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Old 24-06-2020, 17:52   #1
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Owner selling boat guidelines

I noticed a thread the other day about getting a boat ready for sale. As a marine surveyor I thought maybe a guide about getting the seller ready to sell a boat might be an interesting read for some people.
• When showing the boat on the day brush your teeth, have a shower, and apply deodorant
• Clean boat including the toilet
• Do not yell at the buyer or surveyor
• No political/racist/sexist jokes and keep the misogyny to yourself
• Do not lie to the buyer or surveyor
• Bring your partner if they are confident on the boat
• Do not bring your partner if you argue constantly
• Pay someone to sail and move the boat if you are not confident
• Try and keep the docking and sea trial as pleasant as possible
• Make sure you have enough fuel and the engine runs for the sea trial
• Show the buyer the boats faults before the survey
• If you have a bad memory write down the boat’s length/beam/draft, fuel and water capacity, last antifoul date, brand of antifouling paint, age of rigging and sails
• Provide some form of written contract with an inventory list that you can both sign
• If a deposit is taken, slipway/surveyor booked, do not sell the boat to another buyer
• Make sure the buyer knows they are paying for the survey and surveyor
• THE DEPOSIT IS NOT YOURS TO KEEP. Seriously you cannot keep the deposit as a form of a fine to punish the buyer for not buying your boat
• Drinks and snacks always help the buying process
• Most of all try and be the nicest version of yourself on the day of the survey

Most people reading this would think it's all common sense, trust me it's not and I regularly see sellers make these mistakes.
Cheers
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Old 24-06-2020, 18:50   #2
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Re: Owner selling boat guidelines

Rule #1 for sellers - Don't talk to the surveyor, he does not work for you.
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Old 24-06-2020, 19:13   #3
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Re: Owner selling boat guidelines

I noticed surveyors won’t open anything

Any bildge access etc, they don’t open panels

They also tend to not know a whole ton about rigging, sails or engines.

I lucked out, but real world, for expensive boat the surveyor is kinda meh, I’d get a diesel guy, rigger and fiberglass guy to check the boat first and formost, surveyor for general condition and for paperwork.
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Old 24-06-2020, 19:24   #4
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Re: Owner selling boat guidelines

NorthernMac I happy to open everything and if anything is behind a screwed in panel then as long as the owner is happy to unscrew it for me I happy to have a look. I do this so it saves any arguments about the varnish or paintwork being scratched. As for rigging, sails and engines I know a little bit but certainly not enough if I got sued.
I am fairly sure when you have an electrician in your house you do not ask him to lay a brick wall while he is wiring up a new light socket?
Cheers
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Old 24-06-2020, 19:31   #5
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Re: Owner selling boat guidelines

Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernMac View Post
I noticed surveyors won’t open anything

Any bildge access etc, they don’t open panels

They also tend to not know a whole ton about rigging, sails or engines.

I lucked out, but real world, for expensive boat the surveyor is kinda meh, I’d get a diesel guy, rigger and fiberglass guy to check the boat first and formost, surveyor for general condition and for paperwork.
You've been hiring the wrong surveyors.
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Old 24-06-2020, 19:32   #6
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Re: Owner selling boat guidelines

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Originally Posted by Fore and Aft View Post
NorthernMac I happy to open everything and if anything is behind a screwed in panel then as long as the owner is happy to unscrew it for me I happy to have a look. I do this so it saves any arguments about the varnish or paintwork being scratched. As for rigging, sails and engines I know a little bit but certainly not enough if I got sued.
I am fairly sure when you have an electrician in your house you do not ask him to lay a brick wall while he is wiring up a new light socket?
Cheers
True, the dual certified guy I had wouldn’t lift pull up deck plates in the boat to check the bildge, all was ok, but it was kinda a bummer
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Old 24-06-2020, 19:48   #7
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Re: Owner selling boat guidelines

I remember when selling my last boat, a Cape Dory 31, the buyer sent his "well reviewed" surveyor. I was a bit shocked. The guy didn't take a close look at the sails, or much of anything. He had me open the engine compartment and took a look. I said "Would you like me to turn on the engine, motor out and show you reverse, etc?" "nah, I'm sure it's fine." lol.

