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Old 23-11-2011, 08:10   #16
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pirate Re: Buying blind

Yes I have... but it was a model I knew well and the simplicity of systems and a very favourable price shrank the potential problems which were few... and cheaply fixed...
Know the boat and be honestly aware of your abilities and it can work....
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Old 23-11-2011, 08:29   #17
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Re: Buying blind

As someone who recently purchased a new (old) boat, and who is now selling our other boat, I would say the answer is NO. Do not buy without viewing. The only exceptions I would add to this are:
  1. You have a trusted (and knowledgeable) set of independent eyes who can visit the boat in your stead. Could be a friend, or a hired consultant, or
  2. The price is very, very good, everything you learn looks fine, and you can afford to lose the that amount of money.
It's tempting to jump at a good looking boat on yachtworld, but unless you're one of the 1%, a boat purchase will be a major expense. It's worth spending the time, and money, to ensure you're making the right choice.

BTW, if anyone is looking for a wonderful 34' cruising boat, have I got a deal for you www.elysian.ca
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Old 23-11-2011, 08:34   #18
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Re: Buying blind

Having just bought a boat 'sight unseen' aside from a lot of pics, I agree it goes against conventional wisdom. However sometimes it can be effective despite that. But there are risks.

First of all, this broker is reputable and very cooperative, I'm not sure if this is par for the course in this country, but my experiences with a couple of others suggest it may well be the case.

The boat is in Sydney and I am in a country town in South Australia. For various reasons, hopping on a plane and zipping over for a personal inspection was not possible, though he encouraged me to do that before we finalised the deal or to get a survey done. We tossed it around some at home and with the broker and did the deal. He offered to release me from the deal when it was clear I couldn't get there to pick it up, and refund my deposit. He had other buyers waiting of course. He then chased around and arranged a long term mooring at cost, so we went ahead and paid the balance.

I did consider getting a survey done, however this would be a significant percentage of the cost of the boat, so I considered whether that might be better spent fixing things I knew needed doing (and the broker told me what it needs without hesitation) and anything I might discover myself when I eventually got there. Combine the cost of a survey with a round trip ticket to Sydney and it's quite a chunk of change. I'm not a frequent flyer and it's expensive to fly here, not to mention a 140 mile drive to Adelaide to get a flight. More expense. Is there some risk attached to this? Yes, of course there is. There might be some problem only a haulout and a full survey would disclose. Would it be cheaper than finding the problem myself and fixing it? Probably not. I can get it home and haul it out here for a fraction of the cost in Sydney and my time is my own. This is a $14,000 boat. For a 35' ketch, that's not a lot of money. Most issues I can fix myself, just need to get it onto the hard and that's cheaper and easier here than a haulout just for a survey in Sydney, which can go upwards of a thousand dollars all up quite easily. I'd rather spend that on fixing what's wrong rather than paying someone just to tell me what's wrong. There's a definition of a consultant I'll share. A consultant is a man with a briefcase. You ask him the time, he takes your watch, tells you the time and keeps the watch. I'm not disparaging surveyors, but in many cases, they are only telling you what you can discern for yourself if you take the trouble to look and not ignore what you see. I elected to save the money for actually fixing things rather than paying for a list I can doubtless do myself once I get the boat home.

One important caveat. The risks of this method are proportional to the cost of the boat. The more expensive the boat the greater the risk of significant loss on a boat that looks ok, but turns out to be unsound and requires a lot of expenditure to make it sound. If the boat's dirt cheap, you aren't likely to lose much on the deal in a worst case and if it turns out to be fine, you are in front. In our case, the main area of risk is the hulls state, but a ferro that's been around 30 years is not likely to have structural issues that haven't surfaced long before now, so I'm not expecting any nightmares.

Will there be some things wrong that haven't been spotted by us or the broker? Probably. Does it make the boat not worth the price? Unlikely.

YMMV. I guess we'll find out how wise it was in early January when I go fetch it home. I'd also point out that the broker has gone 'above and beyond' over this, even to arranging another mooring for me when we suddenly found we couldn't come straight over and get it. And then putting it on his own mooring when that fell through due to no fault of his. No names, but the seller basically reneged on a deal to pay his mooring fees until I could come and fetch it, he didn't let the broker know this until after the deal was done which put us all in a difficult position. The broker moved the boat to his own mooring and used the money I'd offered the owner to hire another for his use until we collect the boat.

