How to Determine a Used Boat's Value

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Are you thinking of buying a used boat? Understanding how to get the best price for a boat is essential. Take your time with your purchase. You may be eager to plan your boating trip across the U.S., but negotiations take time. Even if you have your heart set on a specific boat, do your research, shop around and compare prices.

If you need help, work with a professional to ensure you're not overpaying for a used boat. Negotiating well with the seller may also land you the excellent deal you've been searching for.

How to Determine the Value of a Used Boat

How do you find the value of a used boat? You have a few options to ensure that you get good value for your money. These three tips will help you verify your boat purchase and make the right choice.

Hire a Boat Surveyor

If it's your first time buying a boat, your best option may be to hire a professional. Doing your research is still essential. You need to know about boats, but a professional can spot things you might miss.

marine surveyor's job is to look at the condition of the boat and tell you what they think it is worth. A professional looks at the boat's unique structure and equipment and analyzes the hull, engine and rigging, if you're buying a sailboat.

You may not need a professional if you already have experience with boats. However, if you don't have the knowledge and the boat is complex, you risk losing money or having the wool pulled over your eyes by an emotional seller.

When buying a larger and more complex boat, a professional will know what parts to inspect and can help you determine a fair price. A marine surveyor will cost you money, but the long-term savings make it worthwhile. If you are buying an expensive boat or financing through a loan, consider hiring a professional.

When choosing a marine surveyor, look for a professional affiliated with the National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS) or the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS) to give you extra confidence in their expertise. Also, speak to other boat owners and ask for recommendations based on the type of boat you want to buy.

Use Boat Value Sites

Online calculators can guide you on the pricing of your boat purchase. You can look up used boat prices on these sites, but they have shortfalls. The sites generally only list popular boat types, makes and models, which may exclude the boat you want to buy. These sites list average prices, so be sure to account for any unique faults or fixtures the boat has that may impact the price.

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Ask for a Survey

One of the first things to ask for is a boat survey, which shows the history of the boat and its value at the time of the survey. If the survey is old and the seller is trying to use it to justify the price, ask for a new survey as the value has likely changed.

If the survey is old and the seller is trying to use it to justify the price, ask for a new survey as the value has likely changed.

Shop Around and Compare Prices

Don't jump straight into your purchase. Compare the price of the boat you are interested in with similar boats for sale. You can use different sites to research used boat prices locally and worldwide. When comparing prices, keep these things in mind:

  • Condition: Well-maintained boats in good condition will cost more. The condition includes the mechanical systems, rigging and added features.
  • Location: Different regions will have varying boat markets. Areas with many lakes and waterways may have higher prices.
  • Electronics: A boat fitted with advanced electronic systems like satellite communications and radar will typically cost more.
  • Boat's year: An older boat is more likely to have a lower price.
  • Equipped gear: A boat with additional equipment and fittings will cost more than a simpler version.

Estimate a Fair Price

Figure out if the boat needs any replacement parts or repairs. It's generally best to bring a professional who knows what to look for. You'll then estimate the price of these repairs. If the seller hasn't been maintaining the boat, consider the maintenance costs you'll pay to bring the boat to a fair condition.

Add the repair costs and the listing price, then compare this amount with the prices you discovered when you were shopping around. If the price falls within the suitable price range, you can move forward and consider transportation, financing and taxes involved in your purchase.

How to Negotiate the Price of a Used Boat

You can negotiate with the seller to get the best deal possible. Negotiation is an art — here are a few tips to help you master it.

Know Your Budget

Negotiations can get emotional. The seller may have put effort into the boat and spent much time on it. Your emotions may also come into play because you've had your eye on the boat for a while. A set budget limit will keep you in check and ensure you spend wisely.

Find a Trusted Dealer

Working with a dealer may cost you a bit more, but if you are new to boat purchasing, it helps to have an expert you can trust. Some dealers are passionate about finding buyers a boat that's a great deal. If you work with someone you can trust, they can negotiate on your behalf and get the best fit for you within your price range.

Apply for a Boat Loan

Start Low but Not Too Low

Sellers know that potential buyers may be looking to score a deal. Even though it is a used boat, you want to avoid offending the seller by going too low. Even if you intend to go higher, low-balling the seller may put a sour taste in their mouth and they'll refuse to deal with you. Be bold and ask for a reasonable discount within an acceptable price range.

Exclude the Boat's Engine

Most sellers of used boats will be looking to sell the boat with the engine, but it's worth asking if you can purchase just the boat. If the engine has problems, it can be expensive to repair, so most people prefer to invest in a new one. If the seller chooses to sell with the engine, have a professional evaluate its condition.

Don't Say Anything

It's best not to be too pushy in your negotiations. Listen to the seller and get as much information as possible from them about the boat. The more you learn, the easier it will be to negotiate and get your desired price. You may lose out on a discount if you constantly contact the seller. Your enthusiasm will show them they can get a high price from you.

Finance Your Used Boat Through My Financing USA

Finance Your Used Boat Through My Financing USA. Apply now!

Buying a boat is exciting! We are here to help make your purchase as easy as possible so you can start your adventure. Compared to other financing companies, our service is unparalleled. Our online application process is quick and secure. We then connect you with a loan company that fits you, regardless of your credit score.

Whether you've found your dream used boat or are just starting your search, learn more about our boat loans and fill out an application form online to get started with your purchase.

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