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Old 06-06-2013, 13:20   #31
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Re: Unseen - a survey - a visit - no broker!

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Without a contract you have no way to avoid the seller starting to deal with another buyer and playing you off with them. The contract and down payment protects both of you. As already mentioned by others, paying a surveyor for a quick look to see if the boat is as represented, then making an offer subject to survey, buyers inspection and seatrial could save you lot of money and time.
OP has acknowledged the risk (a few times!) of having no contract at this stage, and is clearly willing to accept the risks involved (that boat sold to someone else and Survey fee and possibly his later trip costs being wasted).

But IMO he is doing the right thing in his circumstances (but not if he was living near the boat!), until he has had eyes on himself and a survey he can't value the boat (hell, does not even know he will like her! - as he has advised the Vendor) so makes no sense to sign a contract to buy the boat at a price plucked out of thin air! Obviously not everyone can afford to risk losing money like this.

If Vendor willing to deal on a no contract and no deposit basis with only ballpark prices discussed (I would and have) early on in the deal, even up to the Completion date then I see no reason why OP should not proceed with his plan (subject to VAT and RCD/CE issues being resolved or clarified). By the time he is ready to proceed will be at least 2k / $3k into the deal and he might "lose" that (albeit can treat it all as part of vacation costs!), but that a risk I think he has to take (if not buying local to him) and in any event a few k does not go very far when buying the wrong boat, so hard as it may feel at the time can be money very well spent (even without the "free" Vacation and step along the boat buying learning curve!).

FWIW, am not terribly convinced that she is OK on either the CE or VAT (for a later return to the EU and sale within the EU) - but am no expert. VAT a simple enough process (just write a large cheque!), CE not so. The trouble with VAT is that it is possible for a boat to lose it's VAT paid Status infinite times! (including when the VAT is paid and a receipt is held!)........it all depends on where she has been and how long (and where sold).
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Old 06-06-2013, 14:45   #32
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Re: Unseen - a survey - a visit - no broker!

Hey LBH, I fully understand the predicament that you are in, and I just wanted to wish you good luck, and hope everything works out for the best. GOOD LUCK!!!!!!
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Old 06-06-2013, 15:10   #33
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Re: Unseen - a survey - a visit - no broker!

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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
OP has acknowledged the risk (a few times!) of having no contract at this stage, and is clearly willing to accept the risks involved (that boat sold to someone else and Survey fee and possibly his later trip costs being wasted).

But IMO he is doing the right thing in his circumstances (but not if he was living near the boat!), until he has had eyes on himself and a survey he can't value the boat (hell, does not even know he will like her! - as he has advised the Vendor) so makes no sense to sign a contract to buy the boat at a price plucked out of thin air! Obviously not everyone can afford to risk losing money like this.

If Vendor willing to deal on a no contract and no deposit basis with only ballpark prices discussed (I would and have) early on in the deal, even up to the Completion date then I see no reason why OP should not proceed with his plan....
The contract would not be based on a 'price plucked out of thin air'. The OP knows a lot about the boat now, enough to really want it. You make a deal based on how the boat is represented and what you are willing to pay for it assuming it is as represented. If it isn't as represented, as determined by the survey or buyers inspection, then you bail out or re-negotiate. The buyer is going to negotiate at some time. After the potential buyer has sunk the costs of survey and buyers inspection, the seller knows the buyer is in a weaker negotiating position because if he walks he is out a few thousand.
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Old 06-06-2013, 15:23   #34
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Re: Unseen - a survey - a visit - no broker!

Guys,

Appreciate all the support. All remarks, both good and bad, have opened my naive eyes to the seriousness of buying into this dream I've held onto for so long. I never for one minute thought that it would be straight-forward (though secretly I'd hoped it would be!) yet never had I considered some of the more complex issues. Ironically my dream of escaping the rat race, bureaucratic ties and the shackles of society and conformity are in fact on hold due to them very things - I'm chuckling here in an uncontrollable way, just got to see the funny side of it!!

However, further light to this deal I am undertaking... I've had tens of emails detailing everything about the boat, it's history and all associated queries, I've not let up for one second on the seller. We have also chatted via Skype, both him and his wife are due to retire and seem a lovely, straight-forward and honest couple. He has said that the boat is mine until I say otherwise as I have gone to the trouble and expense of a survey. I am happy to take him at his word though remain grounded and know this is no guarantee. I have a good gut feeling about the whole thing so I'm willing to take the risk. As DOJ pointed out, if nothing else I will get to have a month's holiday in Grenada and would have learned a lot from the experience

The CE issue looks as though it won't be an issue according to RYA's official site:

"The Recreational Craft Directive applies to boats built after 16th June 1998. If the secondhand boat that you are selling or thinking of buying is older than that then the RCD will not apply, provided it has been placed on the EEA market before 16/6/98. If you are buying a non EEA boat e.g. from the US, check whether it has been in EEA waters before 16/6/98 and there is documentation to prove this. If you think the Recreational Craft Directive may apply to you, please take a look at the Technical Section of the website.

