TON of RV spots in that area.  Which lot are you looking at?

I would rent there to see if you like it.  

We played a lot of cards, used the pool and hot tub all the time.  And there are quite a few clubs to cover a wide range of interests.  

Edited by rynosback

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Renting for one season makes the most sense before buying. There are always lots coming on the market, and it gives you a chance to size up the park/area, discover other places you didn't know about, and narrow down your choice of sites.

It's a buyer's market down in the RGV, so tough negotiations are in order. Too often, I pay asking price for things and fail to negotiate a better deal. Not this time!

I found an RV site in the city of Mission that may be more what I am looking for. It is primarily a mobile home park but has a few RV sites. No frills, just a small pool, hot tub and clubhouse. Some social activities, but not the primary focus. Very cheap...$216 annual maintenance fee + Hidalgo County real estate tax. Only 2.4 miles from HEB, Target, Home Depot, etc, I like to bike to stores almost daily, take a quick dip in the pool, and take the dog to a city park. I found the park last Fall while exploring the area. Green Gate Grove is my 2nd choice so far. I should rent first but if I can get a deal may buy right away, as these prices are too good to pass up.

The RGV study does show a turnaround (uptick) in Winter Texan population.

Factoring into the decision to buy is longer term plans which are sometimes hard to envision. 

Thanks to all for feedback and info.

 

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Always smart to go spend sometime in a region, and a specific park, before making a purchase. 

And yes and no to possible shifts in how retirees spend their times. 

On this trip we spent a month in Idaho and Stone Ridge Resort. Very well kept park, and golf course. A bit too far away from the larger towns for maximum convenience (35-45 mins, depending on traffic, to Coeur d'Arlene or Spokane - for big store shopping). The park site owner's are a friendly crowd, and have many ongoing activities. Pickle ball, golf being the major ones. But ATV riding and hiking are also popular. And they have crowds that get together for evening potlucks, or simple sharing of Scotch & Cigars some evenings too. Expensive sites, some with major upgrades and listing over $200K. But some non developed lots are down in the high $20's range. 

Also on this trip, we spent 4 weeks at the mentioned Escapees COOP, this one in Evergreen. Our second long time visit, and this time we put our name on the waiting list for a site. COOP's are a great way to join a community, as well as if after a few years you want a change, you get back out what you put into the purchase for the specific site. Which allows some flexibility and low risks of being in a Buyer's Market at the time you might want to exit. This park does allow Park Models. 

On the cost of fuel going/coming to a location. No question that it can cost more to go 1500 miles then it does to say go 800 miles. But, if in retirement this is for a several month stay, that extra cost is not that much of a hit if spread over that longer period of staying. And yep, Florida Texas and Arizona all seem to be the most popular for snowbirds:)! Suggest you spend sometime in RGV, or South Texas in general area. But then also before you make a decision, go check out Arizona too. (I may have missed it, but never heard of a gator problem in Arizona:)!)

Best of luck to you,

Smitty

Edited by Smitty77_7

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3 hours ago, ToddF said:

Renting for one season makes the most sense before buying. There are always lots coming on the market, and it gives you a chance to size up the park/area, discover other places you didn't know about, and narrow down your choice of sites.

It's a buyer's market down in the RGV, so tough negotiations are in order. Too often, I pay asking price for things and fail to negotiate a better deal. Not this time!

I found an RV site in the city of Mission that may be more what I am looking for. It is primarily a mobile home park but has a few RV sites. No frills, just a small pool, hot tub and clubhouse. Some social activities, but not the primary focus. Very cheap...$216 annual maintenance fee + Hidalgo County real estate tax. Only 2.4 miles from HEB, Target, Home Depot, etc, I like to bike to stores almost daily, take a quick dip in the pool, and take the dog to a city park. I found the park last Fall while exploring the area. Green Gate Grove is my 2nd choice so far. I should rent first but if I can get a deal may buy right away, as these prices are too good to pass up.

The RGV study does show a turnaround (uptick) in Winter Texan population.

Factoring into the decision to buy is longer term plans which are sometimes hard to envision. 

Thanks to all for feedback and info.

 

We checked out tons of places to stay when we first got there.  Green Gate Grove was hands down the best one for us.  Renting for a season is a great choice.

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Here is a preliminary summary of my findings in the RGV area...

 

Hidden Valley Ranch

Mission, TX

Hvrpoa.com

520 Large Lots

HOA Fee $300/Annual

City Water + Sewer

 

Lemon Tree Estates

Mission, TX

Lemontreeestates.webs.com

172 Lots

HOA Fee $216/Annual

City Water + Sewer

 

Paradise Park

MCallen, TX

Paradiseparkinc.com

332 Lots

HOA Fee $1,620

City Water + Sewer

 

Green Gate Grove

Palmview, TX

Greengategrove.org

424 Lots

HOA Fee $660 Annual

Well + Septic

 

Bentsen Palm/Retama Village

Mission, TX

Bentsenpalm.com

HOA Fee $2400 Annual (?)

 

These are all deeded lots (to the best of my knowledge) with the exception of Paradise Park which issues "certificates".

It's a "buyer's market" in the RGV, so there are many lots for sale, some at reduced prices.  

Costs to consider (they vary from park to park) include property taxes, insurance, utilities, possible assessments by the HOA for repairs and capital improvements, and the HOA fees. 

Most parks consist of a mix of different types of housing units. 

Some parks maintain the Lot (grass, weeds, trees etc), and others place that on the lot owner.

 

 

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10 minutes ago, ToddF said:

These are all deeded lots (to the best of my knowledge) with the exception of Paradise Park which issues "certificates".

I would also take a hard look at the governing structure as most of them will have either a management company to run them or they elect a board of directors or some blend of the two. What happens if some owner refuses to pay the fees and assessments? How are the annual fees set or changed and who makes any assessments? Are the streets public or private and who maintains them? 

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Yes, lots of due diligence is in order before buying into an HOA. As discussed previously, rent a spot first to test the waters. Ask for a copy of the financial statements. Talk to folks and listen.

There are many upsides to these communities, I see mostly good (initial search) in all of the ones I listed, with a "not so sure" on the Paradise Park. Looking forward to visiting these places, but in no hurry to buy.

 

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It is my understanding that in Texas if you don't pay your assessment they can and will take your lot. That seems only right to me? When I bought my two RV lots in the UP of MI I knew all of the rules and that because we are a co-op, MI has laws that govern co-ops. I am sure that if an owner didn't pay his annual assessment or real estate taxes that the lot will be taken from them by the co-op or by the state for taxes. How could it be any different? If other lot owners don't pay then I and other lot owners would have to pay more.

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