Don’t just buy a boat. Buy a builder
Houseboat ownership is meant to be fun, so do yourself a favor, and have some fun along the way. If you’re psychologically ready to make the plunge, it’s not as hard as it sounds.
On the other hand, if the large sums of money and various unknowns have you too spooked to breathe, perhaps it’s just not time to buy a houseboat. It always helps to have a basic idea or floor plan that accommodates your family’s basic wants and desires. This can include just about anything from hull type to how many can sleep comfortably to whether there should be a flybridge.
Equally important is how the company representatives answer your specific questions. Queries such as: Do you have an in-house interior designer? How much more could I get for this much money? How well catalogued is the construction process? are likely to tell you if this is a company you want on your short list of potential manufacturers.
There are generally two types of houseboats available: model and custom. The model brands usually come in a specific format with customs pretty much at the customer’s discretion, save for a few minor requirements. The amount of options on each will vary. Models, for example, could leave color schemes up to the person purchasing the houseboat with little else to alter. Customs are more done to customer’s exact wants and desires.
Again if you’re new, take a deep breath, and also consider talking to those who have worked with certain builders in the past. A quick five-minute conversation can mean the difference between one company and five others.
Discussions like that should not be too hard at the Expo. Not only does it cater to potential houseboat owners, but also to present owners looking to upgrade, or satisfied owners who wish to upgrade aftermarket merchandise and insurance. Questions and the suitable answers, should, along with price, have the most bearing on your decision on where to go come buying time. These responses are from people like you, regardless of income or appearance. So why not trust it? In the end, your experience here should be pretty simple. Take your time, get exactly what you’re looking for and have fun. That’s what houseboating is for.
Well, there it is. The dotted line. What’s that, you say? Cold feet? A little pre-contractual fretting is not uncommon, especially when it comes to something like a houseboat. The requirements to your survival are low, but the value of your sanity and enjoyment are high. Which way do you go? Pull back or dive in? If you’ve gotten this far, chances are good you’ve already answered the toughest questions about buying a houseboat. Now you’re just in need of some comforting information that will get you back onto the path towards houseboat ownership.
WHAT TO ASK WHEN BUDGETING
Do you offer a financing package? How much of a down payment is needed up front? How broad a cost range do you have with your houseboats? Do you have a price list for your options? Is transportation included in the final cost?
WHAT TO ASK THE BUILDER
Do you assign a specific person to handle every step of construction? Is every modification catalogued and approved by the potential owners? How long have you been in business? How many different models of houseboats have you built? What is so good about this specific model?
WHAT TO ASK FOR IN OPTIONS
What are standard features and what are added options? Are such things as the engine, a generator and water containers standard? How do you decide what is standard and what are options? Is a warranty an option or does it come with the boat? Is anything, whether options or standard equipment, left out or not specifically mentioned?
WHAT TO ASK PREVIOUS OWNERS
Did you enjoy working with this company? How open were they to suggestions? Was the houseboat manufacturer in constant contact with you? Did the price fit the houseboat? How strong is the post-sale service?