Choosing a New Boat vs Used Boat
When buyers enter the boat market, choosing between a new boat and a used one can be a challenge, especially since pre-owned boats often come equipped with upgrades.
How to Find Value in a Boat
Choosing between a new boat vs. a used boat often comes down to how an individual buyer perceives value. The appraised value of a boat is one thing, but true value is subjective to the potential buyer.
Imagine three boats, and a buyer with a fixed budget to make a purchase:
- Boat A is brand new, limited features, and easily fits in the buyer’s budget.
- Boat B is brand new, a little bigger than boat A, limited features and just barely fits within the buyer’s budget.
- Boat C is used, the biggest of all three boats, and has a little bit more on the feature side, but it’s a couple of years old and just barely falls within the buyer’s budget.
The best choice depends on what the buyer is looking for. Boat A is the best value for the buyer who wants to spend the least amount of money and still get a brand new boat. Boat B is the best option for someone who wants the biggest new boat that still fits within the fixed budget. Boat C is the best option for someone who’s looking for the biggest boat with the most features (regardless if it’s new or used) that fits within the buyer’s budget.
Three different boats, all great values for the right buyer. Boat A is new and attractive to the buyer who values getting a new boat with the lowest price tag. Boat B is right for the buyer who wants the biggest boat available and puts a premium on a new boat. Boat C is for the buyer who wants as much as they can get for the money and doesn’t care if it’s new. Some buyers simply don’t want a boat someone has already broken in. Other buyers just want a clean boat with the features they want: the right size, cabin, type of motor, etc.
If you’re looking for a warranty, a used boat is probably not going to work. Generally, boats will have a couple of warranties. One for the boat itself: the hull, deck, structure, etc.
A second warranty may also be available for the engine from its manufacturer. If you’re buying a used boat still within the warranty period, it may be possible to transfer the warranty from the original owner to the new owner.
Financing a Boat
Financing a new boat gives you more options with longer terms. However, you may be able to get financing for a used boat for 20 years minus the age of the boat.
For example, 20 years, minus eight years for the age of a used boat, and you’ll be able to finance it for 12 years. Keep in mind that any financing or insurance on a used boat will likely require an inspection from a marine surveyor to certify that the boat is in good shape.
So do you buy a new boat or a used boat? Everything is a tradeoff. You can likely get a bigger boat with more features if you’re willing to shop in the used market. However, you can buy a smaller boat with fewer (but newer) features, a warranty, and better financing terms if you buy new. It all depends on what you value most.