Few possessions enhance your lifestyle quite so much as a boat.
Whether you want to motor towards mackerel or sail into your sunset years, boat ownership is a popular dream.
Here’s how to get the timing right.
When Do Dealerships Have The Best Savings?
Popular belief says that dealerships drop their prices come winter. But, because everyone thinks that way, winter can actually be a high-demand time, with many dealers actually holding prices until summer.
In fact, some dealers say that they’re more open to negotiation come summer. When enthusiasts are out on the water, not shopping.
The best deals usually coincide with the release of new models, which sees big price drops on ‘last season’s’ boat.
Generally, new releases come in summer, but many dealers start selling out older stock long before. So it’s wise to keep an eye on when your dealer of choice tends to drop new models and old prices.
Because boat buying is a long game, your best bet to saving at the dealership is to visit often. Note prices, and keep an eye on showroom stock.
By proving yourself a savvy shopper and developing a rapport with staff, you can increase your haggling power when it’s time to buy.
When’s The Best Time To Buy Used?
Buying used can save you coin, plus spare you the first year’s depreciation (already shouldered by the original buyer).
But, it’s also less straightforward than visiting a dealer (and getting a warranty) and, buying used means being extra alert to ensure your deal’s not a dud.
If you’re buying through a broker, the price is likely to be pretty accurate.
If buying privately, make sure you check dealer prices on comparable models. And engage a surveyor to do an inspection, ensuring the best negotiating position.
Insist on photos, but always inspect in person, and make sure the service history’s up-to-date.
As for timing, the best time to buy used is really when the boat you want is being sold!
That said, because storing a boat through winter can be costly, those planning to jettison their boat before then might be open to doing a deal in autumn.
Is It Better To Buy In Any Particular Season?
Winter through spring is when most of Australia’s boat shows and exhibitions happen. And these can bring some great deals, thanks to the competitive nature of the environment.
While this gives buyers more power, it can lead to impulse buys, so apply the ‘homework first’ rule, even if buying at a show.
As mentioned, summer can see dealerships go a bit quiet. Which can help you save, while autumn can be a great time to haggle for a pre-loved boat.
Of course, spring is a great time to launch your boat and get out there!
In all, Australia, with its temperate climate and huge demand for watercraft, isn’t as ‘seasonal’ as other places. So shop around, no matter the season.
Financing is a great way to lower your up-front outlay. But you need to shop around for the right rate and be able to cover repayments.
Try to avoid applying for finance for at least 6 months after changing jobs. As lenders tend to view new employees as less stable.
Similarly, make sure other debts, like credit cards, are in hand or finalised to ensure your best bet at a great loan.
Finally, boat shopping’s easier when you have pre-approval.
This lets sellers know you’re serious and keeps you from blowing the budget, so don’t make finance an afterthought.
When’s the Best Time For Boating in Australia?
Most see spring as prime time to go boating. It’s not cold like winter, nor prone to storms like summer.
That said, boating during our mild winters (when waterways and berths are less crowded) is becoming popular.
Cyclone season in parts of Australia falls over summer (November to April) which is also our favourite season to boat, meaning you must heed warnings.
By the way, if you see a boat up for private sale after a storm or cyclone, approach with caution – it might be damaged!
Related: Winter Boating in WA
In all, the best time to buy a boat is when you’ve had time to shop around. And budget for maintenance.
Used boats initially listed at ‘dreamer’s rates’ can be drastically reduced once reality sets in.
Similarly, new models tend to send showrooms into sales mode.
Do your research, consider buying used, employ a ‘watch and wait’ approach – and you’ll be able to spot sails on sale like a pro.
If you’re looking to upgrade your caravan, camper, boat or 4WD, get a 30 second quick quote on finance with CreditOne – Australia’s best rated finance broker.