Looking for a boat to buy is an exciting time, and the possibilities stretch out before like you that inviting blue sea. One of the biggest questions you will ask yourself is whether you want a new boat or a used one. In much the same way that people make that very personal choice with buying houses and cars, there are a number of factors to take into consideration when deciding which type of boat to get.
If you have a clear picture of exactly what you want from your boat then buying a new model might be the right path to take. You can choose precise specifications, right down to the colours of the upholstery and even the hull. It allows you to put your personal stamp on it and have everything customized to suit your needs including the very latest technology and gear. That new technology will likely make a new boat more economical than a used boat too. A shiny new boat will be pristine and everything will work like clockwork, and you have the peace of mind of a warranty protection and guarantee should anything go wrong. And yes, they also have that inimitable new boat smell! There is plenty of competition out there so you can shop around and find the manufacturer and dealer that suits you. A cost-effective option for buying a new boat is to look at those which are in-stock. Websites like Rightboat.com offer many such boats.
On the downside new boats are a much costlier option and will depreciate faster in the few years after purchase (25% to 33%). You will also be liable to pay VAT on a new boat (see our guide to VAT on Boats: What You Need to Know). Technology and gear are often additional to the price of the boat so the costs can easily mount up. If you have a fixed budget in mind you will likely be getting a smaller boat for your money than if you bought used. There could be a long waiting time for a new boat (unless it’s in stock), and once you’ve made the decision to buy it can seem forever until you’re on the water.
If you want to get as much for your budget as you can then a used boat is the sensible choice. You will be getting a bigger boat for your money and, as the gear and technology are already installed, they are usually included in the purchase price (see our guide to Choosing the Perfect Boat). Used boats will already have had the VAT paid on them and initial depreciation costs will now be in your favour. The insurance will likely be cheaper for an older model too. While customisation options are more limited on used boats, you do have the choice to change the interior décor and add your own personal style to it. Buying a used boat means you are getting something tried and tested and the technology is well-established and new bugs won’t rear their heads. There is also something reassuring about being able to climb aboard and have a good look around the boat you will ultimately own, which you can do with a used boat.
A used boat is unlikely to come with a warranty, unless it’s just a few years old, although a dealer may supply a limited warranty. Remember, a used boat could be anything from a few months old to a true classic. Either you or your broker will need to ensure that all paperwork is in order before purchase, and you will need to get a survey completed and take it out for a sea trial. You might have more limited finance options when buying a used boat, although if you’re a cash buyer this isn’t an issue. Despite even the most thorough surveys, problems can arise with older boats which then need to be fixed at your own cost. They will also require more maintenance to keep them shipshape.
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