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Old 05-09-2006, 16:50   #1
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We are starting to think about our next boat purchase which will involve our sabattical to the Caribbean. Given that we will most likely buy a boat in the SE states and we are based out of the west coast of British Columbia, I am looking for someone to help us in our selection of a boat. Ideally this person would be based out of Florida and would be able to help us identify some of our options and begin to pre-screen boats for us. Right now we are leaning towards a cat in the 38 to 42ft range.

Unless and exception reference came up, I don't really want to do this this via a broker - my past experiences indicate that they do not always act in the buyer's best interest. I really am looking for someone that can give unbiased and practical assessments.

Is there such a person or is this just a totally wacky idea?

Thanks in advance

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Old 05-09-2006, 17:52   #2
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Your idea may be a bit unconventional, but I don't think it's a whacky idea at all. In fact, assuming you have some time before you must make a decision and you're willing to pay someone knowledgeable for his/her time and expenses to help you sort through alternatives, prescreen boats, etc. -- then, I think it makes a lot of sense.

It's a buyers market right now...thousands of boats on the market. Brokers are anxious to sell their listings, understandably, but may not be motivated to provide relatively unbiased guidance. So your idea of engaging someone who has no interest in selling you a particular boat makes sense to me.

Seems what you're looking for is really an independent agent who has enough experience, knowledge, and time to assist you. Even though this might cost a bit, the potential savings in avoiding mistakes and arriving at the right purchase decision could be substantial.

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Old 06-09-2006, 00:41   #3
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This is something that is commonly done with cars. When I had my appraisal business, I would often get contracted to do prepurchase inspections including test drives by out of area purchasers. I can not provide any names of companies doing this with boats, but I am sure they are out there. A strt might be to contact an insurance company that insures boats in the area that you are interested in, and request the names of some independant appraisal firms in the area that handle boats.
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Old 06-09-2006, 02:40   #4
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I just sent you a private message on this topic.

She took my address and my name
Put my credit to shame
Sunspot Baby, sure had a real good time
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Old 06-09-2006, 03:04   #5
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You idea is not at all "wacky" - merely prudent.
It seems as though you are seeking a "Surveyor", whom you would engage to perform "pre-survey inspections" (sort of a "mini-survey").
We have several S. Florida members, on the CruisersForum, who might be capable & willing to consult (Dag, are you listening?).
Otherwise, there are numerous professional surveyors, that perform these sorts of services. Check out the "NAMS" and "SAMS" listings.
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Old 06-09-2006, 06:36   #6
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Robert Perry offers a consulting service to boat buyers.
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Old 06-09-2006, 08:14   #7
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Other consultants include John and Amanda Neale (Mahina Expeditions, and John Harries and Phyllis Nickel (Attainable Adventure Cruising, Neither of these are local to Florida, but they may still be helpful to you in your search. For the local help looking at specific candidate boats, contract with a good marine surveyor as Gord suggests.
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Old 06-09-2006, 08:25   #8
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Thanks for all the replies.

I thought about using a surveyor but again, I am rather cautious. When I bought my last boat, the surveyor missed quite a few things.
The propane tank and fire extinguishers had expired, he missed a cracked aluminum casting on the deck mast step (which admittedly could only be seen when wet - had to have the mast lifted to replace that one) and furthermore qualified his report to say he didn't look at any of the electronics or the engine. He missed the non-functional nav lights (damaged wire where it was fed into a hole in the bow pulpit and a screw missing where the nav breaker connects to the main bus bar). These few things cost me abou $1500 plus several hours of my own time. Probably not bad in the grand scheme of things but it irritated me that they were missed.

You can't assume that the surveyor is going to find all the issues with your boat - you have to be as involved as the surveyor.

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Old 06-09-2006, 08:26   #9
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I sell boats for a living. It is my passion. Brokers are like all people good and bad. The brokers who have been in the business for a long time usually have been doing something right. The scum bags do not last. Another approach is to interview a salesperson, find one you gel with and communicate your needs. If the salesperson is able to help you learn more thru the interview process then you have found a good one. A good salesperson is a consultant and the reward is the commission plus the good will of the people involved with the transaction. Brokers and salespeople act for buyers and actively look for boats for there clients that will fit there needs from in house or any place around the world. I work in San Diego, in California as well as Florida you have to be licensed to work in the industry. You could do well to find someone like me in Florida who has a passion for boats. I screen boats all the time for clients.

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Old 06-09-2006, 15:00   #10

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Kevin, you are looking for a "buyer's broker" or "buyer's agent" although a surveyor could certainly do the same. The problem with any of them is that if they are really professional, it's gonna cost you. And from afar you have a hard time determining who is professional.

You might try to scope out a few contacts ahead of time, then fly down to Florida for two weeks driving around, meeting some brokers, looking at some boats, and if you don't find what you like, at least you may find a broker who impresses you--and ask them to keep an eye out for what you are looking for.

I don't remember his name offhand, I knew a good one who was an ex-B52 navigator, working out of Coconut Grove in Miami IIRC. Maybe that rings a bell for someone else on the list...

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