Can You Save Money Living in a Trailer Park? (or RV Park)

Lots of people struggle to find affordable housing. And many of us don’t want to spend a fortune on a lavish house that also requires a lot of upkeep. So for that reason, sometimes RV parks or trailer parks look appealing. But can you save money living in a trailer park?

Living in a trailer park can save money on housing expenses and utilities by up to 50% in many cases. This is due to lower rent or ownership costs, reduced property taxes, and lower utility bills given the relatively small space being heated or cooled. Renting a mobile home or RV may be a more cost-effective option than buying, considering depreciation and maintenance costs.

In this article, we’ll explore how to make the most of low-cost living, from choosing an environmentally conscious location to the Pros & Cons of living in a trailer park and clever ways to save money on your new home on wheels.

But we’ll also examine the social stigma that trailer parks sometimes have, and whether you should worry about that. But we’ll also get into some specific numbers of exactly how much you can expect to save.

Keep reading if you’re interested in learning more about saving money and living in trailer parks.

Table of Contents:

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What is a Trailer Park?

Let me introduce you to the world of trailer/RV parks. These parks, also known as mobile homes or caravan parks, provide an affordable housing option for people like us trying to save some cash without sacrificing comfort.

These parks offer plots of land where you can park your trailer or RV and live in it as your primary residence. But distinguish these parks from sketchy, run-down trailer parks from the movies.

Many trailer/RV parks offer swimming pools, communal areas for barbecues and events, and even laundry facilities. Some even have their communities with neighborhood watches, security gates, and social events for residents.

This type of living is perfect for retirees who want to downsize, young couples just starting, or anyone who wants to live more simply and focus on experiences rather than material possessions. Overall, for anyone looking to cut back on their expenses, live minimally, and explore new places, a trailer/RV park might be the perfect fit.

The Pros & Cons of Living in a Trailer Park

I am aware that it might be challenging to juggle expenses, particularly housing costs and rental fees. Living in a trailer park is an excellent alternative if you’re trying to minimize costs. Based on our research, we have listed the pros and cons of living in a trailer park below:


  1. More Space – Mobile homes offer more space than conventional homes, and you don’t have to worry about getting a mortgage payment. You can own your mobile home and only have to pay for the lot rent and additional costs like property taxes. There is also the option for free camping at national forests and state parks.
  2. Cheaper Rent and Other Expenses – Living in a trailer park reduces living expenses to a great extent and helps you save more money.
  3. Excellent Retirement Options – For seniors searching for a cost-effective way to live on a fixed budget, trailer parks are a popular alternative. With trailer parks available across the United States, you can choose which is closer to your favorite grocery store or state park.
  4. Reduced Maintenance Costs – A manufactured home requires less maintenance than a stick-built home. This translates to fewer maintenance costs in the long run, and owners of mobile homes can tackle their repairs at a low cost.
  5. Flexibility – A trailer park is an affordable way to own property without the constraints of a traditional home. For instance, rent-to-own options enable you to pay for your house over time.


  1. Monthly Costs – Living in a trailer park can be cheaper but still associated with monthly costs. The lot rent and rental fees can add up over time, not to mention the additional costs like property taxes.
  2. Extra Costs – Some additional costs might be associated with owning a physical property in a trailer park. Maintenance costs of landscaping to make it more personalized, and the cost of utilities like power and water.
  3. Quality of Living – Living in a trailer park is only for some. If you prefer solitude, your privacy might be limited by neighbors in proximity. Also, some trailer parks shun traditional homes, challenging the property’s value for appreciation letters.
  4. Higher Interest Rates – A chattel loan is often required to finance a mobile home, which tends to come with higher interest rates. Also, the value of a mobile home is prone to depreciate, unlike traditional stick-built homes.
  5. Public Lands are Not for Everyone – Though National Parks and National Forests are great places for free camping, they may only be suitable for part-time RVers who require additional space or those who crave consistent social interaction.

How Does Living in a Trailer Park Save Money?

One of the finest methods to save money is to reside in a mobile home or trailer park. Let’s examine how long-term financial savings could result from this.

Rent vs. Buy

Many trailer parks offer both rental and buy-to-own options.

The rental fee usually includes the lot rent, which can range depending on location and amenities. If you’re buying a mobile home, you can choose between a personal or a chattel loan. In contrast to owning a typical house with a mortgage payment, owning a mobile home might be a terrific way to save money on living expenses.

  • Average price of a single-family home in the US: The median home price in the United States is $428,700
  • Average price to buy a mobile home in the US: New units average around $51,000
  • Average price to rent a mobile home in the US: the average monthly rent for manufactured homes in the United States was $593 U.S. dollars

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Free Things

Numerous trailer parks are next to public properties, such as national, state, and national forest parks, providing free or inexpensive camping choices.

