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Old 13-01-2011, 14:00   #1
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Buying Good Boat Cheap . . . What's My Best Option ?

I live in washington. I have money saved up and I'm hunting for a boat that is very well priced. Right now my top pick is a San juan 7.7 I found with an almost brand new trailer for 5000. Boat is in decent shape but not great, needs clean-up mostly. I have about 15000 to spend, and I'm willing to spend more if I feel like I could find an awsome price on a boat that I will at very least get my money out of or make a little bit. I know this isn't easy to do with boats, just selling a boat is enough of a hassle. Has anyone figured out a decent way of making even a small profit on a boat or two? My first boat was a hinterhoeller shark wich i paid 400 for with a trailer and after many hours and lots of money i sold it for 2000. I figure with time and labor i broke even. I'm looking for a nice boat 26-34ft and I'm willing to invest my money as long as I don't end up stuck with something I can't do anything with (or end up losing money on its sale). I know right now is a decent time to buy a boat for less, with the economy so bumpy, and because it isn't quite spring or summer yet. Any advice is appreciated. I tried searching for this topic but not much came up. I've tried to find auctions, and I check craigslist and boat sights almost every day.
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Old 13-01-2011, 14:26   #2
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IMO the only way to make money selling a boat is to make it when you buy it (buy it well below what others would consider a fair price). Either that, or be a tradesman in one of the boat trades and do some sort of major repair or renovation professionally yourself.

I would check out FSBO ads on marina bulliten boards as a possible place for deals. Keep looking at craigslist, too, since there are tons of listings up here as you know. I've noticed that the majority of items in CL are either priced way too high or too low. You may find a deal on there yet! Stay away from ebay- auctions are set up for competition amongst buyers, not sellers...

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Old 13-01-2011, 14:29   #3
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I think that, presently, there are a lot of very good deals around & the opportunity to negotiate even better deals. Provided one is going to hang on to the boat until the economy improves, I think there is a great chance for one to make a profit, if moorage is not considered. In fact, I bought a Mac26 last year for a lake boat & sold it 6 months later for a small profit(+$3,000), because a market developed from those who no longer wanted/could afford to own a boat that required moorage.
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Old 13-01-2011, 14:40   #4
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Thanks. I have similair findings with Craigslist. People also love to false advertise a junk boat as something that is a beautiful sailboat. I would love to find a boat at a great price that I might even keep for a couple years. Once i have a solid income and my own business I plan on buying and living on my dads Gulfstar 50 sailmaster, But this is a ways out in the future . Do I have much of a chance selling a boat for a higher price if I do it through a broker or with commission does it usually level out? I might as well go get my captains license, I've passed all the testing, I just haven't done the last couple steps. How big of a boat would I need (want) to successfully do afternoon or day chartering? does anyone make a fair income off of doing this in a place like bellingham?
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Old 13-01-2011, 15:29   #5
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I doubt you really want a "cheap" boat as that probably means it's a POS. You want a below market priced boat in good condition.

Look for boat models that interest you but which there are a fair number for sale. This means that they all have competition among each other. Then start making a reasonable low ball offer and see who is getting tired of waiting for their boat to sell. If you work with a broker they cvan tell you how old the listing is. To me there isn't any reason not to use a broker when buying a boat as long as you don't alow them to lead the price discusion.
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Old 13-01-2011, 15:35   #6
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If I wanted to flip a boat, I would either look for a 'classic' that will always have a sort-of cult following... I'm thinking folkboat...
Or I would look at boats that are popular with the PHRF racers but maybe hard to find in good condition... like an S2 7.9 or a Mirage or something similar.

There are certain boats that will always be in demand on some level either to racers or to 'enthusiasts', like a Westsnail 32 (for the enthusiasts), or a Santa Cruz 27 (for the racers)...

But like others have said, you gotta get a super good deal on it to begin with, and then you gotta make it better than all the other ones, and then you gotta wait for it to sell
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Old 13-01-2011, 15:48   #7
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Quote:
Has anyone figured out a decent way of making even a small profit on a boat or two
The folks making new boats are having a hard time now. Small trailerable boats sell best locally. No one flies to the other coast for a small trailerable boat. You sell them in the small local newspapers and bulletin boards for cash. That pretty much means after you buy it you have to do that too. Your time would clearly be worthless even if you could make a few dollars. The largest cost is the various bits and bobs you need to replace. They cost a lot and you may need to fabricate some parts or adapt them. It usually isn't just "cleaning them up".

