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Old 10-12-2015, 12:29   #16
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Re: Basic (or dumb) questions about boat buying

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimp1234 View Post
I"ve never bought a boat before, and I'm trying to get a handle on the buying process.
Have you been on many boats? Meaning, do you know what sort of boat you want?

The very first step is to figure out which boats fit your needs & wants. Those differ greatly from person to person, so you'll have to figure that one out all by yourself

Best way to do that, if you simply don't know yet: look at many, many boats. What layouts fit you (and your family)? Which boats offer the room you think you'll need (length isn't everything!)?

I've been on many 40' sailboats, all very suitable for blue water cruising. Some offer hardly any living space, some seem twice as big on the inside than they do on the outside.
Some are fast, some slow as you-know-what. Some are very forgiving when under sail, some smack you around if you're not paying attention.
Some I could handle solo, others ... not so much.
Some of them, I'd buy if I could afford them; others I wouldn't want at all. And again, all blue water cruisers, all around the same size in feet (length).

Loooong story short: find out what sort of boat 'fits' with your personal tastes, experience, plans, wants & needs.
If you're not clear on what you want, and what you don't want: look at as many different boats as you can manage!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimp1234 View Post
So for you experienced boat buyers here goes.
1 - 2: varies greatly, sorry

3: sometimes you take one quick look and know it's not going to work out. In and out in 5 minutes. Next! Others are way more interesting, so time spent looking at them goes up.
When seriously considering making an offer, I look at *everything*. That can take half a day, and normally would be on the second look.

4. No. I select boats according to any and all models that fit me (see above). Every single boat has it's pro's and cons, and whatever boat you end up with is going to be a compromise.

5. No, sailing is done at the trail. Even the same make and model doesn't mean they're all alike, so I want to sail the actual boat I'm considering.

6. I'm in the Netherlands, so even "the other side of the country" is max. a 2 hr drive If I'm in the market for a larger blue water cruiser, I'd consider buying in the US or elsewhere - boats are a lot more expensive around here. There's also a couple of locations around the globe where many cruiser dreams end up and boats await a new owner. I'll be looking there as well - one guys broken dreams are another gals great deal

7. No. There are so many boats for sale I'm not going to wait 6 months for an owner to get a grip on reality. I always make fair offers which I can motivate and explain. So either we can agree on a price, or we can't. If not, on with the search.
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Old 10-12-2015, 13:25   #17
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Re: Basic (or dumb) questions about boat buying

1. Few months. The process started from identifying a nice boat.

2. Only internet searches before this one No other boats visited after we found this one.

3. Visited the boat (on the hard) three times, spent some time there, and took also a surveyor there.

4. Just identified a boat that seemed to work for us. We didn't have any agreed criteria beforehand. All the pieces just seemed to fit together well enough when we found her.

5. The papers were signed after the first trial at sea.

6. Distance to the boat was maybe 150 miles. The broker was sufficiently reliable and well known. We trusted the surveyor quite a lot (it was important to us to hear from an expert that he didn't find any serious problems in the boat). The previous owners seemed like very decent and honest people.

7. We made our first offer that was not accepted, and then waited for many weeks before making our second offer, that was accepted.
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Old 10-12-2015, 14:01   #18
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Re: Basic (or dumb) questions about boat buying

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Originally Posted by jimp1234 View Post
Greetings all. I've decided to buy a cruising boat in the next year or so, but I"ve never bought a boat before, and I'm trying to get a handle on the buying process. This forum has been very helpful but I guess my questions are pretty basic because I haven't found answers yet. So for you experienced boat buyers here goes.

1. From the time you were "ready" to buy a boat,(e.g.figured out the finances, lifesytle questions, etc.) how long did it take you to find and purchase her?
2. How many boats did you look at before you found the "one"? And by "look at" I mean how many boats did you actually go aboard with a broker or owner, to "kick the tires"?
3. What's the "etiquette" of going aboard to evaluate a prospective boat? Do you spend 15 minutes? An hour? All day? Quick glance around or do you immediately start hammering with your phenolic hammer, or dis-assembling the cabinetry?
4. Did you decide on one particular manufacturer/model/year then waited until you found her? Or did you have 3 or 4 different boats in mind then went with the best "deal"?
5. Did you sail the boat before the sea trial? Is yes how did you manage it? Charter? Friends? Other??
6. Did you buy locally, or out of your area? (city? State? Country?) If out of area, how was it working with remote broker, surveyor, owner?
7. If you found a boat that you liked but thought the price too high, did you follow the boat and make another offer 3 months, 6 months, later?


