Is it OK to buy a boat sight-unseen from a really friendly guy in Nigeria?” Uh, NO! “I want to buy an old boat for $50,000. Is it worth getting it
surveyed?” Yes! Some questions are easier than others, and we welcome them
all. But some we get again and again,
like this one:
How much boat can I afford?
Everyone has his or her own comfort
level on how much to spend on fun. But
fun can quickly turn into anxiety if we
overspend. Rather than use a percentage
of income, like realtors (i.e., 36 percent
of your monthly income is about right
for home-mortgage payments), a better
approach is to work backward.
Most people make monthly payments, so decide how much of your
disposable income you can fit into your
total monthly boat budget. Now subtract
insurance, fuel, dockage, and a reasonable monthly outlay for repairs and
maintenance (even if you plan to do the
work yourself). Throw in an extra 10 to
15 percent for surprise contingencies.
(A helpful rule of thumb to estimate
future maintenance/repair costs is 1 to
2 percent of the cost of the current year
model of your boat, regardless of its age.)
What you’re left with is your monthly
boat-loan payment amount.
Use a loan calculator (we’ve got a
handy one at BoatUS.com/Calculator)
to find out what that monthly payment
can buy you. Then go shopping with
peace of mind.
How important is my credit score?
There are millions of people coming
out of the Great Recession whose credit
scores got pretty banged up. If you’re one
of those, you may be wondering if your
credit is still useful for buying a boat.
We asked Don Parkhurst, senior vice
president of the marine and RV division
at SunTrust Bank and one of BoatU.S.
Finance’s lending partners, to shed some
light on the question.
Parkhurst says that things have
improved since the beginning of the
recession in 2009, when boats lost about
35 percent of their value and credit scores
nosedived. Dinged credit histories have
You have questions?
We have answers
Our Consumer Protection department at BoatU.S. gets questions – lots of questions.
In this issue, we’ll tackle a few of the more common ones
Experience is what
you get immediately
after you need it,
right? So no matter
you are, use our
Protection department to get answers
to your questions.
BY CHARLES FORT