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Old 08-04-2021, 12:52   #1
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Buy with all the work done or pay to have it done?

Would love a little steerage here. Looking at 38+ monohulls and finding a pretty big range. Getting a price to upgrade and really mint a 1985+ 38+ sailboat isnít easy. So many people involved. Electronics, hull/deck, engine, sails etc.
Looking at some great boats, some seem to need some serious TLC and some look amazing. Just beautiful! So Iím stuck with spending 50-80k for a 25yr+ older boat or something in the same age, but beautiful for 90-120k. Understand there is a big difference between a Hunter and an IP, but staying at the same level boat, I still question do I go a little beat up with need of electronics, sails and possible engine or pay upfront and take the cream puff. Love to hear how painful the overhaul would be or would that be the way to go?

Family of 4
2 small children
Marina with a pool
Flipped a few houses, but never a sailboat
Many years of owning larger motor boats and ready to move my summer home onto the water

Curious if anyone has gotten such information in a survey? Is there a marina with a broker that can do it all? Looking in the MD area near Grasonville.

So what will I be doing you ask? Sleeping overnight, enjoying a calm day on the Chesapeake and a once a year trip to the Bahamas. Have done the trip a few times by motor. Without the kids . But now would like to bring them.

Appreciate any insight or do i just flip a coin? And I wonít be doing the work. All professionals.
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Old 08-04-2021, 13:01   #2
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Re: Buy with all the work done or pay to have it done?

Congratulations on an exciting time for you. A few thoughts - others will have different ones for sure! 1) at 25 years old plus, there is nothing cream puff. Thinking that you're buying a boat that needs no work is a fantasy. There will be obvious things to do and the ones you have yet to find. 2) Given that you want to hire everything out, and you want to get going fast, IMO you're far better buying something with fewer obvious issues. Marine work hired out is expensive. Good marine work, besides being very hard to find, is extremely expensive. If your budget is unlimited, then this is far less of a concern.

Good luck!
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Old 08-04-2021, 13:06   #3
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Re: Buy with all the work done or pay to have it done?

One dollar spent on an old boat is maybe equal to 15 cent in cash. You do the math. My 2c is to buy the boat in the best condition you can afford to buy and own.
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Old 08-04-2021, 13:34   #4
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Re: Buy with all the work done or pay to have it done?

I had this discussion with an experienced friend when I was boat shopping. He walked me through the list:
- New sails will cost you $x,
- An engine will cost you $y,
- Electronics will cost you $z,
- and so on (except I just ran out of letters).

I was comparing similar boats but with very different maintenance profiles. Bought the one that was almost thirty years old but had a new diesel, new sails, new(ish) electronics, many upgrades and excellent maintenance.

It probably cost me $15k more (on a $60k purchase) but I also probably saved more than that in upgrades and saved myself a whole lot of hassle. And I got a boat literally in "sail-away" condition, which is what I really wanted.

One person's experience FWIW.
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Old 08-04-2021, 14:44   #5
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Re: Buy with all the work done or pay to have it done?

I made up a spreadsheet to compare boats. Hiring work is very expensive and difficult.
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Old 08-04-2021, 14:53   #6
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Re: Buy with all the work done or pay to have it done?

Buy with all the work done!!!

Iíll use out boat as an example. Iíve put over $50k of parts over the years. As in upgrades, not general upkeep.

The most I could reasonably expect to sell our boat for would be 35-40k
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Old 08-04-2021, 15:17   #7
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Re: Buy with all the work done or pay to have it done?

I think Anglais and Sailmonkey hit the nail on the head. I'm a broker for new and used boats. The used ones are of course, in a variety of conditions. I'm glad I bought my 20-year-old sailboat in excellent condition. It showed from the moment we stepped aboard. The previous owners were meticulous in the care they gave it and added several upgrades. We paid "full retail" for this boat - the sellers knew what they had. But, it was worth it in the long run. And it's nice when friends come aboard and think it's a near new boat. Boats with deferred maintenance are a proverbial money pit. It's marginally o.k. if you do the work yourself, but you better have an open checkbook if you're hiring professionals to do refurb work. And, these days with boats selling robustly, good professionals are hard to get.

As an aside, one of my colleagues bought a sailboat in the mid-2000s that was older and in need of work. He spent 60k on refurb and upgrades, only to sell it a number of years later for $22k. I think it proves the point that $1 in upgrade is worth about 15 cents when it gets on the boat.
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Old 08-04-2021, 15:24   #8
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Re: Buy with all the work done or pay to have it done?

