How to Buy a Houseboat

In a weakened economy, you are bound to get a great deal on a boat. In most cases, a boat is a luxury, and these are the first to go when times get rough and budgets are on the line. A well-schooled shopper can really make out well if he knows what he wants and is prepared with competitive pricing information. Many people are having a difficult time selling their boat as well, because of the economy and they are either selling at rock bottom prices or resort to other outlets such as an auction house. The problem for sellers is magnified when the boat is actually a houseboat and not a speed boat or a fishing boat. Although houseboats might be difficult to sell, this is prime time to buy a houseboat.


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    Sleep on it 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. Consider how difficult sellers have getting rid of their houseboat; don't purchase one impetuously yourself.
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    Research the boat before the auction date. You need to get the exact specifications of the boat and price compare. You will have a horrible taste in your mouth if you end up buying a houseboat that you could have purchased for a better price elsewhere.
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    Consider alternative sources to make your purchase. Don't limit yourself to dealerships; auction houses, private sellers, classifieds and the Internet are all excellent sources that may have that diamond in the rough at an awesome price.
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    Stick to a limit. You need to have a budget and stick to it. If you want to spend $4000, then don't agree to $4005. If you are going to be mad that you let it go for only $5 more than what you wanted to spend, then you need to budget $4005 for the boat. You have to go in with a definite stopping point, otherwise, you will get caught in a pricing war and in such a situation, it is very easy to let your emotions, rather than your wallet dictate. That is dangerous. The ground is even more treacherous if you find your houseboat at auction and get caught up in an emotionally charged bidding war. You can't win in that situation.
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    Know the terms of the sale. Unless you walk around with a bag full of money, you will need to know beforehand how much down seller or dealer requires. If you need or plan on financing your purchase, you will need to have this taken care before the sale. Auction houses do not generally offer financing or broker such deals, and private sellers most likely do not.
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    Prepare your vehicle. Auction house terms not only define the purchase price and security deposits; they also dictate when the property must be removed. If this is an estate auction, it is usually the same day or within hours. Dealerships may allow more time; private sellers may or may not. Houseboats are considerably heavier than other boats and will require some serious muscle behind them. Based upon the size of the houseboat, you may have to arrange for specialized, professional transport.


  • Many banks only finance houseboats of a certain age. Make sure that you can get a loan (if you need financing) for the age of the houseboat you are considering. The average is around 10 years old, maximum.


  • If there is a lien on the houseboat, it is yours when you buy it. Make sure you take into account this factor as well as any immediate work it needs in your purchase price. This increases your payment price.

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Categories: Purchasing Boats