Balsa schmalsa, so what? Foam rots too. If you have water
incursion in your core
, it's not a good thing no matter what the core is made of. Even solid fibreglass has voids which wick moisture, causing delamination
Go here, this is helpful. This fella covers a lot of what you need to look for initially.
How To Do your Own Marine Survey by a Marine Surveyor
It's not a terribly bad thing that the boat's been on the hard
, unless it was stored badly, so look at the supported areas - if they're not at bulkheads, you might see indentations from the weight pressure. Look for big stress cracks at beams etc and know the difference between a serious stress crack and cosmetic fractures.
Bring binocs and look at the rigging
aloft as best you can. I've seen where the rigging
looked good at deck
level and had broken strands at the mast
Stick your head
in every little cranny, and don't be afraid to poke and prod at things. Pull dipsticks and look at engine
fluids. Pull up the floorboards and look in the bilges. Look at the electrical
systems. Look for rusty weeping at bolts, backing plates
, swages, chainplates. Ask to have things turned on that should be able to turn on, given the boat is on the hard obviously you can't crank the engines. Look at the tankage. Look at through-hulls and fittings.
Best advice I can give: even if you have to fly him in, get the best possible surveyor
you can. A few hundred or even a grand or so extra in travel costs could save you much more in trouble and cost