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Iwish

Fall/Winter Buying

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Iwish

Love the show - Long time listener, first time caller.  

After several years of saving, sitting on the dock on the weekends, and allowing dust to settle on my boards (buddies sold their 23LSV a few years back), I'm finally getting close to having enough cash/assets to where I think it's wise for me to start giving back to the economy and am hoping to pull the trigger on my first boat within the next year.  Does anyone have any thoughts about buying in the fall/winter vs. waiting until next spring?   Do you think I can get a good deal on something this fall vs. next spring or are there any rules of thumb about what to expect?   

I think I'm targeting a mid 2000's or newer VLX with 400ish hours and a price tag in the mid 30's to low 40's.   Ideally I'd end up with a 2016 vlx with 20 hours for $20k that is driven by a SI swimsuit model; but I'm trying to keep my expectations in check. :)  Boat would primarily would be used for wakeboarding and surfing, and I'm leaning vlx (or vride honestly) instead of lsv because I just don't think I need that big of a girl for my first time.   Been going with friends for 10+ years so I don't think there will be any surprises monetarily or otherwise.  I'm just assuming all of my disposable income will be disposed of sooner, but I'll have a great tan and lots of friends on the weekends.  

I'm not too worried about winter storage, winterizing, etc. as I'd like to pay cash and those fees/costs are fairly nominal in my opinion.   

I ramble a bit, sorry.  Any thoughts would be much appreciated - TIA!  

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Sixball

IMHO  I would say it is a good time to be a buyer. If I am selling I would rather move my boat then sit on it for the winter. If I am ordering a new boat I would like to have the money. If I am moving on from boating I still would rather know the boat is sold and I could move on with what ever I am going to do. It would also free up my spring not having to stay around to show the boat. So I am going with you have the better playing card.  It may take more looking to find boats in the fall and winter as people tend to stop looking so many will stop advertising. So you may need to do more work but do look.

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DarkSide

Like most items supply and demand, in the summer, everyone wants a boat.  So demand and price will rise.  I would GUESS, prices would be much more negotiable September-December, as folks will be putting them away for the season.  If they can sell they avoid the winterization/storage fees.  

Come spring people will likely not be as likely to bargain, as demand will rise with the temperature.   

Of course there is always the great deal to be had for the person who is in the right place at the right time.  

 

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Bill_AirJunky

When I was buying, I started looking in the spring, looked all summer & bought in October. The boat I ended up with was $51k in the summer & I paid $40k. Not sure why it never sold other than maybe it was overpriced, but it was priced comparably with others in the area so go figure. In the end, it paid off to buy in the fall.

You don't mention where your located but I also found it paid off to look in nearby cities too. My choices were more plentiful & I began seeing trends in the prices that I took advantage of. 500 miles to a larger market made a big difference.

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henrik

We sold our previous boat in late July and bought our current boat in January and did pretty well on both deals I think. I'm not sure I could get away with not having a boat for 2-3 months of useable season anymore though. I think we pushed our luck it buying in January. By then boat shows are on, people are starting to think of summer, lakes are filling(around here). There were also less boats available. Ours had been for sale for 6 months so the seller was eager to move it. I had been watching it for a while. Lake test is not as fun in January either...

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braindamage

I think best time to buy is before they get winterized and stored.

Then again in February (ish) after the boat shows are on full swing and people have bought another boat and need to unload their old boat.

just my $.02

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Iwish
1 hour ago, Bill_AirJunky said:

When I was buying, I started looking in the spring, looked all summer & bought in October. The boat I ended up with was $51k in the summer & I paid $40k. Not sure why it never sold other than maybe it was overpriced, but it was priced comparably with others in the area so go figure. In the end, it paid off to buy in the fall.

You don't mention where your located but I also found it paid off to look in nearby cities too. My choices were more plentiful & I began seeing trends in the prices that I took advantage of. 500 miles to a larger market made a big difference.

 SW CO and yes I'll definitely be looking in Denver, Phoenix, Salt Lake, Vegas, etc. as I'm more interested in getting it right the first time.  

Thanks all for the thoughts.  

 

1 hour ago, henrik said:

We sold our previous boat in late July and bought our current boat in January and did pretty well on both deals I think. I'm not sure I could get away with not having a boat for 2-3 months of useable season anymore though. I think we pushed our luck it buying in January. By then boat shows are on, people are starting to think of summer, lakes are filling(around here). There were also less boats available. Ours had been for sale for 6 months so the seller was eager to move it. I had been watching it for a while. Lake test is not as fun in January either...

 

I assume the winter lake test would be a bigger deal for a private sale vs. a dealer boat?   That definitely has me worried I guess.  

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henrik

Mild winters in Nor Cal. Our purchase was private party. Water test was not a problem. Did not get behind the boat, would need a wetsuit for that. I do believe selection is better in the spring and summer if that matters. 

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Bill_AirJunky
4 hours ago, Iwish said:

 I assume the winter lake test would be a bigger deal for a private sale vs. a dealer boat?   That definitely has me worried I guess.  

Yea, I was NOT about to buy without a lake test. Lakes freeze pretty solid around here so I was pretty happy to find a boat a liked in time to get it on the lake for a test drive.....although it did rain & pretty much sucked. But we got it out to ride for a couple weeks before we winterized it for good.

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Nitrousbird

I know everyone says buy in the fall/winter for the best deal. 

When I was shopping, the fall/winter just meant less of a selection and I didn't see any better pricing.

