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Old 19-06-2020, 18:19   #1
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Post Purchase process without a broker

Hi,

I may be in a position to purchase a used 28' boat from her owner, without a broker. I am in the Bay Area of San Francisco, but I am a (legal) alien, if that matters.

I am totally ignorant of the sale process: what will I have to do and in which order, once we agree on the price after survey?

- sale contract? What should it contain? Any typical contingencies?
- transfer of ownership: what paperwork? What papers must the seller give me?
- payment: what is a commonly accepted form of payment? How to protect both seller and buyer?
- boat registration: where do I have to go? What will they ask for?
- insurance: my home and car insurance are with Geico. I can ask them for the boat too. Any other suggestion?
- marina slip: I guess I have this mostly under control. I contacted my marina already (Redwood City), they do have available slips! :-)

Anything else to pay attention to?

Thanks

JD
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Old 19-06-2020, 18:36   #2
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Re: Purchase process without a broker

Hi,
The process is pretty straightforward. This link should be of help:
https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/vehicl...perty%20taxes.
I suppose you can meet at your bank, if you want to use a personal check. They can cash it there right away. Otherwise a cashier's check or a postal check would be a safe option for them, as well. Cash in hand is always welcome.
I think the only "odd" thing is having to go to the county tax office to take care of property tax.
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Old 19-06-2020, 19:02   #3
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Re: Purchase process without a broker

Also be aware that in a private party vehicle/vessel sale in California the purchaser is responsible to pay sales tax at the time of registration.The exact amount depends on the county where the transaction takes place. In the Bay Area it generally gets close to 10%, so take that into account when budgeting. DMV will collect the tax when you register.

https://www.cdtfa.ca.gov/industry/ve...raft-guide.htm
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Old 22-06-2020, 22:15   #4
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Re: Purchase process without a broker

Thank you for your answer. I researched it and something worrying came up:

apparently you can either register the boat with the DMV or with the USCG subject to certain conditions. One condition is that the owner must be a US Citizen.

Researching that, I found this alarming web page:

https://www.marlinmag.com/foreign-ci...g-boats-in-us/

Which suggests that there may be pitfalls in owning a boat if the owner is a foreign national (I am French). That web page suggests to register the boat abroad in that case. But that opens a serious can of worm: how to get insurance, and even a marina slip in the San Francisco Bay Area where I live, if I cannot produce a US registration? Even paying the sales tax might be an issue... Not to mention getting an MMSI for the AIS.

Should I be worried? Who should I contact to clarify all this?
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Old 11-08-2020, 12:57   #5
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Re: Purchase process without a broker

As a Canadian residing in the US, and going down the same path of ownership, did you get your answer? Clearly the USCG registration is impossible for non-citizens, but was the California DMV possible?
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Old 11-08-2020, 13:00   #6
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Re: Purchase process without a broker

You might want to look into forming a LLC and registering it in Montana, depending on the price point.
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Old 11-08-2020, 13:33   #7
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Re: Purchase process without a broker

Cannot speak for the rules in California but in FL and most east coast states I have dealt with there is no problem at all getting a state registration for a boat, regardless of your citizenship or residency status.

I could be wrong but don't recall citizenship requirements for registering with the FCC for an MMSI number. However since I am a US citizen I might not have noticed that question.
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Old 11-08-2020, 13:41   #8
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Re: Purchase process without a broker

In many states you have to have a physical address in that state to register a boat there and /or the boat must be there too. I ran into this twice:
- In Florida I wasn't able to register but eventually was able to use a friend's address.
- In Washington they would not register a boat that wasn't actually in the state.
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Old 12-08-2020, 04:55   #9
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Re: Purchase process without a broker

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
In many states you have to have a physical address in that state to register a boat there and /or the boat must be there too. I ran into this twice:
- In Florida I wasn't able to register but eventually was able to use a friend's address.
- In Washington they would not register a boat that wasn't actually in the state.
I have read several comments about FL requiring a physical address but didn't have that problem. I do have a FL address but did not use it for registering my dinghy there. Could be because how rigidly the rules are enforced seems to vary a lot from county to county.

Also found that the three states where I've registered boats: FL, GA and RI, could not care less about where the boat was located. If I came into a registration office to offer them money they were all happy to take it.
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Old 12-08-2020, 05:54   #10
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Re: Purchase process without a broker

The best way to do this is follow the exact same process brokers do and use this document.

https://www.atlantic-cruising.com/wp...isting0814.pdf

It’s easy to edit out the broker stuff and follow the same process in a private sale.

I use this document no matter if I’m buying or selling a boat because it’s fair to both parties. No need to reinvent the wheel.
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