TIA for your help.

-Jim
We had had a tough year in terms of what we do for a living, and it was a time for licking our wounds. In that mindset, we figured we needed time out in a completely different way. My solution was to go to town to buy a dinghy for fishing, sightseeing messing about on the water.

I went to a boatyard and we ended up buying a 28ft keeler, a Herreshoff H28.

Well, it wasn't quite like that...I had had a hankering for a keeler for many years after I learnt to sail a dinghy, but up to that point it was the largest boat I had managed, a 12ft "Arrow" class. Before we purchased I had been at the library reading books on how to make the purchase of a keeler.

I just hadn't really translated that beyond a dream!

If I remember rightly, the books I read taught me to consider several important things. Budget of course, not just how much boat you can buy but how much it will cost to maintain is a huge consideration. Even if you do most yourself the cost is exponential as you go up in size. We settled for our first keeler on a size that we could paint the bottom of fairly easily on our own (at that stage) between tides when it was still legal to do things on a grid. Another major consideration was end use. Is it for a weekend sail-maybe a bit longer over the holidays as it was for us, a family cruiser? Do you want to race? Live aboard? Explore shallow coastlines? Have a large social requirement- lots of guests? Another question is, with my very limited knowledge of hull shape, keel profiles, sail plans what design should I go for? Here it seemed a no-brainer to inquire as to a very user friendly, forgiving boat that wasn't going to give any nasty surprises under heavier conditions. We decided on a heavy displacement, full keel sloop rigged with furling headsail. We decided on a production boat as opposed to a one off design for the simple reason that these designs are common enough to have a lot of reviews and the good points and bad points can be found and have a reliability value. The other consideration with a production boat is resale value and our ability to know if the price asked is in line with others the same, not a difficult exercise when there are many others just like it. Finding a surveyor to gauge it's fitness for purpose is a must, especially if a first boat.

Our first keeler was pretty much the first boat for sale that we came across in the boat yard, but that was because we were already down the track of knowing the type, size and cost that we had in mind and she seemed to fit the purpose very well. We had seven good years of ownership of that 28 footer in which we cruised our coastline with a family, slowly yes, but safely, economically and pleasurably.

We hadn't decided on a particular design but had narrowed it to several popular boats that were fairly common. We had decided on fibreglass, inboard diesel, full keel, sloop rig, and simple set up. Two cockpit winches and a mast winch. The ground tackle was a 27lb CQR with a chain and rope rode and no windlass. Boy do I remember the long haul up when we anchored in 100ft of water to fish the banks!

Eventually it went up on the rocks after a huge storm swept through after a mooring swivel gave out through electrolysis on a hired swing mooring. Although holed in several places, and every bulkhead and bit of furniture inside had parted from the hull through flexing we re-floated, patched and sailed 40 or so miles down the coast with rough patches epoxied on the holes for an insurance assessment at the nearest main port.

The insurance called it a write off and paid out the full price we paid for the boat. We then by prior arrangement bought it off the insurance company as a project at a very reasonable price, and shipped it home. After deciding I wasn't up to bringing her to her former glory I resold it on a cradle I had made for pretty much the same money that I paid the insurance company. Thus after 7 years we got the same money we originally paid. I was more than happy.

Enjoy your new boat.
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Old 10-12-2015, 14:23   #19
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Re: Basic (or dumb) questions about boat buying

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Originally Posted by dkroar View Post
This website helps with what/what not to look for, in addition to acquiring a competent marine surveyor:
Marine Survey 101, Do your own marine survey
also this book, "How Not to Buy a Cruising Boat"
How Not to Buy a Cruising Boat: TJ Akey, Deb Akey: 9781511997942: Amazon.com: Books
dkroar, just spent a while reading through the "Marine Survey 101..." link that you kindly provided. Excellent info. Thanks a bunch!
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Old 10-12-2015, 15:07   #20
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Re: Basic (or dumb) questions about boat buying

There are boat buyrers, and then there are boat shoppers. Below are my answers for my first boat (39') and my second boat (43')

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimp1234 View Post
So for you experienced boat buyers here goes.

