Getting a new boat is an experience everyone must have at least once in their life; after all, nothing parallels the feeling of steering your very own boat across the waters. However, the last thing you’ll want to do is invest a hefty sum in a boat only to find it lacking. Before making the purchase, there are a few things you’ll need to check off your list so you can be sure about your choice. What might these things be, you ask? Here’s a brief guide.
Know What You Want
Before anything else, you should identify the purpose of the boat. The boat you buy will vary depending on your preferences, needs, use, and frequency of use. Generally, there are three boat categories: cruising, fishing, and sport boats. Under these categories, you’ll find other different boat types such as cruising yachts, fishing boats, pontoon boats, ski boats, and sailboats. Furthermore, you’ll have to decide on the propulsion of choice, which will include water-jet, sail, outboard, inboard, or sterndrive. Obviously, you’ll have to do a lot of research to fully understand the pros and cons of each and settle on the most suitable choice.
Look for all Hidden Costs
Once you narrow down your choices of boats and propulsions, you’ll most likely start calculating the cost of the boat. However, keep in mind that these aren’t the only costs you’ll endure; you’re not just buying a boat, you’re buying the boat in addition to everything you’ll need to store, operate, and maintain it. It goes without saying that the bigger and more advanced the boat, the more expensive the accessories and cost of operation. You can also consider buying a used boat, but be sure to carefully inspect it before making the purchase. Although used boats are cheaper than new ones, they can require a lot of maintenance and repair down the line, which can make them even more expensive.
Consider Your Financing Options
Now that you have the full picture of the costs you’ll endure, it’s time to start devising your financing plan. If you’re able to purchase the boat and its accessories in cash without greatly straining your financial situation, then, by all means, you should do so. This option is not feasible for most people though, and this is where boat financing options come to play. You’ll be able to find boat loan providers from online lenders, banks, credit unions, or marine lending specialists. The team of financing professionals from SeaDreamInc.com points out that, while most of the aforementioned lenders demand high credit scores, you’ll be able to find lenders who’re willing to offer a loan even to those with bad credit scores. In all cases, be sure to carefully inspect the loan structure and terms to make sure they won’t strain your financial situation.
Do Your Research
As a rule of thumb, you’ll need to do your research diligently every step of the way. Researching boats is not the only thing you’ll have to study; you’ll need to research different lenders, boat brands, boat sellers, and everything in between. Luckily, you’ll be able to do all your research from the comfort of your home. Nowadays, almost all boat brands, sellers, and lenders have websites where you can compare models and prices, and even take virtual tours. Once you compare different options and narrow down your list, contact each dealer and inquire about their boats, programs, offers, qualifications, and services. According to the National Marine Manufacturing Association (NMMA), it’s best to purchase from a Marine Industry Certified dealer.
Inspect Before You Buy
Doing comprehensive research is great, but nothing will replace the need for an in-person inspection. Once you talk with the dealer of choice, book an appointment and inspect the boat yourself. Take a walk around the boat, check for corrosion, leaks, or algae, take a look at the wiring, and check the oil and fuel. Most importantly, take the boat for a spin to get a real feel as to how it works and if everything is perfectly in place. You’ll also need to read the fine print and double-check to see that everything is included in the boat.
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Now that you’re ready to choose the right boat, be sure to take your time in negotiations. Never rush into a purchase based on emotional impulses; rather, sleep on the findings of your research and give yourself the time to be sure about your decision. Once you reach the rational conclusion that it’s the right time and decision, try to reach the best deal in your negotiations.