How to qualify for an RV loan

Buying a recreational vehicle, also known as an RV, is a big expense, which ranges from $35,000 to $1 million or more. Many people turn to RV loans to help finance such a large purchase.

Available from online lenders, banks, credit unions, and even some RV dealerships, the RV loan application process is similar to applying for a car loan. However, RV loans provide larger sums of money than typical auto loans, and qualification requirements are often slightly more complex.

What you need to know before getting an RV loan

RV loans are a type of long-term financing used for the purchase of a motorhome, trailer or trailer. Although not car loans, RV loans have similar characteristics. Like an auto loan, for example, the vehicle is used as collateral for the loan.

“An RV loan is generally a simple interest loan, similar to an auto loan, usually with longer terms,” ​​said Scott Greene, marine and RV loan manager for Truist.

Typically, RV loans offer repayment terms of one to 15 years, but some lenders may even offer repayment terms of up to 20 years. However, borrowers who can afford to make higher payments can opt for shorter terms.

Before you apply for an RV loan, you need to know how much money you want to borrow and generally have identified the RV you’re looking to buy, Greene said.

What you need to qualify for an RV loan

Since RVs are considered luxury items and involve lending a large sum of money, the requirements for RV loans are generally strict, often similar to those required for a mortgage.

“To qualify for an RV loan, a borrower generally needs a continuing source of income and a good credit history, usually including proof of satisfactory repayment of a size and type similar debt burdens,” said Michael Lax, executive vice president and head of marine RV. sales for Bank of the West.

Credit score

As with any type of consumer loan, a strong credit rating is an important part of your qualifications. Lenders use credit scores to assess your level of credit risk or the likelihood of repaying the loan. Credit scores in the mid-700s or above generally warrant the best rates.

“Most lenders require a FICO score of 680 and above. However, some specialty lenders will allow FICO scores below 680,” Lax said.

Before you start your application, check your credit reports with all three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and Transunion – so you know your score in advance. This way, you can take all necessary steps to improve it. A free copy of your tri-bureau credit report is available once every 12 months on


When you apply for an RV loan, you’ll need proof of enough income to pay off the monthly loan installments and all of your other existing debts, Greene said.

“Consumers should also understand additional RV expenses that are not included in the monthly RV loan payment,” Greene said. “For example; additional fuel costs, bodily injury insurance and storage costs – if not at home.

While the ability to afford these additional costs is not part of a lender’s considerations during the application review process, it is important to understand the full scope of expenses when determining if you can afford a vehicle. recreational.

Use the Bankrate Personal Loan Calculator to help you figure out how much you can reasonably afford.

credit history

While credit history requirements may vary from lender to lender, it’s important to have a solid history of borrowing and paying down your debts responsibly.

Lightstream, for example, searches multiple years of credit history and credit history with different account types. This can include major credit cards, installment debt, and mortgage debt, if applicable. A good payment history with few defaults or difficulty repaying debt is also important.

Lender specific requirements

Additional application requirements generally vary by lender and are unique to each lender. Since RV loan applications tend to be more stringent, some lenders require detailed tax returns, financial statements, and credit history.

“Some lenders may require proof of income, proof of assets, proof of residency or how the RV will be used,” Greene said.

How to apply for an RV loan

RV loans are available from banks, online lenders and even RV dealerships. To apply, you must complete an application, which will be reviewed and assessed by the lender. It’s a good idea to get quotes from multiple lenders to ensure you get the best interest rate, loan terms, and repayment term for your needs.

“If you’re buying from a dealership, it’s best to work with the dealership that has access to multiple lenders and can match you with the right lender for your particular situation,” Lax said.

If you’re working directly with a lender, you can sometimes request and get pre-approved for financing before you buy your RV so you know how much money you can spend.

Once you have chosen the RV you wish to purchase and have completed the loan approval process, you sign a loan agreement outlining the terms of the loan. Depending on the lender, the funds can be deposited into your account the very next day.

At the end of the line

Whether you’re buying a new or used RV, many lenders offer financing. But getting approved can be as complex as applying for a home loan, so determine in advance exactly how much you need to borrow and that you have the income and credit score to support a successful application. It’s also a good idea to shop around with several lenders to get the best deal for your needs.

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