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a limited life span (two to seven years,
depending on severity), and they’re recovering. Parkhurst says that for prime borrowers (FICO scores over 700) and near-prime (660 to 700), loans are again easily
available. Even subprime borrowers (below
660) can get loans. Credit scores (among
other things) also determine interest rates
and down-payment amounts.
So what does this mean for you? At
press time in June, prime borrowers currently pay around 4 to 5 percent interest
with 10 to 20 percent down, while near-prime borrowers will pay 5. 5 to 6. 5 percent interest with 20 to 25 percent down.
Subprime borrowers pay much higher
rates (up to 15 to 18 percent) and need
much higher down payments ( 25 to 50
percent). Parkhurst thinks interest rates
will rise this year, but he stresses that rates
are still extremely low for most buyers.
Is it better to rehab an old boat
or buy a newer one?
Yes. No. Actually, you’ll get different
answers from different people. But the
answers that matter are from people
who’ve actually rescued, rehabbed, or
in some way restored an unloved boat
and have owned other, newer boats, too.
Fortunately, our members aren’t shy
about talking to us, and in fact, over the
years, hundreds of members have sent us
pictures and descriptions of their projects. So we asked them.
John Fitzgerald, who lives on New
York’s Long Island, restored a 1964
Glasspar Seafair. Fitzgerald spent 20
weekends (that’s about 160 hours, or
a month of sitting at your desk job)
repairing the old boat to its (almost)
former glory. When we asked if he’d do
it again, he said yes. “But I like working
on projects,” he said. “I also like salvaging
something from the past and having a
unique boat. For me, it was worth it. But
for someone without the skills and desire,
Did his time pay off? Fitzpatrick
says he bought the boat for $2,500 and
put about $4,000 into it, not including
his time. It’s value now? About $6,500.
Bottom line for Fitzpatrick: If you just
want to go boating, you’re probably better
off buying a used boat in decent shape
than restoring a fixer-upper.
William Hand, a member out of
New Bern, North Carolina, wanted a
quality boat that didn’t look like every
other boat. He settled on a 23-foot
1973 Seacraft he bought for $1,500. The
boat needed “a lot of work,” and Hand
even converted the sterndrive to an outboard on a bracket. His outlay was about
Was it worth
it? Absolutely, he
says. “I couldn’t
have bought a
similar new boat
for twice what I’ve
put into mine.” On
the other hand, his
boat’s actual value
is far less than his
32 | BoatU.S. Magazine AUGUST | SEPTEMBER 2017
If you’ve made
an older boat,
make sure you
and keep all
to see them
in order to