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Old 02-28-2021, 09:48 AM   #1
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General Boat Expense Question

Good Morning fellow Trawlers Fans,

My wife and I are getting closer to pulling the trigger on buying our future dream. I have some more questions though that I have no answers and am trying to draw from your vast experiences.

1. Our budget is $80K-$140K for a 44'-48' vessel. We have about 40-50% to put down. We like the Gulfstar/Californian layout and would look to buy in the MD/VA market.

Moving forward, will we get pushback from a finance institution trying to finance the remaining principle? Do brokers help in this area and do sellers frown on financed purshases? We have equity in our home but are trying to avoid using it. Any suggestions? We plan on getting anything we settle on surveyed but thats expensive and time consuming, its a sellers market so we are concerned with timing of a future sale as well.


2. On an older vessel are there any hidden maintenance fees that we should monthly budget for? ie. Insurance, Slip Fees, Monthly haul outs for bottom pressure/barnacle scrub downs?

I am just trying to plan our yearly fees so we are not blind sided and derailing our dream.

We are impressed with Piney Narrows Marina in the Chesapeake, and are planning on leasing a slip there. Annual slip fees are around $4300.

Thanks for your time.

Respectfully.
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Old 02-28-2021, 10:02 AM   #2
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Since you haven't identified the specific vessel yet, the best advice that I ever got when it comes to boat buying is find a broker before you even start looking for a boat. they will be your best source of information for all of your other questions.

Older vessel and hidden costs? Of course. And these might be more prevalent in one make and model versus another. Your broker can help once the choices are narrowed down as can this forum.

Does your chosen marina have room for you? If you haven't checked, do so. If they do, lock in a slip as soon as you can.

With 50% down you should be able to get a loan assuming that your credit is otherwise sound. Get approval before you start shopping.

Get surveys. Personally I wouldn't buy without it. Deals are almost always done pending inspection, surveys and sea trial. And yes, "surveys" is plural; engine and hull.
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Old 02-28-2021, 10:07 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Keoki View Post
Good Morning fellow Trawlers Fans,

My wife and I are getting closer to pulling the trigger on buying our future dream. I have some more questions though that I have no answers and am trying to draw from your vast experiences.

1. Our budget is $80K-$140K for a 44'-48' vessel. We have about 40-50% to put down. We like the Gulfstar/Californian layout and would look to buy in the MD/VA market.

Moving forward, will we get pushback from a finance institution trying to finance the remaining principle? Do brokers help in this area and do sellers frown on financed purshases? We have equity in our home but are trying to avoid using it. Any suggestions? We plan on getting anything we settle on surveyed but thats expensive and time consuming, its a sellers market so we are concerned with timing of a future sale as well.


2. On an older vessel are there any hidden maintenance fees that we should monthly budget for? ie. Insurance, Slip Fees, Monthly haul outs for bottom pressure/barnacle scrub downs?

I am just trying to plan our yearly fees so we are not blind sided and derailing our dream.

We are impressed with Piney Narrows Marina in the Chesapeake, and are planning on leasing a slip there. Annual slip fees are around $4300.

Thanks for your time.

Respectfully.
The age of the boat will greatly affect your ability to get financing - perhaps research and/or contact a couple of the marine finance companies to get their latest guidelines on age. Essex and Coastal are a couple to start with but there are many more out there as well.
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Old 02-28-2021, 10:09 AM   #4
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Financing older boats can be a problem, so can obtaining insurance. Talk to your broker and focus on financial institutions that serve the boat market. For insurance talk to a marine insurance broker like IMIS in Grasonville, Md or Jack Martin in Annapolis. You will probably have to resolve all of the "must do" things on your marine survey to qualify for insurance. That can often be negotiated with the seller to share these costs.

You can budget for the known items- monthly payment, slip fees, haul out and bottom painting every few years, etc. Bottom scrubbing is usually done by a diver, not by a haulout. But in an older boat it is the unknown that can bite you . Systems will fail and have to be repaired or replaced. Also you may want to upgrade electronic systems just to have the more modern versions and that will cost some bucks the first year.

I would budget $10,000 the first year for these unknowns and upgrades and adjust based on experience for subsequent years.

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Old 02-28-2021, 10:54 AM   #5
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I agree with what others have said about finding a buyers broker to work with. They will help find boats you are interested in and also with the issues of the buying process. It cost you nothing as they get their part of the commission from the seller. Just be very honest with them as far as your plans.