This is a great way to enjoy nature and save money on entertainment expenses. Additionally, many mobile home communities offer amenities like pools, playgrounds, and community events included in your lot rent.

Extra Space and Flexibility

Living in a trailer park or owning a mobile home offers extra space, which could save you money on storage or rent for additional living areas. With the rent-to-own option, you can make changes and upgrades to your home more than living in a traditional house, which may require extensive permits and real estate fees.

How Cheap Is It to Live in a Trailer Park or RV Park?

The expenses of living in an RV or trailer park hinge on multiple aspects, like the location, available amenities, and the make and model of your vehicle. While the price will still depend on your situation, living in an RV or trailer park can be less expensive than renting a regular house or apartment.

The criteria listed below are essential in deciding how much it will cost you to live in a trailer park.

  1. Utilities – You could have to pay for things like sewage, water, and power, increasing your monthly costs. Some parks may include these costs in the monthly rent, while others may charge you separately.
  2. Amenities – Some trailer and RV parks offer laundry facilities, swimming pools, and recreational activities. These can increase the cost of living in the park, but they may also provide additional value and convenience.
  3. Maintenance fees – Some parks charge extra for landscaping, waste disposal, or snow clearance services. It’s essential to be aware of any maintenance fees that might be imposed before deciding on a park to live in.
  4. Size of the trailer – Additionally, the size of your RV or trailer may affect the rental expenses in a park. More oversized vehicles may require more space and could incur higher fees.

On average, it will be 50% cheaper to live in a mobile home compared to a standard single-family home. However, it is important to consider that mobile homes will depreciate in value like a vehicle as opposed to real estate which generally goes up in value.

So while you will save money monthly, you will not be growing an investment the way you would by owning a home.

What Are the Main Expenses Living in a Trailer Park?

Lot Rent and Monthly Payment

Lot rent is the monthly fee for the space your mobile home or travel trailer is placed on and can vary depending on the location of the trailer park. Lot rent is usually much cheaper compared to the monthly mortgage payment for a traditional home. If you want to rent the property instead of buying, the rental fees can vary according to location, but it’s cheaper than stick-built homes.

Based on current mobile home listings, below are some states and their mobile home lot rent per month:

  • Kansas: $200
  • South Carolina: $200
  • Pennsylvania: $330
  • Florida: $400
  • Nevada: $450
  • Washington: $450
  • California: $600

Maintenance Costs

You are responsible for your personal property with your mobile home or travel trailer. However, the trailer park owner is responsible for building exterior maintenance, so you won’t have to worry about additional maintenance fees.

Property Taxes

Because mobile homes are not considered real estate, you only have to pay personal property taxes, typically much lower than real estate property taxes. This helps you save money on your overall property taxes.

If, however, you own the land the mobile home is parked on, you would pay both personal property taxes on the mobile home and property taxes on the land.

All that being said, some states specify the landowner (whoever owns the trailer park) to be responsible for the property tax, but in other states, the homeowner (you) are responsible.

So check with the trailer park or your state before making a decision.

Cost of Living

Living in a trailer park can be an excellent option for many retired people living on a fixed income like social security. A free camping experience in public lands, national forests, or state parks can also save you a lot of money on the cost of living. Besides, living in a trailer park can offer you many more amenities, from laundry services to swimming pools, that can come with campground fees or included in the monthly rates.

Chattel Loans

You’ll need financing if you can’t pay cash to buy a mobile home.

It’s possible to obtain a personal loan, but the interest rates are usually higher, and your personal property will back your loan. Chattel loans may be the best option for you.

A chattel mortgage is a type of loan that is secured by personal property that can be moved, like a car, certain kinds of machinery, or a mobile home. This means that what you are buying, known as “chattel,” will be collateral for the loan.

They can be acquired through mobile home dealers, and the rates are relatively similar to other types of financing.

Is Living in a Trailer Park Cheaper Than Renting an Apartment?

Let’s go deeper into the statistics.

  • Average rent on a 2-bedroom apartment in the US: the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the United States is $1,320 U.S. dollars
  • Average price to buy a mobile home in the US: New units average around $51,000
  • Average price to rent a mobile home in the US: the average monthly rent for manufactured homes in the United States was $593 U.S. dollars


So clearly, residing in a mobile home park or other comparable neighborhood might be an ideal way to cut costs. If you can’t pay cash for your mobile home, there are chattel loans to explore.

In addition to the initial cost savings, living in a mobile home means you’ll have much lower maintenance costs than a traditional house or apartment. Since you own your personal property, you’re responsible for maintaining it, but this still comes out to less than you’d pay for repairs and upkeep on a stick-built home.

Plus, many mobile home communities have amenities like swimming pools or free camping options, giving you the bonus of enjoying public lands and national parks for a fraction of the cost of traditional housing.

