Are you looking to purchase a boat this summer? Whether it’s a sailboat, a powerboat, or a small fishing boat you’re after, here are some tips to help you find - and finance - the perfect watercraft.
One of the first things you should do is determine how much you can afford to spend on your boat. If you’ll be taking out a loan to finance the purchase, be sure to factor in interest, as well as how much you’ll need to pay upfront as a down payment. Luckily, there are some helpful calculators
out there that can help you determine what loan amount is right for you. There are also lenders that offer financing specifically for boats. A secured boat loan
will typically have a lower interest rate than an unsecured personal loan, because the loan is secured by the boat (similar to how an auto loan is secured by your car).
When carving out a budget, keep in mind that there will be maintenance costs associated with your new boat, as well as potential storage fees depending on where you plan to keep it when it’s not in the water.
And it might be a good idea to touch base
with a lender before your start your boat search. Not only will it be helpful to have an expert weigh on what you can afford, but getting a head start on the application process can help to speed things up once you do find a boat you’d like to buy. If your dream boat comes down to you and another buyer, your pre-qualification could give you the leg up you need to make the sale happen.
Once you have an idea of how much boat you can afford, you should decide whether a new boat or a used boat
would be a better fit for you. While you’re likely to pay a lot less for a pre-owned boat than you would for a brand new model, you’ll need to do your homework when buying a used boat. You’ll need to take a close look at the engine and electrical system to ensure they’re in proper working order. You’ll also want to closely inspect
the exterior and interior of the boat for any signs of cracking, rotting, or rusting. Other things to check
include belts, electronics, and bilge pumps.
The boat’s size and amenities
are also a major consideration. Will you be taking overnight trips on your boat? If so, you’ll need to evaluate things such as sleeping space and the boat’s bathroom and kitchen accommodations (or lack thereof). When determining an appropriate size for your boat, be sure to consider every angle. What exactly do you plan to do on your boat? How many people do you expect to be aboard the boat at one time? How will you be transporting your boat? Do you have a suitable spot where you can park it or store it when it’s not in use?
Once you have a specific type and size of boat in mind, you can begin searching local inventory to see what’s available in your price range. Websites like BoatTrader.com
can be useful in your search. Another option is to look up local boat dealers in your area and visit them. Local boat shows
can also be a good place to start the boat shopping process.
Once you narrow down your search, schedule an appointment to see the boat in-person. It’s also important to take it for a test drive
whenever possible. The last thing you want to do is finalize the sale only to discover the boat isn’t sea worthy (or lake- or river-worthy).
Having a boat can open up a whole new world of enjoyment for you, and your family and friends. We hope you find what you’re looking for!