1. From the time you were "ready" to buy a boat,(e.g.figured out the finances, lifesytle questions, etc.) how long did it take you to find and purchase her?

2 weeks/1 day - this actural looking time not counting on line reviewing of boats

2. How many boats did you look at before you found the "one"? And by "look at" I mean how many boats did you actually go aboard with a broker or owner, to "kick the tires"?

4/1

3. What's the "etiquette" of going aboard to evaluate a prospective boat? Do you spend 15 minutes? An hour? All day? Quick glance around or do you immediately start hammering with your phenolic hammer, or dis-assembling the cabinetry?

Some I spend 5 minutes on and walked away, some I spend an hour plus. Did do any survey type stuff as if it didn't survey out I figured I would just walk away

4. Did you decide on one particular manufacturer/model/year then waited until you found her? Or did you have 3 or 4 different boats in mind then went with the best "deal"?

no/no

5. Did you sail the boat before the sea trial? Is yes how did you manage it? Charter? Friends? Other??

no/no

6. Did you buy locally, or out of your area? (city? State? Country?) If out of area, how was it working with remote broker, surveyor, owner?

local/local

7. If you found a boat that you liked but thought the price too high, did you follow the boat and make another offer 3 months, 6 months, later?

no/no


TIA for your help.

-Jim
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Old 10-12-2015, 15:30   #21
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Re: Basic (or dumb) questions about boat buying

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Originally Posted by jimp1234 View Post
Greetings all. I've decided to buy a cruising boat in the next year or so, but I"ve never bought a boat before, and I'm trying to get a handle on the buying process. This forum has been very helpful but I guess my questions are pretty basic because I haven't found answers yet. So for you experienced boat buyers here goes.

1. From the time you were "ready" to buy a boat,(e.g.figured out the finances, lifesytle questions, etc.) how long did it take you to find and purchase her?

About 3 months, but by then we were on a deadline.

2. How many boats did you look at before you found the "one"? And by "look at" I mean how many boats did you actually go aboard with a broker or owner, to "kick the tires"?

We were 2000 miles from the nearest ocean, so we did a lot of online shopping and a couple of boat shows. Then it was 2 boats.

3. What's the "etiquette" of going aboard to evaluate a prospective boat? Do you spend 15 minutes? An hour? All day? Quick glance around or do you immediately start hammering with your phenolic hammer, or dis-assembling the cabinetry?

We ended up trusting the broker for a lot of that and got independent reviews on the surveyor. I think it cost us a bit more in the end as we paid for some repairs that might not have been strictly necessary but I think of it as insurance

4. Did you decide on one particular manufacturer/model/year then waited until you found her? Or did you have 3 or 4 different boats in mind then went with the best "deal"?

We had a hard list of requirements which practically narrowed it down to 2 or three boats. Then we waited.

5. Did you sail the boat before the sea trial? Is yes how did you manage it? Charter? Friends? Other??

Nope, but then I already knew what I wanted so...

6. Did you buy locally, or out of your area? (city? State? Country?) If out of area, how was it working with remote broker, surveyor, owner?

Yes. The broker was great. It's a bit like working with a used car salesman. They have an agenda but they also want to make the sale. Find a good vibe and go in with your eyes open and it should work.

7. If you found a boat that you liked but thought the price too high, did you follow the boat and make another offer 3 months, 6 months, later?

