Search. Go to boat shows. Beg rides. Do not tour until you have found a broker you can work with, or there will be a lot of wrangling over the commission. If the boat is not listed with a broker, you may still use a buyer's representative. for his commission he will arrange the paperwork (pita) and most of the wrangling without egos getting bruised. He may also help with finding financing
, but he may be getting a kickback there. You can do all that by your self, but it can be a nightmare for the uninitiated. Ater you have selected a boat make an offer with a deposit check of something like $2000 or $2500. It is returnable if the deal doesn't go thru. Use a standard form contract
for this, to cover the legalities and clarify your offer. It is common to make the contract
contingent on a satisfactory survey and seatrial. You won't normally have an oportunity to sail on the boat before this stage, but you should always ask. Arrange for a surveyor and haulout, at your cost. Do not skip this step. Negotiate with the surveyor to include going up the mast
and surveying the engines and electronics
. Most surveyors will operate and evaluate all the other systems on board. With the completed survey in hand, decide whether you want the boat and how many discrepancies you want the seller to fix. You will have seatrialed the boat before or after the survey haulout, so you will know if it meets your performance requirements. If you walk away from the deal now, you will have paid for the surveyor, the haulout, and some incidentals from the seatrial, but if its not the boat you want, it will be a bargain. If it doesn't meet your expectations, make a counter offer, based on the survey. Don't expect the seller to jump at the chance to spend money for your benefit. And don't make an insulting offer. It is either the boat you want, or it isn't. If getting it cheaper makes it more appealing, you haven't been shopping
for just a boat, you have been looking for some competitive thrills too.
Don't blow your purse on the purchase price
. The Government
will want a piece of the action too. Know ahead of time what thats going to cost. Arrange for slip fees
for the time it will take you to get the boat underway. Sometimes the survey will find things that can only be fixed while the boat is out of the water. Unless you can complete the deal while its hanging under the travel lift
, you will have to haul it again! If you think you're close to closing the deal, you may be able to fix the seller's boat for him on the first haul, but he owes you nothing for the gesture! Its a calculated risk, and a sure sign you really want the boat, reducing your strength in negotiation.
Know what it will cost to insure the boat. Have a place to keep it arranged as well as possible. Estimate what you will have to spend to make the boat ready to go, and double it. Estimate the time it will take to get everything done, and triple it. Always buy open end return tickets. Enjoy; you now have another dependant!