I like to think If I were a surveyor I would flip every single switch, pump every pump, open every compartment, test the engine while running, open and close every hatch, take a lot of pictures, etc.
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Old 24-06-2020, 20:02   #8
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Re: Owner selling boat guidelines

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I remember when selling my last boat, a Cape Dory 31, the buyer sent his "well reviewed" surveyor. I was a bit shocked. The guy didn't take a close look at the sails, or much of anything. He had me open the engine compartment and took a look. I said "Would you like me to turn on the engine, motor out and show you reverse, etc?" "nah, I'm sure it's fine." lol.

I like to think If I were a surveyor I would flip every single switch, pump every pump, open every compartment, test the engine while running, open and close every hatch, take a lot of pictures, etc.
People need to put as much effort into researching their surveyor as they do their prospective purchase.
I have some shocking examples of pathetic survey reports that were accepted by insurance companies and buyers. Have a look ..... Sample, Example Marine Survey Report
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Old 25-06-2020, 10:51   #9
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Re: Owner selling boat guidelines

I enjoyed your list and advice.

I have to say that I've been lucky in hiring surveyors in that the ones that I've hired have been extremely competent and thorough. They made a close inspection of all systems and made sure what was there worked.

I usually look at a surveyor's credentials to see if they are certified and take recommendations and referrals very seriously. I've learned new things about what to look for with every survey.

One survey was of a 44' boat that had been in charter service. About half way through the survey, the surveyor called me into the engine room and made a case with the evidence at hand that the boat had been partly submerged at one point. He pointed out everything that he observed and then asked me if he should continue with the survey. Nothing he pointed to was extremely obvious to me, but in total, I believe he made his case. We called off the survey. A week later, the same boat had an internal failure of its rudder.

I'd call that a good survey by a competent surveyor. He saved me a lot of money and heartache.
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Old 25-06-2020, 18:38   #10
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Re: Owner selling boat guidelines

Seems there may be a difference between "seller's" surveyor and "buyer's" surveyor...
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Old 27-06-2020, 08:05   #11
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Re: Owner selling boat guidelines

For just about every boat I have sold in the past 20 years I have used a selling agent or broker. In this situation I would not be present at the survey. Thats why you are paying your agent / broker. He can then deal with any questions from the surveyor.

And boatbroker’s first post is correct, the surveyor is working for the purchaser, not you. His job is to drive down the price.

Quite frankly I would ignore 80% of that list. Yes, clean the boat and make it look pretty. But show the buyer the boat faults before the survey? lol

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Old 27-06-2020, 16:32   #12
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Re: Owner selling boat guidelines

Ilenart by not being a truthful you can often ruin a sale. I have lost count how many times a survey has not proceeded because of osmosis. There is nothing worse than lifting a boat out of the water and the bottom is riddled with blisters. All it takes is for the owner to admit the problem then it becomes part of the negotiations. Unless you strike it lucky and get a blind surveyor (there are a few) we are going to find all the boats faults. For me the Boating scene is to small to be dishonest. How awkward would it be to have sold a lemon and he is berthed right next to you.
Cheers
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Old 27-06-2020, 18:59   #13
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Re: Owner selling boat guidelines

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Originally Posted by Fore and Aft View Post
Ilenart by not being a truthful you can often ruin a sale. I have lost count how many times a survey has not proceeded because of osmosis. There is nothing worse than lifting a boat out of the water and the bottom is riddled with blisters. All it takes is for the owner to admit the problem then it becomes part of the negotiations. Unless you strike it lucky and get a blind surveyor (there are a few) we are going to find all the boats faults. For me the Boating scene is to small to be dishonest. How awkward would it be to have sold a lemon and he is berthed right next to you.
Cheers
Fore and Aft, it has nothing to do with being truthful, I assume you have heard of the terms “sold as-is” and “buyer beware”. Attached are the relevant clauses of my most recent purchase:

