5 Tips for Buying a Motor Yacht or Sailboat
1. Find the Right Broker
The right broker will guide your every step from helping you decide size, price, brands, age, and so much more. The experience a broker adds is undeniable. Our brokers combined have helped thousands of buyers by boats. We know boats, the process, and all of the details from before making a purchase to long after you are a boater. The right broker will keep you from buying the wrong boat or from chasing the wrong deal. Any broker can help you make a purchase yet the broker with your best interest in mind will know when to walk away from the deal. Remember that a broker is only as good as their reputation and history. Word travels fast and loud across the waterfront. Asking a marina manager or dockmaster for a trustworthy broker referral may save you some time and heartache.
- Helps you determine what will work best for you
- Manages your expectations
- Will keep you from buying the wrong boat
- Manages sea trials, inspections, surveys
- Will keep all agreements and closing documents in order
- Secures moorage
- Provides vendors and service providers
- Continues as a consultant after the sale
2. Substance or Show?
Trying to sort out which brands and models best fit your needs is challenging. Many brokers use auto brands as comparison to boat brands to simplify the search for buyers, yet those analogies fall short as boats are much more complex than a car. If you can limit your search to one brand and model it will make your purchase easier, albeit it may take months or years as the production numbers of boats is miniscule compared to the auto industry. The past few years many brands have focused on selling the bling. Manufacturers are now loading their boats with smart home type features to control lighting, audio/visual components, systems monitoring, and security. Additionally, wireless controls, joystick maneuvering systems, motion activated entry doors, and many other features are becoming commonplace. It’s easy to get caught up in the bells and whistles yet options don’t make the boat. They may add to your enjoyment, or possibly your frustration, based on your personal experience. Nonetheless, focusing on the quality of boat with the appropriate propulsion for your particular use is far more important than the options.
3. Buy under Budget
Better yet, just don’t budget! Regardless if you are purchasing a new or used boat the tendency is to spend more than the purchase price. You may be buying a dinghy, new electronics, canvas, or teak decking. Maybe a watermaker, stabilizing system, or satellite TV antenna are on your list of additional upgrades. I often tell people not to count what they spend on their kids or their yacht – either could drive you nuts. Boats eat money, so plan accordingly – but seriously if you try to track every last dollar it may send you to a therapist.
- Plan for updates / upgrades
- Quality servicing costs
- Sales tax and property taxes will be due
4. Be Realistic
It sounds obvious but knowing yourself is key to making sound decisions when purchasing. Buying a cruising yacht or an ocean passage maker with the romantic idea of sailing off to faraway islands might be premature for someone who hasn’t spent anytime cruising offshore. There is nothing wrong with buying a boat to fulfill your eventual retirement dreams yet something faster and easier to handle may be a better choice for a purchase right now. Looking at your boating lifestyle beyond 4 or 5 years is very difficult and that is proven by the amount of time most people hold onto a boat. There isn’t one boat that does it all well, of any size, or any pocketbook. If you are unsure how big of boat or how much to spend we would always recommend newer and smaller versus older and bigger.
5. Enjoy Life!
Do it now. Time is of the essence when recreating or relaxing. When nearing the end of their personal runway nobody has ever wished they had worked more. Money is a tool to be used and leaving it for your kids often times rob their motivation and we all know someone where this happened. So either give it away to charity or spend it before you can’t!