Of course, there are some additional factors to consider regarding mobile home living, such as the higher interest rates if you take out a personal loan to purchase your mobile home.

The free things may not always be worth it, so weigh the extra space and convenience accordingly. Also, some parks charge more for lot rent, rent-to-own option, utilities, and additional fees for campground amenities.

Location will also play a significant factor in your final cost of living. With lower monthly payments, reduced maintenance costs, and the bonus of enjoying nature through public lands and national forests, it’s worth taking a closer look.

If you want to learn more about the exact cost of living in a trailer park, check out my recent article and get all the necessary information.

Do You Have to Buy a Mobile Home to Live in a Trailer Park?

You can rent a lot in a mobile home park and either put a mobile home or travel trailer that you buy on it, or just rent a travel trailer or manufactured home from someone else.

So both are options depending on how much money you have.

And with renting, you can steer clear of worrying about the extra costs associated with owning a mobile home while still taking advantage of living in a trailer park, such as lower lot rent and taxes.

Another option, if you own an RV, is to explore free camping on public lands, like national forests and state parks.

While this won’t offer you all the perks of a mobile home park, you can still enjoy the great outdoors and save on rental fees. Plus, you can always look into renting a travel trailer or purchasing a used one for extra space and comfort.

Is There a Social Stigma Living in a Trailer Park?

Living in a trailer park or mobile home community can significantly reduce expenses.

Still, there is no denying that there may be a social stigma attached to such living. Most people assume that everyone living in a trailer park struggles financially or belongs to low social status.

And there’s also no denying that some mobile home communities are quite run down and look trashy where there seem to be no standards or level of care about the appearance of the community.

But those stigmas aren’t true of every community and of every person who chooses to live this way.

For example, many retirees downsize and move into a trailer park or mobile home community to save money or be closer to family. Some people work seasonal jobs or jobs that require travel and find that living in a travel trailer is the cheapest way to have a home base while traveling.

Full-time RVers also choose to live in trailer parks or mobile home communities because they offer affordable monthly rates and often have extra space for larger RVs.

The good news is that many great options exist for living in a trailer park or mobile home community. Different parks and communities throughout the United States have different price ranges and amenities.

Some parks near national or state parks offer beautiful natural surroundings and free things to do. Some parks provide free camping or rent-to-own options, making owning your mobile home even more accessible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why would someone want to live in a trailer park?

Living in a trailer park can be a choice for a variety of reasons.

One of the most common reasons is affordability. Trailer parks often offer lower rent or mortgage payments than traditional housing options, which can be particularly attractive to those on a tight budget. For some people, the lifestyle and sense of community that comes with living in a trailer park is also appealing.

Many trailer parks have a tight-knit community, with residents often gathering for social events, cookouts, and other activities.

Additionally, living in a trailer park can offer a certain degree of freedom and mobility.

Since trailers are typically smaller and easier to maintain than traditional homes, they can be more easily moved from one location to another. This can be particularly appealing to those who enjoy traveling or who have jobs that require frequent relocation.

Of course, living in a trailer park also comes with its challenges.

There can be issues with space and privacy, as well as potential maintenance concerns. However, for those who value affordability, community, and mobility, living in a trailer park can be an attractive option.

Are mobile home communities expensive?

The cost of living in a mobile home community can vary depending on several factors, including location, amenities, and whether you choose to buy or rent a mobile home.

In general, buying a mobile home can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000, with an average price of around $68,000.

Renting a lot in a trailer park can cost between $200 and $800 per month, with the average price around $400. Renting both a mobile home and a lot can cost between $500 and $1,500 per month, with an average price of around $900.

In a trailer park, the tenant is typically responsible for paying utilities such as electricity, water, and gas, while the park owner pays for property taxes and maintenance costs. It’s also worth noting that while many trailer parks cater to mobile homes, some also allow RVs, although restrictions may apply.

Overall, living in a mobile home community can be an affordable option, particularly for those on a tight budget or who value the sense of community and mobility that comes with living in a trailer park. However, it’s important to carefully consider the costs and benefits before making a decision.

5 Biggest Lies About Manufactured (Mobile) Homes


Living in a trailer or RV park could be an excellent option to decrease costs and save money. There are plenty of great options for those willing to take a closer look at mobile home communities or other such housing arrangements.

There are many options for full-time RVers, and the price of renting a site at a campground compared to paying a monthly rental charge can significantly affect your living expenditures. Consider the overall cost (including interest rates) before signing the dotted line.

Sometimes, a chattel or personal loan might be the best choice for financing a mobile home or trailer purchase. All things considered, residing in an RV or trailer park can be a great way to save money and own property.

Image by Christina Al from Pixabay

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