He's also been going out to the mooring every week or so and making sure all is well aboard and emailing me regularly. It's clear he's very busy and moves a lot of boats, and the deal is long done, so he's certainly looking after me well beyond what's required.

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to, but if I am, when this is over and I have picked up the boat, I'll mention his name here as someone that goes the extra mile.


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Old 23-11-2011, 08:35   #19
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Re: Buying blind

No.

When I was boat shopping, I found that most, if not all, of the "great deals" out there that looked good, were misleading. The pics were years old, and/or did not reflect the true condition of the vessel. Looks great and has a great price...but go see it...and yeah...no.

I would not buy any boat, no matter the deal, without personally looking at it first, or paying a reputable marine surveyor to go do an inspection and send me a report with pictures and professional opinion.
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Old 23-11-2011, 08:57   #20
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Re: Buying Blind

Can't see doing it. I would narrow it down by having a surveyor do a "preliminary survey" Before i cam down to have a look. I flew to Mexico after the price had been agreed upon and flew to Italy to do the same. Mexico was a bust. Broker didn't know what the boat was like or lied. Italy the boat was as represented but the engine was in worse shape then expected.
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Old 24-11-2011, 01:12   #21
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Re: Buying Blind

It is nice if you can get a good dealer.
My recent experience is not so good. I found boat in Townswille ( AU / Queensland), first call : hi my name is John and making enquiries about Falkboat you have there. Possible more information ?
Ah... Yes we have one here, but I am busie at the moment and cannot talk right now. Call you later.
Yeah..right the call never come.
See you later and say good bye to the deal.
I would love to find a good marine boat surveyed, but you never know if they any good and trustworthy.
As I live in Melbourne, some of the boats located are all over the country, Cairns, Sydney, Perth.
This is a lots of flying around to just look at it.
Apparently there is a Mariner for sale in the US, but I have not seen pictures yet.
This would be a most expensive " pop in for look ever" as my budget is in some way limited.
Frustrating
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Old 24-11-2011, 01:39   #22
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Re: Buying Blind

I bought my present boat unseen and it turned out great. I saw it advertised on e-Bay, watched it and swapped a couple of mails with the owner, then at the last minute the price was right so I place a bid before jumping on a plane, I landed the other side, checked, and found I'd bought it. It was exactly the kind of boat I wanted, and being a British built boat for sale in the US the price was much lower than same-age similar boats in the UK, added to which it was European VAT paid. Wouldn't advise it for everyone but it worked for me.
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Old 24-11-2011, 03:44   #23
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Re: Buying Blind

My dream boat was taken from me by a couple that sent the broker a wire deposit without actually seeing it. This happened during the few hours it took for me to drive down and see it. I drove 4 hours ready to buy, they were across the country and got it. Another missed purchase was a Bob Perry "Project" boat that was missing a spar and listed for practically nothing. By the time my custom RSS search feed hit my inbox, not even 6 hours after listing, it was taken.

If you know the boat really well after doing tons and tons of research and have done your homework to identify typical trouble areas, I say its the sign of the times to jump in early. With the net around now as selling tool, a broker can take timestamped pictures that allow you to do the detective work that he or she is not willing to do themselves.

I used to restore antique BMWs (2002s) as a hobby and within 5 minutes of listing them online, people in the "know" would request specific pictures of areas that tend to be problematic and drilling me for exact details to confirm the model's factory features were intact. They were well informed and on the prowl. Out of 6 classic cars, I sold only 2 to people that wanted to see them in person before putting down a deposit.

I am not saying its a good idea when it comes to buying sailing vessels, I am just saying that if your dream boat shows up a good price on your favorite bookmarked online broker site, prepared yourself for the reality that people will send a check after just seeing a few pictures. Its about adapting to conquer what would normally be consider ignorant and foolhardy, but standard in the age of digital photos, web brokers and online wire transfers.

Kind of sad if you ask me.
Thats my .02 at least, but I have a lot to learn about this process.
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Old 24-11-2011, 04:06   #24
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Re: Buying Blind

I can relate to that experience.

