Boat Loans: Where to Get Started?
When started on your search for the best boat loans, there are a few considerations to keep in mind to ensure smooth sailing. Let’s take a look!
What a boat loan is and where to get one
The first thing you need to know about boat financing is that it’s actually very similar to taking out a loan for a car. You can get one from either a bank, credit union, or online personal loan lender. Additionally, you can take out a new boat loan from a boat dealer or marine-specific financial services company. You’ll find no shortage of options available. You’ll request a specific loan amount based on your needs, and you’ll pay it off with interest over a fixed term.
Check your credit
Your credit score and history will be a big determining factor when it comes to getting approved for a boat loan. Furthermore, it will affect what interest rate you’ll be eligible for as well. It’s a good idea to check your credit to see where you stand so that you’ll know what to expect during your loan search.
Get prequalified to compare rates
Getting prequalified has the advantage of not harming your credit score since it typically requires a soft credit inquiry. Prequalification allows you to compare boat loan rates and terms that are available to you.
Recommended Boat Loans
What to Know Before Taking a Loan for a Boat
Financing a boat
While boat financing is similar to auto financing, it differs in that it can be a weightier investment. After all, boats are more costly than a vehicle. Therefore, you can expect to take out a larger loan amount and possibly a longer loan term.
How much you’ll pay
Aside from the actual price tag of the vessel, there are other considerations involved when determining how much the loan amount will be, such as the terms of the loan, your credit, and the down payment. The health of your credit is an important factor when lenders evaluate how risky you are as a borrower and what rates you’ll get.
Secured boat loan
A secured loan means that it is backed by some form of valuable collateral, such as a mortgage, vehicle, or the boat itself. In the case of defaulting on your boat loan, the lender can use this collateral as payment. Using collateral can help you get the best boat loan rates. An unsecured boat loan means you won’t be using any collateral to back up the loan, which is seen as riskier to lenders who will consequently offer higher interest rates.
Similar to an auto loan or even a mortgage, you’ll first need to put some money down when taking out a boat loan. Depending on the cost of the boat, down payments on boat loans are generally between 10%-20% of the total. There are, however, some lenders who won’t require you put down anything at all, but just know that this can increase the amount you pay in interest over the loan term.
Boat loan terms
While the terms for boat loans can vary depending on the lender, you can typically get up to a 20 year term if your boat loan is secured. If it’s not secured, the term will be shorter and closer to five or seven years. Keep in mind that while a longer term might ease the burden of your monthly payments, it also means paying more interest in the long-run.
Boat loan interest rates
When taking out a boat loan, you’ll want to find the best boat loan rates. While this widely depends on your credit health, many lenders will also factor in things like your employment history, income, and other components of creditworthiness when determining what rate to give you.
Tips for Buying a Boat
Buying a boat is an exciting process, but it can also be stressful if you aren’t prepared. Here are a few tips that will steer you in the right direction.
1. Establish a budget
Just like buying a car or a home, you don’t want to spend above your means when buying a boat. Before taking the steps to acquire a boat loan, figure out how much you can afford on boat loan payments each month, and stick to that number.
2. Understand the costs
When establishing a budget, you want to be certain that you have a good understanding of all of the costs involved in owning and maintaining a boat. This includes things like boat fuel, docking fees, storage, and insurance. You’ll also have to factor in regular maintenance for your boat, safety gear, and potential repairs.
3. Buy a boat that fits your needs
It can be tempting to buy the most powerful, decked-out vessel on the waters, but take time to carefully consider what you need and what your experience level is, especially if you’re a first-time boat owner.
Recommended Lenders for Boat Loans
If you’re unsure of where to start when searching for boat finance options, here are a few recommended lenders with the best boat loan interest rates.
Credible is an online lending marketplace that allows borrowers to get preapproved for a personal loan of up to $100,000. It is a perfect choice if you’re looking to secure a bigger loan and compare rates. The APR ranges from 5.40-35.99%. Credible is a solid option for a wide range of credit scores as they look at a variety of factors besides credit when approving you for a loan.
Upgrade is an online lender offering personal loans of up to $50,000. This is ideal if you’re in the market for a smaller vessel. APR ranges from 7.99%-35.89% and you can check your rate quickly online without hurting your credit.
LendingClub is a reputable online lending company that has facilitated over $45 billion in loans. With an APR range of 6.95%-35.89%, you can borrow up to $40,000 for boat financing. LendingClub offers competitive rates for a wide range of credit scores, no prepayment fees, and great customer service.
Are all boats eligible for a loan?
The good news is that there are boat loans available for any type of vessel, be it a pontoon or a yacht.
What kind of credit score do I need to get a boat loan?
Getting approved for a boat loan is a similar process to getting approved for a car or home. Your entire financial profile will determine what you qualify for. Generally, you won’t have any issues if you have good credit. If your credit isn’t in the best shape, many lenders allow you to add a cosigner, which can help you get approved.
What determines the down payment amount?
The down payment amount depends on a variety of factors, such as the price of the boat, the boat’s age, and what type of boat it is.
How do I find a lender that will approve me for a boat loan?
The best way to shop around is by getting pre-approved. This won’t hurt your credit and it will allow you to easily compare rates from multiple lenders. A lending marketplace, such as Credible, makes the process even easier since submitting just one application lets you see rates from several vetted lenders.
A 5‐year $10,000 loan with 9.99% APR has 60 scheduled monthly payments of $201.81 to a total amount of $12,108.6.
A 3‐year $5,000 loan with 5.99% APR has 36 scheduled monthly payments of $150.57 to a total amount of $5,420.52.
All in all, the process of finding the best boat loans is very similar to getting approved for a standard auto loan. You’ll need to submit a basic application to find out the options available to you. From there, compare interest rates and loan terms with several lenders, including banks and online companies, and see who offers the best boat loan rates. Once you’ve made your selection, it should be smooth sailing ahead!
*Credible Personal Loans Rate and Terms Disclosure: Rates for personal loans provided by lenders on the Credible platform range between 5.40-35.99% APR with terms from 24 to 84 months. Rates presented include lender discounts for enrolling in autopay and loyalty programs, where applicable. Actual rates may be different from the rates advertised and/or shown and will be based on the lender’s eligibility criteria, which include factors such as credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history, and vary based on loan purpose. The lowest rates available typically require excellent credit, and for some lenders, may be reserved for specific loan purposes and/or shorter loan terms. The origination fee charged by the lenders on our platform ranges from 0% to 8%. Each lender has their own qualification criteria with respect to their autopay and loyalty discounts (e.g., some lenders require the borrower to elect autopay prior to loan funding in order to qualify for the autopay discount). All rates are determined by the lender and must be agreed upon between the borrower and the borrower’s chosen lender. For a loan of $10,000 with a three year repayment period, an interest rate of 7.99%, a $350 origination fee and an APR of 11.51%, the borrower will receive $9,650 at the time of loan funding and will make 36 monthly payments of $313.32. Assuming all on-time payments, and full performance of all terms and conditions of the loan contract and any discount programs enrolled in included in the APR/interest rate throughout the life of the loan, the borrower will pay a total of $11,279.43. As of March 12, 2019, none of the lenders on our platform require a down payment nor do they charge any prepayment penalties.