Boat Loan Essentials

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With boat-shopping season in full swing and boat shows taking place across the country throughout the winter and spring, the folks at Boat Owners Association of The United States recently offered up some advice on getting a boat loan.

Diverse Offerings Finance has helped many performance boaters, including Georgia’s Beau Renfroe (pictured in his 36-foot Skater Powerboats catamaran), get financing for their boats. Photo by Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix

In a press release sent out in late February, BoatUS, the nation’s largest advocacy, services and safety group, urged boaters to be smart consumers when it comes to financing a new or used boat and offered three critical tips to help you avoid common problems when applying for a loan.

“Boat buyers can help themselves by knowing three key things—how loan rates work, how much of a boat loan you can afford and your credit score,” said Rache’ Llerena, the boat finance department manager for BoatUS. “We see these same three mistakes every day. Educating yourself and being candid about the numbers make you a wise consumer and may put you in stronger position when seeking a boat loan.”

After reading through the informative release, which you can check out here, I reached out to Jody Hamilton of Diverse Offerings Finance in Buford, Ga., who I have come to know well through interactions at several events and boat shows over the past few years, to get his take on the boat loan process since his company is a leader in the high-performance marine market.

Jody Hamilton, center, has helped customers such as Mark and Matt Asplund get loans for their boats, including the Nordic Boats 35-foot catamaran they purchased in 2019. Photo courtesy Jody Hamilton

And while the financing and/or refinancing market hasn’t gotten any easier lately, Hamilton and his team have the expertise to easily navigate their customers through the waters of marine finance and more. They also have the resources, connections and referrals to confidently tailor loan programs to suit any customer’s needs. Whether you’re buying a boat from a dealer, a broker or an individual, Diverse Offerings Finance can help.

In fact, several companies, such as MTI in Wentzville, Mo., send all of their direct financing through Diverse Offerings Finance.

“We work with manufacturers, we handle private-party transactions, we do it all, really,” said Hamilton, who helped close more than a dozen deals at the Los Angeles Boat Show alone in January. “I would say most of our current business comes from referrals and social media. As with any loan, there are certain lending requirements a customer has to meet, especially when you’re talking about a performance boat, but we’ve built a portfolio that allows us to get deals done that our competitors can’t even touch.”

Jody Hamilton, left, and his good friend Devin Wozencraft of Wozencraft Insurance in Southern California, work together often to help their customers get loans and insurance. Photo courtesy Jody Hamilton

Hamilton, who has been in the finance industry for 14 years, credits his willingness to hustle, work hard and attend events around the country in person for helping grow his company to where it is today.

“There’s nobody better with the high-performance stuff than me, I’m confident in that,” added Hamilton, who has a full schedule of events mapped out this year, starting with back-to-back weekends in Arizona and Louisiana for the Desert Storm Poker Run and Tickfaw 200 Poker Run. “I have built a niche in this market to get to where we are today. We have several lenders that won’t work with anyone else.”

Along with financing, Hamilton said Diverse Offerings Finance offers in-house United States Coast Guard documentation assistance and can provide marine insurance quotes. He added that the company’s services are not limited to new or used high-performance boats. Diverse Offerings Finance is a loan source for yachts, cruisers, houseboats, runabouts and more as well as different types of recreational vehicles.

“If your boat floats, we have a loan program to suit you,” Hamilton said, recommending that people reach out to him with any questions they have about the lending process. “I love what I do, I really do. I take pride in the relationships I’ve built over the years—I think that’s the one thing that sets me apart. Ask any of my customers and I’m pretty sure they’ll agree.”

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