We looked at both the Gulfstars and Californians before buying our boat. I'm a bit biased here but don't overlook the Chris Craft Constellations of the same vintage in your search. We love the layout and its very comfortable for extended trips. We have the 46' model. A quick search showed a couple of both the 46 and 50 in your area.

Enjoy the hunt!
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Old 02-28-2021, 11:03 AM   #6
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Older 44-48 ft will put you closer to $20k per year if you don't defer maintenance. Really depends on how much you do and where you dock.
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Old 02-28-2021, 11:15 AM   #7
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Within your budget and size range you are likely looking at older boats. I'd say mid 80's.

I'll address your 2nd question a bit indirectly. I won't give you budget specifics. Costs on an older boat, or any boat for that matter, will vary far too much depending upon you skills, willingness to DIY, level of fit and finish desired, intended use, etc. I will tell you a bit of a horror story, mine. To give you and idea of what you could be in for if you are not careful enough in your per-purchase inspections.

In June 2018 she and I found a 1983 Californian 42 LRC. It looked good and felt good. We both poked around the boat for half a day. Then I came back alone and spent nearly a full day aboard. Following that we hired one of the best hull and condition surveyors in the area. As well as a mechanical surveyor with a good reputation.

After post survey negotiations the purchase price was $70K. At this point I have another $80K + into the boat due in no small part to items missed by the surveyors. We still have more to go. I will consider myself lucky to have the boat ready for her intended use if all I have to spend is another $20K. And that's ignoring the canvas which showed it's age and frailty in the latest wind storm. In the Puget Sound market that will be $20K minimum. A great incentive to learn how to sew sunbrella. I'm also ignoring the state of exterior varnish and gel coat.

I was going to detail the items and expense but that won't matter to you and your intended purchase. I'll stay to the general.

My message to you is to be very careful in your inspection. Understand your intended use. We want to cruise fairly remote areas where support may well have to be flown in on a float plane. If we were going to dock hop with the occasional night on the hook the level of preparedness would be entirely different.

A villain in my horror story is allyougottadois. Watch out for that guy. He may look like your broker, or your surveyor, or your best buddy or even yourself. Allyougottadois came out of my mouth far more than any of the others' mouths. The full definition of allyougottadois is "You don't know what the eff you're talking about." And beware of the shorthand for allyougottadois which is "Just"

If you are budgeting to anticipate costs that while impossible is a good goal. If you are budgeting to see if you can afford it because it's tight on your overall budget be very very very careful.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Keoki View Post
Good Morning fellow Trawlers Fans,


My wife and I are getting closer to pulling the trigger on buying our future dream. I have some more questions though that I have no answers and am trying to draw from your vast experiences.

1. Our budget is $80K-$140K for a 44'-48' vessel. We have about 40-50% to put down. We like the Gulfstar/Californian layout and would look to buy in the MD/VA market.

Moving forward, will we get pushback from a finance institution trying to finance the remaining principle? Do brokers help in this area and do sellers frown on financed purshases? We have equity in our home but are trying to avoid using it. Any suggestions? We plan on getting anything we settle on surveyed but thats expensive and time consuming, its a sellers market so we are concerned with timing of a future sale as well.


2. On an older vessel are there any hidden maintenance fees that we should monthly budget for? ie. Insurance, Slip Fees, Monthly haul outs for bottom pressure/barnacle scrub downs?

I am just trying to plan our yearly fees so we are not blind sided and derailing our dream.

We are impressed with Piney Narrows Marina in the Chesapeake, and are planning on leasing a slip there. Annual slip fees are around $4300.

Thanks for your time.

Respectfully.
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Old 02-28-2021, 11:19 AM   #8
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Your budget puts you into a late 80’s early 90’s boat. Banks change their lending standards all the time. 30 years has been the cut off for some time now on how old a boat a bank will finance. Just recently some have jumped to 35 years. You will want to know this before you fall for a boat to old to be financed.

With 30 year old boats, most systems are hitting end of life. Each boat is different. If you find a boat that has replaced most systems over the last 30 years that’s a plus. If you find a boat that has all original equipment that could be a minus. I purposely bought a boat that had all tired original equipment. I then spent $75,000 replacing most of the systems with new. Now I have a mostly new boat for half the cost but I went in prepared for this.

With boats you can never know what major maintenance is lurking. You just need to have a contingency fund of $20,000 and hope that you never need it.
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Old 02-28-2021, 11:31 AM   #9
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Your budget puts you into a late 80’s early 90’s boat. Banks change their lending standards all the time. 30 years has been the cut off for some time now on how old a boat a bank will finance. Just recently some have jumped to 35 years. You will want to know this before you fall for a boat to old to be financed.

