How To: Buying a Boat Online

seaw01When buying a boat, there are several things to consider to ensure you’ll have the best possible experience. For starters, understanding the selling process will only make the buying process easier — whether it’s sold through a broker, auction house, dealer or by a private seller.

For an in-depth look at what the selling process entails, Boats.com offers a handy resource guide.

Here’re a few things to consider when buying a boat:

Marine survey
Many people hire a local surveyor to inspect the boat, who will complete a thorough visual inspection as well as check the sound laminate with a hammer or moisture meter. Boats.com notes that the importance of the survey varies depending on the boat’s age, size and its number of systems. Both buyers and sellers can use the services of a surveyor to determine the actual value of a boat.

Advertising the sale
There are multiple routes sellers take when advertising the sale of a boat, usually in the form of online classified ad providers and print publications — local, regional and national. As a buyer, consider using online classifieds websites that specialize in boat sales over free classifieds like Craigslist, as Boats.com (and similar websites) offer services to help survey, insure and transport the boat.

Showing the boat
Once you’ve decided on a boat you’re interested in purchasing, it’s best to physically check out the boat, if at all possible. Make sure you’re knowledgable about the specs of the boat you’re potentially buying, as coming across as ignorant could play in the seller’s favor as far as negotiating a fair price. Also be prepared to go on a sea trial, where the seller takes you out for a spin on the water. Insist on at least steering the boat and make sure the seller is answering all of your questions honestly and directly.

If you aren’t able to see the boat in person, send or hire someone you trust for the sea trial.

The Sale
When you’re ready to make on offer on a boat, the seller (in most cases) will be prepared to negotiate a lower number than the asking price. Make a reasonable first offer, perhaps a little lower than you suspect the buyer will want to take, and negotiate further from there. This process can drag on, and with the possibility of additional offers coming in from other prospective buyers, you should be prepared to finalize the deal as soon as you and the seller can agree on a price.

Other things to consider when finalizing the details of the sale are transportation costs, financing and filling out the necessary paperwork (Boats.com has a helpful list).

Transporting your boat
When the sale is final, the process of transporting your boat can seem like an entirely different transaction. It’s best to insure the boat for transportation and make sure it’s being handled by a trusted professional. It’s best to do a walkthrough with the driver, even taking pictures of pre-transport condition, because damages are not uncommon.

PaySAFE helps give both buyer and seller peace of mind
Once you and the seller finalize the sale, using an online escrow service like PaySAFE will ensure that no money exchanges hands until the details of the transaction are completed and approved by both parties (including successful transportation). PaySAFE’s paperwork-free online tools are free and easy to use and act as a neutral third party which provides transparency to both buyer and seller during the entire transaction.

For more information on how PaySAFE can work for your next major purchase, visit our website.

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