Saturday, March 19, 2005

Value for Money

Value for money is something we all want – even the richest of us. When we buy a boat do we get a good deal? How can we measure her value in order to know we are getting a good deal? The answer to this question of measuring value is fundamental. Do we want quality workmanship, a design that fits our purpose or a boat that will hold its price? Perhaps we want all three?

So before buying a boat we need to be quite clear what we want from her. I have a feeling that a lot of us simply get carried away with the appearance of a boat because she’s trendy, macho or in vogue. Maybe our friend has one just like her? There could be many reasons why we decide to buy a boat, but to have value for money we must know what we intend to do with her. Even if we can afford several boats for different purposes, we still need to be clear in our minds what the purpose of each boat will be.

I’m well qualified to speak on this matter of buying boats because I’ve bought and sold a good many for my own use. A criterion I’ve usually considered is the resale value. By buying a second-hand boat one avoids paying VAT and usually there’s quite a lot of gear as part of the deal - perhaps she may have a road trailer and an outboard engine which when included in the package can save a lot of cash. Certain classes of boats seem to have a good resale value; in the UK, Hunter Boats have this reputation. A few simple improvements and some TLC can increase the value of a second-hand boat by as much as 10 percent.

Quite often there are some really good deals to be found on, but do look carefully at the boat before bidding. If you are not absolutely sure she will be value for money, do not bid. The Internet enables the prospective buyer to fully research a class or type of boat. A buyer may find several examples of the boat he wants in different parts of the country, some cheaper than others. (Bear in mind these ‘asking’ prices are usually pitched too high in the hope that the seller may get what he considers is the real value.) Knowing the average price of the class of boat, the buyer can consider the condition, age, and equipment included in the sale, so as to deduce her true value. He should also take into consideration where she’s lying, because the cost of transport by road or sea to the buyer’s sailing area could be quite considerable.

For those buying really expensive yachts it’s worth considering the hire of a professional surveyor, because a proper assessment of the condition and value of the yacht will provide an objective bargaining position. Most owners over-estimate the value of their vessels and they are reluctant to accept a lower figure until they have an unbiased assessment by a professional surveyor, but bear in mind they may still not accept the surveyor’s assessment and you may end up out of pocket because he refuses to sell at a lower price.

As I indicated in the opening paragraph, value for money may not be based on getting your money back when it’s your turn to sell the boat. You may be very happy to pay more than the actual value as assessed by a professional broker, simply because she is exactly what you want for a particular purpose and she’s the only one available. A boat’s monetary value is always what people are prepared to pay. Value can be subjective, because one may simply ‘fall in love’ with her, despite the fact that she’s a total wreck, full of worm and rot, and if one has the cash, expenditure is not important. Value can depend on how long one has owned a boat and what has been shared with her – there’s a element of sentiment in value, and for those who want to own a ‘famous’ vessel, one may be very happy to pay over-the-odds for her.

Whatever criteria you choose to determine ‘value for money’, may you enjoy your dream boat.

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