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What you need to know about RV financing

Posted on Tuesday, Apr 30, 2013

According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), RV ownership has reached a new peak in spite of high gas prices. The University of Michigan study showed that 8.9 million American families now own recreational vehicles, up from 7.9 million in 2005. If you've been wanting to join the millions of Americans who enjoy their free-wheeling RV vacations, you can, as long as you obtain RV financing.

Before you go out and fall in love with a particular recreational vehicle, do your homework about RV financing. When you're well prepared, you're more likely to get a good deal and avoid buyer's remorse. Vacation is for relaxing, after all. Here's what it takes to secure RV financing.

Good Credit
Recreational vehicles are luxury items, so you're going to need good credit in order to qualify for a loan. If you're unsure about the state of your credit, order a credit report from each of the major credit reporting agencies. Consumers are entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the agencies. If there are mistakes on your credit report, correct them before you apply for RV financing.

Shopping Around
Like auto dealerships, RV dealerships offer their own financing options, but before you automatically sign up for their loan, be a good consumer and shop around. You will likely find the lowest rates at credit unions, which are non-profit organizations. Some RV owners have learned the hard way that they could have gotten a much lower interest rate if they'd been more careful. A high interest rate can cost you thousands of dollars over the life of an RV loan.

Applying for Financing
After you've shopped around and found the best interest rate and lowest fees on RV financing, you will apply for the loan. The loan application for an RV is more stringent that the application for a regular auto loan because you have to fill out a personal financial statement. In most cases, borrowers already have other loans, such as auto or mortgage loans, so lenders want proof that you can afford this additional financial obligation.

Once you have secured your RV financing, the fun begins. Don't let your guard down, however, just because you have an approved loan. Do your homework about specific RV models and their market values. Be financially wise, and you'll feel much more relaxed as you vacation from coast to coast.

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