GET A SURVEY
Never skip out on a yacht survey, the most important part of your pre-purchase diligence. It will report on the overall condition of the vessel. While a survey is an additional expense, it will give you valuable information and may be required in order to obtain insurance .
A marine surveyor will find things the average, or even experienced, boater may miss. A good surveyor will spend hours observing and testing all the major systems, electronics, equipment, and other items that help the yacht function. The surveyor will then provide a written report on their findings. He/she will typically do an in-water inspection, sea trial, and examination with the yacht hauled-out, to verify whether the yacht meets various compliance standards and specifications. Overall, the survey will report on the structure, machinery, and equipment (navigation, safety, communication, etc.).
The two predominant organizations to which a marine surveyor can belong are the National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS) and the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS). A focus on ethics and continuing education is at the forefront of both institutions. Certified Marine Surveyors and Accredited Marine Surveyors are both highly qualified to perform a true and unbiased evaluation.
‘Bigger is better’ is a common misconception in the yachting community. Stay focused on getting the most value for your money in terms of how the yacht was built. A “ginormous” yacht made with cheaper materials is not a good investment. Opt for the smaller option that is built to last. Taking it a step further, do your research. Look online and see what the yachting community is saying about the vessel you are interested in. What are the common issues? Look at the pros and cons and weigh them accordingly.
MAKE A FINANCIAL PLAN
Even if budget isn’t an issue, always make a concrete plan for the financial side of the transaction. The purchase price of the yacht is not the only thing to plan for. There will be ongoing maintenance needs, yacht insurance, storage costs, and more. If you are getting a loan for the yacht, make sure you have a good credit score and history, and can make at least a 20% down payment. Ideally you would put down more than 20% to lower your interest expense. Get pre-qualified for the loan before you start looking at yachts. This will give you more leverage to negotiate the price. If you are working with a yacht broker, they can help coordinate the financing and insurance.
Once the loan is secured, you should have a more concrete idea of what your monthly payments will look like. Sit down and work out all the numbers. Figure out the overall monthly costs, leaving a margin of error for expenses that may change. The breakdown of your plan should include loan payments, insurance and maintenance costs, storage fees, and miscellaneous costs. As far as insurance, an underwriter will calculate the cost of your policy based on a few of the following requirements – prior boating experience, claims history, the type of navigational equipment, location of usage, the yacht’s value, your liability limits, and more.