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-   -   How to Purchase a Far Away Boat (https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f47/how-to-purchase-a-far-away-boat-164413.html)

OrangeCrush 11-04-2016 20:46

How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Hello,

I'm looking to buy my second boat, a much more significant purchase than my first, and I could use a little schooling on some of the protocol and etiquette. I'm located in New York and I've looked at a number of boats in my area, but now I'm interested in one located in South Carolina. I will need to fly down there to see it and get it surveyed (plus hotel and car rental). Assuming a lot of best case scenarios, I'm wondering how much I can expect to streamline the process and reduce the costs.

Please tell me if this is at all realistic: I fly down on a Friday evening sometime in the next month or so and view the boat on Saturday, maybe go out for a sail. If I don't like what I see, game over and I cancel the surveyor I have booked for Sunday (can I do that??) and go home. But if I want to move forward, I make an offer contingent on survey. If we agree on price then the surveyor comes and I have a local yard haul for the survey. Will a surveyor ever look at the motor or do I need a separate mechanic? Is hiring a diver (or doing it myself) ever preferable to hauling out? Is it at all reasonable to attempt to do all that in a single weekend?

If everything goes well at the survey, it seems like the rest of the purchase could be completed from a distance. Once I have a bill of sale, then I can register the boat in New York. Will I be able to get insurance for the boat in New York using the survey I had done in SC? I'd need to leave the boat where it is until the end of June when my work is over and I can go down there, prep the boat and bring it back up North.

To make things more complicated still, I'll need the seller to come down a fair amount on price (~20%) for it to work for me. Is it ever appropriate to talk money before coming to see a boat? I was thinking maybe the vague but direct route is better, to simply ask if their price is firm or flexible. If they say their price is very firm that could save me a pointless trip. But it seems hasty or counterproductive to speak real numbers before seeing anything. Do I have that right?

I've spoken with the owners; my next step will be to start calling up surveyors with many of these same questions. But I thought I would run it by the forum first as I am sure some of my assumptions are wrong. Thanks for helping me figure out the best way to go approach this. I won't rush the purchase if things don't work out right, but I also want to be ready if they do.

Last question, anybody know a good surveyor near Beaufort, SC?

Jack

jdazey 11-04-2016 21:54

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Based on our experience living in Washington State and buying a boat in Florida I suggest going to SC and personally inspecting the boat. If you can get in a sail/sea trials. At that point you need to discuss price. If you come to terms based on survey/sea trials, get your surveyor and arrange for a haulout. OK, if it's a $2000 boat maybe a haulout won't be necessary, but you said it's a significantly bigger expense that your current boat. Your agreement with the seller should be contingent on satisfactory sea trials and survey. The seller may want a deposit. If anything comes to light on the survey, and it will, negotiate a price reduction or other terms or get your deposit back and walk away.

We had our boat surveyed by Jonathon Sands, a multihull specialist, and couldn't be happier with his report that included oil analysis and full, up the mast, rigging inspection.

After the survey, we had five days to respond to the seller/broker. We went back to Washington a waited for the report.The survey had recommendations that required further negotiations and resulted in a significant price reduction. Once that was settled, we sent the rest of the money. We returned to Florida three weeks later for closing, submitted the documentation to the Coast Guard, and took possession.

Cheers,

Lepke 11-04-2016 22:09

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
It's ok if you talk price before seeing a distant boat.
If the sale is thru a broker, they should handle many of the details.
Engine depends on the surveyor. Best to have a real mechanic.
You should be able to schedule showing and sea trial on the same trip.
From personal experience, it's better to spend more money and time traveling, more trips, excellent surveyor, etc., than get stuck with a big problem.

Bavaria50 11-04-2016 22:20

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
It's usually good to talk price first. Saves you the hassle if they simply aren't willing to come down in price. Also, if you haven't negotiated a lower price and the survey is perfect, no need for them to adjust their price. But if you have an agreed lower price and the survey shows an issue, now your starting place is your previously negotiated price and you get to go down from there because of the needed repairs.

vjm 12-04-2016 01:48

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
I would recommend getting into contract before you go down, subject to sea trial, survey, and personal inspection. That way you don't risk the travel money if the seller decides not to sell, or sells it to someone else before you get there. Just went through this, and lost the travel money when the seller decided to keep the boat. It will also let you know if the seller is open to a lower price.

Check with your surveyor about a less than 24 hour cancellation. It would make sense to me if they charge full price for that. If so, you could go down on Friday and look at it Friday.

