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Old 02-25-2008, 05:36 PM   #1
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Financing a Used SMB How-To

Promised I'd post my experiences financing a used SMB as its a common issue. Sticky worthy? I'm not a banker, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. All I can do it tell you the process I went through. Others should chime in with their own experiences. I didn't create a web site in the 90's and sell it in 2000, so I had to buy used. Here's what I did:

Found the SMB I wanted and worked out a price with values in mind. I use a credit union. Credit unions tend to offer the best terms. My credit union will finance 100% up to the high book value of any vehicle (car/truck/mtorcycle/RV/boat). NADA/Kelley can't come close to guaging the value of a used SMB, so my credit union's practice helps a lot.

I used NADA (perhaps the Kelley RV book is better (SMB gave me copies of it, so it won't hurt to ask)). Don't leave it up to your bank to determine values, do it yourself. Two reasons for this. First, you'll get it right. Second, people like having things handed to them on a platter. Its simple. First, get a copy of the build sheet from Sportsmobile. A VIN, by itself, won't work. They file buildsheets by name. You'll want the build sheet to help determine value.

Get the value for the chassis. Don't double up on the options. For example, the Sportsmobile leather/power seating options are slightly higher than under the chassis values, so save that for later. Get your value for the chassis (van). Mine only came out to $16.7k and change. Print it out and circle the value.

Then, if you have a quigley, for example, get the value for the quigley conversion (suggested list (remember, no options) was $8,395). Print out and circle the suggested list price as the retail price was only $4,610. If you have the SMB 4x4 conversion, its not listed, so use the Quigley value.

Then on to the Sportmobile NADA values. NADA doesn't come close to listing all the options avalable or likely installed on the SMB you want. You'll want to check as many as you can. Don't skip a one. In my case, many options just weren't listed. When added up, the Sportsmobile added value only came out to $15,808 (suggested list). Again, circle that figure as that's the one you want them looking at, otherwise the average retail was only $11,860.

Add them all up and we're only talking approx $33k in my case as my CU used the retail values for the conversions instead of the suggested list values (at least I tried). If anyone has a really nice diesel extended body 4x4 Sportsmobile w/ electric PH for sale for only $33k, I would like to talk to them. No? Didn't think so. The value is way low.

In my case, I wasn't borrowing a whole lot to make the purchase. I'm paying approx 50% out of pocket, so the $33k value didn't hurt me. However, I would suggest directing your loan officer to the Sportmobile website so they can see the asking prices for used SMBs (also the asking prices for ones that recently sold). Better yet, print out the list of used SMBs for a comparision and provide it to your loan officer. The more questions you have answers for the better. The web site resource may, or may not, bump you up a bit. Some people get apprasials through SMB or other sources. I didn't have to go that route, so can't provide any input regarding that. The one thing I can't emphasize enough is if you have access to a credit union, take advanage it. Others have suggested that Wells Fargo will loan on anything. They may, but when I checked their rates, they were considerably higher than my CU. So, that's my financing wisdom given my experience. Others, please chime in with yours.

NADA provides values for free via the web. Kelley RV Blue Book does not appear avalaible via the web (at least for free). SMB provided me with Kelley values for any used SMB listed on the SMB website. Its great resource.
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Old 02-25-2008, 10:48 PM   #2
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I found SMBw very helpful when researching my used purchase. I didn't quite go as far into it as you did, but they were helpful with lots of information.
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Old 02-26-2008, 04:47 PM   #3
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Wells Fargo was pretty high on the rate, but the hassle factor was way low, that's what you are paying for. They simply needed to see the appraisal sheet from SMB and that was good enough for them. Actually lent more than that amount to cover for taxes and misc, new tires, other repairs. I wasn't worried about the rate because we were in the process of selling an antique Steinway grand piano that more than covered the cost of the SMB. Was just using the loan to bridge the gap in time from when we found the SMB we wanted and when the piano money would hit the bank.
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