I have the vat payment certificate that proves it was in UK waters in 1997"


As for VAT, I'll cross that bridge when or if I get to it. I've no current plan to take her on a permanent basis to Europe, just wanted to know what was involved if I did.

Once again I can't thank you guys enough, I can see me spending a lot of time on this site, even after a purchase - more so after a purchase!
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Old 06-06-2013, 15:36   #35
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Re: Unseen - a survey - a visit - no broker!

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The buyer is going to negotiate at some time. After the potential buyer has sunk the costs of survey and buyers inspection, the seller knows the buyer is in a weaker negotiating position because if he walks he is out a few thousand.
Paul, my position is stronger than the sellers in that they are leaving Grenada this year to settle in Europe. I can walk away after just paying for a survey if a price isn't agreed. I'd have lost 700 but I'm OK with that. We have already discussed price and he has been honest with his lowest possible offer (It could be a great deal). He knows we will discuss, and go firm on, a price after the survey for which a contract will be drawn up. I know it's not the conventional way of doing things but I've had to think outside the box on this one and do what I can with what I've got...
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Old 06-06-2013, 15:40   #36
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Re: Unseen - a survey - a visit - no broker!

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Paul, my position is stronger than the sellers in that they are leaving Grenada this year to settle in Europe. I can walk away after just paying for a survey if a price isn't agreed. I'd have lost 700 but I'm OK with that. We have already discussed price and he has been honest with his lowest possible offer (It could be a great deal). He knows we will discuss, and go firm on, a price after the survey for which a contract will be drawn up. I know it's not the conventional way of doing things but I've had to think outside the box on this one and do what I can with what I've got...
Good luck and let us know how it works out. You might want to get in your possession a draft sails contract, either one from the seller or one you find online, so its available when you want to make the actual offer and it doesn't have any surprises in it.
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Old 06-06-2013, 16:02   #37
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Re: Unseen - a survey - a visit - no broker!

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Good luck and let us know how it works out. You might want to get in your possession a draft sails contract, either one from the seller or one you find online, so its available when you want to make the actual offer and it doesn't have any surprises in it.
Have no fear, it'll be shouted from the rooftops (or masthead) if all goes well and to plan

I like the idea of a draft sales contract and believe we will be using the online RYA version which is suited to boats that are SSR part III registered.
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Old 11-06-2013, 05:27   #38
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Re: Unseen - a survey - a visit - no broker!

I don't agree that the OP will need to pay VAT. It has been stated that VAT has already been paid on this vessel..

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... the VAT will however be applicable on the price on the Bill of Sale you receive on purchase....
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Old 11-06-2013, 05:35   #39
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pirate Re: Unseen - a survey - a visit - no broker!

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I don't agree that the OP will need to pay VAT. It has been stated that VAT has already been paid on this vessel..
If a vessel has been out of the EU/Schengen area for more than 2 consecutive years it is deemed 'exported' and VAT is liable on re-entry...
One thing I'm not sure about is if Martinique/St Bart's etc count as EU... thus re-starting the VAT clock... being French territory...
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Old 11-06-2013, 05:37   #40
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Re: Unseen - a survey - a visit - no broker!

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I don't agree that the OP will need to pay VAT. It has been stated that VAT has already been paid on this vessel..
Hi Mystic. Having read quite a lot now, I do think I will be liable for VAT should I take her beck to the UK (though this isn't the intention!) as she has been out of UK waters for more than two consecutive years. However, it will be a huge bonus if I don't have to pay
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Old 11-06-2013, 06:08   #41
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Re: Unseen - a survey - a visit - no broker!

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Originally Posted by LBH49520 View Post
Hi Mystic. Having read quite a lot now, I do think I will be liable for VAT should I take her beck to the UK (though this isn't the intention!) as she has been out of UK waters for more than two consecutive years. However, it will be a huge bonus if I don't have to pay
Being sold outside the EU (when s/h) would make her lose VAT paid status (even where VAT had been paid) - I think it makes the boat an Export or summit

Of course if the Vendor bought the boat in the UK from a UK resident owner and they are UK resident (despite being "world travellers" for many years) and the paperwork supports all that (sale contract / BoS and SSR Reg all have UK addresses and location of boat says somewhere in UK or is silent) then arguable whether anyone would be able to prove boat had ever left the Solent let alone the EU. Nor care (due to age of boat, UK Reg and UK Passport holder)...........and if you did the same (UK resident for SSR, use same address for Sale Contract and BoS and if Vendor willing, state boat located in the UK (or be silent on the matter) - could even rent a berth in the boat's name for a day or a week (in the Solent) just to add the invoice to the paperwork bundle to evidence vessel location at time of sale to you........don't throw out the past paperwork from the Vendor / PO's if it supports the boat history (in a good way!), especially that expired SSR cert(s) which will of course have to be for a UK address, because owner has to claim to be a UK resident

.....I have probably crossed a few lines with the above , it's just meant as thinking aloud and not a suggestion. No sirree
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Old 11-06-2013, 06:20   #42
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Re: Unseen - a survey - a visit - no broker!

