How to Buy a Boat From a Dealer

When the economy is weak and unemployment is high, great boat deals are for the taking. For most people, owning a boat is a luxury, not a necessity, and as such, these will be the first to go when times get tough. A price-conscious shopper will be able to make out very well if he knows what he wants and how much he is willing to spend on a boat. Many people are having a difficult time selling their boat as well, because of the economy, and this is creating a buyer's market. Private sellers and auctioneers cannot offer financing deals that the dealerships can. If you can wait until after the season and shop in the fall, dealers will be eager to get rid of the current model year stock. In this situation you can work yourself into a heck of a deal when you buy a boat from a dealer.


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    Think it over for at least 24 hours. A boat is a major purchase; it should not be made in haste. This is where most people get in trouble. The best deals are made when you can confidently and without regret, walk away from the bargaining table. Dealerships usually work on commissions and they try to get the most out of their inventory while trying to give you a good deal. They have the upper hand when you are an impetuous shopper who hasn't done any homework.
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    Research the boat make and model before you buy. This is vital if you are shopping at a dealership. Use the power of the Internet to find the best price, and use that as your benchmark.
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    Rank your options. If you need a second or a larger live well over a tacklebox stow-away, put on paper in that order. Dealerships will try to make a premium over the options they will keep throwing in at a slightly higher price. Stick to your guns here.
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    Create a budget and do not deviate from it. $5 is $5 regardless if you are buying a $3000 boat or a $30,000 yacht. Be prepared and have no regrets if you walk away from the deal when the bottom line was $3005 and you stuck to your guns at $3000. Dealerships will try to work you into a slightly higher price and then get you to commit by writing down your price; only your price here is what they got you to agree to. Write down your bottom line price from home and take that to the dealership. This will keep you true to your budget.
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    Read the local classifieds as well as the Internet classifieds. You can find a good deal, often a better price, outside your local area. You can use this figure as a bargaining chip; several of these figures will give you a good benchmark of the price you will likely have to pay.
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    Dust off your calculator. Sometimes dealers may offer cash back or better financing. You will want to make sure that you know which route is going to meet your budget criteria. Sometimes paying a little more on price for a 0 percent financing offer might be cheaper in the long run than taking a couple thousand off the price for 4 to 5 percent financing.


  • Don't overlook their previously owned stock. It might not be the exact make or model you are looking for, but you might find something close well under your budget that you can customize later and still come in at your target price.
  • If you will be financing your boat, call a few lenders and get their best rates. The dealership will find immediate financing; however, it will likely be slightly higher than what you can get directly, unless they have a special financing offer, such as 0 percent.

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Categories: Purchasing Boats