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Old 30-10-2012, 08:07   #1
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Found a Boat. What's the Next Step?

After years of saving and searching I've finally found a boat online that I'm very interested in and I'm not sure how to proceed. Do I just call up the listing broker? Also, I'm about 1000 miles away from where the boat is located so I'd like to know everything I can about this boat before I spend the money on travel. Do I need to find a broker in the area that the boat is located to work through, to represent me, or will that hurt the sale price?

I also would like any advice you have about what percentage of the asking price is a reasonable starting point.

Would love to hear from those of you that have been through a long distance boat buying process before.
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Old 30-10-2012, 08:19   #2
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Re: Found a boat. What's the next step?

Well, first step is to call the broker and have him send you any information he has that is not on the website, including more pictures etc. If the boat has been surveyed, you should get a copy of the survey (and then you can try to check on the surveyor - is he knowledgeable, conscientious, does a good job,trustworthy etc?).

Next you check all the other websites for the same boat and see what the going price is.

Assuming you are still interested, you need to make a personal inspection. Before that, you can see if there are any of these types of boats for sale closer to home and go look at them. Then you can make an informed opinion about wether or not this really is the boat you want.

Assuming all the above is true, and you've scouted the price of similar boats, you can make an offer. In todays market you should be able to knock 10-20% off the asking price, depending on how discounted it is at the start.

In reality - its like buying a used car.

hope it works out for you

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Old 30-10-2012, 14:56   #3
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Re: Found a boat. What's the next step?

Ok, Thanks for the info. Luckily we've been able to check out two similar boats that are near us, haven't gotten to sail on either, but still nice to be able to actually go down below and look around. I'll plan on calling the broker and seeing what other info he has available.
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Old 30-10-2012, 15:03   #4
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Re: Found a boat. What's the next step?

you can also check to see if other CF members are in close proximity of the boat and are willing to give it a once over and take pictures etc. that should adjust your level of confidence that she is the right boat for you and worth traveling to inspect more closely.

if you are convinced all the data are in line, you might be able to have a surveyor 'on hot stand by' so, after your own inspection, you can be with the surveyor and not 1000 miles away when the survey is being done.


gl.

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Old 30-10-2012, 15:29   #5
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Re: Found a boat. What's the next step?

Before I flew out there I would ask the broker to go to the boat and call you. Have a list of questions prepared to ask him. My guess is he'll have to be more honest standing on the boat... and not prepared to evade you either. Ask questions like: "How would you rate the conditon of the exterior gel coat from 1 to 10? 1 being chipped, very sun faded and pourous looking, 10 being shiny and looks like new." etc etc.
What you offer depends on the popularity of the boat design, condition etc. But generally I would starrt about 40% below asking.
There are a lot of boats in misrepresented condition out there.
Long distance: keep in mind the cost of moving it and the trouble factor.
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Old 30-10-2012, 15:49   #6
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Re: Found a boat. What's the next step?

You might want to review Marine Survey 101 for some tips on what to look for yourself before spending money on a surveyor
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Old 30-10-2012, 15:52   #7
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Re: Found a boat. What's the next step?

Have a party to celebrate the draining of your bank account???
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Old 30-10-2012, 15:53   #8
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Re: Found a boat. What's the next step?

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
You might want to review Marine Survey 101 for some tips on what to look for yourself before spending money on a surveyor
Yea, what he said.
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Old 30-10-2012, 16:20   #9
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Re: Found a boat. What's the next step?

Prior to buying my boat I found a local surveyor and paid him to visit the boat -- not for a survey but to give me an idea if there was anything drastically different from the online description. I asked for and received your basic 1/2 hour look-see. In 2008, this cost me $75.
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Old 30-10-2012, 17:32   #10
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Re: Found a boat. What's the next step?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssanzone View Post
you can also check to see if other CF members are in close proximity of the boat and are willing to give it a once over and take pictures etc. that should adjust your level of confidence that she is the right boat for you and worth traveling to inspect more closely.
I have done this for others before.

I limit my comments to major issues and whether I think the boat is worth flying over and negotiating for.
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Old 30-10-2012, 17:47   #11
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Re: Found a Boat. What's the Next Step?

What I'd want to learn from the broker during an initial conversation:
1. How serious is the seller about selling the boat?
2. How long has the boat been on the market?
3. Have there been previous offers on the boat?
4. Has there been a recent survey on the boat?
5. How does the boat currently show?
6. How many owners has the boat had?
7. How actively has the boat been sailed in the past year?

If everything checks out after those seven questions, I'd asked to be emailed/faxed additional information, such as an equipment list, copies of surveys if available, et cetera. At that point, you'll be much better able to tell whether it's wise to invest in a trip to visit the sail.
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Old 30-10-2012, 18:05   #12
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Re: Found a Boat. What's the Next Step?

Unfortunately, it is not always good to rely on the broker's comments, perspective or comments. His job is to sell the boat by getting "people in the door" and that can often result in not necessarily providing objective information.

Buying a boat by remote control is a crap shoot regardless of how much you try to investigate and no boat is that unique that you can't find similar boats in any area.

There are far more boats for sale than there are buyers. Why risk getting involved in a potentially bad deal when there must be equally acceptable boats nearby over which you can better judge the purchase?
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Old 30-10-2012, 18:09   #13
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Re: Found a Boat. What's the Next Step?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stepbnd View Post
After years of saving and searching I've finally found a boat online that I'm very interested in and I'm not sure how to proceed. Do I just call up the listing broker? Also, I'm about 1000 miles away from where the boat is located so I'd like to know everything I can about this boat before I spend the money on travel. Do I need to find a broker in the area that the boat is located to work through, to represent me, or will that hurt the sale price?

I also would like any advice you have about what percentage of the asking price is a reasonable starting point.

Would love to hear from those of you that have been through a long distance boat buying process before.

The listing broker may not have an exclusive agreement. In fact, he may not have any agreement at all, and is listing the boat "on spec". You might try contacting the owner directly, and ask him if he wants to negotiate directly, and if not then to direct you to his listing agent.

I bought a boat this way once. On the day I arrived in town (which I was going to do anyway, since I was purchasing this boat as a liveaboard), I visited the boat. Here was my full process:

1) Contacted a local broker to locate a good deal for me. At the time, I had no knowledge of what I was looking for, except that I wanted a good liveaboard at cheap price
2) Having nothing to lose, and not being obligated to sell any particular boat, my broker found a couple of good options in the area.
3) I started negotiating very low - probably 25 or 30% below ask
4) I hired a surveyor and a boat haul on the boat of my choice (a 34' Hunter, about 15 or 20 years old)
5) The boatyard very courteously assumed that I would want to replace the zinc's while the boat was hauled, and billed me appropriately for that repair to someone else's boat.
6) I arrived for final inspection, found the boat to be far superior to the expected condition, and completed the sale.

Keep in mind that I purchased a $15,000 boat - not a $150,000 boat.
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