Another option is don't travel down. Just send the surveyor. Obviously has its pluses and minuses, but if you have been on sisterships and have a ton of current pictures then you know if the boat theoretically works for you. While it is best to be there for the survey, sometimes that just isn't economically the best use of your money.

Hope it all works out!

UNCIVILIZED 12-04-2016 04:57

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Most of what's posted is very good advice. And to give your question a bottom line answer, no, your timeline's not realistic. Here's some of why.

A) Yes, it makes sense to haggle a bit with the buyer before even considering going to look at the boat if it's overpriced. As you'll likely be making a couple of trips down, & or staying there for several days, for the inspections processes.
And if you can't start out in a realistic price range, then it makes no sense to spend thousands, both traveling, & evaluating the boat.

B) A Good Inspections process goes something like this.
- Send him a detailed sheet of everything onboard which you'd want to see live, & have him make you a video of the majority of it, prior to your booking any travel.
- After viewing it, & seeing that it seems satisfactory, go & inspect the boat & all of her gear yourself. This could take a few hours, or a few days. Depending upon what the seller will allow. And what you both; make time for, & are comfortable/qualified to properly inspect.

- Then, if the boat passes these hurdles, you call in the pro's. And you NEED to be there for each of these inspections (surveys). Especially to ask questions in reference to some of what the various surveyors discover, then & there (take a video camera with you for these inspections).
And don't hire any surveyors who don't want you around during their surveys sic).

- The "various" (mandatory) surveyors being; Rig, Sails, Engine & Mechanical (including engine oil, & transmission fluid analysis), General (standard).

- From there, it'll take a little while to get the reports back. And once you get them, you'll of course need to consult with the surveyors, to ask them some questions about things in their reports. As well as some things which aren't.
--> Educating yourself as much as possible on; the specific boat, & her weaknesses, plus on surveying, & boat buying, are your best tools in this equation.

So then, based on these things (surveys, & any flags which they raise), odds are there will be some more back & forth with the seller, regarding price.

- Then, once the price pending sea trial is worked out, you'll need to do a proper sea trial. Which can be quite thorough. Including a general sail, sometimes a couple (light & heavy air). Testing out all of her other sails. A good long test under power of the engine. Plus the rest of her systems too.
And there are checklists available for these things.

Ah, so... while I'm guessing that this wasn't the answer for which you were hoping, it's a (more or less) proper way to ensure that the boat of your dreams, really is such.
And that when you purchase her, you know (most) of what you're getting.

And I say "most", because if you read this thread https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ir-164093.html You'll see that a couple of surveyors, with lots of time between surveys, missed some BIG issues. And sadly, such is not an isolated thing.

All of that said, I wish you luck with the purchase :) and I hope that this helps you.

PS: Also, before haggling price wise, try & find out:
- How much she's been used in the last few years, if at all. As it plays to desire to sell, but also to her general upkeep during that time, or lack there of. For unused boats are often unmaintained.
- How long she's been on the market. And especially, why.

MrReedatsea 12-04-2016 05:14

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
OC,

I actually did all this in the last six weeks. I had a fantastic broker on Marco Island. He took me through the boat on FaceTime and set up a haul out, survey, and sea trial for a Monday morning. I flew in on Sunday from Indiana, attended the sea trial, survey, and haul out on Monday, and flew out Monday evening. I saved money by paying for the airfare with credit card points and booked a room on AirBNB.

Everything went smoothly for the most part and I purchased the boat two weeks ago.

Good luck!

Reed

UNCIVILIZED 12-04-2016 06:26

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
I forgot to mention it, but boatpoker, a member on here who's a surveyor, has an excellent website. Marine Surveyor, Port Credit Marine Surveys, Toronto, Ontario
Full of pages & pages of great information. I'd highly recommend soaking up as much of it as you can. And also perusing some of his posts, as he's Real sharp.

And there are some other surveyors on here as well, who are chock full of wisdom. For example, one or two have demonstrated what a good thermal imaging scan of a boat can reveal, & why it can really make sense to have one done (by a certified operator).
https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ys-147741.html

Also, on the haul vs. dive for survey thing. Unless you clear a diver's inspection in lieu of a haulout, with your insurance company first. I'd say that you'd better plan on hauling her.
Plus, there are some things which simply can't be ascertained via diving, that can be when the boat's on the hard.

And regarding how much time the process takes. Much of it depends on the size & complexity of the boat. But also on how in depth you want to inspect things, & what the owner's willing to put up with in such regards.

If you tell us what the boat is, I'm sure that some other sistership owners will chime in with some comments too.

