When buying a boat, private parties often have a number of choices to finance their purchase. Buying a boat can be affordable, with some entry-level boats costing as much as a typical vehicle loan. It’s important that you understand the basics, and a good resource for boat financing information is the National Marine Bankers Association. National, regional, and local banks, plus credit unions and other financial institutions offer marine loans. Some are direct lenders, meaning they actually have the funds to lend you money. Others are indirect lenders, which means they can serve as a valuable referral source for you. Most of these resources are available through the Internet. Here are some basics to consider with any marine loan:
Down Payment - Plan on 10% to 20% down on most purchases. However, the down payment required will often be based on the age of the boat, the type of boat you are buying, and your individual credit profile.
Financing a Used Boat - Many marine lenders work with used boat dealers, boat brokers, and private buyers and sellers, so getting help with a loan for a pre-owned boat shouldn’t be a problem.
Credit Decisions and Financing Terms – Going to a specialty marine lender has its benefits. Generally, they are knowledgeable about boats, have pricing tools to value the boat, and usually can make fast credit decisions. Also, because a professional marine lender understands the value of a well-maintained boat, they can often offer you longer terms and more attractive rates, which will decrease your monthly payment.
Electronics and Added Features - Many marine lenders will allow you to finance optional equipment, electronics, extended service plans and life/disability insurance coverage with your purchase. By financing your boat purchase you can usually afford a newer, larger, or more powerful boat and all the gear that it takes to make boating safer and more enjoyable.
Taxes – Taxes vary by state, but purchasing a used boat may require the payment of certain sales and or property taxes. Most lenders will require proof of payment prior to finalizing any loan process.