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The process of buying a yacht is a complex and private matter, regardless of what size vessel you are in the market to own. Recreational, financial, and emotional considerations should be carefully made when searching for your yacht.

One of the golden rules to buying a yacht is to take your time and be patient. Understanding that this process takes time will help you avoid a hastily made decision that you might regret. Whether you're shopping for a new or used yacht, large or small, don't fall into the trap of believing the first one you are looking at is the only one for you.

Conducting a full search of the market will lead you to a much more rewarding decision, so keep an open mind. Whether you are looking for a motor yacht or a sailing yacht, there are four primary categories of boats out there.

Production Yachts

Manufactured in mass, these vessels have year models much like the automobile. Because of the cost benefits afforded by this process, many of these prebuilt yachts can be much cheaper than customized alternatives.

The process involved behind buying a production yacht is a fairly streamlined process, making it a much faster turnaround time when compared to custom units. This can be a great benefit for people who want their luxury vessels now instead of having to wait.

Unfortunately, the drawback behind this production model is that customizable elements are greatly reduced. You may be able to change or customize certain elements like the paint or interior carpeting but most of the time you are not going to be able to customize much.

large cruising yacht

Semi-custom Yachts

Between the production model and the fully customized solution is a variant of luxury vessel that allows you certain customized elements. Things like size or floor plan, from convertible or sky lounge there are many options that certain manufacturers can offer that can make your yacht stand out from the crown.

Being able to add cabins or even a master cabin to the layout of your deck, many features such as hot tubs and bars are also customizable. Many manufacturers allow you to go as far as your imagination will allow, so long as you don't modify or alter the hull design.

Once you are shopping for a customized yacht, many larger sizes will become available to you. While many production units are limited to well under the 120-foot range, customizable luxury vessels can often tip the scales at 160 feet and above.

medium cruising yacht

Fully Custom Yachts

For the ultimate in choice boating the fully customizable yacht is one of the best possible options available. Most high level motor or sailing yachts can take between 1-3 years for assembly, and many of the world's best shipyards require a waiting period.

As the name suggests, there isn't any option on your fully customizable yacht that you don't control or manage. You can customize everything from the layout to the design and crafting materials for your floating castle. This level of customization is for many people the only way to shop for a yacht, as the unparalleled freedom can often be intoxicating. For these people designing and customizing their personal luxury vessel is often times more exciting than using and enjoying the yacht itself.

small cruising yacht

Brokerage Yachts

Yachts available through brokerages can present a great value when you are willing to do the legwork. Because these yachts are used or pre-owned, there are many things to keep in mind when shopping at a yacht brokerage.

With the right amount of shopping you can find the luxury yacht of your dreams, no matter what size or style. Yacht brokers are there to help you find yours. A good broker should be able to answer or find the answer to any yachting related questions. They will arrange showings of boats along with surveys to provide you with a comprehensive report on wear and the history behind the vessel.

When you want your yacht quickly, it's best to stay away from customized boats or ones from a brokerage that may require repair or retrofitting. Many brokerages will also provide you with a variety of aftermarket or OEM add-ons that can really make your yacht unique.

large cruising yacht

Which yacht is best for you?

When you want to decide on what kind of yacht transaction is best for you, from production, semi-custom, custom, or brokerage, there are many things to consider. For instance, if you want your yacht quickly, it makes more sense to go with a production yacht or one from a brokerage that's already been refit.

If cost is your main concern, stay away from customized yachts or production boats that are new from the factory. If the wait time and associated cost can exceed your custom budget, then find the right yacht for you from a trusted yacht brokerage.

Of course if the yacht you are shopping for needs to be exactly how you want it, the custom built yacht is the choice for you. If having your yacht exactly the way you want it is your key aspiration, then you should consider a new custom or semi-custom yacht, or a brokerage yacht with a large after-sale budget for refit.

How to Get Started

When you've done your homework and know what kind of yacht you want to buy, you can contact a trusted local broker. These brokers know what vessels are for sale, and can typically help you find and identify the better deal, no matter where it is.

Much like real estate brokers, they can help you find the luxury boat that's perfect for you from their inventory. Finding the best boat broker can really go a long way towards finding the ultimate yacht deal for you. If you are having a hard time finding the best kind of yacht broker for your purchase, you can reference two of the larger associations for marine brokers.

The Certified Professional Yacht Brokers and the Florida Yacht Brokers Association are two of the larger groups that brokers can become registered members for. Many modern brokers also have their complete inventory online for you to peruse or browse, and the best broker will give you that level of professional courtesy that makes it easy for you to deal with them.

Being educated and connected to the right broker can help guide you through the long and often complex process of buying a yacht. Remember that selection is the key to finding the best yacht for you, and that you should never settle considering the large investment you are about to make.