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Old 15-03-2016, 05:53   #1
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Buying in Caribbean without been present

Hello all,

I have tried numerous times to find some information by searching the forums and by good old google but have not had any luck.

My partner and I are setting off travelling in three months and plan to arrive in the Caribbean Islands by late October with the aim of having a yacht already purchased and waiting for us to fix up if need be over a few weeks and set sail at the end of Hurricane season. I have found a couple of yachts that suit our budget and criteria and have been in contact with the brokers. As I plan to buy soon and obviously will not be in person for the purchase, what are the main problems I would encounter? Is there a legal requirement for the buyer to be their in person? I have found information in regards to re-registering the vessel but I want to know more information about the actual purchase process?

We are an Australian couple with current possibilities been purchase in Martinique, Virgin Islands and St Martin. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers
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Old 15-03-2016, 06:05   #2
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pirate Re: Buying in Caribbean without been present

The only downside I find when buying in the Islands are the surveyors.. they will often turn a blind eye to certain non lethal 'problems' as they've a limited customer base.. mainly charter companies looking to sell off their old stock.. bad reports drain the rice bowl and they stop being 'Recommended'
Fly someone in when you've made your final choice.. and give him instructions on what are your Priority Areas... not just what can be seen.
Many surveyors will not uncover anything.. they expect the boat to be prepared so you end up with 'Could not Access' when undoing 2 screws and removing a panel would have exposed all..
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Old 15-03-2016, 06:12   #3
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Re: Buying in Caribbean without been present

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, BDRuss.
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Old 15-03-2016, 07:25   #4
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Re: Buying in Caribbean without been present

Boatie seems to have summed it up.
I don't know, maybe if the boat was pretty much a new boat you wouldn't be exposed so much? I just can't imagine buying sight unseen myself
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Old 15-03-2016, 07:46   #5
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pirate Re: Buying in Caribbean without been present

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Boatie seems to have summed it up.
I don't know, maybe if the boat was pretty much a new boat you wouldn't be exposed so much? I just can't imagine buying sight unseen myself
I bought a 5yr old Bendi331 from Moorings.. the Surveyor said he'd be there to start at 0900hrs..
I told him I'd be there at 0900 to observe.. when I got there the boat was in the slings and being dropped back in the water..
He woke early so thought he'd start.. to me this indicates he/they are more employed by Moorings, Sunsail et al than myself who is paying the Survey Fee..
There was more to follow but.. that's another story.
But.. its his/your money.. do as you choose just don't come crying after.
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Old 15-03-2016, 09:11   #6
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Re: Buying in Caribbean without been present

forget the Caribbean, buying ANYWHERE without being present is risky business... would you get married without actually meeting the bride ? You are going to be married to this boat wherever it is, do your due diligence... at the very least , get a non-involved 3rd party to be there with the Surveyor....depending on the amount of money involved, I would not rule out bringing a Surveyor down from Florida...
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Old 15-03-2016, 09:18   #7
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Re: Buying in Caribbean without been present

We bought a boat in Nanny Cay several years ago sight unseen. The price was so low that we felt that any non-disclosed deficits were worth the gamble. Though this is seldom a good gamble, it turned out to be a great bet on our part in the end.

The facilitators and and brokers at BVI Yacht Sales were true professionals and handled the escrow and registry change (re-flagging) with true professionalism and great communication.

Pictures, lots of them, are worth a thousand words. We got lucky but again the price was worth the gamble and what surprises we were confronted with later on, were easy enough to deal with once we were on scene.

With a month of sweltering hours of toil we had the boat more or less ready for the voyage back to Oregon. We went in expecting to have to add a great deal of time and sweat equity and there were way more pleasant surprises than unpleasant ones.

Again, the price was too good for us not to take the bet but I can fix just about anything and to some extent, I had to fix everything.

Speaking to just the paper work side of the transaction, we found that those tasked to facilitate the sale were exceedingly thorough, efficient and communicative.

