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Old 04-08-2009, 16:46   #1
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Buying a Boat - the Legal Part

I'm currently looking at several boats. Some listed with brokers.. and some not.....

I'm more concerned about the ones without.... I can handle the inspections, etc.. All are close by where I live or within an hour flight (Islands...). So the ones I'm seriously interested in I'm flying to see with someone else who can inspect it quite well. They are also close enough that I've discussed it with buyers that if it passes first inspection they will sail it to the island where I live where I can have scuba buddies who do boat repair swim under and check it, have a diesel mechanic check engines, and all the other parts of a boat. So lets assume I get that part ok.. first did I miss anything?

The second part is the legal transfer etc.... What steps to take here so there is enough due diligence? Do I need a broker or can a lawyer do it? If I need a broker, can I find one that won't expect a "sales commission" as well since I found the boat independently?

Also I may or may not register it in my home country, already checking options on this but hopefully I can register it in my home country. If not (because of possible cost) I can register it of course in many nearby countries.
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Old 04-08-2009, 17:27   #2
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How much of a gambler are you? Signing a contract without an attorney is usually not wise unless this boat isn't worth the cost involved. A broker isn't a lawyer and a free broker isn't worth anything; they are familiar with generic typical boat contracts but again, you take your chances.
Making a boat purchase of any significance is almost always done properly with a reputable surveyor who has Errors&Omissions insurance as well as a lawyer.
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Old 04-08-2009, 17:34   #3
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Maybe I didnt state my question right... at a MINIMUM of course we would use a lawyer. My question was - is a lawyer + a sevaral specialized surveys enough due diligence?

And I was not seeking a "free" broker, but it seems a lot to pay a full "sales" commission if you only seek a broker to do the paper work and not the sale or finding of a buyer.
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Old 04-08-2009, 17:42   #4
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Again, price usually dictates the level of due diligence required. for an older but expensive boat, you'd be well-advised to have both a marine surveyor and a marine engine surveyor look at the boat, do a sea trial with one or both and read what they recommend in terms of repairs as well as value on which to make your final purchase decision.
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Old 04-08-2009, 17:45   #5
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Ok - lets assume I've got the survey parts covered... Can someone shed some light on the "legal part"?
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Old 04-08-2009, 18:32   #6
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What country are you buying the vessel in?

Does the previous owner owe any money to anyone?

Right now I have a guy who is trying to sell his boat, has it listed with a broker, I spoke with the broker and said that this guy owes me $5,000 for work that was performed.....The broker is putting the boat on the "back lot".
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Old 04-08-2009, 18:40   #7
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If you can, get an out of the water survey done.
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Old 04-08-2009, 19:04   #8
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Originally Posted by PyotrBee View Post
Ok - lets assume I've got the survey parts covered... Can someone shed some light on the "legal part"?
that's pretty vague - issues related to liens? registration vs. documentation transfer?, clear title? liability? contractual obligation in purchase?, binding vs non-binding contracts?

These are all issues better discussed with your attorney; not by getting "internet lawyer" advice.
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Old 04-08-2009, 21:31   #9
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If you can, get an out of the water survey done.
Im certainly going to try to get one done. Any idea about how much this might cost? If not, in clear waters can professional divers who do boat repair do an adequate survey? I ask this as I happen to have such a friend.
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Old 04-08-2009, 21:33   #10
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that's pretty vague - issues related to liens? registration vs. documentation transfer?, clear title? liability? contractual obligation in purchase?, binding vs non-binding contracts?

These are all issues better discussed with your attorney; not by getting "internet lawyer" advice.
I thank you again for your reply, but again you seem to have misunderstood the question. Of course at a *minimum* a lawyer would be used. My questions however are, is a lawyer enough? And if so, what else should I do in addition?

I'm assuming a lawyer can check the boats registry to check for leins, open loans, etc...
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Old 04-08-2009, 21:42   #11
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Im certainly going to try to get one done. Any idea about how much this might cost? If not, in clear waters can professional divers who do boat repair do an adequate survey? I ask this as I happen to have such a friend.
I'm not going to say divers could not find a problem, they can and they do. With the boat out of the water though, the chances of finding a problem are better.

With a haulout, you can find fiberglass osmosis/blisters better, you can have all the thru-hulls pulled and inspected, check the cutlass bearings carefully, find cracks in things...etc etc. With the boat hauled, necessary problems that require a haulout could also be done then and there....before you purchase. This way you better know what you are getting.

Yards can get you a fixed rate for the known costs like the haulout itself, pressure wash, anodes and paint.
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Old 04-08-2009, 21:46   #12
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I'm not going to say divers could not find a problem, they can and they do. With the boat out of the water though, the chances of finding a problem are greater. You can find fiberglass osmosis better, you can have all the thru-hulls pulled and inspected, check the cutlass bearings carefully, find cracks in things...etc etc. With the boat hauled, necessary problems that require a haulout could also be done then and there....before you purchase.
Thanks. About how much would one cost roughly? I guess I can send divers in first since it won't cost me anyways... then if we firm up the decision to buy do a haul out.

The boats I'm looking at are all less than 10 years old so far.
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Old 04-08-2009, 22:53   #13
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A lot of yards have a rate for haulout and hangtime.
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Old 10-08-2009, 12:49   #14
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Why not go to a broker and ask him to handle the business for a fee w/o a percentage as it would be if listed. It is not all that uncommon for a buyer and seller to go to a realtor and say we have the foundation for a deal, we need you to guide us through the beaucracy. You have no expenses such as MLS and so forth, we will pay ycou for your time at an agreed to up front price. You do not have to show, or look for a buyer, we are here already.

realtors will take the nut because it is right there. I would say 500-1000 max. Should be the same for a boat.
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Old 11-08-2009, 21:18   #15
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Yes that is exactly what I was hoping to do.

Because the seller has a loan, I need to setup an escrow arrangement. Any recommendations on a provider for this?
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