Buy one that is ready to go... In addition to money that you won't recoup (unless it is a giant bargain), you will spend a lot of time working on it or managing someone else instead of enjoying it.
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Old 08-04-2021, 15:57   #9
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Re: Buy with all the work done or pay to have it done?

I think the recommendations to buy a boat in the best condition are sound. We did that when we purchased our boat. It had been very well maintained and it showed. Having said that, it was a 25 year old boat when we bought her, and we have subsequently repaired or replaced many systems. Most short passages our first year cruising were shakedowns and things broke. If you can do the maintenance on her yourself, so much the better for your budget. If you must have professional work done, take the time to carefully check out the boatyards because there can be big differences in quality of work. And, all of them are expensive.
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Old 08-04-2021, 16:19   #10
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Re: Buy with all the work done or pay to have it done?

If you ascribe no cost to your personal (family) labor, and if you intend to do everything possible yourself, then it may make sense to buy a boat in need of labor (but not parts or materials) -intensive work. But, when you mention things like electronics, you will not be adding value anywhere near cost by buying the boat in need of the work. Part of the reason is there are plenty of people who want to get the most boat they can for the money they have to spend and will maximize their purchasing power by buying the fixer-upper, thereby creating a demand/supply imbalance and irrationally increasing the price of fixer uppers. Part of the reason is that people don't realize how much the upgrades will cost. And part of the reason is there are people who think they can make money fixing up a boat. Oftentimes, these people have had some success in flipping fixer-upper homes.
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Old 08-04-2021, 17:17   #11
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Re: Buy with all the work done or pay to have it done?

To my mind you have ask yourself, do I want to work on a boat bringing it up to my expectations, or do I want to use a boat for recreation and enjoyment.
The answer will give you the direction in which to proceed.

And just an added note, every dollar added will not greatly increase the value of whatever you buy.
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Old 08-04-2021, 17:22   #12
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Re: Buy with all the work done or pay to have it done?

First of all, I canít thank you all enough for your responses. They were just what I was looking for. Everyone was so constant on whatís the best approach. I have to be honest, I was thinking you could buy a 50k boat, put 50k into it and have a 120k boat. How wrong was I???? Haha donít answer that . The 15cents on the $1.00 statement was awesome! Such great information. The other comment - that people drive up the price of boats in need of a decent amount of TLC because they think they are a bargain, thinking they can do all the work on the cheap. No wonder they are all 40k and up. And good restoration people are hard to find and expensive.

Really great information!!! Thank you all so much!!!

Changing my search to 2000 and newer, 38í and up and under 125k. I found 32 boats, so I canít be crazy!!!

Any boats to stay away from or boats to take a second look at? Going to eliminate the racers. Iíll just have to dream about being that cool.

This search seems to be predominately Catalina, Beneteau and Hunter. All about the same or are there major differences?

Thanks again everyone!!!
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Old 08-04-2021, 17:31   #13
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Re: Buy with all the work done or pay to have it done?

Of course it is always cheaper to buy a boat with the work already done rather than to refit/upgrade it yourself. However, there is a big difference between cost and value.
Personally, I want things done to my own taste. Not just colors, but equipment and gear selection. Buying a boat with 3 year old sails is nice, but I would prefer to meet with the sailmaker and have them designed/built to my specifications. When it comes time to repower, being able to choose the manufacturer and model based on my own preferences, and knowing that it was installed correctly- with me having been involved with the install and therefore knowing the thing more intimately ... there is a huge value in that which you can’t put a dollar figure on. Apply that school of thought to every system of the boat.

On the other hand, there are people out there who barely have time enough to use their boat, let alone take the time to manage upgrades and repairs. It all depends on who you are and what you plan on to do ...
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Old 08-04-2021, 17:36   #14
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Re: Buy with all the work done or pay to have it done?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnParkerSJ View Post
I have to be honest, I was thinking you could buy a 50k boat, put 50k into it and have a 120k boat. How wrong was I???? Haha don’t answer that .
Yeah, go ahead and forget that. Buy a $120k boat, put $50k into it, and have a better $120k boat would be closer to reality. If you are looking for a 20% return on an investment, then you have come to the wrong place.
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Old 08-04-2021, 17:48   #15
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Re: Buy with all the work done or pay to have it done?

The other advantage of a boat in great shape is that it had a caring and knowledgeable owner who didn't cut maintenance corners. Surveyors never find everything - or even close to everything.

Look for a beautiful boat owned by an old guy who's only selling because his wife is making him - because he's too old to be going up a mast to fix something.
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