Welcome to the group Chad!
No idea about financing but here's my view on a few things. I now have a 4x4 but the conversion cost alone was more than some nice vans. I've already done some nasty trails and haven't need to use the 4x4 although it has its purpose... Good All Terrain or Mud tires deflated to about 20psi will do wonder in most conditions.
Decide if you want a keeper that will grow old with you (then wait for the right one and be ready to spend extra) or something to get you going right away (kind of a practice run where you see what works or doesn't). It's got a lot to do with your budget.
I often see older vans nicely maintained, camperized and some even 4x4 for sale. There's a bunch of them on the Facebook group "van-list". That would get you going right away for about the cost of a 4x4 conversion...
Do you have place to work on it, skills to rebuild the interior, mechanic... We are all different and that's the beauty of it. There's different vans for all of us, good luck!!
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2001 E350 AmbuLand
2008 E350 AmboEvo
1965 Econoline Travelwagon
1970 Econoline popup camper
A few bicycles...and sandals ;)