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It is possible — and encouraged — to prequalify for an RV loan. Just like a regular auto loan, prequalifying gives you a chance to compare lenders without hurting your credit. It will guide you toward the right purchase and help you determine what you can afford to spend on your RV.
- You can prequalify for an RV loan. Many lenders allow you to prequalify for an RV loan to get estimated rates and terms.
- Zero impact on your credit. Prequalifying only requires a soft credit check, so it doesn’t affect your credit score.
- Helps you find the best deal. Prequalifying allows you to compare many potential loan offers.
- Doesn’t guarantee approval. Though prequalifying for a personal loan can be beneficial, it doesn’t guarantee approval when you submit a formal loan application.
How to prequalify for an RV loan
The prequalification process is the same as with any other loan. You will need to know your credit score, prepare your documents and compare lenders when you’re searching for an RV loan.
Look up your credit score
You should always have an idea of what your credit score is — but knowing it is crucial when you want to prequalify for an RV loan. Every lender has its own minimum criteria when it comes to what credit it will and won’t accept.
If you know your credit score before you start filling out applications, you can save yourself some time — and headache — by avoiding lenders that won’t offer you the best rates.
Gather your documents
Lenders want to see the same general information, so have it handy when you start submitting applications for prequalification.
- Proof of income, like W-2s or tax returns.
- Proof of identity, like driver’s license or Social Security number.
- Proof of residence, like bills or rental agreements.
These categories will be on almost every application. The exact documents you submit will depend on what the lender asks for as well as the specifics of your finances.
RV loans are available from banks, credit unions and online lenders — and you can also apply directly through the dealership in many cases as well. Since they each have their own requirements, doing a thorough comparison of each will guide you toward a lender that will fit your needs.
When you’re ready to submit an application, don’t limit yourself. Prequalification doesn’t impact your credit. You can compare rates, fees and terms to choose a loan with affordable monthly payments.
Calculate how much you can spend
RVs run the gamut of prices, from cheap used models to top-of-the-line new models that can cost well into the hundred thousands. You likely already know what type of RV you want and how much it will cost you. But once you prequalify for a few loans, you’ll know exactly what your budget is. This will help you narrow down your options and pick the best deal.
RV loan requirements
Lenders will want you to have good to excellent credit, sufficient income to afford a monthly payment and — in some cases — a down payment. These are the common requirements to qualify for an RV loan:
- Credit score. Although there are lenders that work with bad credit, most lenders require good to excellent credit for the lowest rates.
- Down payment. For more expensive RVs, you will need a down payment. This may be true for more inexpensive models as well if you plan on borrowing a loan secured by the RV itself.
- Income. Your income will need to be high enough to afford a monthly payment. Since RVs are pricey, you need to have the flexibility to cover a few hundred to a few thousand dollars a month.
- Other debts. Likewise, you need limited other debts. A low debt-to-income (DTI) ratio is key to qualify for the most competitive RV loans.
Credit requirements for an RV loan
Just like with any loan, your credit score will play a large role in your interest rate. Lenders want to see that you exceed the minimum requirements. You’ll still be able to qualify if you meet them — but your interest rate and the fees you are charged may be significantly higher.
There are lenders that accept bad credit out there. If you apply for financing through the seller, it may be able to connect you with a lender that can work within your credit profile. Because RV loans are secured by the vehicle, you could potentially qualify for a less expensive or used RV.
However, good to excellent credit will be required to get the lowest rates advertised as well as financing for more expensive, luxury RVs. Lenders want to see that you have a history of on-time payments and are capable of managing a large monthly payment. Your credit score shows this, so it’s important to know yours before you apply and have reasonable expectations on what rate you might receive.
Prequalify with at least 3 providers before applying
To get the most out of prequalification, you should find multiple RV loans to apply for. It won’t impact your credit — and with three or more offers to choose from, you will be able to pick the right option for your budget.
Knowing your credit score and preparing your documents will help you figure out the lenders you should set your sights on. Overall, treat an RV loan like any other option. Do your research and don’t start shopping until you know your budget.