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Old 03-01-2006, 19:19   #1
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purchasing a boat

When is the best time of year to buy a sailboat?
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Old 03-01-2006, 19:36   #2
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Best time to buy

I only know what I've noticed watching the ads, and my experience is mostly limited to the Great Lakes area - but I'd say sellers seem most desperate at the end of the season and the end of winter, when they are faced with the prospect of another season's storage for a boat they don't want any more.

Of course, I last bought in mid-season ...

Rob
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Old 03-01-2006, 19:38   #3
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The best time to buy a boat is any time you find the boat that is right for you. That's tough enough. It is easier to do full survey in warmer weather, but a reasonable seller would escrow funds or add language to the P&S to allow you to satisfy issues a surveyor could not resolve initially. Price may be lower in fall when owner is looking at storage fees and the like, but the real cost remains the same and bargains can be found any time since they have more to do with the seller's circumstances than the season.

Larry
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Old 03-01-2006, 19:51   #4
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I like looking at boats in the winter/off season, when there's lots of rain. It makes it clear if the boats are dry or not, and if the ports or chainplates are leaking.

To the group: is there any truth to the idea that a long, dry summer may throw off a moisture meter reading on cored decks or hulls? I doubt that a lot of rain will suddenly make a cored deck seem bad, but it seems possible that a rotted deck may dry out in the summer and give a false positive.

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Old 03-01-2006, 22:15   #5
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Timing

When you have the money and the urge. I just bought a boat about two weeks ago.
Michael
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Old 04-01-2006, 09:18   #6
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Mike,

Congratulations, What did you end up buying?

Jeff
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Old 04-01-2006, 09:29   #7
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Jiim H - Surveyors tell me that moisture in decks is slow to build and slow to decrease, so it seems unlikely that several hot weeks would change things enough so that a meter would not at least show the comparative moisture levels in a deck. Sounding would determine if there was rot. I do agree that rainy days are a great time to inspect for leaks, but not necessarily to perform the survey.

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Old 04-01-2006, 12:55   #8
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I'd also add that if you try and "buy a boat" in say Sept, planning to catch people who are facing winter storage, the process of finding the right one and closing will take you 'till spring anyway.

It's far more important to find the right fit and then work on getting a good deal on that model. Time of year is much less important than doing lots and lots of homework.

BTW: Agree about seeing boats in the rain. Great to get an idea of just how wet the master berth will get on your first week's trip.
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Old 04-01-2006, 14:05   #9
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I agree with an addition

I completely agree with Mr Sullivan, but be ready as soemtimes the right boat pops up and demands immediate attention. It could be the one.

Our last boat was just one of the those. We were looking for a bay boat and walked into Tidewater Brokers just as the owner walked into and had a rush sale. His new boat was delvered 3 months early adn all of a sudden he owned 2. We went and looked at it and it was perfect. His new one was right next to it. We made the offer and bought after the surveys and such.

At the time we were seeing crappy boats go for all the money of a premium boat in a matter of hours.

Just know what you want and be ready!
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Old 04-01-2006, 17:44   #10
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There are general rules of thumb that says northern boats are cheapest at the end of the summer sailing season, a time when owners are looking at a winter of storage fees and no useage, or that southern boats are cheapest just before hurricane season. For the most part these rules of thumb generally apply more as a valid negotiating tool than as a rigid reality. For example in the case of my current boat, she had been out of commission in Maine for over a year when I bought her. I began negotiating on her in May but was only able to come to terms on her in late August.

As others said, the reality of any boat deal all depends on the specifics of the boat and owner in question. The key is to develop a list of models that appeal to you and start tracking specific examples of those models. When I am looking for a new boat I typically narrow down the boats that might appeal to me and begin by printing out listings as they come on the market and record the date that they hit the market. I keep a file or notebook so that I can track specific listings over time to get a sense of how long they are on the market, and also tracking changes in the listing especially when the price changes. I try to see as many of these boats as I can so that I can get a sense of their relative condition. Over time I develop a sense of the relative value of individual examples of these boats and whether any particular boat appears to be a good deal. This allows me to act quickly, or to sit pat or determine precisely the moment to start negotiating.

If the boat is a mass produced boat, you need to be able to enter a negotiation with the attitude that if this is negotiation does not go the way you want, walk away. Another sistership will come along tomorrow. You were looking for a boat when you entered the negotiation and you still are.

On the other hand, if you have set your sights on a comparatively rare model then you really need to do your homework and be able to strike quickly and perhaps except a deal that is less than ideal.

Your best shot at a great deal occurs when you know what models you want, have your finances in place, and understand that model in terms of availability, typical equipage, endemic problem areas, and average prices.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 04-01-2006, 17:58   #11
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I would like to add one thing here. This tool is VERY important. Remember..... HE WHO CARERS LEAST WINS. If you don't care if you buy you won't pay to much, If you don't care if you sell you won't take to little. This applies to most any deal.
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Old 04-01-2006, 18:08   #12
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New boat, Jeff

This one is smaller for the Wednesday night races. It is a Tanzer 22. It will allow me to load more cruising junk on the bigger boat and head to the coast. From there I will consider if I need something like the Cal 36, that will stay at the coast.
Michael
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Old 04-01-2006, 18:30   #13
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kicking a lot of tires

I'm 3 years away from buying. I'd like to start poking around a lot of boats now to get a feel of what's what. How do you handle the broker? I don't want to push my luck with them in getting time to crawl over a boat that I have no real intention of buying.
Do you tell them you just want to poke around and aren't serious?
On the one hand it's in their best interest to maintain a relationship with you even if it takes 3 years but any person will have their limits on how far they will go. I figure I'd be up front with them but I'm concerned they won't give me any time if they know I'm not a hot prospect.
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Old 04-01-2006, 19:09   #14
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Xort, what about going to some boat shows?
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Old 04-01-2006, 20:16   #15
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Re: kicking a lot of tires

Quote:
xort once whispered in the wind:
I'm 3 years away from buying. I'd like to start poking around a lot of boats now to get a feel of what's what. How do you handle the broker? I don't want to push my luck with them in getting time to crawl over a boat that I have no real intention of buying.
Do you tell them you just want to poke around and aren't serious?
On the one hand it's in their best interest to maintain a relationship with you even if it takes 3 years but any person will have their limits on how far they will go. I figure I'd be up front with them but I'm concerned they won't give me any time if they know I'm not a hot prospect.
This is definitely the best approach. Just be careful to deal only through them once they help you decide on the right boat. Once, when I was younger and didn't understand how brokers operate, I made a mistake and upset one. I thought he worked regionally, and found a boat outside of his region. I bought it direct without trying to work him into the deal after he helped me decide on the model. He showed me several bad deals, and I found a good one on my own. I had thought he was restricted to a territory, and didn't realize he could work anywhere in the USA. So... I made the direct purchase, and upset a guy who was one of the best brokers out there for a buyer. Live and learn. Complete misunderstanding/mistake. I still feel like a jerk, and I was one.

Just be upfront and buy your boat through the guy.
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