Terra Nova 12-04-2016 07:00

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED (Post 2095379)
...you NEED to be there for each of these inspections (surveys)...

Leave the surveyor alone! He is there to do an important job for you. And he will give you a full report, in writing. You can talk to him, in person or by phone, when he has completed the survey.

wunderluster 12-04-2016 07:33

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
All good advice but be sure to check the yard schedule and the surveyors schedule for a haul out. There are no yards in my area of Florida that will haul out on a weekend unless its to avoid a sinking. Make it a long weekend by traveling on Saturday or Sunday. Schedule the survey on Monday. If the boat doesn't meet your inspection and price after you see her then cancel the survey. Tell the surveyor upfront that you will be seeing the boat for the first time on the weekend and you may need to cancel the survey. But fair warning, too many things can go wrong when trying to rush a major undertaking.

It can be done with lots of patience and planning.

Good Luck!

jdazey 12-04-2016 08:08

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Terra Nova (Post 2095438)
Leave the surveyor alone! He is there to do an important job for you. And he will give you a full report, in writing. You can talk to him, in person or by phone, when he has completed the survey.


I'm with Uncivilized on this one. I've attended every survey on boats I've bought and sold as well as insurance surveys. I don't hover, but every time the surveyor has questions or has something he wants to share with one or both of the interested parties. In addition it gives more time to closely inspect the vessel.

As the buyer, you're paying for the survey. Don't get in his way, but be available. If you have questions about something specific, let him know. In addition you'll learn a lot about boats in general and this boat in particular watching the surveyor do his job. You'll also learn something about surveyors, not all of whom are as qualified as you'd like them to be.

Cheers,

Scaramanga F25 12-04-2016 08:31

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
You may travel only to find a dirty, mildewed, scratched boat.
Pictures and videos do not show reality.

After some bad experiences due to people that have only their interests
at heart I began sending a local surveyor of my choice for a first one hour cursory inspection for a fee of course. For 2 or 3 hundred $.

Be very specific of what you want him to look at, not survey. From 1 to 5, five being Bristol , cushion covers, foam mattresses, canvas, shine on hull, chips, condition of cabinetry, etc.etc
I once was fooled, drove over 1000 miles and left after 5 minutes.
Broker lied, owner lied and wife lied even more.

Should his report be favorable then and only then go yourself.

MrReedatsea 12-04-2016 08:39

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Terra Nova (Post 2095438)
Leave the surveyor alone! He is there to do an important job for you. And he will give you a full report, in writing. You can talk to him, in person or by phone, when he has completed the survey.


Terre: I was of the mindset that I would leave the surveyor alone to work, but he would call me over to point things out. When I went trough his report I knew exactly what he was referring to. It was very much appreciated, but again, he took the lead.

Cadence 12-04-2016 08:41

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by OrangeCrush (Post 2095249)
Hello,

I'm looking to buy my second boat, a much more significant purchase than my first, and I could use a little schooling on some of the protocol and etiquette. I'm located in New York and I've looked at a number of boats in my area, but now I'm interested in one located in South Carolina. I will need to fly down there to see it and get it surveyed (plus hotel and car rental). Assuming a lot of best case scenarios, I'm wondering how much I can expect to streamline the process and reduce the costs.

Please tell me if this is at all realistic: I fly down on a Friday evening sometime in the next month or so and view the boat on Saturday, maybe go out for a sail. If I don't like what I see, game over and I cancel the surveyor I have booked for Sunday (can I do that??) and go home. But if I want to move forward, I make an offer contingent on survey. If we agree on price then the surveyor comes and I have a local yard haul for the survey. Will a surveyor ever look at the motor or do I need a separate mechanic? Is hiring a diver (or doing it myself) ever preferable to hauling out? Is it at all reasonable to attempt to do all that in a single weekend?

If everything goes well at the survey, it seems like the rest of the purchase could be completed from a distance. Once I have a bill of sale, then I can register the boat in New York. Will I be able to get insurance for the boat in New York using the survey I had done in SC? I'd need to leave the boat where it is until the end of June when my work is over and I can go down there, prep the boat and bring it back up North.

To make things more complicated still, I'll need the seller to come down a fair amount on price (~20%) for it to work for me. Is it ever appropriate to talk money before coming to see a boat? I was thinking maybe the vague but direct route is better, to simply ask if their price is firm or flexible. If they say their price is very firm that could save me a pointless trip. But it seems hasty or counterproductive to speak real numbers before seeing anything. Do I have that right?

