Affordable Adventures: How to Finance a Used RV

Starting the RV shopping process? If you’re like many, you’ve Isley found that used RVs are the way to go, but that leaves many wondering whether financing a used RV is possible. 

The answer is yes, you can take out a loan for a used RV ! In fact, there’s an entire segment of the banking and finance industry that specializes in used RV financing. That said, in most cases, the terms and limitations that come along with used RV financing are quite different from those used for new RV loans. 

The information below should help you get an understanding of what to expect and a loan broker — such as the folks here at National Vehicle — can help you navigate used RV financing even more easily. 

Age and Mile Limitation on Used RVs

Most RV lenders will only offer used RV financing on vehicles that are 10 years old or newer.  Gas motorhomes generally have a mileage limit of 60,000 miles and diesel engines have a mileage limit of 100,000 miles.  

Is this a hard and fast rule across the entire industry? No. Good Sam underwrites RVs that are 11 or 12 years old, but they charge an extra .25% higher interest rate for older vehicles. Alliance and GreatRVLoans will finance some RVs up to 15 years old, but the majority of RV lenders prefer to underwrite 10 year or newer RVs.

rv trailer at sunset

The RV lifestyle offers excitement and fun for everyone.

vintage trailer

Some RV lenders will only loan on vehicles that are no older than 10 years old.

Even the interior features of an RV will be considered when applying for a loan.

An RV with a for sale sign on the ladder

Loans are also available if you want to purchase a used RV from a private party.

Lenders Need to Balance Risk and Rewards

The bottom line is that every lender must balance their risk against the potential future income they hope to gain from a loan. The greater the risk the more income they need to generate to offset the risk. This leads to the aforementioned limitations on used RV financing, but it could mean other things as well. 

To balance their risk and generate more income on used RV financing, lenders may require a larger down payment (so the borrower has “more skin in the game”) or the lender may raise the interest rate and/or restrict the term (number of months) of the loan.

All RV Features are Considered, Not Just Age

Age isn’t the only thing lenders look at when you apply for used RV financing. All features are considered when evaluating a loan application. The RV’s brand, type, size, intended usage, and location, will all be looked into. 

Because all factors are considered when financing a used RV, an inexpensive truck camper or pop-up trailer will qualify for one type of loan while an expensive van conversion or motorhome will qualify for a different loan. Lenders even apply different risks based on the manufacturer and the brand.

Loan Approval or Rejection Hinges on the Borrower’s Creditworthiness

Another thing that comes into play when you apply for used RV financing? The use of the RV and the creditworthiness of the borrower(s) will also weigh heavily in a lender’s decisions about the terms and interest rates of a loan.  

Lenders will use the financed RV as collateral, but (like cars) RVs depreciate rapidly, so lenders need to be sure the borrower(s) can repay the loan within the specified term. Therefore, the creditworthiness of the borrower will greatly impact the loan’s approval and the terms of the loan such as the RV loan rates

That creditworthiness is determined by the borrower’s credit history, credit score, debt to income ratio, income, previous bankruptcy, payment history, collateral, and unverifiable income.

Full-Time Use vs Weekend Warrior

Another factor that could challenge your ability to secure used RV financing is your intended use of the RV. If you just want to use it intermittently you stand a much better chance of obtaining a loan.  

You see, there are very few RV lenders that will underwrite an RV loan purchased for full-time use. The wear and tear on the RV is greater for full-timers so the RV will depreciate faster. Additionally, most full-time RV’s do not have a permanent address and without a permanent address, a lender could have difficulty reclaiming their collateral if the loan goes into default. 

Because of these factors, the risk for underwriting full-time RVers makes the potential risk to reward ratio too lopsided and most RV lenders chose not to take on that risk.

Some Lenders will Underwrite Full-Timers

Fortunately for the full timers out there, there are a few lenders — Good Sam being one of them —  who will underwrite a used RV loan for full-time use. That said, required down payment, loan term, and interest rates, will reflect that use. Additionally, the lender will likely require a much higher credit score and a near perfect credit history. They may also require additional collateral to secure the loan.

Don’t Be Deceptive as It Could Cost You

Many people who want to use their newly financed RV as a full-time residence will try to circumvent these requirements by using a relative’s address as their permanent address or by obtaining the RV loan before they sell their home. 

I strongly advise against these practices. You might qualify for a loan under these conditions, but it’s deceptive, and if the lender becomes aware of the deception, it could negate the loan, requiring an immediate pay-off or the reclamation of the asset.

Use a Loan Broker

As we mentioned above, a loan broker can make the entire used RV financing process go smoothly, so you can get on the road more quickly. National Vehicle offers these services — among many others — and would be thrilled to help you secure a loan on the RV of your dreams!

Do some shopping and find the perfect RV for your needs within the National Vehicle inventory. There are always a host of rigs to choose from and inventory rotates regularly. Once you find something, simply ask their staff to help you find the right RV financing.  

Do Your Own Loan Research

Want to purchase a used RV from a private party? If so, you’ll need to do your own shopping for financing and you’ll need to do your own research.

Most lenders like the ones listed below, have useful information on their websites.  There you can find information about loan restrictions, terms, interest rates, down payments, and monthly fees, without actually applying for a loan.

Start Loan Research Early in the RV Shopping Process

Doing some loan research at the beginning of your RV search will help you understand how much money you will need for the down payment and how much the monthly payments could be on various loan amounts. This will clarify how much you can spend on an RV and still stay within your budget.

Then once you have a target RV in mind, you can apply for a loan from one or more of these lenders but be aware that when you apply for a loan, each application may have a negative impact on your credit score.  If your credit score is teetering on the brink of Excellent vs Very Good, then multiple applications could push your score down to the lower category.  

Because this can have such a big impact, it might be wise to ask for help from professionals like National Vehicle.

Good Loan Research Should Always Inform Your Financing Decisions

Used RV loans are available, but many variables will impact the down payment, terms, and interest rates. Therefore, you need to take your time, do comprehensive research, and consider employing the help of professionals to ensure you get through the process without any issues. 

Your credit history and credit report will affect the interest rate of your RV loan.

About Peggy Dent

Peggy Dent is an author, writer and full-time RVer, currently traveling in the US and Canada. She's driven a motorhome more than 130,000 miles and learned the secrets, delights, and pitfalls of RVing through her own experiences. She shares her knowledge and insights in numerous RV industry publications. You can contact her through her website at