Yes, but for us unfortunately the price went up. Should have jumped sooner :-)
See above for answers :-)
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Old 10-12-2015, 16:34   #22
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Re: Basic (or dumb) questions about boat buying

I am probably an unusual case but I knew the boat model I wanted and started searching in May and by June I had found it, right in the marina closest to me. And I had been open to the whole western U.S. coast. But this is a boat model I knew well already so I didn't need to hit it with a hammer or call a surveyor. And because it was going to stay where it was, the marina didn't ask for a survey either (usually they will.) I did not even haggle over the price, I was happy with it and the guy was happy to get it; we parted on very friendly terms. HOWEVER most people will narrow down their search to a few models/years that they have researched to be right for them. Look around within a reasonable distance and if you find one that looks good ask to arrange to have it surveyed (you find a good local surveyor) and go with the surveyor when he/she does it. You can make an offer contingent on the survey and the sea-trial. Unless you love to work on boats, and have a good shop available, I would not recommend getting a fixer-upper. And remember, when you buy a boat you buy an engine. The engine can make or break a deal. An absolutely beautiful boat with a questionable engine is not absolutely beautiful.
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Old 10-12-2015, 16:53   #23
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Re: Basic (or dumb) questions about boat buying

We bought our first yacht 18 months ago. To get there we sat down and drew up a list of the key features we both wanted. My wife wanted a yacht that she felt comfortable with in handling with just the two of us; a proper bed rather than a parcel shelf with a sleeping bag, and to be able to look out of the windows when we were eating. I wanted a capable blue water yacht with good handling in close situations. We both agreed that we would not buy an older yacht but look for one about the 5 or 6 years old mark. We soon realised this meant a pilot or deck saloon, and probably in the 39 to 45 foot size. Of course we also had a budget! We then trawled the internet extensively and identified what we believed was the yacht that met almost all our criteria, a Wauquiez pilot saloon. We then decided to go hunting for one. It took us to Italy, Holland, Greece and Spain and we looked at five yachts altogether. We spent a good couple of hours on each boat, and went for a sail on three of them. The one we ended up buying had not been advertised but the broker happened to know that the owner was looking to sell. It took about one year from start to finish to actually make the purchase. We found the whole experience very enjoyable, and treated each trip like a mini break. The stressful time came when we got into negotiations as the owner did not speak English and we did not speak Spanish. Our surveyor though was English and was able to translate, and the broker could also interpret for us. We ended up however buying an older yacht, and at 14 years was at the point when a good number of items need to be replaced. So the budget was stretched a bit and our bank account has seen a steady outflow ever since!! But we have the yacht that we hope to sail around the world in, and have really enjoyed having her thus far. But do not under-estimate how much of your life it will consume, and how much effort and time you need to invest in getting to know the yacht and all the systems on board. The main lesson we learnt is that unless you have a spare million quid o chuck around, there is no such thing as the perfect yacht; there is always a compromise that you will need to arrive at or accept. Our best wishes for a successful search.
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Old 10-12-2015, 16:54   #24
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Re: Basic (or dumb) questions about boat buying

Just remember,

the day you buy your boat is the second happiest day in your boat-owner life.
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Old 10-12-2015, 17:04   #25
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Re: Basic (or dumb) questions about boat buying

We were in a location with lots of boats and lived close to the docks so it was easy for us to go aboard a lot-- i probably visited 60 boats to get an idea of what i really wanted-- took care to work with the broker when i was just looking and educating myself to not interfere with his ability to handle people that were ready to buy right away.
1st step was to do a lot of reading and get an idea of what i thought i wanted.

2nd step- i went and interviewed several brokers telling them that i was not ready to buy but wanted to bounce some thoughts off them- the ones that set up a time and spent some time talking to me made my short list.

3rd step- we started going aboard boats and looking at layouts and brands-

4th step we went on a charter specifically on the type of boat that we thought we wanted ( glad we did- we changed our mind )

5th step - we narrowed our choices down to two boats that would work for us - we ended up wanting a Gulfstar 47 or a Morgan 51.-- we also narrowed down to one broker and made a commitment to him-- we were not in any hurry

took about 4 months to find the right price, the right boat with the right features-- we walked away from a couple and lost a couple-- broker did a great job for us and eventually found our boat while he was on a trip for another client- called me and described the boat - it was 3 hours out of his way to go look but he volunteered to do it on his own nickel.

last step-- flew our chosen surveyor across the country to look at the boat (broker had recommended him AND we checked him out independently -- last step saved us about 20k. all went smooth and worked out well if you are anywhere near Tx, pm me and i will be happy to send you Broker and surveyors names- they were both excellent 3 years later i have not seen another boat that i would trade for our- it fits our PARTICULAR needs perfectly
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Old 10-12-2015, 19:34   #26
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Re: Basic (or dumb) questions about boat buying

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Originally Posted by derfy View Post
Just remember,

the day you buy your boat is the second happiest day in your boat-owner life.
Lol....
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Old 12-12-2015, 16:40   #27
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Re: Basic (or dumb) questions about boat buying

101 was a good read, very informative and thought provoking. The section on through hulls really got me to thinking.