The sale of the Vessel is subject to Sea trial and/or a Survey of the Vessel to the satisfaction of the Purchaser. The Vessel may be slipped/lifted for the purposes of Survey at the Vendor’s risk, but at the cost of the Purchaser. It is agreed that all Sea trials and Surveys be completed by the Trial and Survey Date. If the Sea trial and/or Survey of the Vessel is not to the Purchaser’s satisfaction, both the Vendor and the Purchaser have the right to cancel this Agreement, when the deposit shall be returned (less administration and incurred costs to date) to the Purchaser. Further to this, and with the agreement of the Purchaser and the Vendor, the damage or defect reported in the Survey may be repaired by the Vendor to the satisfaction of the surveyor and Purchaser, or a satisfactory reduction in the Purchase Price may be agreed to by the Purchaser and the Vendor.
The Purchaser acknowledges that:
  1. No warranties or representations (except those given in this agreement) regarding the Vessel (including the suitability for any purpose) or this sale, has been given or made by the Vendor, the Agent or any person on their behalf;
  2. The Purchaser has relied upon his own enquiries, inspection, investigation and knowledge with respect to the vessel in entering this agreement
;
Note the underlined sections. Thats the reality.

Yes I believe in describing a vessel accurately. If their were major flaws in a yacht I was selling I would fix them. To use your osmosis example, the last yacht I sold had osmosis, which I spent 6 months stripping out, drying and repairing. I then described this repair as one of the selling points. However I did not bother saying anything about the leaks in a few spots in the roof, the intermittent problem with the autopilot, or the 25 other things that were on my to do list when I sold the boat.

Your statement “Show the buyer the boats faults before the survey” is simply self servicing nonsense. Thats your job and why you are being paid.

Like I said previously, I would ignore 80% of your list.

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Old 27-06-2020, 19:34   #14
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Re: Owner selling boat guidelines

It is definitely my job to find the faults on the boat. But the issue is you are really wasting the buyers time and money by not disclosing the issues particularly if they are expensive to repair. There is nothing cheap about slipping a boat and getting a survey done. I have had a fair number of customers who get two or three boats surveyed before they find the right one. At each survey they get a bit more educated, but it is a bit depressing when they have spent thousands of dollars and not even purchased a boat.
“Buyer Beware” is just an old chestnut to make sharks/used car salesman feel better about themselves.
I suppose Ilenart the difference is I was brought up to treat people how I would like to be treated and often naively think other people think the same.
Cheers
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Old 27-06-2020, 19:59   #15
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Re: Owner selling boat guidelines

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fore and Aft View Post
It is definitely my job to find the faults on the boat. But the issue is you are really wasting the buyers time and money by not disclosing the issues particularly if they are expensive to repair. There is nothing cheap about slipping a boat and getting a survey done. I have had a fair number of customers who get two or three boats surveyed before they find the right one. At each survey they get a bit more educated, but it is a bit depressing when they have spent thousands of dollars and not even purchased a boat.
“Buyer Beware” is just an old chestnut to make sharks/used car salesman feel better about themselves.
I suppose Ilenart the difference is I was brought up to treat people how I would like to be treated and often naively think other people think the same.
Cheers
Ive sold four boats, and I go out of my way to point any problems out, no one knows my boats better than I. Honesty absolutely helps sell a boat, sell anything really. It helps build a relationship, people like buying of people they trust.

My problem with the 2 surveyors I've used in the past were they weren't critical enough, they didnt do their job well enough.

The last bloke was to fat to crawl in the lockers and check steering gear etc, if I asked how the bulkheads were attached I'm sure he wouldnt know, he did tell me about gas regulations, how I should anti foul and even how I should anchor, by the anchoring stage over coffee I was done.

I'm happy for a surveyor to find fault with my boat,I'll fix it.
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