Boat listings: How to recognize a good deal for a used boat online?

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Becoming a boat owner might be the dream of your life, and one of your biggest investments. Unfortunately, the process of finding the perfect boat listing, with a vessel in good conditions and a fair price, all of that in your specific area, can sometimes be an overwhelming and deceptive journey. This article will guide you in your purchase of a pre-owned boat from main characteristics to keep an eye on, to price ranges and room for negotiation. Secondly, our team will give you all our tips and tricks to recognize a good from a bad deal online. The modern world has opened the choice of possibilities to buy a boat (online listings, dealerships, private sellers, etc.) but has also increased the risk of fraud, particularly online. Read on to learn more!

Sailboat listings: keep a clear head and be meticulous

Firstly, let's dive into the sailboat listings. What is a good deal? What should you look at before planning a visit? What can be costly if not well maintained? To help you keep your enthusiasm in check when purchasing your next sailboat, we've written some of our best tips and tricks.

1 — Have a clear idea of your budget

Because buying a boat is an emotional process and seeing the vessel of your dream might affect your reasoning, it's crucial to define a budget.

Thus, when looking at sailboat listings online, you'll considerably narrow your search. Knowing that your budget should cover the purchase of the boat and the repair/improvements to get it ready for a safe and enjoyable first trip on the water, some professionals advise you to look for boat listings with a price that does not exceed 50% of your total budget. It will give you a comfortable margin for additional costs after purchase.

2 — Prioritize engine and mechanical conditions over aesthetic

Used boats often need quite a lot of refits and, by being the most costly, engine, rib, sails, and fiberglass should be in the spotlight when comparing listings. Avoid getting distracted by a long and attractive list of equipment and brand new painted hull, it could hide potential issues and increase significantly the purchase price. Buying a boat in good technical and mechanical conditions will allow you to spend more money on touch-ups as you wish.

3 — Ask for details about the listings, and ask for recommendations

To be sure that you're aware of the boat's condition and estimate at best the cost of purchase and refit altogether, you'll need to ask questions to the owner—a lot of questions. From maintenance to usage and conditions, you want to know everything about your possible future boat. On Boatim, you can get directly in contact with the boat seller through each listing—don't hesitate to ask for more information! And even better, if you know someone that could give you good advice for a specific boat, give this person a call. Experience teaches us a lot!

With these tips, you should be ready to explore our sailboat listings and get in contact with sellers to organize your first visits.

Powerboats listings: take a closer look at the engines

Overall, the tips mentioned above are also true when buying a motorboat. As powerboats rely only on engines, you must take heed of the engines' condition. Beyond checking all the boat's documentation with the seller, you’ll want to examine the physical state of the boat itself. Doing so will certainly help you avoid costly hidden problems. So here is what you should look at when inspecting the engines:

  • usage hours: checking the hours of the engines will give you a rough idea of their conditions. However, few hours on an older boat could mean that it has not been tested and enjoyed a lot on the water. Time spent off usage can sometimes be harder on a boat than usage on water.
  • cracks or leaking: inspecting the lower part of the engines to be sure no liquid is coming out of the engines will prevent a costly repair or even replacement of the engines
  • rust: looking for rust on the engine will let you know if the boat has spent too much time in the water without being maintained
  • electrical connection: have a closer look at the electrical connection to know if they are deteriorated and hardened from age
  • oil: pull out the stick in the oil tank and inspect the oil. Milky oil usually means water came into the tank, which is not a good sign and might damage your engine.

Avoid fraud when buying a boat online

We all want to buy a boat from a trustworthy seller, whether he is a professional or a private seller. But unfortunately, the Internet has scrambled the authenticity and revealed some fraudsters. Let's not wait any longer—here is our advice to avoid fraud online when looking at boat listings:

  • Do not share your personal information. Password, IBAN, PIN code are not required when looking for a boat online, you should never share that information online.
  • Do not rush into anything. We know buying a boat is very emotional, but it's important to keep your head cool. An inspiring seller might be a sign of fraud.
  • Do not pay before signing anything. As for a car or an apartment, you want to pay in exchange for a first contract or agreement.
  • Check the contact email. If you've received a suspicious email from a boat seller, avoid clicking on any links in the email. Secondly, you can make a Google search with the seller's email and see if anything unusual comes out.
  • Be extra careful with attractive listings. Although some good deals are possible, some boat listings are 'too good to be true'. In that case, ask for as much information as you need. A fraudster will flee curious and picky buyers.

Finally, and maybe the most important tip, buy and sell your boat through a regulated marketplace. By shopping on Boatim, you'll access for free to 1.000+ verified boat listings from dealers and private sellers.

Do you want to sell your boat on Boatim? Create your boat listing online now!

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