With 30 year old boats, most systems are hitting end of life. Each boat is different. If you find a boat that has replaced most systems over the last 30 years that’s a plus. If you find a boat that has all original equipment that could be a minus. I purposely bought a boat that had all tired original equipment. I then spent $75,000 replacing most of the systems with new. Now I have a mostly new boat for half the cost but I went in prepared for this.

With boats you can never know what major maintenance is lurking. You just need to have a contingency fund of $20,000 and hope that you never need it.
Do you have some names of folks that will finance boats that are 30 and 35 years old?
We have friends who cannot find places that finance over 20.
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Old 02-28-2021, 12:01 PM   #10
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With today's low interest rates... I'd think establishing a line of credit on RE would save money compared to loan on a boat. Also, with access to instant loan $$$ [similar to having cash] the ability to horse-trade during agreement phase would be in your favor.

I like to buy things cash... and... I like to horse-trade!

Don't be afraid to walk away on any deal if it's not in your favor!
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Old 02-28-2021, 12:16 PM   #11
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I would look into financing NOW . . . . however, (there is often a however) with today's market being a seller's market if the boat is in good condition, I would personally get a home equity loan, and that, along with the cash you have on hand will allow you to make a "cash offer". By that, you aren't presenting an offer "contingent on financing". I would still make any offer contingent upon:
  • acceptable inspection (my personal inspection)
  • obtaining acceptable insurance
  • survey, mechanical as well as hull
  • obtaining acceptable moorage.
Note the use of the word "acceptable" which is intentionally vague. We purchased a boat recently (closed earlier this month), and made a cash offer with the above contingencies. It was accepted by the sellers. I personally believe the boat sold for less than it was worth, but that's just me. Anyway, the boat has been exceptionally well maintained, survey didn't reveal any surprises, but it DOES have 12 year old electronics, which all work, and we are not intending on replacing immediately. However (I DID warn you about howevers, didn't I?) we plan on spending roughly $45k on the boat in the nest two years or so. Mostly upgrades, but also making the boat "ours", since we are planning on lots of on anchor, long distance, etc so about $23k of those $$ include:
  • new water maker (the boat has an existing water maker, but it 30+ years old)
  • Hard top Bimini
  • Replace groco hand toilets with 2 Raritan Marine Elegance heads
  • 1600 watt solar array, solar controllers, etc on above hard top Bimini
  • LiFePO house battery bank to replace existing battery bank
  • Victron Multiplus inverter/charger with associated stuff
So, even with a well maintained vessel in good shape, you are going to be spend $$ as soon as you purchase.
Back to your situation, offer now with cash, after the deal is done, line up financing for the remainder if you still chose to do so.
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Old 02-28-2021, 01:07 PM   #12
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Kudos to you for asking these questions and trying to be the best prepared that you can be. You have received some very good advice here, even though you may think most of it vague.
Buying an older boat can be (and often is) a "dangerous" thing. Unless you are very knowledgeable and experienced, never buy one without getting it surveyed (plural) by the best people available. Realize that no matter how careful you are, most likely things will "pop up" that were missed or are unexpected. MOST LIKELY it will cost you (in deferred maintenance, repairs, replacements, etc.) a fair bit more than you were expecting. Boats are not called "holes in the water into which you throw money" for nothing .
As an example, I bought a 16 year old boat that was in very, very good condition and had been maintained. I still spent approx. $25-30,000 in the first 2 years that I owned her to deal with some known repairs, upgrades, and some deferred maintenance. I did not replace any of the 16 year old electronics because they all worked well, and money was an object and was not "unlimited".
My purpose with this is not to convince you to drop or change your dreams, but just to ensure that if you are worried about "budget", then it would be prudent to "put aside" a fair "chunk" of change for these types of expenses, especially if you are not much of a DIYer. Then, if you find your boat is a "pleasant surprise" with not too many items that need addressing, you can spend the money on upgrades if you want like new electronics, a water maker, etc.
Good luck in your search.
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Old 02-28-2021, 01:13 PM   #13
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New boats cost a lot of money.

Older boats cost more money

Really old boats cost even more than that.

Old wooden boats cost most, especially if they are free or nearly free.

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Old 02-28-2021, 01:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keoki View Post
Good Morning fellow Trawlers Fans,

My wife and I are getting closer to pulling the trigger on buying our future dream. I have some more questions though that I have no answers and am trying to draw from your vast experiences.

1. Our budget is $80K-$140K for a 44'-48' vessel. We have about 40-50% to put down. We like the Gulfstar/Californian layout and would look to buy in the MD/VA market.