I've spoken with the owners; my next step will be to start calling up surveyors with many of these same questions. But I thought I would run it by the forum first as I am sure some of my assumptions are wrong. Thanks for helping me figure out the best way to go approach this. I won't rush the purchase if things don't work out right, but I also want to be ready if they do.

Last question, anybody know a good surveyor near Beaufort, SC?

Jack


Jack, if you like her you may want to arrange for a weeks vacation. If not hop the next flight home. Do all your homework first as to surveys and yards to haul at. May give you a better idea of their availability. As to the engine the surveyor is only going to say it is an whatever SN XXX with so many hours or unknown if no hour meter. As to the engine your own ear may be your best evaluation.

Beaufort has grown but finding a yard to haul at and a surveyor Hilton Head may be the closest. I believe there was a yard on Lady's Island that could haul. Just some thoughts. I hadn't their since it was a quaint little town.

UNCIVILIZED 12-04-2016 08:43

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Terra Nova (Post 2095438)
Leave the surveyor alone! He is there to do an important job for you. And he will give you a full report, in writing. You can talk to him, in person or by phone, when he has completed the survey.

I guess on this, opinions will vary. But on every boat that I've had surveyed, I was VERY glad that I was there to see some of the things which were discovered, first hand, by the Surveyor (& Rigger). Which, without my having been there, would not have had the same impact at all.
Nor would I have learned half as much about the boat.
Particularly as the Surveyors were kind enough to share some of their wealth of knowledge about that model of boat, & boats in general, with me, right then & there.

This has applied to every type of survey which I've ever had done. Car, boat, you name it.
A habit taught to me from as early on in my life as I can recall. Which when done right, also helps to establish the basis for a long term rapport, with the Surveyor (mechanic, or painter, etc.).

And if you're buying the boat, then it is your Legal Duty as her Captain, to know as much about her (& boats in general) as is possible.

I certainly don't believe in hovering over someone doing their job, & have rarely been given hints that I was, or that I was impeding their "process".
But there are questions which do come up during the course of a survey (of any, & every type), which, when asked at an appropriate moment, can teach you quite a lot.
That type of thing cannot be done over the phone. As such is not a real time interactive process.

However, the Bottom Line is that a Surveyor (of any type, or mechanic, rigger etc.) can simply say "No, I prefer to work sans supervision or interference, etc.".
It's not a tough statement for them to make. And you live with it, or move on, & hire someone else.

grantmc 12-04-2016 08:44

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by OrangeCrush (Post 2095249)
Hello,
... I will need to fly down there to see it and get it surveyed (plus hotel and car rental)...
Jack

No reason you can't ask the seller if they could pick you and drop you off at airport. Also I would always expect to stay on the boat; no need for a hotel.

And I would organise surveyor by phone once I'm back home and happy with what I've seen (and had a chance to think things through). And agree with others; be at the survey, so yes second trip required.

Terra Nova 12-04-2016 08:52

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Anyone can pay a surveyor to chat them up. But all that while you are distracting and inhibiting the surveyor from focusing on the job you should have hired him to do. You can get an education and make new, life-long friends, or you can get the best survey the man is capable of. Take your pick.

Connemara 12-04-2016 09:18

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Just went through this, to buy a boat in New Zealand.

Use a broker if possible. But either way, you make an offer, conditional on sea trial and survey. If it's accepted, you go to the trial. If that's good, then the survey happens. If that's good, you've bought yourself a boat.

In our case, we were doing it slightly differently, with the broker's and owner's agreement. We had a trip planned to Kiwiland and couldn't do the sea trial first, so we agreed to do the survey first with a sea trial when we got there a day or so later. Unfortunately, the boat failed the survey rather badly. So that was that.

On the positive side, the broker pointed us to another boat and we were able to do things in the proper order because we were there-- offer, sea trial, and survey. Much easier and less fraught. And we bought the boat.

Connemara

Zach 12-04-2016 09:21

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Terra Nova (Post 2095438)
Leave the surveyor alone! He is there to do an important job for you. And he will give you a full report, in writing. You can talk to him, in person or by phone, when he has completed the survey.

This is poor advice. There are a lot of surveyors in the world that poke a digital camera in a hole, snap a picture and write up a condition statement without getting in the hole to do a true inspection.

Even if they are SAMS/NAMS accredited surveyor, it is still worth being present. There are buyers pre-purchase surveyors, sellers surveyors, lending surveyors, and insurance surveyors.

You can hope you hired a true buyers surveyor... and not simply a lending/insurance surveyor that is there to verify that the boat you are buying does exist in this world... and verify that your check is good in exchange for their letter head to procure a loan and insurance.