If you don't want to own one and sail I would suggest - don't buy one. There are better ways to make money. They can however be fun to sail. Our club has been buying up old used Lasers for our Jr Sailing program. We don't pay much and fix them up ourselves add a modification so smaller kids can sail them. The way it works we buy them and fix them but we never make money. The fees from the Jr Sailing program pays the instructors and other costs the club just buys the boats. Jr Sailing lessons for a week run about $170 for the kids.
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Old 14-01-2011, 12:21   #8
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Ive been sailing for a year and and want to continue sailing. I would like something bigger than what i had which was a hinterhoeller shark. I have found this san juan 7.7 with is a nice boat.... But I'm fighting the idea of buying a bigger boat and paying for moorage or just getting the san juan 7.7 with a trailer which if i cleaned up a little, did a small amount of fiberglass touchup, refinished the wood inside, and redid the cusions which i can do myself, it could be worth more than 5000 and i would kind of expect it to be. The only thing that made me a little nervous was the bulkhead looked a little wet, but they hadn't been for long, and he resealed around the chainplates... dry now. And i have heard that the keels on those boats SOMETIMES need to be reinforced, which makes me nervous, but i wouldn't need to do too much heavy weather sailing in the boat anyway. I do want to be sailing! Just don't know what i want to be sailing yet, and i would like to make a couple bucks (I guess i would be happy not losing a couple bucks anyway)
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Old 14-01-2011, 12:48   #9
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I'd say don't get a bigger boat until you are ready/willing to eat the cost of storing it.

I think trailerable boats tend to sell pretty well, but that is entirely dependent on the local market. It doesn't matter how much any boat is worth if there is no market for it... At least with a trailerable, if it doesn't sell, it's not gonna cost you extra to keep it around.

I would still shy away from the idea of making any money just because you fixed a few things and made it look a little better... that is not generally how the used boat market works (in my experience). You would be more likely to sell it without fixing it up, to a buyer who is looking for a good deal.

Unless you are really getting a killer deal, like half price... or if you are really interested in "refurbishing" a project boat... I don't see much prospect in making a profit on a used boat.

Buy the type of boat that's going to get you out sailing most often, and still makes the most sense for your pocket book. I hear about 'resale value' quite often on these boards, but in the small/used boat market, there is no such thing (IMO)... if its a $3000 boat now, it'll probably still be a $3000 boat later (even if you put $2000 into it). Your best bet is to keep your expenses to a minimum and just go sailing

With all that said... There's no way anybody here can assess the value of a boat. You just have to decide for yourself, if it's really seems reasonable for you to sell it for a profit, then maybe you can. Its certainly not impossible, but it's probably not "typical".
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Old 15-01-2011, 02:13   #10
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getting the san juan 7.7 with a trailer which if i cleaned up a little, did a small amount of fiberglass touchup, refinished the wood inside, and redid the cusions which i can do myself, it could be worth more than 5000 and i would kind of expect it to be.
I've known a few blokes who make money on boats - but it's never very much and even then it excludes their labour or moorage or registration and so on. And what's more, they never seem to enjoy their boats because using boats always adds to the outgoings column.

As the others have said, forget the idea of making dough from buying and selling boats. You won't. Boats are what you spend it on, and that expenditure buys fun and interest and learning. It's your working life, in the area where you command the best income, that yields the fun tokens; I'd recommend separating work from play, especially at your (seeming) young age.
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Old 15-01-2011, 08:13   #11
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Boats are very much like cars.

Downside is that plenty of overpriced turkeys around with deluded sellers. upside is often someone around who doesn't know **** from shinola to sell to - first trick is for that person not to be "you" .

Just that with boats the market is wayyyy smaller.

Best bet?:-

1) know what you are looking at.
2) know what it is worth (not simply what you would like it to be)
3) put boots on the ground and go looking & asking & then lowballing offers (internet & real life).

You only need one seller with a good boat and money problems for whom half price now is a good deal......or are moving on and can afford to simply "get shot of". but few advertise these facts.

