Buying a boat, just like buying a car, is an expensive endeavor. You may need to budget for a large down payment, carry loan payments, and pay interest rates that are higher than average. Before you get started with your boat purchase, you may want to figure out exactly how much you can afford to spend.
One of your first questions should be: how long will you finance a boat with this type of financing? Boat loans, like most car financing options, can extend up to twenty years, almost as long as a mortgage. Depending on your individual situation, you may want to either go with a dealer-based loan, where you finance your boat from the moment you make the down payment, or you may prefer to go with an after-market financing option, like an installment loan from your credit card or bank. After-market financing options can help you cut costs by allowing you to finance your boat at a lower interest rate for a specified amount of time. It is also easier to budget for this type of financing since you will know exactly what payments you have to make.
Another question you should ask is what types of interest rates will apply. In general, boat loan interest rates are usually a little bit higher than average. This is because you are offering a tangible asset to the lender, which they are willing to insure. Although the interest rates on your loan will be determined according to your credit score and financial history, some lenders will offer promotions and incentive programs to those with good credit scores and low debt ratios. If you have good credit and reasonable debt, you should be able to qualify for some fairly competitive interest rates.
As with any major purchase, it’s important to budget for the cost of insuring your new boat. You can get the same finance structure as you would for a used vehicle, but the insurance costs can easily double or even triple the amount you initially financed. Depending on the value of your vessel, and the insurance rates being offered to you, the finance costs of boat loans can range anywhere from three to five times your original price. For most buyers, this will likely be an important factor in the overall cost of the boat loans.
The other thing to consider when comparing boat loans is whether the terms are flexible enough to accommodate you and your lifestyle. If you have a bad credit score or poor credit history, you may have difficulty securing a long-term commitment to a loan with favorable terms. Most banks and credit card companies will not offer boat loans that have such unfavorable terms.
If you have a higher than average credit score, the terms of the loan may be more open to negotiation. It’s possible that the lender will be willing to give you a longer term length in return for a lower monthly payment. You may also be able to reduce the interest rate on your loan by cleaning up your credit score and obtaining a better credit rating. Boat loans with favorable terms are more likely to be offered to you. If you’re having trouble qualifying for favorable boat loan terms, your best option may be to improve your credit score and seek out alternative financing terms from various sources.
Many banks and other lending sources do offer flexible boat loans with favorable terms. When shopping around, you should find out if the offered financing terms are flexible enough to accommodate your situation and requirements. For many boat owners, the primary concern isn’t getting the lowest interest rate possible, but rather ensuring that they are able to pay the monthly due on their boat loans. In many cases, loan customers have been known to use their boat loans to secure other types of personal loans and credit card debt. If your financial situation is such that you require access to a variety of sources, seeking out a fixed-rate loan that has a reasonable term length may work best for you.
In many cases, it is difficult to predict what interest rates and/or fixed rate loan options will be available in the future. Most experts agree that it is best to get your boat loans as soon as possible before these trends reverse. Today, many banks are offering highly attractive fixed rate financing terms on their existing lines of credit. While this might be good news for boat owners who wish to take advantage of better interest rates, many borrowers are waiting for the best rates to be offered to them before making the commitment to take out the loan. For those boat owners who are waiting for the best rates, they should make sure to shop around and compare the different options that are available to them.