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Old 09-05-2011, 19:11   #1
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Long Distance Buying

Hi everyone, I have found myself in the position of starting over. (glass half full) Sailing to any place I wanted has been a dream of mine since my Sunflower sailboat days of the 70's. Plus I severed 4 years in the Navy on the USS ENHANCE, a minesweeper out of San Diego. Served as the helmsman for sea and anchor detail. So I know a little bit.
My question is since I live in northwest Iowa, taking multiple trips to Florida or California would not be cost effective. I also know that I need a survey of the boat I want for my own security as well as for the insurance. Lets say I find a boat I like, the owners say there's nothing wrong with it, but turns out the surveyor finds out differently and costs more than I can afford. I am looking at a 33ft Hunter, asking price I can afford and a little left over. How can I avoid multiple surveys? Is this inevitable? Thank you for your time.

Oz
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Old 09-05-2011, 19:45   #2
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Re: Long Distance Buying

I think you need to get some boat walking experience. Your time at sea is invaluable but it needs to be refocused. Bottom line. You really don't know what boat you want but you do have ideas. They need sorting out in an affordable manner.

NW Iowa. Been there done that Marshalltown and points in between to Minneapolis - in the winter. Not a lot of boat shopping on Clear Lake either. Nice people though. You'll need some road trips so bite the bullet and get into it. You'll need to spend some time on-line looking at pictures and plans of boats. You are not looking for a boat you are look at many boats with the idea that you want to learn how far the money goes and what you get for what asking prices. Just don't fall in love or try to find the special boat. it's just to get the mind asking questions (you post them here after you use the search tool to see if it is already answered). This is the background to the road trip planning.

The road trip needs to be looking at as many boats as your behind can walk. You need at least 5 miles of dock walking just looking. All the time thinking about the pictures you saw and asking the question of so how come they don't look like the pictures.

If you can do some of that then you are ready to get on some boats and look inside.

The goal is you want a short list of boats that really are for sale that you walked on and saw. Now you make the list of things about them using the DETAILED notes you took on the tours. You need to mentally sort out why each boat is different and why the prices are not the same. Then tie that back to which boat is the one you want to own. Next why the others are not as good and last how much more money will you need because you thought you could low ball the price. the better boat always costs more.

So now the confidence is building. Can you write an offer and lay down a deposit check? Assuming you can't you go home knowing next time will be better. You can't go the first time unless you can live with that idea that it might take another trip. The name of the boat buying game is "can you walk away" and could I buy another similar boat for about the same price. You can't feel that good unless it's true. It's easy to walk away from a deal if you know a better one is there in hand.

If you can lay down 3 solid deals you can buy that day then you can work them as deals until they don't work knowing you have others. The best deal means most all the rest of the boats are still for sale. You won't rock the boat.

Offer accepted! Schedule the surveyor. You need to be there. You ned a surveyor that is a member of one of the certification organization so you can buy insurance. If you need a loan then that needs sorting out in Iowa. Dpn't leave home without real money.

If the survey goes bust you need to bail out soon and save some money by not getting a report and pulling the plug on the Survey soon as you can.

Lets say at this point you are still happy. Now we need to close with papers and money. The second you close it's now your boat and it needs a home for the night at the least. You'll need to pre the boat so you can move it some place.

You can see it is complicated. For a quick trip head to Lake Pepin (start in Red Wing) Hudson, WI on the St Croix and vicinity is also good down to Prescot right now and nose around the marinas there. Chat some folks up that you are looking for a boat. It's a bit early for them to be going in the water but there may be some 33 ft boats to look at. You need to look for the low hanging fruit where you can.
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Old 09-05-2011, 19:59   #3
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Re: Long Distance Buying

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Originally Posted by goslin View Post
I also know that I need a survey of the boat I want for my own security as well as for the insurance. Lets say I find a boat I like, the owners say there's nothing wrong with it, but turns out the surveyor finds out differently and costs more than I can afford. I am looking at a 33ft Hunter, asking price I can afford and a little left over. How can I avoid multiple surveys? Is this inevitable? Thank you for your time.