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saxton15

You need to pick out a couple boats you see on sale now, and monitor them.  Get as much info as possible from the owner and stalk it for a few weeks.  If it doesn't move for a couple weeks, put in an offer that's reasonable and work the deal.  Most owners get worried once their boat doesn't move in the first 2 weeks of listing. 

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oldjeep

Depends on the person and boat.  Around here once they are winterized most folks have them stacked away in storage barns which makes it a bit hard to sell them in the winter.  Bought mine in January from someone that turned them over every 2 years and had it in heated storage.  Never started it before I bought it but I wasn't worried about it due to the seller and the relationship they had with the local dealer.  Kind of depends what you are looking for too, when I was buying there were 3 boats for sale in the entire country that met my requirements - that kind of scarcity tends to keep prices up year round.

When I sold my last boat I put it up for sale in Aug and didn't sell it until March, told the tire kickers that would make offers without seeing it that it would be more expensive in the spring since I didn't really care when I sold it.  Ultimately the first guy who actually looked at it paid what I was asking the next day.  So I guess my warning there is - don't be one of those email tire kickers that has all the time in the world to fire off 1000 questions but no time to actually look at the boat. And be ready to go immediately when you find what you like, if you do find a bargain it isn't going to sit around for you while you weigh your options or wait to get your payment method figured out.

Edited by oldjeep

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SoDakSooner

I bought in October.  I live in Tulsa and picked it up in Dallas.  I monitored craigslist in major cities close by, actually all over.  I was actually set to drive to Minneapolis to look at a boat up there when the Dallas deal came up.  I called him that day.  Test drove that weekend and the following Friday was pulling it home.  Price was fair(I had been looking a long time, so had a good idea of what the market was) and I even got him to knock a grand off the price right out of the gate.  I could probably sell it 7 years later for close to what I paid for it.  So....I would say buying in the fall works, but a good deal can be had anytime if you put in the work and are patient.

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Jimmy Buffett

I think the best time to buy depends on whether you're buying used, buying off the dealer's floor, or ordering new.  For the used private party, I agree fall is the best time to buy.  I would guess there is better selection in the spring when people trade in and buy a new boat, but then you have more buyers too.  If you're willing to buy in the fall and sit on it until spring, you can probably pick up a deal.

I read through Malibu's SEC registration statement where they describe their dealer incentive plans to try to figure out the best time to buy a new boat.  Found some interesting stuff...

Malibu gives the dealers incentives and rebates to order boats in the "off-season" which is July to February to encourage them to order boats in the slow season, even out factory production demand, etc.  So if you're ordering new, best time is probably fall and winter when there are incentives and not as many buyers.

Malibu also gives some dealers interest-free floor plan financing on current year models through April 30.  That means on May 1 dealers have to start paying interest on the invoice price of the boat if they haven't sold it yet.  You may be able to pick up a good deal on a boat on the showroom floor that the dealer is getting ready to pay interest on, but then again, there are more buyers in the market then so maybe not...

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River Monsters

It was my experience that the deals weren't much better as I got into fall, but I had more time to make a decision and work with multiple sellers.  A good deal in the spring is gone same day, or in a couple days.  You can always start looking now and be a little more narrow in your search if next spring is Ok.  

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Steve B.

Price wise, used, overall I think fall, winter is probably the best. Getting a lake test may be difficult, or you may have to put a boat on hold till weather permits.

I was looking for a specific model, year, etc. and watched all the outlets for about a year. In that time, maybe 30 boats came up across the country. That isn't many. In the spring, 5 hours away my 2002 came up. Priced just a tad higher than I wanted. 

I've monitored those same outlets even after my purchase (5 months), and nothing close has come up. With a VLX and your price range I think you'll have more options if you are willing to travel a bit to shop. I consider this a fun part of ownership. It can be heartbreaking, if you let "the" one go, or someone else snatches it up.

Best of luck to you, keep us posted.

Steve B.

 

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Iwish

Thanks all, lots of good discussion.   Will definitely keep everyone posted if/when I pull the trigger.   

 

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95echelon

I bought in February of this year from a reputable dealer with no water test on my end (they did it and reported back to me). I believe mine was a trade in on a new boat but @UpperleftWake would know for sure. I felt like I got a good deal and I would have had a very hard time purchasing without a personal inspection if it wasn't from a dealer with a good reputation or an owner that 100% dealer maintained their boat.

What part of the country are you in?

In your price range you want at least an 05 VLX, or an 04 LSV to get the V25 hull. 05 VLX starts at $25k for one with a bunch of hours, and 30+ for one with low hours. Expect to add 5-8k for the LSV. You seem to be leaning towards the VLX so here is the quick rundown:

  • 2005 - Some damper plate issues (have to lift the engine to fix), manual wedge only - older style dash with orange numbers, throttle by cable
  • 2006 - Power wedge available, no damper plate issues, throttle by wire, newer gauges and dash. All of these are great upgrades, unless you get a killer deal on the 05, go with the 06+
  • 2007 - Cats are added to the Monsoon Motor, Big upgrade! - This is likely the sweet spot year for the VLX
  • 2008 - MUX switches (most folks don't like it, but they work), plus some cosmetic interior upgrades
  • 2009 - Whole new hull, bigger and better, some start to come with Maliview I believe and this is likely getting to the top end of your price range. Others will know lots more about this hull than me.

I also considered some used Axis boats and would encourage you to take a look as well. You lose the power wedge and the ballast monitoring, but since malibu has so little factory ballast I almost never fill them anything but full!

If surfing is of interest get the 23 if you can swing the $$$. It's worth it and only 18" longer

Edited by 95echelon

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