I contacted the broker (the one I bought my boat off) initially about another ferro, a 32 centre cockpit sloop. It was untidy as all get out below and pretty shabby up top too, but it was well equipped and basically sound. It had gone by the time I got to him. He told he had another ferro around 35' if I was interested. I was, so he sent me some pics a day later, it had just appeared on Boatpoint by thenm no pics and he already had enquiries. He suggested I take a look and if I liked it, a 10% deposit would hold off other buyers while I made up my mind, depost refunded if the deal fell through because of failed survey etc.

So we did. I know he had several other buyers waiting if I backed out. Sometimes you do have to make a move or you miss out, on this side of the world you can spend a long time 'just missing out' on a perfectly suitable boat because it's not where you are and getting out to see it takes longer than it does for someone to do a bank transfer.

As it turned out, we were happy, paid the balance after a week or two of careful (albeit long distance) looking and thinking and it's ours.

'Iacta delende est'

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Old 24-11-2011, 13:43   #25
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Re: Buying Blind

I just did. Going to look it over next week , adn sail it home in spring/early summer.

But.. It cost 1200 pounds.. I've paid half for now , the rest when i see it. Lost pay and airfare would be at least as much. This is a 32 feet contessa-copy in pure GRP , no balsa and ****. The rig is sound and the hull looks good. I know my plastics , and I have skilled help. Next winter's project.

Do I worry about the state she's in? Hell yeah!
Can I afford to loose my money? . Ofcourse , would not do it if not.
Only question is how much work has to be done in situ , before I trust her to bring me home.

.manitu
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Old 24-11-2011, 14:32   #26
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Re: Buying Blind

It's a crazy idea.
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Old 24-11-2011, 16:11   #27
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Re: Buying Blind

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patient View Post
My dream boat was taken from me by a couple that sent the broker a wire deposit without actually seeing it. This happened during the few hours it took for me to drive down and see it. I drove 4 hours ready to buy, they were across the country and got it. Another missed purchase was a Bob Perry "Project" boat that was missing a spar and listed for practically nothing. By the time my custom RSS search feed hit my inbox, not even 6 hours after listing, it was taken.
Same thing can happen with cars....real estate....anything actually.

The way I look at it: My item will be there for me to purchase. If it's sold out from under me, it was never meant to be anyway. My next boat is waiting on me now....may not be for sale yet....maybe it is....but when I'm ready to buy, it will be there waiting on me.
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Old 24-11-2011, 16:18   #28
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Re: Buying Blind

I made an offer to purchase our current boat without seeing it personally. Once we had an agreed price, I flew down and arranged to see it, survey and sea trials. Closing was contingent on my being satisfied. Obviously I had some skin in the game at that point including my flight costs, survey and haul-out costs. At that point the owner had the boat conditionally sold which limited his ability to attract alternate buyers.

In my case the boat was everything I had hoped for so the deal went through. One thing that helped me a great deal for this long distance arrangement was that I used my own agent located in Canada to handle the offers and the closing. He held my deposit in escrow, handled the title and registration and arranged payment. I also arranged my own surveyor and did not use the surveyor suggested by the broker.

In my case I had been watching this boat and the price was dropped by 30k. I knew that it would generate lots of interest at that price. It would have been difficult to justify flying out to see a specific boat without some guarantee that it would be available if I decided to make an offer. To get this deal I don't think I had another option.
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Old 24-11-2011, 16:25   #29
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Re: Buying Blind

Quote:
Originally Posted by manitu View Post
Do I worry about the state she's in? Hell yeah!
Can I afford to loose my money? . Ofcourse , would not do it if not.
Only question is how much work has to be done in situ , before I trust her to bring me home.

.manitu
Cool

But the difference from the average boat transaction is (apart from being money you can lose) that you know a lot of the boat needs fixing / updating / refurbing..............just don't know yet which bits they are (most? ).
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Old 24-11-2011, 16:36   #30
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Re: Buying Blind

We bought the converted bus that I'm posting this from sight unseen. In hindsight we probably got a little lucky but it has worked out well and it cost roughly twice what we paid for our boat last fall. I wanted to at least send a deposit before we went to look at the boat but SWMBO said "No". We both knew within minutes of getting onboard that we were going to buy the boat but we'd also been looking hard for 2 years and browsing for 4 or 5 years. In today's market I wouldn't feel any panic to buy sight unseen but I wouldn't 100% rule it out either. It depends what you know about equipment - they're just floating machines after all.
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