Think of it as a home purchase.
We planned to go full time from the beginning, so we knew we wanted an RV that would be easy to use and comfortable to live in. For us, this also meant we weren't willing to risk purchasing a used RV with unknown issues. This is a huge paradigm shift for many dealers, all financial institutions and most insurance carriers. After all, the first word in RV is “Recreational” and for the last 50+ years, that is exactly what they have been. Spending $250,000 on a “recreational” vehicle probably seems extravagant to many people. However, that number isn't quite so scary when the $250,000 is for your full-time home.
We did our own research including plant tours, visits with manufacturing reps and countless hours reading independent reviews and blog posts. We finally settled on a 2 models/manufacturers and set about getting financing.
We thought the hard part was over.
Financial institutions don't want to know you are planning to live in your RV. Apparently it is harder to find you if you default on your loan. We had multiple people advise us NOT to share this information with anyone helping with our financing. Not our style, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do, so I am sharing this advice as well.
Boyd and I both started work full-time for my company starting in 2015 so financial institutions were concerned about consistent cashflow. I wasn't. Boyd wasn't. But, in the post-mortgage crisis world, the banks just didn't like it. Boyd and I have technology backgrounds and years of corporate experience, so we could easily go back to work contracting in IT if it ever became necessary. Nope, still not acceptable.
Finally, the loan I was requesting was $50,000 more than my last house purchase, so they felt that was also risky. This reason was nothing we had ever considered as being an issue. I have never had trouble getting loans. I could have sold stock to pay cash for the $300,000+ RV, but I didn't want to unless there were no other options.
Bottom line, we never anticipated having issues with financing and it added one month to our timeline that we hadn't planned for. And, in the end, financing also influenced which model of RV we ended up choosing.
Obviously a happy ending.
Obviously we ended up getting an RV. It took patience, persistence and flexibility. And a finance representative willing to work with us and help us navigate the way.
Our first finance rep was very black and white – he tried once and the financing didn't work, so his position was that we had to choose a different (less expensive) model. No other options or considerations. This was so beyond our previous experience with loan negotiations that we just walked away from the deal (and manufacturer) completely.
Next, we took a step back and reached out to our personal bankers to see what options they recommended. We quickly learned that RV loans are not something every bank is willing to handle or can handle at the same terms as the larger financial institutions that have specialized RV loans. They recommended going to a different dealership.
We then went to a larger RV dealer for another try. This time, we found that our financing rep had a 20 year background in new car financing and good connections at the financial institutions. We negotiated a good deal on the sale price of the exact model we wanted and one of the big banks came through with a great offer for us.