Thanks to those who contributed meaningful insight.
Long and short of it, our dream boat departed for Canada this morning. It is likely gone for good. We understood each other concerning price
, all we needed was the bureacratic paperwork, which was the killer.
We had given up boat hunting until this one happened to be moored alongside us, on the last leg to Canada from an two-year overseas cruise
. It is a fairly common boat, but what was uncommon was the upkeep and upgrades just the way I would have done it.
What killed the deal, besides bureaucracy, was our over-simplification of the BS, brokers both busy and greedy, the seller's mistrust of brokers, the US holiday weekend when nothing happens, and COVID.
Prior to COVID it would be simple- boat goes to CA, we buy boat, bring boat back and clear customs. But we cannot go to Canada to get the boat. And these stories of "meet in the middle of the sea" are just that- stories.
So much time was spent chasing, trying to find a way to sell/ buy while the damned boat was right next to us. Lots of time was spent chasing import regulations
, etc; upon trying to employ a boat broker
to handle the bureaucracy things flip-flopped, costs grew, and (like this thread) anecdotal and only tangentially relevant info abounded, wasting time and distracting.
The boat broker
who "wanted" to help first cited a 10% fee- despite not having to show the boat, etc. Long story, but broker later suggested a Buyer's Broker relationship at 5% then later flipped back to Sellers Broker at 10%. Another broker- that's done this before- was compassionate, but had no time. I'd also reached out to an import broker (non-boat) and thanked them, but said we'd go with the promising "experienced" boat broker- likely a mistake, in hindsight.
What I now know is that the Canadian can import the boat, or I could. But it has to be bonded, waiting for Customs inspection
. This happens "when Customs feels like it" and after the import broker does the paperwork "when they feel like it." Again, I should have just worked with the non-boat import broker I know, since they'd be responsive and would have bent over to help me.
We were in a rush because the owner was hours from Canada and, understandably, wanted to go home. And he was burning the last weeks of his visa. As it was, he waited almost a week, for which we are grateful. Sadly, six of the seven days were burned up waiting through the "extended" holiday.
The boat broker rep, being local to the marina, was fully aware of what we wanted to do. But it seemed that despite stories that the brokerage had "done this before" it wasn't an identical situation, it was all pre-COVID stories. Time was wasted with stories of how the brokerage is so much bigger than others, has multitudes of certifications, etc. Time was wasted chasing claims that the surveyor
must be NAMS or SAMS certified by the lender (not true) and insurance
company (also not true.) And of course, the flip-flop from buyer's to sellers broker, and delays in responses (though, given the workload, they're going to focus on the big money
, I understand that. I'm sure from their perspective they jumped through hoops to find a solution.)
Ultimately though the owner could have turned the boat over to the broker, but he wasn't going to pay 10% when they're doing 25% of the normal workload, and had lost
faith in them.
So what we thought would be simple turned out to be, in sad reality, anything but. Big government
and those paid to navigate the morass win again.