I suggest anticipating the items you will need to bring with you like tools, windvane, ham radios, plotters etc and ship these ahead. We had no issues with customs in the BVIs with these items sent addressed to the brokers, for yacht in transit.
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Old 15-03-2016, 09:20   #8
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Re: Buying in Caribbean without been present

Yes, totally agree - our last couple of boats we surveyed ourselves. What is the issue with just waiting until you get to where ever you decree is the place and then buy? Its not a lot to look at survey a boat at short notice and if the agent/seller wants more time to ready the boat you should ask why.


Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Boatie seems to have summed it up.
I don't know, maybe if the boat was pretty much a new boat you wouldn't be exposed so much? I just can't imagine buying sight unseen myself
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Old 15-03-2016, 09:29   #9
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Re: Buying in Caribbean without been present

Greetings:
I work as a buyers broker/agent for people such as yourself. Qualified as a broker, captain and marine engineer. Please see my details here on CF or my website and contact me for further info or assistance.
Thank you.
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Old 15-03-2016, 09:34   #10
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Re: Buying in Caribbean without been present

Personally, I would *never* buy a boat unseen. But that's just me.

Two guys I know bought a boat over the internet, unseen, in Curaçao. All went well, until they hauled her out ... Watch this video and fast forward to 11 minutes.
Dutch spoken, no subs, but the video and their faces tell the story just fine w/out audio.

Theirs is just one example. And, of course, you can luck out and get a boat without any major issues. But is it worth the risk? You can't do your due diligence over the net ... So whatever issues you discover, they will be YOUR problem to fix.

And the two guys in the vid? They finally left and circumnavigated successfully. They spent their entire emergency fund on the repairs, but were lucky they never needed it along the way. If they had, that would have been the end of it. Not a risk I'd take ..

Quote:
Originally Posted by cp1 View Post
I work as a buyers broker/agent for people such as yourself.
Quick question: let's say I hire you to purchase a boat somewhere. You'll be there handling everything, I'll be overseas, at home.
When I do get to my boat and find issues I wasn't made aware of, do you take care of the repair and the costs, or would that still be my problem?
Or if I was made aware of the issue, but the costs turn out much higher then I was told. Who would pay the extra money?
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Old 15-03-2016, 09:59   #11
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Re: Buying in Caribbean without been present

I lived in the Carribbean when I bought my Ericson from a guy I met at the Yacht club. This after flying from island to island and all around Antigua looking for a boat.

I would be leery of many of the "surveyor's" I met there.

I bought my boat after I saw her, but before I could sail her. I loved her and had a great trip across the Caribbean in her. She had a lot of problems however that only became apparent after a few months.

So be careful, as they say in the southern US "never buy a pig in a poke."
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Old 15-03-2016, 10:14   #12
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Re: Buying in Caribbean without been present

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
Boatie seems to have summed it up.
I don't know, maybe if the boat was pretty much a new boat you wouldn't be exposed so much? I just can't imagine buying sight unseen myself
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Old 15-03-2016, 10:19   #13
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Re: Buying in Caribbean without been present

Whilst usually absolutely agreeing with Boatie on all matters - I find his comments re surveyors a tad unkind....at least in regard to the current set operating in BVI who I have found to be extremely professional. I have attended many a charter boat phase out on behalf of absentee buyers in bvi, organised the "hit list" and made sure it was attended to, in conjunction with the surveyor, and all has gone pretty well. I have also, somewhat foolishly, delivered quite a few "dogs" which were bought sight unseen which I find to be a somewhat "life-shortening experience"....As Phil well knows, trying to be nice to buyers and help them get themselves into boating, whilst they are watching their pennies, often leads to being last in the queue when it comes to being paid!!
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Old 15-03-2016, 10:25   #14
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Re: Buying in Caribbean without been present

I believe that you could wait until you are ready to buy and fly into Tortola or St. Thomas and spend a day or two looking at boats . Usually at acceptance of the offer I have moved aboard while awaiting closing !These brokers and sellers are in as much of a hurry as you are ! I would not buy with out seeing and touching a boat . From the V.I. it is just a hop , skip and a jump to any where in Carib .
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Old 15-03-2016, 10:42   #15
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Re: Buying in Caribbean without been present

If you plan to buy about sight unseen, get a broker to represent you. I have a great one I can recommend.

Maje
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