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Old 29-01-2015, 06:53   #1
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Purchasing a Documented Boat?

I may be purchasing a documented boat. It is not my first boat nor my first boat purchase. But it is my first documented boat purchase. I am trying to understand how that process works. The seller has indicated to me he wishes to use a broker and his wife for the transaction. Evidently seller will pay the broker some sort of fee but the wife also gets paid about $500 dollars for handling all the paperwork. According to the seller the paperwork fee will be my responsibility. It is my understanding that this paper work is required and provides at least one benefit in that it is similar to a title search that guarantees there are no liens against the boat.

How does this sound to those here who have experience buying and selling documented boats. Is there that much advantage to a documented boat which will likely never leave US waters? Also is the paperwork so complicated that I cannot do it myself rather than have to pay to havew this done?

Thanks all...
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Old 29-01-2015, 07:22   #2
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re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

This isn't about the boat being documented -- it's about the arrangement the seller has with the broker. Think of it as the actual price is $500 more than you thought. If that's OK, then it's probably fine.

The paperwork for transfer of a documented boat isn't that complicated. It will take about 10 minutes to fill out, and the amount of time it will take you to get the bill of sale notarized. The fees are $85 plus $8 per page of bill of sale. There is currently about a three month backlog for documented boats. You'll still need to register it in your state, but you likely won't be able to do that until you get the documentation back from the Coast Guard.

So if I'm understanding it correctly, you're paying $500 for about $100 of documentation paperwork fees, to get someone to notarize the bill of sale, and to complete a title search. Shouldn't the title search be part of the broker fees?

This seems like a negotiable item to me, and I wouldn't be afraid of doing the documentation myself, after the sale. For me, it sort of depends on how large a transaction this is to begin with. If it's a $60K boat that you're getting an OK deal on, it's not worth a debate. If it's a $2K boat, it's a negotiable item.
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Old 29-01-2015, 07:39   #3
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re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

Purchasing a documented boat can be as easy or complicated as you guys wish to make it.

If you are paying cash then it should be a simple notarized bill of sale using Form CG-1340.

I was able to register our boat in Florida using a copy of CG-1340..
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Old 29-01-2015, 07:54   #4
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re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

Letsget I do think you understand perfectly. Thanks. Offline I am wishing to transfer the documentation to me as next owner. I also live in SC so would not need to register with the state.

NVDC does not take calls on Thursday go figure. Government sheesh! Anyway letsget what does a 3 month backlog mean in terms of my ownership and beginning work on the boat? Does it mean I am waiting 3 months before formal ownership gets transferred in which case I am in to hot season in SC before I can begin refit in which case work goes slow??? :-)
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Old 29-01-2015, 08:26   #5
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re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

If you are never taking out of the state then I would register it with the state. Less hassle and less time involved.
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Old 29-01-2015, 08:47   #6
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re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

A couple of points. It sounds like his wife is a documentation agent. That fee is always paid by the new owner. It has nothing to do with "adding it to the selling price". Use a different doc agent if you want but most people do use a doc agent for convenience and pay accordingly.

That said, it has become a lot easier to do it yourself using the appropriate USCG web site. For example an abstract of title which shows the lien history is available for a $25 fee.

It certainly is possible to do it yourself particularly if the boat has been previously documented.

Now if you are financing through a marine lender they will often require that you use a doc agent who will also provide them a first preferred ships mortgage to secure the lien.
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Old 29-01-2015, 08:52   #7
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re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbyham View Post
Letsget I do think you understand perfectly. Thanks. Offline I am wishing to transfer the documentation to me as next owner. I also live in SC so would not need to register with the state.

NVDC does not take calls on Thursday go figure. Government sheesh! Anyway letsget what does a 3 month backlog mean in terms of my ownership and beginning work on the boat? Does it mean I am waiting 3 months before formal ownership gets transferred in which case I am in to hot season in SC before I can begin refit in which case work goes slow??? :-)
No, you own the boat at settlement. If it is on the hard being refit then no worries. If you want to use it on the water before the document arrives then a doc agent can issue a "running letter" which explains that USCG documentation has been applied for. Not sure what a DIY'r does?
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Old 29-01-2015, 08:55   #8
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re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

Here is the web site that you want if you do it yourself.

USCG National Vessel Documentation Center, Home Page
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Old 29-01-2015, 08:55   #9
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re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

Firstly, the fee is too high. I paid $300 to a professional marine titling service, which included de-documenting the boat and transferring to the CA DMV, a more complicated process.

Secondly, and more importantly, the titling service should be selected and employed by you, as they will be doing a title lien search where it is important that they are acting in your interest. Just like a surveyor.
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Old 29-01-2015, 09:11   #10
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re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

Second that, never use the sellers agent or anyone connected with the sale for any search for a boat (or house) - Would you get the seller to do the survey for you? I would find it suspicious that they are even asking for this.
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Old 29-01-2015, 09:52   #11
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re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

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Second that, never use the sellers agent or anyone connected with the sale for any search for a boat (or house) - Would you get the seller to do the survey for you? I would find it suspicious that they are even asking for this.
Seriously?

Whoever is used or if it is DIY, the USCG will be providing the abstract of title. It is the abstract which will have the lien info not any agent of the seller or buyer. Unless you think that the USCG selectively edits their information depending on who requests it? You don't right? Maybe you've never seen an abstract report?

As for $500? sure it might be too high. Shop around if you want to use a doc agent.
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Old 29-01-2015, 10:12   #12
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Re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

Use a document specialist. Not the sellers wife. They are cheap and they deal with all the faffing about. Make sure they work for you and not the seller.

When we bought our boat the document specialist found a bank lien. Because she found this before change of ownership we were able to withhold payment until the previous owner resolved the issue with the bank.

Current bank bought old bank which lent money to previous owner. There was no actual lien just sloppy paperwork cleanup from the old bank. New bank didn't know about the expired lien until they actually retrieved the documentation.

Our document specialist sorted all this out. It took 2 months to resolve. We took ownership but didn't finalise payment until the resolution. Funds were kept in our brokers escrow.

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Old 29-01-2015, 10:17   #13
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Re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

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Originally Posted by MarkSF View Post
...the titling service should be selected and employed by you...
This.

I would not even consider allowing the seller's wife to be involved.
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Old 29-01-2015, 10:51   #14
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Re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

First of all, I'd assume that your P&S agreement certifies the boat to be lien free and definitely should have the language that this particular paragraph shall survive the closing and passing of papers, etc. If the sellers can't sign such a statement I'd worry. 2nd, as was pointed out earlier, the documentation process is much easier than it sounds, assuming of course the sellers are not hiding something. The abstract of title will show all enforceable liens against the boat and if a lien is not there it is not enforceable against that boat but only against PO personally. Customer service at Vessel Doc Center is spotty. I have had good one and not so good one but eventually all was worked out without any doc. agents, etc. I did make one small typo on the application due to misreading their very small print and this delayed the process somewhat. But other than that I think it is a straight forward process when transfering title from a currently documented boat.

Congrats on your purchase!
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Old 29-01-2015, 10:55   #15
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Re: Purchasing a Documented Boat?

"I would not even consider allowing the seller's wife to be involved"
me too!!!!
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