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Old 09-09-2008, 19:42   #1
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Location: Fresno, Ca
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What is normal procedure

So what is normal procedure for buying a boat privately??

We have an agreed price and are currently scheduling the haulout and survey.

After that what should happen, I have never bought a boat before and dont even know what paperwork exactly comes with it. Do I get a title and go somewhere to get it transfered into my name. Should the current owner accompany me to this place i.e. like a DMV and sign over said vessel.

I have the insurance quote and have taken the pictures and supplied them just need the survey then insurance is taken care of. Do I need that first before doing any other paperwork?

I would appreciate any and all help so I actualy know what to expect and know things are going as they should.

I hope these arent completely stupid questions but I have no idea how this part of the buy works

Thank you VERY much
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Old 09-09-2008, 19:46   #2
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Just from a title standpoint, its no different than signing over a car if it is registered with the state. For a documented vessel, check with the Coasties for details about this.

From a protecting yourself standpoint, it is best to hire the services of a marine surveyor and to go for a test sail.

From a practical standpoint, it is probably best to try out a number of boats to see what you like as well as what you do not care for.

From a safety standpoint, a safe boating course from the Coast Guard Auxillary or a boating school is always a good idea.


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Old 09-09-2008, 20:10   #3
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All good questions and you will no doubt receive many good answers.
I see you are in Fresno. This site will give you a lot of good info specific to California.
Vessel (Boat) Registration and Information

What kind of boat are you getting?
You have an agreed upon price, did you also agree that the deal would be completed after you have seen the survey? And you are happy with the findings.
You never know what might turn up. A costly repair could sour you on the deal or mean some renegotiation might have to take place.

Do you know if the boat was documented or registered?
If it is registered there will be numbers near the bow that start with the letters CA or letters corresponding to another state if it isn't registered in California.

Documentation means there will be a name and hailing port on the stern and a number in the bilge area or engine space. The previous owner can tell you.
Registration or Documentation will have different processes for turning over ownership.

I recently bought a registered boat from a private party and a documented boat through a broker.

With the private party deal I called my insurance company as you have and gave them all the info. They set up a policy pending a survey. When the survey was completed I faxed it to the insurance company and in my case the finance company.

There were a few things the insurance company wanted repaired on the boat and they gave me a few days to get it done and submit a letter explaining exactly what was done. (The repairs took place after I took possession of the boat)

As soon as I knew I could get it insured I took the payment to previous owner and he provided a bill of sale and the title and registration. I was able to get the new state registration form online. I sent that along with the old registration in and a few weeks later I got new numbers.

If the boat is documented you should decide if you will also document the boat.
Its not mandatory but if you think you will go south of the border you may want to consider it.

If that's the case you should find an agent that can help you through the documentation process. A google search will turn up a few agents. Call and ask about price, pick one and let them submit the paperwork to the CG. The previous owner has some responsibility with the Coast Guard and you will have some paperwork to fill out. The agent can do all of that. For a nominal fee of course.

Remember you shouldn't hand over the money until you have seen the survey. When you get that in hand you may have a lot more questions. The surveyor will help there. That's why you are paying him. Don't feel pressured into consummating the deal.

Do you have a new name yet? That's part of the fun. If you document you'll be asked for a name. If you register you can get to it later.
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