Financing A Camper: How Long Are RV Loans?
How long can you finance an RV? The answer is pretty much the same for campers, trailers, fifth wheels, and motorhomes. It depends on a multitude of variables, but the general answer is 20 years.
What are the exceptions?
Now, having said that, let’s look at the exceptions that define the rule. First, each lender sets their own policies and guidelines. Your local bank would probably restrict a camper loan to just five or seven years. However, there are many firms that specialize in RV and boat loans who have extended terms. But even these specialized lenders may constrain their loan term by the total loan amount or other variables such as the age of the RV or camper. Generally, a small loan amount may have a shorter term, and a larger loan amount may have longer terms.
Different factors and policies
Some of these specialized lenders will only finance loans over $50,000, but there are some like Southeast Financial that will underwrite smaller loans and still allow a maximum term of 240 months (20 years). The lenders also have policies regarding the age of the camper or RV they will finance and the condition of the RV since most RV loans are collateralized with the purchased vehicle. Again, Southeast Financial is the exception; they will finance campers that are twelve years old or newer when most RV lenders limit the age of the RV to 10 years or newer.
Your vehicle may require an RV inspection
If your camper or RV is used, the lender might require an inspection, which could limit your lending options. The loan term may also be reduced to five or ten years based on the vehicle’s condition or age. When buying from a dealer, an RV inspection is usually not required as dealers have good relationships with lenders.
The lenders trust the dealer to inspect the camper and service all the systems that need repair, so an inspection is not needed. On the other hand, you might want to purchase an RV from a private party, and if you find a camper or RV you like, the lender will probably require an inspection to be sure there are no hidden defects that could undermine the value or functionality of your new acquisition.
Other considerations for RV financing
In addition to the type of RV, the age, and the condition of the vehicle you wish to finance, there are other considerations that each lending organization uses to determine the interest rate and the term of any specific loan. As stated earlier, each lender sets their own policies, so being denied a loan from one lender doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t find financing for your new camper. The other major consideration, other than the vehicle to be financed, is the creditworthiness of the borrower(s).
Again, all lending institutions set their own policies. Some lenders will lend to full-time RVers, but they restrict the loan term and require a pretty high FICO score.
Good Sam is an example of a lender that will underwrite a full-time RV purchase.
In the recreational use category, if your camper loan has a small dollar value, Good Sam restricts the term to either 12 or 15 years, and their policy is to charge a higher interest rate for the longer-term loans. Like Southeast Financial, Good Sam will finance campers and RVs as old as 12 years, and their interest rates for new and used campers are the same.
They have a interest rate chart on their website. But those published rates are predicated on your creditworthiness, which is a combination of many factors, including a verifiable income, acceptable debt-to-income ratio, a good FICO score, and no negative entries on your credit report like missed payments, bankruptcies, or repossessions.
If you and your spouse are applying for a camper loan, the creditworthiness of both of you will be considered. But even if your creditworthiness disqualifies you for a loan from Good Sam or some other lender, that doesn’t mean you can’t finance your camper. There are many RV lenders other than Good Sam or Southeast Financial.
Finance a camper with National Vehicle
To finance a camper purchase, you can either shop for your own financing or use a dealer’s lenders. If you prefer buying from a private seller for better pricing, National Vehicle can assist you. They help with negotiations, long-distance transactions, financing, vehicle inspections, fund transfers, and delivery arrangements.
How long can you finance a camper? If the lender is Southeast Financial, you can finance even a low-dollar loan for up to 240 months. But if the lender is Good Sam and the dollar amount is under $50,000, the maximum loan term is 15 years. If a Good Sam loan for your new camper is less than $25,000, then the longest loan term is only 12 years. But these are just two of many lending options.
If you have a low-dollar loan and need a 20-year loan but don’t want to finance through Southeast Financial, keep looking or let the people at your local dealer or National Vehicle help you find the exact type of loan you need. Every lender sets their own policies, and there is bound to be a perfect fit for you, your vehicle, and your creditworthiness.
- National Vehicle helps people buy and sell used RVs. Part of their service is helping buyers secure financing and to safely complete the transaction.
- RVTrader gives RV buyers access to a huge database of RVs for sale. They also provide useful information about financing and provide a link to a well-known vendor.
- LendingTree – This financial resource claims to fund 99% of all applicants.
- The Balance – This article will get you started in your search for financing for your camper. Here are the lenders they recommend:
- Best Overall: GreatRVLoan
- Runner-Up, Best Overall: Alliant Credit Union
- Best for Good Credit: Bank of the West
- Best for Bad Credit: My Financing USA
- Best for a Used RV: Southeast Financial Credit Union
- Best for an RV as Primary Residence: Good Sam
- Best for Quick Funding: LightStream
- Best for a Large Motorhome Loan: SunTrust
Get tips from other RVers
Forums such as iRV2.com and blog sites like RV LIFE, Do It Yourself RV, and Camper Report provide all the information you need to enjoy your RV. You’ll also find brand-specific information on additional forums like Air Forums, Forest River Forums, and Jayco Owners Forum.
Peggy Dent is an author, writer, and full-time RVer, traveling around the US and Canada. She’s traveled more than 130,000 miles in a motorhome, over the past 20 years, and is currently writing for the RV industry. You can contact her through her website at www.APenInYourHand.com