As always,the trick to selling well is to buy well.

Still won't make a real profit (after time, maintanence, running expenses and always some refurb / updating / new toys) but quite possible to buy well enough so that when you sell you get your capital back - even if minus inflation............providing nothing unexpected $$$ occurs in the meantime

Boats are kinda like cars from the 1960's / 1970's - the value is both on the make and model and (after 3 or 4 years - maybe less) equally on how the previous owners have cared for it and just like a car from the 60's or 70's requires care from the owners (unlike a wipe down modern Toyota). Plus value comes from demand - most old cars end up as simply old cars, not "classics" even if owner thinks otherwise / loves them dearly...........and get traded on price accordingly.

IMO worst thing that can be done when seeking (needing?) a bargain is to buy too much of a fixer upper - easily done from being tempted to trade (poor) condition for (larger) size. But just like if you can't afford a mint condition 1972 Porsche 911 - it won't ever be cheaper to buy a wreck and then replace all the parts from new stock.......even if you end up with a minter. same with boats.
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Old 15-01-2011, 17:37   #12
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Some owners might never sell...

I feel it's also wise to keep in mind that some owners might die before their boat sells, while others will keep it on the market for so long with little maintenance that the boat becomes almost worthless.

Your attitude has much to recommend it. Buying a trailer/sailer reduces ongoing costs and depreciation greatly, while allowing the boat to be used in a wide variety of locations.

It may be possible to make money by buying and selling boats but I have never seen it done by an owner.

The original poster has experience in buying, selling and using trailer/sailers. For those who don't keep in mind that boats over 22' (6.5m) are often too heavy to be towed by "normal" vehicles and the masts are difficult to raise and lower.
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Old 15-01-2011, 19:19   #13
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I think Im going to go ahead and buy this san juan 7.7. Its a nice boat, I don't mind putting some money into it. I just want to make sure I get most of my money back out of it. And I do understand the cost of enjoying a boat adds up. But This guy did a terrible job of advertising the boat, and I have seen these go for 2-2.5 times what im getting it for (he was asking 8500, said he would sell it to me for 5k) . I certainly want a boat for the next year or two that I can enjoy sailing, and cleaning her up. Does anyone have experience with the san juan 7.7? I only have experience with 24 hinterhoeller shark, thunderbirds, and 50 gulfstar sailmaster. Everything i have read said they were great boats. Slightly underballasted though, which can be fixed with a shoe on the bottom of the keel that is 600 bucks (and you need to reinforce the keel if your thinking about doing this.

BTW I have done pretty well with buying and selling cars. I just picked up a 1971 240z with rebuilt SBF engine, perfect body, interior ect. All new parts (just needed assembly) for 800 bucks. It was a steal. car has 60k original miles. But I know boats are way different and your more likely to sit on a boat for sale for about 5 times longer than a car
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Old 15-01-2011, 21:07   #14
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I think Im going to go ahead and buy this san juan 7.7. Its a nice boat, I don't mind putting some money into it. I just want to make sure I get most of my money back out of it. And I do understand the cost of enjoying a boat adds up. But This guy did a terrible job of advertising the boat, and I have seen these go for 2-2.5 times what im getting it for (he was asking 8500, said he would sell it to me for 5k) . I certainly want a boat for the next year or two that I can enjoy sailing, and cleaning her up. Does anyone have experience with the san juan 7.7? I only have experience with 24 hinterhoeller shark, thunderbirds, and 50 gulfstar sailmaster. Everything i have read said they were great boats. Slightly underballasted though, which can be fixed with a shoe on the bottom of the keel that is 600 bucks (and you need to reinforce the keel if your thinking about doing this.
Glad to see you're enthused about the boat. Let us know how you go when you sell it after a couple of years hard sailing. If you make any dosh (all costs tallied - no cribbing!), I'll eat my hat. And re the problem of ballast, it'd be cheaper and better to get some fatso crew and put the weight where you need it.
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Old 17-01-2011, 07:14   #15
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Here is a story on this - 4 boats for under $15,000: What Is The Best 25 to 35-foot Cruising Boat For Under $15,000? | Daily Sailing News from North American Sailor.
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