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Old 19-11-2014, 15:03   #1
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Etiquette - Negotiations on Vessel Abroad

Hello all,

I'm broaching the concept of getting a vessel abroad right now and wondering what the order of operations typically is on a vessel in a far away land.

Of particular concern, the cost of going and viewing vessels in French Polynesia/Caribbean etc is pretty high which doesn't bother me.....but it seems to me that the buyer would lose leverage during the negotiation phase if a significant investment has already been made.

Is the right process to negotiate a price prior to viewing the vessel and attempting to make adjustments after viewing the vessel? Or does are negotiations only done after the vessel has been viewed.

Thanks for the help, hoping to secure myself an very nice cat pretty soon.
Eric
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Old 19-11-2014, 15:13   #2
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Re: Etiquette - Negotiations on Vessel Abroad

I'm about to begin the same process. My approach is to first make sure there are a number of boats in a general area that I would be comfortable buying. Once that is covered, I plan to be very upfront with each owner and say that I'm looking at a number of boats, and that the price that I'd be interested in their boat is $X pending survey, evaluation, etc. but that that is merely an expression of interest not an offer to purchase, and that the final purchase decision will be made once I visit each boat in person.


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Old 19-11-2014, 15:33   #3
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Re: Etiquette - Negotiations on Vessel Abroad

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Eric.
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Old 19-11-2014, 16:02   #4
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Re: Etiquette - Negotiations on Vessel Abroad

That's a tough situation. I would first get as much info as possible before going. I would ask the seller to go to the boat and phone you when he's there. Then I would ask specific questions like:
*"As you walk around the deck, is the gel coat pitted? does it look pourous? Are there a lot of chips from dropped hardware, spinnaker poles etc? "
* "On a scale of 1-10, when you observe the deck, how would you rate it compared with a shiney new boat's deck?"
* Etc, etc, etc.
THEN, I would ask how firm they are on the price. I would use things like "there is an identical boat in North Carolina at $XXX" in that discussion.
I would also firm up that you can run the motor... and preferably out on the water while there. This is not the usual way it's done, but you are spending money to go see it....
* If I went to see the boat after all the above, I would never close a deal while there. return home.. give it a few days and if you REALLY want the boat start making offers.
My experience of boats for sale in isolated far away places is they are mostly nearly used up....
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Old 19-11-2014, 16:26   #5
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Re: Etiquette - Negotiations on Vessel Abroad

You need to do like what an actor does. Research, rehearse and rehearse again before the actual performance. By research I mean find out everything about the model boat you want to buy - what are the common issues, what are things to look for what etc. By rehearse I mean go look at - as in tyre kick - a few local boats first. They don't even have to be the same model of boat you are buying. The reason is that you will sharpen up your skills in interpreting the condition and fit-out of a vessel from it's description and pictures in sales advertisements on the Internet. You'll soon see your cognition of the actual condition of the vessel improves remarkably when viewing the for sale description and photos of a vessel.

The above will help you filter out the wheat from the chaff. As for the expense of travelling to view a prospective boat, I think the best approach is to simply attribute the journey's time and cost to something else, like a mini holiday for example. Feeling compelled to buy a boat that's not "ringing your bell" just because you spent x amount of dollars going to see it is just silly otherwise.
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Old 19-11-2014, 16:36   #6
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Re: Etiquette - Negotiations on Vessel Abroad

There are a lot of boats for sale in remote locations. You may feel at a disadvantage because of the money you have spent to get to the boat, but there is a very real flip side to this. Ask yourself how many others are willing to spend money to travel to see this boat. The buyer may be thrilled to actually have a prospective buyer, and this will be to your advantage.

We found, and bought, our boat in La Paz. The trip there was booked as a vacation with a secondary purpose of looking at boats. And yes, we had a specific one in mind that we had found on the Internet.
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Old 19-11-2014, 16:41   #7
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Re: Etiquette - Negotiations on Vessel Abroad

Etiquette Schmediquette !

As in buying anything-I divorce myself from"falling in love"
Coldly,one must recognize the day comes for resale,insuring,refitting-in reverse order.
Of course the relevent research must be done but beyond this-one must find a boats "true" value,I.E., how much I'll pay for anything!
Regardless-at most%50 of asking price!
Often I won't give an offer to not insult seller but I will not be caught up in seller/brokers blathering.
Some vessels truely are worth asking price but oh so rarely!
As for distance travelling to see-I'd say I've come for holiday or some such.
There are many fish in the sea!


