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buying a repossessed boat

5 Tips for Buying a Repossessed Boat

If you love the idea of spending your weekends on the water, but you don’t want to spend a fortune on a boat, you should consider repossessed boats for sale. These boats are cheaper than buying from a dealer, and you can get a great boat out of the deal. 

It’s important to know that repossessions are sold “as-is,” which means you are responsible for all repairs. You’ll want to do your research and ensure you’re getting a dependable repossessed boat at a fair price. 

Below are five tips for buying a repo boat that will allow you to spend your free time on the water. 

1. Check out repossessed boats from bank lenders.

You can find repo boats at auctions or through banks, lenders and credit unions. We recommend working with banks and lenders, as they are motivated to sell. They want to get the boats off their books, allowing you to get a great deal on them. Plus, if you need financing, the banks will put together attractive financing for you. The same rules apply – good credit scores lead to lower rates. 

2. Be prepared to act fast – repo boats go quick.

Repossessed boats don’t stay on the market long. These watercraft are in high demand, especially at decreased prices. Don’t be surprised if a boat you’re interested in has multiple bids, which will drive the price up. 

Knowing how competitive repo boats are, it’s important to act fast when you’ve found a boat that you like. Waiting just a few days can cause you to lose the boat to another bidder. If you do miss out, don’t worry. There are plenty of other repo boats in the sea! 

3. Know what the boat is appraised at.

When a boat is listed as a repossession, it sometimes gets more attention because shoppers know it may be open to negotiation. However, it’s hard to know how low banks are willing to go. Before making a bid, know what the NADA Marine Appraisal and BUC boat appraisal guides say. Lenders usually use these guides as a benchmark when pricing boats. 

4. Be ready to clean and tidy up the boat.

Buying a repossession does not mean that you are compromising quality. A lot of repossessed boats are in decent condition – their owners just couldn’t afford them anymore. However, be prepared to give the boat a good cleaning and some basic maintenance. Most owners don’t tidy up their boats before a repossession. It’s also possible the boat hasn’t received maintenance in a while. 

5. Ask to do a survey and sea trial.

It’s strongly recommended to have the boat inspected before placing a bid. Ideally, you’ll want to do a thorough survey and make sure the boat is sea-worthy, though you’ll have to ask the bank. Also, if the boat has diesel engines, consider bringing along a diesel engine specialist who can take a look. You’re inheriting all of the boat’s problems when you purchase it, so you want to do your research. 

Want to own a boat without spending a fortune? Check out RepoFinder.com for a full list of banks, lenders and credit unions in your area that are selling repossessed boats and other vehicles.