Yearning to feel a breeze blow through your hair as you relax on your very own boat, but don’t have the money to purchase a brand new watercraft? Then buying a used boat might be your best bet. In fact, there are lots of great reasons to buy a used boat, but figuring out what a used vessel is worth can be tricky. After all, you don’t want to overpay, or overlook a good boat because you undervalued it. Here are seven factors to keep in mind when determining how much you should pay for a used boat:
Make and Model of The Boat
Not all boats are made the same. The very first thing that will determine a boat’s price will be it’s make and model. Was the watercraft made by a reliable manufacturer, or by a relatively unknown or not-well-regarded brand? Is it a model that was widely produced, or a rare collectible? To get a sense of the average price for similar vessels, conduct a search for used boats on Boatline, filtering the results by make and model.
Age and Use of the Boat
Almost every boat is going to lose value as it ages, though depreciation is going to vary by the type of watercraft. A yacht and a jon boat are simply not going to lose value at the same rate! Something simple, like a dingy with an outboard motor, isn’t going to lose much value over time. Meanwhile, something complex, like a sport yacht, can quickly become outdated.
Really, what ages and depreciates a vessel more than time is how much it has been used. If a boat is older, but hasn’t been used much, it will retain much of its original value. If a boat is only a few years old, but has been excessively used, it can see a steeper drop off in value. One thing that can offset hours of use, however, is how well the boat has been maintained, which we’ll discuss next.
Condition and Maintenance of the Boat
A good tip when buying a used boat is to ask for the maintenance history of the watercraft. If a vessel has been well looked after, you can expect better performance and a longer life from the used boat. Plus, if you have to complete a big maintenance job after you buy the boat, you can end up spending more money than expected from the initial selling price. Don’t let yourself be blinded by a low cost if there hasn’t been consistent maintenance performed on the boat. To know what to look for, check out our article about what to look for during a pre-purchase boat inspection.
Price is also highly dependent on how technologically advanced a boat may be. If it’s equipped with the latest electronics, it is likely to sell for a much higher price than it would otherwise. Electronics become obsolete rather quickly, so updated gear is a good thing to consider.
How much electronic upgrades matter can also depend on how much value you personally put into electronics. Like cars, some people don’t need all those gadgets and extras; they just want a boat that does what it is made to do and nothing more. Don’t let yourself be blown out of the water by all the techno-talk if that isn’t what you are after.
The Boat’s Location
Just like when buying a home, location is vital in the purchase of a boat. For example, a large shrimping boat would not be a good match for an inland region with shallow water. Similarly, a small boat is not fit for inland areas near a wild sea. The location where your boat will be “at home” determines what type of used boat you need, influencing the overall price.
Visual Appeal of the Boat
Visual appeal can also drive up the price of a boat and make it a more competitive item. A listing on Boatline that has clear and exciting photos and videos that show off an appealing boat is very likely to attract multiple interested buyers, which could give the seller advantage in price negotiations. However, if you want a watercraft that already looks picture perfect at the time of purchase, perhaps with a fancy custom paint job, then a higher price could be worth it to you.
Your Personal Opinion
The last indicator of a boat’s price should always be what it is worth to you. You are the one that is going to navigate the boat, sail it, fish in it, and enjoy it on a hot summer day—or whenever you want. It can create many great moments in your life, and those memories are truly priceless.
Do you see yourself stepping on your chosen boat and having an adventure? If so, it’s much easier to put a price on your investment. If you don’t have that feeling with a particular boat, even if it is within your price range, look for another one. The right one will give you that special feeling, be a better purchase for you, and feel like the right choice, even if another option might have been cheaper or looked slightly better.
In the case of buying a used boat, your gut instinct will always be the final judge. A boat, like a house or a car, is no easy investment; buying something with this type of price tag isn’t something you do every day. The boat has to suit you, the buyer. What might be a good fit for someone else might not be a good fit for you. Boatline can help you make the right choice and bring you into contact with the right seller for your needs.