All the Best
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Old 20-11-2014, 09:59   #8
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Re: Etiquette - Negotiations on Vessel Abroad

Consider how you will use the boat, also. Buying a boat in PuertoRico or St. Thomas gives you the whole Eastern Caribbean for your sailing ground without the tedious "easting" from say Florida or Texas. Tahiti or Hawaii are already almost half way to the exotic ports of east Asia.
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Old 20-11-2014, 10:14   #9
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Re: Etiquette - Negotiations on Vessel Abroad

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Consider how you will use the boat, also. Buying a boat in PuertoRico or St. Thomas gives you the whole Eastern Caribbean for your sailing ground without the tedious "easting" from say Florida or Texas. Tahiti or Hawaii are already almost half way to the exotic ports of east Asia.
Meditterranean is a nice place to start. Ex charter is a good place to start. They are relatively new boats. They are known production boats so easier to sell later and the pricing is good.
Most importantly you are dealing with a sound broker. A buyer is always in the box seat.
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Old 20-11-2014, 11:20   #10
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Re: Etiquette - Negotiations on Vessel Abroad

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Originally Posted by elaak View Post
Is the right process to negotiate a price prior to viewing the vessel and attempting to make adjustments after viewing the vessel? Or does are negotiations only done after the vessel has been viewed.
Hi Eric,

We were in precisely that situation when we bought our boat -- it looked good on the Internet, but we were in California and it was in the Caribbean.

Before we made an offer and flew out, we hired a local surveyor to do a quick-look-pre-survey and take a whole lot of photos. Like hundreds, of everything from the sink to the plumbing underneath the sink and the wiring on the batteries. He also wrote up a couple paragraphs of his impressions of the boat. He credited a portion of this cost to the real survey we did over two years later. I can't remember precisely, but I think this cost us a few hundred dollars. It was money very well spent.

In our case, we found that on closer inspection, we didn't like the boat at the price it was offered. The mechanical and electrical details just weren't as perfect as she was priced for. Details that are nearly impossible to see on Yachtworld. So we backed away, and were very honest with the broker why. We sent him all the photos and our impressions -- that they needed to knock about 1/3rd off the price. He kept in contact with us over the next ~2 years as the seller decided to incrementally lower the price. Eventually it got within negotiating range, and we made an offer based on the usual contingencies. We flew out, spent three or four days going over the boat, making sure she fit our expectations (she mostly did, since we could tell so much from the photographs), and completed the transaction.

It would have been bad if we had not done this pre-survey-quick-look when we first saw the boat. We would have made an offer based on what we thought the boat looked like from the few photos on Yachtworld, which would have been much too high, then got there and been way disappointed. And felt like we wasted money getting there. The price was so far off that I didn't even bother making an offer, since I don't think they were, at that point, willing to come down to what we thought was fair.

So, I feel, it's better to make an offer with as information about the boat as you can get. I do feel it's completely normal to make an offer, go there, and then renegotiate if the boat is a lot different from what you expect. But I think it's hard to negotiate off 30-40% if the sellers idea of the value is that far off from yours, so it's better to have a very good idea about the value of the boat before you go see it.

Good luck! And, of course, happy shopping and eventual adventuring.
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Old 20-11-2014, 11:50   #11
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Re: Etiquette - Negotiations on Vessel Abroad

All good advice above.

One key element is to find out how motivated seller is.
This often determines the outcome if you make a firm discounted price and stick to it.
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Old 20-11-2014, 11:59   #12
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Re: Etiquette - Negotiations on Vessel Abroad

All good advice above.
One other important item to keep in mind before incurring any expense is the boat documentation and legal status in the country it is in.
If the boat is registered/documented in a country other than where it is currently, you will need proof of ownership before anything, then get to know how legal is the boat in the country and what would be required to sailed it away. Even if it s documented in the country, if it is a remote one, you will need to know if taxes were paid, how to "undocument" it and how to register in another country or your country of residency.
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Old 20-11-2014, 15:11   #13
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Re: Etiquette - Negotiations on Vessel Abroad

Thanks for the advice everyone. I'll Likely stop in Tahiti on my next business trip out to Asia and look at a couple different vessels. The one I'm very interested in just dropped in price by 10%.

If anyone has done any deals in French Polynesia and has a surveyor & documentation expert that they can recommend, shoot their information my way please.


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Old 30-11-2014, 16:08   #14
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Re: Etiquette - Negotiations on Vessel Abroad

Just a quickly question.. Have any standard price cut?? 10%?? 15%?? We're looking now 3 boats and off course.. we do not like it how much cost... We offer yesterday for the first one $380K over $449K who was the asking price.. Broker was not terrible happy and I suspect offer is gonna be rejected.. But I based my numbers in how much is gonna cost me the upgrade program (electronic, sails, rigging)
There is not perfect boat, no even a new one.. always you need to invest some money (and sometimes it's a lot of money) in order to put the boat ready for your next adventure.
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Old 30-11-2014, 17:02   #15
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Re: Etiquette - Negotiations on Vessel Abroad

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Just a quickly question.. Have any standard price cut?? 10%?? 15%?? We're looking now 3 boats and off course.. we do not like it how much cost... We offer yesterday for the first one $380K over $449K who was the asking price.. Broker was not terrible happy and I suspect offer is gonna be rejected.. But I based my numbers in how much is gonna cost me the upgrade program (electronic, sails, rigging)
There is not perfect boat, no even a new one.. always you need to invest some money (and sometimes it's a lot of money) in order to put the boat ready for your next adventure.
Offer what it's worth to you at the lowest value. The seller will either accept or counter offer. If they accept, happy days and if they counter offer their price may still may be in your "pull the trigger" range. If a price can't be agreed upon from both sides then it's time to move onto the next candidate.
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