Between events in New York, Kansas, California, Missouri and beyond, we’re obviously in the thick of boat show season, which means I’m also sitting at the airport awaiting my flight to Miami for the Miami International Boat Show. While browsing some emails on my phone, I scanned several media releases and invites related to the show—always a good way to get excited for the Miami madness.
Another way to get excited is to talk to some of the sales people around the industry about their recent success at boat shows—and to see releases like the one FB Marine Group and Iconic Marine Group announced today about FB Marine Group becoming a Baja, Donzi, Fountain dealer (read the story).
According to Ed Champion of Big Thunder Marine in Lake Ozark, Mo., the buying season has been a good one so far.
“We’ve already had a strong season with a couple of the local shows we’ve attended,” said Champion, who was taking a stroll through the yacht portion of the show on Wednesday before he was set to work in the Iconic Marine Group booth in Miami for the rest of the week.
“Everything seems to be getting better—we’ve been able to get loans for some older stuff, which was nearly impossible a few years ago. I’ve seen way better credit scores than in the past, too. As long as a customer’s credit is good and they have 20 percent down, we’ve had good success getting loans approved.”
Champion brought up something that reminded me about an email that came across my computer last week — BoatUS’ “10 Tips to Get the Right Boat Loan” news release. So I figured, as people are getting ready to make a purchase hopefully in Miami or elsewhere, why not share a summary of the 10 tips from Boat Owners Association of The United States, which you can read in its entirety here.
First, check your credit. Before applying for a loan, ensure your credit report is accurate, and get your current credit score. The closer to 700 and higher, the better the rate you’ll get. Try to find the right loan type, meaning look for a fixed-rate, fixed-term, simple-interest loan, which is the most common. Obviously try to compare loan rates — generally, rates are lower and available loan terms are longer for newer boats and larger loan amounts.
Also don’t be fooled by ads. You may see rates advertised as low as 3.99 percent, but there usually will be some small print that could make that loan less attractive. Try to get pre-approved, too.
Another thing to consider is a HELOC — a home-equity line of credit. This might work if you have equity in your home and you plan to pay the boat off while interest rates remain relatively low. Be sure to explore your tax benefits and get the boat surveyed. Also don’t forget to ask about closing costs—as with any loan, there are some fees involved – sales tax, processing fee, and title and registration fees are common.
Last but not least, calculate your monthly payment. If you’re wondering how much of a loan you can afford, check the BoatUS online calculator at BoatUS.com/calculator to compute monthly payments.
Enjoy buying season—and here’s to finding your new or previously owned dreamboat.
Former Powerboat editor Jason Johnson was an integral part of the magazine staff from 2005 through 2011, utilizing journalistic integrity and experience in and around performance boats to report on all aspects of the go-fast lifestyle. The award-winning writer resides in Southern California and is the executive editor and co-publisher of speedonthewater.com.