Thanks for that.
And this is a great thread, Please continue.
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Old 16-12-2015, 12:28   #28
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Re: Basic (or dumb) questions about boat buying

Something else to think about. Don't discount a boat that the owner has maintained very well or has totally rebuilt the boat. If this is the case the boat will be worth more than book value if it was professionally done.
Example
Let's say just because I only 33 Morgan out island from the 1975 year you can buy them all day long for $15,000 that's about book value but say the owner did a total refit
With new motor,new electronics,new sails, new standing and running rig, it would be worth a whole lot more than 15000
You could buy one 4. 15000 and do all them repair yourself and have $100,000 Intuit or you could by the same 1975 33 foot Morgan island for 50000 - 30000 and you would have a great deal in my opinion that way extra 10% that you would normally need for refitting you would not need so it would be a better deal and you could go cruising now instead of doing a two year refit and a whole lot extra money and time
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Old 17-12-2015, 09:37   #29
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Re: Basic (or dumb) questions about boat buying

Welcome Jim!

I'm going to try and answer to the best that I can. I recently just made my first purchase, however my boat is not a "cruising" boat per say, rather it is one to keep us tied over for the next 3-5 years till we acquire a larger cruising boat with a bit more space.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jimp1234 View Post
1. From the time you were "ready" to buy a boat,(e.g.figured out the finances, lifesytle questions, etc.) how long did it take you to find and purchase her?
We had been "ready" to buy a boat for about the last 9 months. The one thing that really held us back was that my girlfriend was just graduating college, and I was still working as a contractor with a chance of being unemployed for extended periods of time at the end of a contract. Due to that, it wouldnt be a smart financial decision to spend money on something, that will constantly require some sort of funds each month if I were to become unemployed.

Within the last year though, we have moved to a new apartment(in my view, apartments at the right price are far superior for wealth than purchasing, but this is a whole different subject) that was saving us over $400 a month in rent and other bills. The reason for the move was due to a cheaper constant outflow of money, which can be diverted towards maintaining the boat.

In October, I was converted to full time at the company i had been working at for the last year. With the added security and higher wages, this was all that we needed to be switched from a "passive boat searching mode" to an "active boat searching mode".

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimp1234 View Post
2. How many boats did you look at before you found the "one"? And by "look at" I mean how many boats did you actually go aboard with a broker or owner, to "kick the tires"?
I had looked at about 20 different boats. We were at a boat show recently, and we had debated on some of the boats that we saw there(wooden vessels) that were up for sale, but we did not feel the price was what we should spend at the time.

For boats that were really in our price, I looked at about 5 of them before finding the one we purchased. Of those 5, i made offers on 2, but they were rejected. One of the 2 that we made offers, was being sold by a broker, the other was owner selling.

The one we purchased, it was also being sold by owner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimp1234 View Post
3. What's the "etiquette" of going aboard to evaluate a prospective boat? Do you spend 15 minutes? An hour? All day? Quick glance around or do you immediately start hammering with your phenolic hammer, or dis-assembling the cabinetry?
I'm not sure what etiquette is, however i view it in the sense that I am purchasing something, no different than a car. When you buy a car, you typically want ot test drive it, get a feel for it, understand it and know it. With a boat you have a lot more systems than a car, and things like chainplates, rot, blisters, mechanical issues and what not. With that in consideration, take the time that YOU feel you need to understand the boat and what needs to be done, either routine maintenance wise, or fixing of major problems.

I tear open things that are typically designed ot be opened easily such as bilge openings, engine compartments and what not. Dont pull **** apart that isn't "ment" to be unless the owner does it for you.

