So you are looking around for a boat and have decided to give a used model a try. Since thousands of vessels are bought and sold each year, finding a used boat won’t be a problem. Finding the one that’s going to serve you best, however, requires some know-how. When buying a pre-owned boat, you need to know what to look for, what to ask the seller, and how to get the most bang for your buck. In other words, you need some tips for going about this whole process.

Why You Should Consider a Used Boat

Between new and used boats, there is one advantage that sets pre-owned vessels apart. Many of them are much more affordable, even when there are not many hours on the engine. If you want a reasonable purchase for your budget, then a used boat is the way to go, since its value depreciates the moment they are bought. You can also go through private sellers, dealerships, and yacht brokers to find the best used boat for you and your family.

There are some downsides, too, that you want to think about. Used boats aren’t perfect. They may have some flaws, and you could also get a lemon. That is why you need to follow the tips in this article, inspect the boat thoroughly, and find a reputable seller or broker to help you through the process.

Do Some Research

Before moving forward, do some research. There is more than one kind of boat, and some of them are better suited for a single activity than others. Do you want a boat for entertaining family and friends over the weekend? Want a place to stay dry when a rainstorm comes across the lake? What about the features included? Once you know which kind of boat you want, you can start searching the listings online to get an idea of the asking price.

Set a Budget

Used boats can fit into nearly everyone’s price range. You may be able to find a deal on a yacht that is just a few years older than the brand new version, for example. By setting a budget, you know exactly what you are working with, too. Go beyond the asking price of the vessel. What is included? Will the seller give you the trailer, as well? How much does it cost to maintain the boat? What about storage, winterization, registration, and insurance?

Ask Some Key Questions

Now you are ready to begin your search. Finding boats for sale near you can be difficult when you don’t know which sources to use. Craigslist and similar sites may be a good starting point, but you should reach out to a professional service like Yacht Brokers of Annapolis.

Once you have located a boat you’re interested in, ask the owner the following questions:

  1. What year is the boat? The more recent the better. Anything over 20 years old has no value and may be too old to maintain.
  2. Was the boat used in fresh or saltwater? A boat used solely in freshwater will have less corrosion damage than ones used in saltwater. Don’t rule out saltwater vessels, however. If the owner maintained them, they are still excellent candidates.
  3. Is the vessel still under warranty? Find out if the warranties are transferable.
  4. Is there anything that doesn’t work on the boat? The seller should be honest about any issues with the boat. You may also be able to bargain down the cost if there is something requiring repairs before getting in the water.
  5. Are there any liens against the boat? Liens can be problematic if you plan on financing the boat.

Know What to Look For

One of the best things you can do for yourself before purchasing a boat is to have it inspected. Whether you hire a professional or do this yourself, there are a few places that should not be overlooked. Check out the engine bay, as this can tell you a lot about how well the owner took care of the vessel. If you find a neat engine bay with zero or minimal corrosion, it usually means that the rest of the boat is in good shape.

Decay and rot, no matter where you find it, could become a major and expensive issue. Sometimes you may have to walk away from a boat that you really wanted because it wasn’t properly maintained.

Also, start everything up. Turn on the electronics, air conditioning, pumps, lighting, and the engine. Take a look at the bearings and tires on the trailer, if it’s included. If there are any issues, make note of them. You should also double-check the hours on the engine, regardless of what the engine meter says.

Get a Bill of Sale

During the purchase process, have the seller or broker draw up a Bill of Sale. As proof of purchase, the bill of sale has information that shows you are now the owner of the vessel, as well as the Hull Identification Number (HIN). This is especially important for boats that have been registered with the US Coast Guard.

Let Us Help You Find The Perfect Boat

If you have decided that a pre-owned boat is right for you, there are several steps to take. Make sure you do your research on the makes and models that you want and know the average asking price. Furthermore, get that boat inspected and surveyed! If you don’t know where to begin, why not give the Yacht Brokers of Annapolis a call? Our highly experienced and friendly team can guide you through the process of buying a boat and provide some advice along the way.