How much does a camper cost and how to get an RV loan

April 15, 2022

By Katie Levene

How much does a camper cost and how to get an RV loan

After getting an RV loan, a mother and child enjoy their recreational vehicle and camper.

Do you imagine your weekends filled with waking in a national park with a coffee and a spectacular view? Spending family vacations in an RV is a dream, but before you start your adventure, you may be wondering, "How much does an RV cost?" Then, check out how to get a loan for your RV so you can hit the road without making a wrong turn. We help you answer all these questions and more, so let’s get started!

How much does a camper cost?

According to camperreport.com, RVs can cost anywhere between $10,000 and $300,000 depending on the age, style, features, and supply and demand. A conventional travel trailer costs around $26,000, an average fifth-wheel RV could cost around $55,000, and motorhomes start around $114,000. A folding camping trailer is the least expensive on average, costing as low as $13,000.

As you can see, these prices vary quite a bit depending on the type of camper you want. There are a few other factors that determine camper cost. Here are some reasons why your RV price will vary:

Manufacturer and vehicle type

First, determine the vehicle type and motorhome class you want. This is one of the biggest factors in price. For example, a type A conventional motorhome costs $206,000 on average. From there, you’ll need to pick a brand.

Thor, Motor Coach, Keystone and Jayco are some of the big names in recreational vehicles. Sometimes, this name recognition can mean bigger prices. Instead of sticking to one brand, shop around and compare these brands with others such as Starcraft, Heartland and Arctic Wolf.

RV age

Buying used is a great way to reduce cost. Before buying this year’s model, consider shopping for an RV that is two or three years older. It could save your thousands of dollars. Buying used can come with some risk if you don’t have enough information. Be sure to get the history of the vehicle and have a mechanic take a look so you have a better idea of what you’re getting.

Camper floorplan

A variety of floorplans can make it difficult to comparison shop. As if you were shopping for a house, make a list of your must-haves and would-likes. How many people will be sleeping in the camper at a time? Do you want more space for a king-sized bed, or is a full-sized kitchen more important to you?

Other features to consider include bathroom, bunkhouse, expandables, toy haulers, and living area. Not surprisingly, the more features you want, the more expensive the camper will be.

Customized features

Similar to a home, upgrading your flooring, kitchen appliances and technology features will all up the price of your recreational vehicle. Often with a new RV, the sky is the limit when it comes to colors, patterns and materials. Check out these features in person so you can better decide what will be best for you and your family.

How to pay for an RV, camper or motorhome

There are a few ways to pay for a travel-trailer, RV, camper or motorhome including cash, a personal loan or an RV loan.

Buying your RV with an RV loan is a very easy process and an excellent way to get the motorhome you want, making comfortable payments throughout the life of the loan. If you purchase your RV from a dealership, they’ll have some options available to you. Don’t forget to comparison shop online for the best RV loans to find the right one for you. Not every credit union or bank offers RV loans, so you may need to go with someone outside of your current financial institution.

Paying for an RV in cash is a great idea if you have extra money in your savings account or you don’t want to take out a large loan. If you want to save for a motor home and pay for it in cash, we suggest using a high-rate savings account dedicated to this goal. Set up automatic deposits so you put money aside each month into this account. Having an account separate from your other savings accounts is helpful because you can track your progress.

Getting a personal loan or unsecured loan is sometimes your best option. Many lenders have a minimum loan amount of $10,000 for RV loans. If your loan amount is smaller than what is offered at your bank or credit union, ask them about your personal loan options.

Can I get a car loan for an RV?

No, the majority of lenders will not approve an auto loan for a motorhome. Why? Lenders, banks and credit unions consider campers, RVs and motorhomes to be luxury items, so the financing is slightly different than a car loan. Don’t let that deter you. Borrowers have many different RV loan options. Like an auto loan, RV loans have a variety of rates, amounts and terms to choose from. Plus, some lenders offer same day approval.

What is an RV loan?

An RV loan (recreational vehicle loan) is a long-term financing solution used by borrowers to purchase a motorhome, camper or travel trailer. Similar to an auto loan, dealerships, banks, credit unions and online lenders offer RV loans for new and used RVs. An RV loan is a secured loan, meaning the RV is collateral for the loan.

A large number of RVs are purchased with cash. However, the price of an RV can range from $13,000 to more than $1 million, making an RV loan more convenient than cash. RV loans typically have longer terms and larger loan amounts than car loans because of the large price tags. Some RV lenders have terms up to 20 years. To get the best rate on your RV loan, make sure you have a good credit score and decent down payment.

The RV itself may have to meet certain standards to qualify for an RV loan. For example, the age of the vehicle, vehicle type and number of miles all factor into your rate and eligibility for a loan.

How to get an RV loan

1. Determine an overall budget

Now that you know the different factors that determine RV costs, budget for the type of camper you want. Consider more than the sticker price. Don’t forget to factor in future expenses like insurance, fuel and maintenance.

2. Save a down payment

Many RV lenders require a down payment. Borrowers can expect to put down at least 10%. The larger the down payment, the less you’ll have to borrow. In general, a larger down payment could decrease your interest rate and monthly payments.

3. Compare lenders

Shop around and compare lenders. A few hours of research could save you a lot of money. Look for lenders that have a strong history in the business, don’t charge prepayment penalties, offer loans for the age of your future RV, have online payment options and could approve the loan the same day.

Note for full-timers: Not every lender will approve adventurers looking to call their RV home. Borrowers wanting to go full-time should ask upfront about these restrictions.

4. Get preapproved and negotiate

Submit an application to the RV lender of your choice. Then head to the seller or dealer with your preapproval offer in hand. You’ll be able to negotiate a price based on what you can afford. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. There are many RV options out there and you have a lot of power as a buyer.

5. Finalize your RV financing

Once your deal is finalized, send your lender the purchase agreement and they’ll finalize the loan. Now, you can live out your dream as a weekend adventurer or lifetime traveler!

Where to get an RV loan

Credit unions, banks, online lenders and RV dealerships offer RV loans.

RV dealerships

If you are buying your camper from a dealer, the dealership can be the most convenient place to get an RV loan. They will provide a few promotional offers and financing options from their partners. Before getting to the finance office though, borrowers should do their research so they know they’re getting the best deal.

Traditional/online lenders

Credit unions, banks and online lenders will give you competitive rates and terms. A quick online search for best RV loans will yield many different lenders. Shop around and once you decide on a reputable lender, apply to be preapproved for your RV loan. A preapproval can help you get a better idea of what you can afford and make the buying process a little less stressful.

Make your open road dreams a reality with a great RV loan

A great rate on an RV loan from Alliant will ensure you can spend more of your money on memorable weekend adventures.

 

Learn more about RV loans:


Katie Levene is a marketer fascinated with finance. Whether the topic is about the psychology of money, investment strategies or simply how to spend better, Katie enjoys diving in and sharing all the details with family, friends and Money Mentor readers. Money management needs to be simplified and Katie hopes she accomplishes that for our readers. The saying goes, "Knowledge is Power", and she hopes you feel empowered after reading Money Mentor.

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