We bought our second boat oversees in Thailand
from a British owner through a local (foreign-owned) yacht brokerage there. What I learned from this would probably apply anywhere.
First, the boat must have clear title. Ours had Admiralty papers attesting to that and a US documented vessel has the same (US documentation
+ title). Title is often confused with Bill of Sale
. <Also, any lawyers out there correct me if I muddle this up>.
Essentially, you need to hand over money
to get that clear title which will be represented in a new bill of sale. The broker has to be reputable as in many places he also acts as the escrow, ie, he holds all the money
until the deal is completed.
We had a Thai lawyer officiate it to make everything legal
under Thai law (and the Thai lawyer was provided by the broker - again, must needs be a reputable broker). Post purchase
with new Bill of Sale in hand we de-listed the boat from the Admiralty register and applied for and received US documentation
We then sailed her for three years going through many countries until winding up in Spain
where I sold her. Paperwork and ownership
was never a problem.
Yes, there are some great deals to be had overseas particularly in "cruising cul-de-sacs" where cruisers wind
up after a long voyage and have an even longer one ahead of them. Many just run out of time or steam and are keen to sell.