By Austin Rucker, Midland Editor
Prior to Midland, my experience with trailer homes (or their upscale name, motor homes) came from working door to door sales where a guy once invited me into his motor home and played Online Poker while pointing out the best billet you could get would be a Warrant Officer in the Army since you get to fly, and “it’s cool, it’s chill, everybody calls you ‘Chief’ “. Then he spat some tobacco into his coke bottle. I don’t even recall if he signed up for cable and phone service, but he had a relaxed, low key trailer home existence and that stuck with me. Hs blood pressure at age 60 was probably lower than mine.
Contrast this to Midland, where you see BMW sports cars in the RV motorhome park. Here you find this 2015 Ford F450 Platinum, a $100K Montana Big Sky and a Jeep Wrangler of equal or lesser value cozy in an RV park with quick access to the open spaces and Horned Toads as only Midland can offer. It really puts the M-streets (the Conservation District!) in Dallas to shame. Many folks in Highland Park wish they had it this good.
I had to talk to the owner of this luxury get up, had to. Using my skills acquired in the door to door sales industry, I walked up, said hi, we shook hands. I had to know, being a transplant from Dallas, why he had a set up a mobile house instead of just buying some Midland dirt?
While he chose not to be identified, he provided valuable insight for my anthropological exploration.
When he and his family moved out here in 2014, the housing market was incredibly expensive. Crazy expensive. For those readers who do not know, the fracking boom sent housing prices through the roof. In 2009, Midland housing was pretty cheap compared to the rest of Texas. But starting in 2013, the folk tale around town is the fellow who rented his couch, just the couch, for $500 a month. You couldn’t get a room at the Doubletree downtown for less than $500 a night IF you could get one. People were staying in hotels before they were finished, and taking home occupancy as soon as the sheet rock was up.
Even now, rent is substantially higher than it used to be. Houses are still expensive and the vast fields of unused equipment waiting in the shade indicate that everyone is just biding their time before A) oil and gas comes back yet again and B) the housing market explodes.
So, instead of getting ripped off in the housing market, you park your Beamer at an RV park in front of a Class A RV. In this case, a drilling specialist who, like my brother, used to commute between Dallas and Midland, chose to simply sell his Dallas house and move out to the Permian Basin. At a time when a two bedroom apartment goes for $1300 a month, it makes more financial sense to just pay a few hundred for a hitch at the trailer park, and have a place that is all your own.
As far as security, it is definitely on-site, private and substantial: almost every RV owner in the park has a cache of guns.
For those of you, like me, who know nothing about trailer hitches, take note. Just like any other rental, or the condo-unit term of ‘a box of air,’ ownership applies to the property rights of a trailer park with metes and bounds precision. There is a set delineated boundary that is rented, and this for all intents and purposes belongs to the renter. So, unlike the luxury apartments in Uptown Dallas, you actually get a yard, instead of a small communal field.
The interviewee has no plans to buy a house, he’s got everything he needs.
“It’s just more convenient” he says.
If things change, he can just hook his fancy trailer to his totally boss pickup truck and roll out. And it is totally boss, since, as he says, “I’ve always bought the best of anything.”
When you think about the number of houses in Dallas that were underwater on their mortgages, and the constant hammer swinging as luxury apartment after luxury apartment goes up, the independence of an RV affords starts to make sense. When you buy an RV, you get the dwelling, at the material cost of the dwelling. There’s no mark up for location, and the only real question is, “50 amp or 30 amp?”
My Midland RV resident used to have a lake house on Texoma. He was quite popular! Now, with most close relatives living way up north, and the somewhat honest assessment that nobody is likely to visit in Midland, the size of an RV makes sense. Plus, unlike a house, which would at best get you a three/two with aluminum electrical wiring and a lead paint disclosure notice, everything in his RV is totally top technology for about the same price. You now get better energy efficiency from a top-tier trailer home than even the most modest tiny house. There have been leaps and bounds in RV technology: windows are more sound proof, with U-factors at a point where a modern energy efficient 2 pane window is literally better insulated than a brick wall. The plumbing is easier to get to, there are even fireplaces and basements. Some of these pups are 45 feet long, the width of some Park Cities lots! Also, in a trailer park, there’s none of the snobbishness you find with HOA’s and their ever-vigilant boards. Prices start at $75,000 and head north to the millions for a Class A motorhome:
Class A RVs can be as long as 45 feet. With all of this space inside, they’re usually equipped with a rear master suite including a full bathroom with a glass-enclosed shower. The water closet may be in its own separate room, and there’s probably a washer/dryer unit on board to handle the laundry.
Today’s Class A motorhomes tend to have multiple slideouts. Some can expand to a width of over 14 feet. Large flat screen HDTV’s, surround sound systems, even dishwashers and ice machines are common options. The list of upgrades and options is almost endless.
Basement storage can swallow enough supplies to keep you on the road permanently. These are great traveling machines that let you drive comfortably all day and sleep comfortably all night so you can get up the next morning to do it all over again.
The RV motorhome park makes a whole lot more sense for a temporary home that could just become permanent… or simply take you to a new view when you tire of the old.