Oz
First thing :- Example :_ Once you have found your boat at a price less say 15% -- 30, 000 less 15% = 25,500.
Second :- Instruct a surveyor of your own choice to conduct a condition and valuation survey on your behalf - contents of which confidential to yourself.
Third Depending on the survey findings and recommendations - make a provisional offer to the seller - dependent on a sea trial.
The plan is to pay no more than 25,500 less the cost of the deficiencies found by the Surveyor.
It is up the seller to either accept or reject or negotiate.
Remember once you have bought that boat you will be spending money on it, so keep a good sum in reserve.
Good Luck
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Old 09-05-2011, 20:34   #4
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Re: Long Distance Buying

Here's what I did:
I made initial enquiries with the broker, had him send me an offer sheet & made an offer, subject to survey, my own physical inspection, etc. . The owner/seller made a counter offer which accepted my conditions and I sent the broker a deposit(wire transfer). We then drove from Vancouver to Newport Beach to view the boat(fun "vacation", but I'd recommend flying!). I had already arranged for a rig inspection from a rigger & a survey, and arranged for the boat to be hauled. Shortly after we spent the day crawling all over the boat we returned to Vancouver & I weighed the surveyor's & rigger's notes with my own observations, revised my offer, received a letter of acceptance & paid for it. While, in retrospect, there are things I would have done differently, the steps I followed(above) seem to have worked well. I hope this helps!
Mike
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Old 09-05-2011, 20:37   #5
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Long Distance Buying on the cheap...

Financially speaking your hypothetical $30,000 boat is going to cost you of the order of 25% or $7,500 p.a. once you hand over the cash.

So if your search is costing less than $150 each week you're ahead.

So, think of it as your hobby. You've a budget of $150 each week to be spent in cruising preparation. Spend some of it on research, some on training, some on travel, some on having fun.
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Old 10-05-2011, 20:22   #6
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Re: Long Distance Buying

Good advice everyone, and Thank You for your time.
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Old 10-05-2011, 21:30   #7
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Re: Long Distance Buying

I think Pblais's advice is right on the money.

Sailboat shopping takes practice... You have an 8 Hour drive (or so) to Lake Michigan. You can see every type of boat imaginable there. Start watching the ads, get a few close together that interest you, and go do a weekend trip to see them. Do this once a month (or whatever fits your budget) until you have your shortlist down to about 3 to 5 boats.

Then you can take that shortlist, and your new found boat shopping skills, to whatever part of the country you want to purchase in, and be an educated buyer that knows what he wants in a boat.

In the meantime, Look at every boat that comes even close to what you want. And then look at a few more...
You gotta know what is out there before you can compare one thing to another.

It's imparative to see boats in person, pictures are only good for seeing what type of gear is aboard and what color the curtains are.
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Old 10-05-2011, 22:09   #8
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Re: Long Distance Buying

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Sailboat shopping takes practice...
...and patience.
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Old 10-05-2011, 22:24   #9
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Re: Long Distance Buying

One thing that hasn't been said is that many (most?) boats look good in the advertise photos, but sometimes those are out of date or don't pass the 10-foot test (from 10ft + they good good but don't stand up to close inspection when you can see the corrosion and chips/scratches).

Many brokers will outright misrepresent the condition of the boat. "It's in excellent sail-away condition" might mean it's loaded with the PO's old crap and clutter, and the sails are still bent on the boom (and worn from UV) after sitting idle in the yard for years. I took a 12-hour round-trip for one of those -- it needed a complete refurb and refit with water stained headliners from leaky hatches and virtually all wear items were in need of service or replacement!

Before you commit to a survey or a long-distance visit you should find an impartial person to take a quick look-see to give a general impression of the condition. Many surveyors will do it for a nominal fee (perhaps $100-150) to just go-see and give a quick verbal report, if they're not busy, with the understanding that it's not a "survey".
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Old 11-05-2011, 01:51   #10
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Re: Long Distance Buying

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Originally Posted by SailFastTri View Post
One thing that hasn't been said is that many (most?) boats look good in the advertise photos.
Absolutely true:


One of the first things you learn as you go looking for a new boat is that there are some Fantastic photographers out there who can make a rotting derelict look like a brand new boat.


Not only that but on one occasion, we went to look at a boat that was totally unlike the photo's and the owner finally admitted that he had taken the photo's from another ad for a similar boat and used them in his ad “Since the boats were very similar”. A 500 mile trip wasted on that one.


To avoid wasted trips, contact a local marina or sailing club and ask if anyone there knows of the boat you are thinking of looking at, we have done that and found that the folks we contacted were very helpful and informative, sometimes brutally so....James
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Old 24-05-2011, 12:47   #11
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Re: Long Distance Buying

Aloha and welcome aboard!
Good to have you here and you've asked some very good questions.
Thanks for your service. There are many former Navy members here on the forum. I remember Sea and Anchor details as extremely happy times in San Diego depending on your point of view and marital/girlfriend status.
You're getting great advice.
I'd recommend boat shows in Chicago or walking the docks wherever there is a marina with sailboats. Talking with people who have or know of the brand of boat you are looking for is a good thing to do.
You can use the search link just after my signature for comments.
kind regards,
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Old 24-05-2011, 12:54   #12
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Re: Long Distance Buying

Sailboat Acadian 30' Yawl

Seen that one? It is absolutely unlike the Hunter 33 you are looking for but it'd be fun to go see anyway. Very old style.

kind regards,
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