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HomeLifeProgram for Financing Older Boats - Tips and Suggestions

Program for Financing Older Boats – Tips and Suggestions

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Just like everything else before the economic collapse, boats were easier to finance pre-2008. Today it’s a challenge to finance a boat that was built before the mid 1980’s. But things are getting better — between 2008 and earlier in 2013 it was difficult to finance a boat that was built before the early 1990’s.

There are some definitive guidelines that marine finance companies use when dealing with funding older boats.

Marine lenders may fund the purchase of an older, high quality boat but not an older mid-range or lower quality boat. It may not be possible to borrow money for an older $30,000 boat, but funds would be available for an older $75,000 boat of a similar size and model. In this case it is assumed that the “higher value” boat also stands for higher quality, and will therefore stand the test of time.

The rates paid on borrowed money will depend on such qualifiers as the amount of down payment and the buyer’s credit rating.

Sometimes buying an older boat takes a little more effort and there are more hoops to jump through, such as providing tax records and income statements. Also, once a boat gets to be older than 20 years, a premium is added to the cost of borrowing. So those boats that are 21 to 30 years old are more expensive to finance.

Financing older boats like this Hatteras can sometimes be a challenge
Financing older boats like this Hatteras can sometimes be a challenge

Buyers are more likely to obtain loans for boats if they go to marine lending institutions rather than regular banks.

The agents know boats and understand the purchasing and survey process as well as the valuation of boats better than agents at mainstream, local banks.  But sometimes if buyers have a very good relationship with their local bank their agent can get creative to help them purchase their older dream boat.

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Why are older boats hard to finance?

Because purchasing a boat is not an investment in most cases.  Boats depreciate yearly; it’s the rare boat that appreciates as time goes by.  Some hold their value better than others but eventually most production boats will all go down in value.  If they are not maintained constantly their parts wear out, their systems become worn and tired and even the integrity of their fiberglass hulls can be degraded.  Boats with the highest level of maintenance are still going to depreciate but certainly a hull survey will give a higher value to a well-maintained boat over a poorly maintained one, and that helps with financing.

The difference in those high and low values are not going to be as great as many people think.

Look at it like this — a 2009 Honda Accord in great condition, with a sunroof, leather interior and a navigation system might fly off the used car lot faster than a 2009 Honda Accord with cloth interior and no extras, but they are still 2009 Honda Accords and the selling price is not going to be wildly different.  Same with boats. Good maintenance and amenities matter more to peace of mind and will help a boat sell faster (and in the higher range), but there is still a range that has to be acknowledged by buyer, seller and the finance company.

A Few Marine Lending Institutions:

NOTE: If you find success, please let us know.  There are hundreds of others looking to model your success.  Please email editor@allatsea.net or comment below

Cubas Boating Ambassador Jose Miguel Diaz Escrich

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  1. This houseboat was built in 1979 well maintained just had the hull redone as he has ever 5 years it is a nautaline 14′ × 47′ very nice boat I will have an expert boat person check out every inch of the boat. Who will loan on that year boat it’s the cheapest nice boat I could fine

  2. I have a 1981 37′ Island Trader Sail boat. She just went trough a four month restoration and is now in very good condition minus the mast. The two wood mast were knocked of during Hurricane Matthew. I own the boat free and clear, I am looking for a loan in the amount of 10,000, for used aluminium.

  3. I don’t see any financial institution or loan broker contact information listed for the “Program for Financing Older Boats” as this article is named. That information would be helpful.

    • Unfortunately, I don’t believe there are any. Your only hope in this case would be to find some form of equity line of crediting.

  4. I to am looking for financing for an older boat. it is a 1975 Morgan Out Island 51 that has been meticulously kept and maintained as part of a charter boat business. I’ve been in contact with so many institutions in the business of lending money for yachts, only to be told that they will not lend money for anything older than 1989. I have a good paying job, everything I own is paid for and not even my bank will loan money on it. Ones only hope is to find a home equity loan somewhere. But if you have a spouse who is not like minded and listed as co-owner, you’ll have no luck either because it will be required that she to sign the paperwork for the loan. This leaves you with no hope to realize your dream.

    • Divorce the wife you have nothing in common with, take your half of the proceeds from the house, buy your boat. You can now live your dream in peace. You will probably have more fun too.

  5. I am looking to get a loan for a 105k 50′ Chris Craft in great condition. I have 50% down payment and reasonable credit. I am having a very hard time finding a lender. Even if we go 60% down payment. If you know of anyone, email or call 9545912706 jon@wubbena.net

  6. We have 37′ Sea Ray Express Cruiser 1997 in excellent condition and need to refinace it. No one will in Florida…boating capital of the world… Any suggestions?

  7. I own a 1990 44′ Post S/F with low hours on totally rebuilt Detroit 6v92s’. This is a
    solid boat needing some electronic upgrades and interior refurbishing.
    There is no loan on the boat currently. I would like to borrow $25K for some upgrades
    and to pay the balance of a high cost credit line.

  8. Looking for finance on a 1986 4588 bayliner $87,000.00 I have 819 credit owe nothing to no one have 20 to 30% to put down. anyone help me

  9. To to finance a 2001 hydra sport 2796 completely redit in 2019 for 80k boat is completely soild any help i have a 780 score and money down


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Pam Valente
Pam Valentehttp://www.unitedyacht.com/pamv.html
United Yacht Sale's Beaufort/Morehead City office is staffed by Pam Valente and Lenny Beck. Pam, a knowledgeable broker and seasoned boater, offers professional assistance and personal service while walking customers through the process of selling or purchasing a vessel by thoughtfully answering questions and discussing options.

So Caribbean you can almost taste the rum...

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