Buying a boat is a dream most of us have---but it's also a huge purchase. We're here to help! Here's how to get pre-approved for a boat loan.

You’re sailing gently across the deep blue waters, wind in your hair, a martini in your hand. The sun is shining, and there’s not a care in the world.

It’s the dream for so many of us, and yet it seems ever out of reach.

As seductive as this dream is, the most important thing you can do is make sure you’re not overextending yourself. If you can’t afford to buy a boat and you buy one anyway, you’ll only spend your time at sea worrying about how you’re going to pay off your debt. You don’t want to end up treading water over this.

But if you can afford this purchase, we want to tell you how to go about making it.

The importance of getting pre-approval

The current market is jam packed with lenders competing to give you their money. Because of this, interest rates are low, and terms are generous.

One of the best elements of a loan you should be looking for is pre-approval. If you can get pre-approved for a loan, you’ll be able to shop for the boat you want armed with the knowledge you’ll be able to afford it.

What do you need to do to get pre-approval for a boat loan?

Every lender is different, but it’s quite common to be asked to share some financial information, including:

  • Proof of identity, generally your social security number.
  • Details about any debts you’re currently paying off, like your mortgage, car loan, student loans, or other personal loans.
  • Proof of income—usually your W-2 form or recent tax returns.
  • Proof of employment, usually pay stubs from your current job to show that you have a regular income.
  • Proof of other financial assets like savings accounts, real estate investments, stocks and shares, etc.

Where to get pre-approval for a boat loan?

Having an over-abundance of lenders is a blessing, but it also means that the water is crowded with ever-innovative ways of attracting your attention, sometimes through sly tricks. Pay-day loans, onerous terms in the fine print, baits and switches, add-ons, and more.

I’d recommend only applying for loans through reputable lenders. Here’s a list of our favorites—compiled by drawing the best rates on the market offered by the most reputable lenders. With any of these, you’ll be able to trust the quality of the loan, and you’ll know you’re getting the best rates.

How can I improve my credit to get pre-approval for a boat loan?

You can boost your chances of getting pre-approved for a boat loan by improving your credit score in advance. If your credit history is poor, or you have a record of missing bill payments, you won’t find it so easy to get pre-approval.

Here’s a couple of tips to help you improve your credit:

Request a copy of your credit score

Request a copy of your credit history from one of the three main credit bureaus in the US. According to American law, you can request to see your credit report once every year, free of charge. Check your credit report for mistakes or errors that drag your credit rating down, so that it’s as strong as possible before you apply for boat loan pre-approval.

Pay off debt

This is the number one way to see your credit score go up. So set up payment plans, call those debt collectors, consider a balance transfer credit card and pay off your debt in the allotted 0% APR.

Get a secured credit card

A secured credit card is made for those looking to build their credit for the first time or repair their credit.

Secured cards typically have very low lines of credit to begin with and most require a deposit that will establish your line of credit. Your deposit is only used if you don’t pay your bill.

Another one of our favorites is the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card. You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200, determined based on your creditworthiness.

Other resources to improve your credit

The above tips are just a few ways you can improve your credit. We have a host of resources to help you improve your credit.

Sail away

Stop wandering around aimlessly across the marina, day dreaming about taking one of those boats out to sea. You’re closer to your dream than you think. Find the best loan for you, and sail out into the blue.

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