Fractional RV Ownership Assures The Best Comfort and Luxury
By Carla Land & Logan Hawkes
In spite of spiraling fuel pump prices, RV travel remains the best vacation bargain for American families and retirees anywhere in the world.
This is not exactly breaking news. RV industry proponents and marketers, campground owners and recreational vehicle dealers have been telling you this for years. And statistics tend to support the claim as nothing short of accurate.
But in spite of RVing's spiraling popularity, many Americans have failed to "take the RV plunge" for two primary reasons: First, all but the overly large and most expensive RVs are limited in luxury and space. Secondly, the overly large and most expensive RVs are -- well, expensive.
In response to the first, it's true that just about all RVs, whether it be motor coach or fifth wheel, offer plenty of home-style amenities. You've got your televisions, kitchens, bathrooms, beds, sofa, easy chairs - everything you could want, and more than you would get in an average motel or hotel room.
So maybe the TV is a little smaller. And the bed. The kitchen may not be as versatile or well equipped as the one at home. The bathroom is certainly smaller. But -- and this brings us to point number two above -- you can spend the big bucks and get yourself a luxury RV with bigger TVs, bigger beds, bigger bathrooms and full-sized kitchens. But alas - it takes money.
So if you've been thinking about getting into the RV world but are struggling with size versus cost, you may find the following information of value.
Many Americans are discovering they can have their cake and eat it too through an emerging system known as fractional ownership, a method of RV purchase that is gaining popularity among buyers.
Yes, time shares for condos and vacation homes and fractional ownership of sport boats and sailing yachts have been more or less common the last few decades. But the concept of part time ownership, while nothing new, is just taking hold in the RV industry where Americans are demanding larger, more luxurious motor coaches of comfort but unwilling to pay the million-plus dollars to own one on their own.
It's no surprise that the fractional ownership concept would eventually arrive within the RV industry. The arguments for fractional RV ownership are many and valid.
If you prefer the style and comfort of a Monaco Class A Motor coach over yesterdays simpler RV model but don't have half a million plus to buy one, you can still cruise in style like Bill Gates or Paul Newman. Fractional RV ownership is making that possible.
After all, who wouldn't prefer to hit the road in the ultimate high-tech motor coach equipped with such luxuries as flat screen televisions, Jacuzzis, posh roomy bedrooms and satellite computer & television service; not to mention the quality of interior design including recessed lighting, fine wood furniture, even marble floors and a chandelier? With fractional ownership. there is a broad range of ownership options available to fit individual tastes and pocketbooks. Fractional RV ownership is opening the way for many to enjoy a plush RV lifestyle who otherwise couldn't handle the financial strain.
Out of the 30 million RV users in the United States only a few million are full-time RVers. Often these fulltimers are in a financial position to buy the best on their own. A few have even sold their second homes in order to invest in a luxury motor coach.
But with a fractional ownership option available, the part-time RV market now has the chance to upgrade to the better, more expensive models, a move some experts are predicting will increase luxury motor coach sales in the years ahead.
Fractional ownership does have some limitations, like not being able to park the buggy in the driveway and use it on the spur of the moment for spontaneous road trips or family visits. But a lot of potential RV owners live in areas where they can't easily park or store an overly large luxury coach anyway. Even if storage is available, it is generally expensive.
In addition, most part time RVers only use their RVs two-three weeks out of each year, meaning the coach is sitting idle for long periods of time, requiring upkeep and attention. Then there's the issue of the cost of insurance to consider.
The arguments in favor of an RV lifestyle are undeniable, especially now that RV campgrounds and resorts are going hi-tech with facilities and amenities and offering more and more to the RVing community. Even the five-star hotel crowd is beginning to see the advantages of modern RVing without having to give up the luxury and comfort.
There's the added benefit of meeting other RVers with similar interests. Hi-tech campgrounds often offer style and comfort including such extras as WIFI service and amenities like sports facilities, clubhouses, golf courses, lakes, pools, Jacuzzis and even spas. And their locations are generally among the most beautiful places you can imagine. You can even purchase time share RV lots in some luxury resorts, ensuring your RV space whatever time of year you want it -- again, without spending the big bucks.
The Bottom Line
The cost of fractional ownership for a luxury land yacht can save you up to 75% of the cost of a normal, mid-size motor coach. But before you leap, you must first decide what kind of RV you want and how much time each year you would like to use it.
For example, most fractional ownership companies have ownership divided into shares. A quarter share would entitle you to 12 weeks of use each year while a one-twelfth share would equal five weeks of use per year. These specialty companies then match your preferences with other interested part time owners, and a group would form -- an LLC or partnership. The company usually takes care of all the paperwork for the owners and makes the process as easy as possible from start to finish.
Services offered by these "fractional ownership" companies vary greatly, so check carefully before deciding which one to use. Overall, they make the whole experience carefree. But check with each company about their extended customer service policies and inquire about any additional fees for those services. Generally, these companies take care of all maintenance, insurance or mechanical problems with the coach. It's part of the price. And most deliver the motor coach to you ready to roll when it's your turn to use it. How easy can it be?
One company, CoachShare, advertises that they make sure everything is perfect for you, right down to the last detail.
"We monogram your sheets and towels, set them up in the coach before each trip and launder them afterwards. Your coach includes upscale amenities such as satellite radio, satellite TV, home theater system with surround sound, fine dinnerware, glassware, cookware, barbecue grill, outdoor furniture, and more. We can even stock your refrigerator with your favorite foods and beverages to make your trip more enjoyable," says a COACHSHARE rep. Now that's service for the rich and famous!
Many fractional ownership specialty firms create the legal LLC papers for owners for a specified three year period at the end of which the motor coach is placed on the market and usually sells for about half the current retail value of the model. The proceeds are then equally divided between the fractional owners who have a chance to invest in a newer model or to simply cash out. There are also opportunities to trade shares within your contract period or to sell out.
As with all financial decisions of this nature, do your research on the company you are considering and seek the advice from your own legal counsel. Make sure the company you are dealing with has a solid business history and experience in dealing with fractional ownership.
Most of all -- have fun making luxury RV ownership carefree. Create some lifetime memories in a luxury motor coach!
Resources for Fractional Ownership Companies: