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Old 05-04-2011, 11:28   #1
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Mexico: Worth it when Purchasing a Boat ?

I would like to hear from people with personal experience in regards to the following questions. I have had several people, brokers ask me if I would consider buying in Mexico or Latin America.

Those of you with no first hand experience, but feel compelled to share what your opinion is. Tell us what your opinion is based on. If it is not completly obvious from your answer. ie: My mother's second cousin once said to her step sister................

Questions

1. How much less do you feel you paid by going to Mexico? 10% 20%?

2. How did you get the boat to where you needed it? Sail it, Hire a crew, Ferry it, Truck it?

3. Did the purchase price offset the cost to ship?

4. Were you able to find a competent surveyor locally, or take one with?

5. Any governmental hassle getting the boat out of Mexico?

6. Buying a foreign owned boat (non USA) present any obstacles?

7. Anything I was too stupid to think of that any idiot should have thought of to ask?

Thanks in advance.

DW
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Old 19-07-2011, 15:06   #2
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Re: Mexico: Worth it when Purchasing a Boat?

We just bought our Nor'West 33 in San Carlos, Mexico, so I can give you my limited first-hand opinion on the matter!

1 - How much less?

I would not say that we got the boat for less -- there are other Nor'West 33s for sale for a similar price in San Francisco, East Coast USA, etc... *however*, our boat came with a bunch of offshore equipment (windvane, liferaft, dinghy, 15hp outboard, watermaker, etc) that we wanted, and would have purchased anyways, that these other boats did not have -- so I would say in total we saved about $10k. To back up this figure, the PO told us that he was considering shipping the boat to Seattle to try to sell it, but would have upped the price by $10,000 if he did that. Whether he would have got that price or not is up for debate, mind you!

2 - How did you get the boat to where you wanted it?

Ideally for us, we were exceptionally flexible on where we started our cruising. Coming from Northern climates (Vancouver, Canada & Maine, USA) we were both fairly eager to be in a warmr area, so we will not ship/truck/etc the boat "home". Additionally, Mexico has some affordable storage options for hurricane season (currently paying $130/month for dry storage).

3 - Purchase price vs cost to ship

Cost to truck the boat to Vancouver would have been $6k-$10k. So maybe?

4 - Surveyor

Absolutely -- I posted on CF to find a recommended surveyor, and we had the survey done for $350. Surveyor was an ex-pat living full-time in Mexico, so no language issues, etc.

5 & 6 - Documentation / Government

We bought the boat through a yachtworld broker, and part of their deal is that you have to do the documentation through a US company. As the boat was US registered and needed to be transferred to a Canadian registration, it cost us $1000 total to do the paperwork. This might seem like a lot, but $750 of that goes straight to Transport Canada, so I actually thought it was reasonable overall. This documentation company also handled the Bill of Sale, escrow account (to hold funds while we had the survey & sea trial completed etc) and answered all my hundreds of questions throughout the process!

7 - Other?

Final thought is that in hindsight we probably got fairly lucky... flying down to see an unknown boat was a fairly big investment with no guaranteed return. That said, we knew the boat had been used recently (I would not want to buy one of those boats that has been un-loved on the hard for 4 years... and trust me, there are lots of those!!!), we liked the seller (whom we spoke with several times prior to flying down), and we were willing to keep the boat in Mexico. We also took the approach that 'worst case' we got a week's holiday in Mexico, and came home with no boat.

Bottom line, I think that if you're looking for a boat with 'offshore' equipment there are deals to be found by buying internationally... but there's definitely a little more luck/risk involved!!

Not sure how helpful all of that is, but hopefully I've given a teeny bit of insight for you! I've written a bit more about our boat-buying experience on our website... www.withbrio.com
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Old 19-07-2011, 16:01   #3
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Re: Mexico: Worth it when Purchasing a Boat ?

I bought in Guaymas about 20 months ago. Synchronicity's experience is siminar to mine.

1. 20-25%, but boats have gotten cheaper in the states since then so ... The market is short of buyers so a "deal" can be had from folks who just want out.

2. The boat is where I want it for now.

3. Would not ship personally, I'd sail it north if I go there. Anything more than 35' would get expensive I should think and would have a higher chance of damage on a truck.

4. Yes, but there can be local feud issues in the small expat community I found, between broker and potential surveyor.

5. No issues leaving, just check out with port captain from Mexico and in la paz, the health dept. and go.

6. All documentation is done through a US based escrow company, who for me handled the purchase deposit, paperwork, and re-registration of the boat from Canadian to USCG for me, all for $350 or so. Boat broker will walk you through all that.

7. Same as above. Just be sure to budget another $xxxx to get a neglected boat back in service. Just cleaning up and servicing and repairing systems, plumbing, painting, rigging, etc. etc. Good luck.
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Old 19-07-2011, 16:42   #4
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Re: Mexico: Worth it when Purchasing a Boat ?

Speakeasy brings up a great point that I forgot -- brokers are brokers are brokers are brokers... no different in Mexico, always in it to make a sale and never happy to hear about negative survey results (especially when they're embroiled in small-town drama)

Speakeasy -- how did you go about getting your TIP? I'm a little leary of showing up at Customs with my Bill of Sale & new Registration (all with the new name, etc) without any kind of "Checking out" paperwork from Canada / anywhere... did you just take the old TIP in? Or just go in as if you came by water?? We're currently in some sort of customs gray zone that I'd like to get out of quickly!

Thanks!
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Old 19-07-2011, 17:15   #5
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Re: Mexico: Worth it when Purchasing a Boat ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by synchronicity98 View Post
Speakeasy brings up a great point that I forgot -- brokers are brokers are brokers are brokers... no different in Mexico, always in it to make a sale and never happy to hear about negative survey results (especially when they're embroiled in small-town drama)

Speakeasy -- how did you go about getting your TIP? I'm a little leary of showing up at Customs with my Bill of Sale & new Registration (all with the new name, etc) without any kind of "Checking out" paperwork from Canada / anywhere... did you just take the old TIP in? Or just go in as if you came by water?? We're currently in some sort of customs gray zone that I'd like to get out of quickly!

Thanks!
I got a new TIP online, using the old paperwork. I did it from LA after buying but before going down to pick up the boat 4 months later. It costs about $65 and was mailed to my home address in LA within a few weeks. I don't have the url but it is probably an easy search. The gov't there seems to cough, ahem, and turn a blind eye to the local sale and transfer. A good policy.
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Old 06-11-2011, 16:21   #6
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Re: Mexico: Worth it when Purchasing a Boat ?

I am also looking at buying a boat in Mexico, only this is not through a broker, it's with the owner directly. It's registered in the U.S. And I plan on keeping it where it is for a year or two, and will probably not bring it to the States. I know nothing about buying and keeping a boat outside the U.S. Any advice would be great. Thanks; Sam
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Old 06-11-2011, 16:47   #7
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Re: Mexico: Worth it when Purchasing a Boat ?

Hi Sam,

Where is the boat at in Mexico?
If not buying through a broker, use an escrow company to ensure paperwork can be transferred cleanly. Getting a new importation permit in your name will be the only thing that Mexico requires. This cannot be done until the boat documentation in the US is in your name. To operate the boat before the US documentation is in your name, you will need to get the previous owner to sign you a "Captains Letter".

Be careful about where you home port the boat if you do not intend to take it back to the US. California bills sales tax to all newly documented boats with home ports in California, even if you do not reside there, and the boat never goes there.

If you have any specific questions let me know
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Old 06-11-2011, 20:54   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiburon
Hi Sam,

Where is the boat at in Mexico?
If not buying through a broker, use an escrow company to ensure paperwork can be transferred cleanly. Getting a new importation permit in your name will be the only thing that Mexico requires. This cannot be done until the boat documentation in the US is in your name. To operate the boat before the US documentation is in your name, you will need to get the previous owner to sign you a "Captains Letter".

Be careful about where you home port the boat if you do not intend to take it back to the US. California bills sales tax to all newly documented boats with home ports in California, even if you do not reside there, and the boat never goes there.

If you have any specific questions let me know
California bills sales tax but you can send in proof of being out of the state for 6 months. We kept marina bills, food, fuel etc to prove we were living there. They checked our form and ok'd us not paying- and we bought our boat in CA.
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Old 06-11-2011, 21:31   #9
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Re: Mexico: Worth it when Purchasing a Boat ?

Sailor G,

I was just making a suggestion to the OP that it was better to avoid a potential problem with the "Home Port" ......

The California tax law reads that the boat is exempt from sales tax if you can prove it is not in California waters for 90 days from date of sale. Now what the state wants to accept as proof is up to them. I sent marina bills, a notarized letter from the port captain, yard bills, etc. They did not accept any of this and threatened to put a lien on the boat with the coast guard, seize any assets I had in California, and more. It went on for almost 3 years before it was settled.

Get a lawyer you might say, I checked into that first thing.
Tax bill was around $5,000, Lawyers told me it would be cheaper to pay the tax bill.

I guess I should note that to this day the boat has never been to California, I have never been a resident of California, and it was just because the boat had a "Home Port" in California that I was sent the tax bill.

Just saying ......
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Old 06-11-2011, 21:51   #10
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Originally Posted by tiburon
Sailor G,

I was just making a suggestion to the OP that it was better to avoid a potential problem with the "Home Port" ......

The California tax law reads that the boat is exempt from sales tax if you can prove it is not in California waters for 90 days from date of sale. Now what the state wants to accept as proof is up to them. I sent marina bills, a notarized letter from the port captain, yard bills, etc. They did not accept any of this and threatened to put a lien on the boat with the coast guard, seize any assets I had in California, and more. It went on for almost 3 years before it was settled.

Get a lawyer you might say, I checked into that first thing.
Tax bill was around $5,000, Lawyers told me it would be cheaper to pay the tax bill.

I guess I should note that to this day the boat has never been to California, I have never been a resident of California, and it was just because the boat had a "Home Port" in California that I was sent the tax bill.

Just saying ......
That's too bad. You should have been an easy pass-never being jn the state We had no issues and those that were in Ensenada with us had no problems (although one had to send in receipts). Part of the problem is that they base it on your Intention-if you were just trying to get out of paying or were you really planning on cruising or living outside CA. We were planning on cruising, had photos of off shore delivery and receipts. I do believe they will try to get $$ from wherever they can-especially now that they are in the hole. And the 90 day yacht club is now 6 months. 3 months in Ensenada was easy for some -6 months is more of a problem.
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Old 06-11-2011, 22:03   #11
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Re: Mexico: Worth it when Purchasing a Boat ?

califorornication changed the 90 day law to 12 month law. was last year. have they changed it back???
be careful in buying some boats as i know personally of one rafiki 34 with 10,000 dollars of overdue rent owed, here in marina mazatlan. friend was trying to buy direct from owner who inflated price to 70k and broker lists it for 59ishK--the accessories re broken and boat is neglected for many years.
doesnt hurt to call marina wherein boat is stored to find out any necessary info. the broker was honest enough to let me know there was a problem with boat so i passed it on to potential owner.
there are enough good boats out here in mexico that do not have bad attachments and do work well and are not misrepresented, so -- go for it-- but do ask questions as far as who is paying rent on boat and what is lien status on it. would be a major deal breaker to find there is a lien is for 10k when not expecting that news.
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Old 06-11-2011, 23:01   #12
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Re: Mexico: Worth it when Purchasing a Boat ?

Correction: At the time I purchased the rule was 90 days.
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Old 06-11-2011, 23:21   #13
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Re: Mexico: Worth it when Purchasing a Boat ?

tiburon--you were fortunate to have bought then--- the governator changed it back to a year--now the offshore yacht club in baja naval is empty-- when i was there in april-may, there were 6 total boats in the marina.
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Old 07-11-2011, 07:59   #14
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CA should never have charged Tiburon for the taxes. We were lucky we were in the 90 days. It still is 6 months. The state is trying to get taxes but it has really dried up new boat sales so friends who are in the business are not earning $ and the marinas in CA have empty spaces-so the state is not earning the tax money anyway and the money that would have been spent by new boaters isn't getting spent on sales,marinas, workers, and boat supplies. So did CA really win by getting the sales tax from those few who can afford new boats and the sales tax now (or have lawyers to find loopholes) or those like Tiburon who had to pay unreasonably ?
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Old 07-11-2011, 08:23   #15
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Re: Mexico: Worth it when Purchasing a Boat ?

There is a price point for different people as to whether it is worth paying the tax or not. Just for ease of numbers assume the tax was 10% and the boat cost $40k. $4k in taxes. It would be easier to just pay the tax. Now assume the boat was $400k and the tax was $40k. For most folks that would be worth hiring a service to make sure that the paperwork was done correctly. In between there is quite a range. Intent is very important b/c California can easily get you with that clause. OTOH when you know about it you can add the correct language to your blog or website that you have no intention of brining it back to California.
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