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....I have probably crossed a few lines with the above , it's just meant as thinking aloud and not a suggestion. No sirree
DOJ...Lines are meant to be crossed now and again . However, I do believe the boat was bought in the Caribbean and I can only presume her documentation will reflect this. Still, no plans to take her back or sell her so not sure the VAT issue will be applicable for the foreseeable future...

Thanks for the thoughts
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Old 11-06-2013, 07:21   #43
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Re: Unseen - a Survey - a Visit - No Broker!

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I would just like to share with you all the process I am currently involved in. Your views and opinions based on experience in these matters are most welcome...

Unseen - I have identified a boat I like while trawling all the boat sales websites. She is on Apollo Duck and is under a 'private' listing. She comes fully loaded (not that I was necessarily looking for this) and is of a good size. I have had extensive communication with the owner and all seems as it should be. The boat is part III registered. She is in the Caribbean - I live in France and work off shore.

Survey - I have sufficient information to hand to commission a survey. The survey will be conducted by a reputable local firm.

Visit - Should the survey be positive and not put me off, I will visit the boat in September to have my own sea trial and get a feel for the boat. I have made no formal offer as yet but have made it known to the owner that there will be no commitment to buy if either the survey proves negative or I simply don't like her (photos can be deceiving!). I'm aware that he also has he same right to sell her in the mean time - I'm happy with this.

No broker - This purchase will not be via a broker though we have already explored the upper and lower offer limits! Is this a big mistake to buy with out a broker?

Now, I realise this don't seem the most logical, or indeed the normal, way to buy a boat but I'm doing what I perceive to be the best thing possible given the circumstances. There will be a lot of information missing from the above that I have in my possession having spoken with the owner. What's the worse that can happen - I can lose the money used for a survey process - I won't lose sleep over this.

Can anyone see any glaringly obvious mistakes to my approach or indeed, have any suggestions I can use to make it go more smoothly or to protect me against pitfalls I've not accounted for?

Thank you in advance for any words of wisdom.
Surveys are very expensive and I would not have a survey done on a boat unless I was prepared to buy the boat if the results were satisfactory.

Since I was not an expert in what to do, I paid a friend who is a retired boat surveyer and naval architect to look at the boats I was considering first.

The first one we looked at we knew there was something wrong with the engine (my guess would be compression but that's a guess based on experience I've had with dying cars) -- because the top engine-driven speed was under 3.5K.

Another one we looked at, the keel had 8 bolts. Two had already broken and the rest were very rusty.

On another one, there were badly repaired leaks around the chainplates. Under the chainplates i the boats were wooden gussets. The gussets were so rotten that you didn't need a screwdriver -- you could just poke your finger right through the wood. The engine oil was (no exaggeration here) as thick as peanut butter.

This boat passed superficial inspection by a retired surveyer. I paid him $$35 for his time. This boat I had a full survey done (unfortunately goth surveyers missed some important things, like how badlythe forestay was compromised from halyard wraps) but she was basically sound.

EXCEPT: I didn't have a separate engine survey done. The surveyer (both of them) told me they "didn't do engines," and I should have had an engine survey done by a certified marine mechanic, because I had to replace the engine seven months after buying her and after a LOT of aggravation and some danger from lack of same, esp. given my level of experience -- I would turn my engine on before many here but I see it as a safety thing. The engine can get me away from the shallows when some of you could do it other ways. I leave it in neutral and only put it in gear if it turns out I need it, but I don't wait until the nth hour to find out if it's going to start when I'm having a problem.

No, I wouldn't do it the way you are.
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Old 11-06-2013, 07:23   #44
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Re: Unseen - a survey - a visit - no broker!

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Haw1961, I realise this would be the more obvious route to take in a perfect world but I'm a little bit stuck due to geographic location and work commitments. In the end it was a trade off between price of survey (still needed if sea trial was a success) v. price of return flights and accommodation (more than double). I really do like everything I've seen in the photos, her inventory is extensive and the price is good so I guess the survey is just to give me piece of mind. She requires work on the inside but that's great, I will enjoy personalising her.


Ohhhh if this is one particular boat you really, really like, that's different. If I could afford it, I could see doing that ONCE.
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Old 11-06-2013, 07:25   #45
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Re: Unseen - a survey - a visit - no broker!

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I've also been in your situation -- buying a boat half a world away.

I asked a local surveyor to 'take a look' and paid him for a few hours of his time. This wasn't a full survey, but it helped a lot: he emailed me over a hundred digital photos, and wrote a couple paragraphs of what he thought of the boat. He was later gracious enough to apply some of his 'take a look' fee to the survey. PM me with your email, and I can send you a copy, if you are interested.

Anyways, the pre-survey worked well for me. It turned out that once the floorboards were lifted, the electrical wiring and other details were photographed, the boat was priced for a much higher standard than I saw (in my opinion). So this was a big factor in my negotiations with the seller, and it was a lot more appropriate to negotiate the lower price casually over weeks and months before there was a purchase agreement, rather than after we had already agreed on a price and I had flown out there and paid for a full survey. I almost certainly would have not bought the boat if we were that far along and I suddenly realized that the seller and I were very far apart in expectations.

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