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Originally Posted by jimp1234 View Post
4. Did you decide on one particular manufacturer/model/year then waited until you found her? Or did you have 3 or 4 different boats in mind then went with the best "deal"?
I didn't really go about it in that sense. I went about the boat searching by way of price. There are a lot of boats out, and if i limited to specific type or model, i would be searching for a while. I often searched for ones above my price range, and would always expect to make a low ball offer. At some point, someone desperate enough will sell for an agreeable price. I stayed strong on my final offer due to the work that is required of my boat(rigging/chainplates and potential dead diesel inboard). The owner wanted to wait to see if he got any higher offers, but decided the following day that it would be easier to sell to me than wait for an extra $1k in an offer.

I also prefer older boats as the depreciation of the boat has already occurred and it is likely to not depreciate too much more.

The reason we really liked this boat was that because it was capable of taking us offshore, more so than a catalina of same size. Sure cabin space my be smaller, but the ability to leave offshore if we chose to do so in a shorter time frame than expected and finances arent able to afford a nicer 35-45ft boat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimp1234 View Post
5. Did you sail the boat before the sea trial? Is yes how did you manage it? Charter? Friends? Other??
I did not sail before buying. I do wish I made my offer on the condition of a quick sail atleast, however whats done is done. I dont think its required to do a trial sail, but that i think is up to the individual.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jimp1234 View Post
6. Did you buy locally, or out of your area? (city? State? Country?) If out of area, how was it working with remote broker, surveyor, owner?
I bought locally. I did not work wiht a broker or surveyor. I did a lot of research on the boat before even looking at it and felt confident in my ability to find and understand what is needed to be done. Learn a bit about what surveyors do and what they look for. Get ideas of what typical problems are encountered of the type of boat your buying to see if the owner has neglected maintenance in those areas.

Example is the Yankee MK II which has a solid fiber hull and a ply cored deck. I looked at this boat before making purchase of the one i have. The ply core extends all the way to the hull/deck joint. Its common for Yankee cores to become wet and rotted due to the ply extending all the way to the edge, while having a small portion of the ply actually being exposed below the toe rail. It was something that I had to take into consideration, and price the potential fix into my offer as the deck didn't show any sort of rot. I would have had to taken 1"-2" of the deck edge, all the way around the boat out and replaced it with a solid glass section, as this would prevent rot from occurring.

The boat i bought had chainplates that were painted over, bolts rusted out, and the standing rigging is due for replacement as well. The inboard diesel state was unknown, and now that i own it, i believe it is seized, however the owner had a outboard mounted on the back. I priced in the cost of chainplate + rigging into the price and made a logical offer based purely on my research. If i were to hire someone to do the work, i would have had to made an even lower offer, however we settled $500 above my offer which was enough to make me happy.

I did not price in the diesel(8-12k for new replacement) purely because the asking price of the boat was $4500. My offer was $2500, and he accepted $3k. This left me with $1500 to spend on rigging and chainplate replacements.

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Originally Posted by jimp1234 View Post
7. If you found a boat that you liked but thought the price too high, did you follow the boat and make another offer 3 months, 6 months, later?

If you found the price to be too high and made an offer that you felt it was a fair offer and the owner rejected it. If it was still listed 3mo, 6mo or 1 year later, the owner is either a not very motivated seller, OR he is over valuing his boat.

In either case, I would definitely come back at a 2-3 month interval, continuously making offers on the boat. The offer would need to take into account if the boat is being actively sailed, or if it is just sitting on the hard, basking in heat and cold and being neglected.

The longer the boat sits, the longer maintenance occurs, the lower the offer would be(within reason to account for what needs ot be done).

This is completely my view on how i go about and how i went about purchasing the boat that I have.

The final thing that I will say though, is that regardless if your selling or buying, the value of which you choose is PURELY based on what someone else is willing to pay. If you were to find a boat for $10k, and in your mind it is valued at $45k in 3 years based on your upgrades or what ever reason, the boat will only be worth what the next person is willing to pay. Just because one individual see's the value of one thing does not mean someone else will.
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Old 17-12-2015, 11:44   #30
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Re: Basic (or dumb) questions about boat buying

Thanks everyone for your thoughtful comments.
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