We arrived at Canyon Vistas +55 RV Resort, adjacent to Superstition Views, in Gold Canyon today. We decided to add this to our itinerary when we were offered one week free, just for visiting. This is actually two adjoining Cal-Am complexes. The first you encounter is Canyon Vistas, which offers just over 600 traditional RV sites and Park Model homes. Adjacent, and attached, is Superstition Views at Canyon Vistas. But what makes Superstition Views different is their sale of manufactured homes for the active RV’er and their motor home.
Superstition Views at Canyon Vistas
These 600-800 square foot Santa Fe style, manufactured homes can be customized to include carports, garages, additional bedrooms and/or baths, and RV ports or garages. When you look at the homes from outside you don’t suspect that they are manufactured homes. But they are. They are personal property, not real estate. You are leasing the land that they are placed on, though the salesmen preferred to call this $550/month fee, an activities or amenities fee rather than land rent.
Superstition Views Construction
What I found most interesting was the “construction process”:
1. Start with one of their 11 standard floor plans and customize away. Change the laundry closet to an office closet with built-in bookcases. Want to add a motor home garage with roof top deck? What about an additional bedroom, art studio, office or bath? Want to customize the interior package to include granite? Do you need to add 4 garages for restoring your antique cars? How about a summer kitchen? No problem.
2. Next, have the manufactured model home delivered to the site, with the interior customizations that you selected.
3. Once on site, they will build a “skirt”, think mini foundation below the home and tie the frame and house down to that foundation. Electric and plumbing runs under the house. After inspection, dirt is moved back up to the exterior skirting so that house is at ground level. Grate access panels are hidden in the front landscaping or brick patio as well as at the rear of the home for future maintenance needs.
4. At this point they pour cement for car ports, garages, RV ports or garages, etc. These are all built on site by the Cal-Am construction crew using conventional 2 x 6 frame building techniques.
5. They then cover the entire structure, manufactured house and site-built, with tar paper, additional insulation, chicken wire and stucco. Exterior paint and landscaping is then completed.
You end up with a highly customized, part manufactured – part site-built home that may be an ideal second home or your primary home when you are no longer willing, or able, to be full-time RVer’s. As we drove around the property which includes 150 sites, it was hard to find two that looked identical. Yes, there is a consistent style, but the variety of creative additions and customizations was quite impressive. You certainly can’t tell the difference between the manufactured section of the structure and the site built portion.
Superstition Views Investment
As you might expect there is also a great deal of variation in the investment these homeowners have made. The base 600 square foot unit, with standard finishes, is now $92,900. They are also advertising a base unit with carport and RV Pad with hookups for $99,900. They also offer a house with upgraded features (e.g. granite, tile surround, etc), carport and RV port with hook ups and roof top deck for $159,900. However, the salesperson that showed us around explained that at least two of the homes topped the $220,000 mark after the owner added garages, additional bedrooms, etc.
We were told this portion of the community opened in 2012 expected build out in five years. At this time just under 1/3 of the total available sites are still for sale, but the salesperson we spoke to was encouraged by the pace of activity he is seeing. Of course, he is a salesman, I am only reporting what we were told.
Benefits of Port-Model Homes
As we tour the facility, there may be many attractive features to these sort of communities for those that no longer want to be full-time RVer’s. You have a small home base that is easy to maintain and always have your RV handy. Since your motor home is in it’s own RV port or garage it is handy, for out-of-town guests (a spare guest suite, so to speak). And the ability to customize requires less compromise. However the land rent, aka activities fee, seems a bit steep to me and will likely go up over time. Perhaps there are trade-offs that I can’t fully appreciate given I have only owned homes and their accompanying land in the past. But it has given me something to think about when we are down the road a bit.