Moving forward, will we get pushback from a finance institution trying to finance the remaining principle? Do brokers help in this area and do sellers frown on financed purshases? We have equity in our home but are trying to avoid using it. Any suggestions? We plan on getting anything we settle on surveyed but thats expensive and time consuming, its a sellers market so we are concerned with timing of a future sale as well.


2. On an older vessel are there any hidden maintenance fees that we should monthly budget for? ie. Insurance, Slip Fees, Monthly haul outs for bottom pressure/barnacle scrub downs?

I am just trying to plan our yearly fees so we are not blind sided and derailing our dream.

We are impressed with Piney Narrows Marina in the Chesapeake, and are planning on leasing a slip there. Annual slip fees are around $4300.

Thanks for your time.

Respectfully.
That price range puts you in "older" status in regards to financing. There is a great lady, Cindy is her name, search financing im sure she is already mentioned here. I can tell you 2 years ago a 50k loan was the smallest, and 30 years old was a pretty solid age limit. With insurane the way it is, and i would suspect the lending market tighter as well, get your insurance and financing questions answered before you make offers and get surveys.
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Old 02-28-2021, 05:07 PM   #15
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People’s Bank in Washington will now do boats up to 35 years of age.
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Old 02-28-2021, 06:24 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by tiltrider1 View Post
People’s Bank in Washington will now do boats up to 35 years of age.

Banner Bank in Washington loaned me 90% on a 32year-old boat. The advice you are getting here has been excellent. In areas where recreational boating is big business, banks view these loans as "normal." Your broker will know who they are.


But don't forget JP Morgan's axiom: "If you have to ask how much, you can't afford it.:
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Old 02-28-2021, 06:53 PM   #17
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We used Cindy Lewis at Sterling to get the loan on our current boat. She was very good to work with. We are getting ready to sell our boat and go a different way due to my mother’s condition. I spoke at length with Cindy last week about the loan on the projected new boat. She said that loans are available for boats back into the mid eighties bur the rate will be .25% higher for a boat over 20 years old. The current rate for boats less than 20 years is about 3.8% with 20% down and you pay the sales tax separately. She has multiple banks that she works with depending on the particular situation. Give her a call and she can answer a lot of your questions with solid answers rather than getting secondhand info from us. 410-903-6611
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Old 02-28-2021, 07:01 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowgoesit View Post
I would look into financing NOW . . . . however, (there is often a however) with today's market being a seller's market if the boat is in good condition, I would personally get a home equity loan, and that, along with the cash you have on hand will allow you to make a "cash offer". By that, you aren't presenting an offer "contingent on financing". I would still make any offer contingent upon:
  • acceptable inspection (my personal inspection)
  • obtaining acceptable insurance
  • survey, mechanical as well as hull
  • obtaining acceptable moorage.
Note the use of the word "acceptable" which is intentionally vague. We purchased a boat recently (closed earlier this month), and made a cash offer with the above contingencies. It was accepted by the sellers. I personally believe the boat sold for less than it was worth, but that's just me. Anyway, the boat has been exceptionally well maintained, survey didn't reveal any surprises, but it DOES have 12 year old electronics, which all work, and we are not intending on replacing immediately. However (I DID warn you about howevers, didn't I?) we plan on spending roughly $45k on the boat in the nest two years or so. Mostly upgrades, but also making the boat "ours", since we are planning on lots of on anchor, long distance, etc so about $23k of those $$ include:
  • new water maker (the boat has an existing water maker, but it 30+ years old)
  • Hard top Bimini
  • Replace groco hand toilets with 2 Raritan Marine Elegance heads
  • 1600 watt solar array, solar controllers, etc on above hard top Bimini
  • LiFePO house battery bank to replace existing battery bank
  • Victron Multiplus inverter/charger with associated stuff
So, even with a well maintained vessel in good shape, you are going to be spend $$ as soon as you purchase.
Back to your situation, offer now with cash, after the deal is done, line up financing for the remainder if you still chose to do so.

QUOTE:]survey, mechanical as well as hull END QUOTE
This item should also have "acceptable to YOU" You do not want it acceptable to anyone else except your insurance co. as they will have a say in it in the terms of whether or not they will insure.
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Old 02-28-2021, 07:58 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by C lectric View Post
QUOTE:]survey, mechanical as well as hull END QUOTE
This item should also have "acceptable to YOU" You do not want it acceptable to anyone else except your insurance co. as they will have a say in it in the terms of whether or not they will insure.

Good point, thanks!
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