There are some surveyors with fantastic reputations and long standing working relationships with the boat yards, that no longer have knees and hips to allow them do a thorough inspection... You can get all the insurance, and lending the world can offer with their letter head, but they are no longer able to provide a true buyers survey as the areas that are accessible, are limited by the surveyors physical condition.

A flashlight view across the top of an engine at the stuffing boxes and steering gear, gives enough information to verify what they are, and that they are present... but not of their actual condition. Beyond adding another hose clamp where there is only one... without being able to get eyeball to eyeball with the equipment the quality of the assessment of condition is lacking. If you are going to pay a thousand dollars to haul the boat and have it surveyed, it is worth while to have a survey that involves climbing into cockpit lockers and writing down model numbers of transmissions...

If they can't get in the cockpit locker, because it isn't accessible to them... Then they can't do a visual inspection to see the crack in the mounting bracket of your idler sheave on your chain and cable steering. :facepalm:

Cheers,

Zach

Island Time O25 12-04-2016 09:43

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
As a buyer why would you wait for the surveyor to get into all of those tight spaces? IMO any defect which is plainly visible should be first observed by the buyer. Now, granted not all defects are critical or show stoppers, that's where the surveyor comes in. But well before spending $$ on haul outs and survey one must do one's own leg and elbow work - opening and closing seacocks, touching the steering cable for fray strands, observing the engine mounts, checking on all systems - water, head, etc.

Only after you have said to yourself - yeah, I like what I've seen and touched so far, only then should you be thinking of spending for survey/haulouts/splashes, etc. On some boats I've checked out, which were fairly priced and in good condition, just the tight access to the engine and/or steering system was the deal breaker for me. I would never have known this by just looking at the pics online. A moldy cushion or two or a leaky port can be replaced but a tight unworkable engine space will be with you forever.

Scaramanga F25 12-04-2016 10:09

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Please note: Many surveyors do not survey engine(s). Most important!

Get the local specialized marine mechanic of the make of engine in the boat to give an opinion on condition and his recommendations.

Many surveyors will not climb the mast get a proper rigger.

Island Time O25 12-04-2016 10:13

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Scaramanga F25 (Post 2095610)
Please note: Many surveyors do not survey engine(s). Most important!

Get the local specialized marine mechanic of the make of engine in the boat to give an opinion on condition and his recommendations.

Many surveyors will not climb the mast get a proper rigger.

We still do not know the price range of the OP. IMO for boats under $20K there would be somewhat different pre-purchase spending considerations than for boats say over $100K.

UNCIVILIZED 12-04-2016 10:42

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Island Time O25 (Post 2095588)
As a buyer why would you wait for the surveyor to get into all of those tight spaces? IMO any defect which is plainly visible should be first observed by the buyer. Now, granted not all defects are critical or show stoppers, that's where the surveyor comes in. But well before spending $$ on haul outs and survey one must do one's own leg and elbow work - opening and closing seacocks, touching the steering cable for fray strands, observing the engine mounts, checking on all systems - water, head, etc.

Only after you have said to yourself - yeah, I like what I've seen and touched so far, only then should you be thinking of spending for survey/haulouts/splashes, etc. On some boats I've checked out, which were fairly priced and in good condition, just the tight access to the engine and/or steering system was the deal breaker for me. I would never have known this by just looking at the pics online. A moldy cushion or two or a leaky port can be replaced but a tight unworkable engine space will be with you forever.

"My point, exactly". :biggrin:

hellosailor 12-04-2016 11:03

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Speaking of surveyors, your insurer may require you to pay for a SECOND survey using someone from their approved list. If you can find that out in advance, you may be able to simply use the right guy the first time around.


And when you first speak with the broker, ask them "When were these pictures taken?" "Can you take current pictures?" if they are not. And if you have specific concerns, like previous major repairs, water penetration, etc. do not be afraid to ask for answers before you are willing to send money or contract. Most brokers don't know and don't want to know, but since your trip and surveyor will probably cost a grand and take four days out of your life...it isn't unreasonable to ask.


You might also want to see if there are any other interesting boats in the area, so that while you are there, if this one doesn't pan out, the trip isn't totally wasted.

Terra Nova 12-04-2016 12:15

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by OrangeCrush (Post 2095249)
...I'm located in New York and I've looked at a number of boats in my area, but now I'm interested in one located in South Carolina. I will need to fly down there to see it and get it surveyed (plus hotel and car rental). Assuming a lot of best case scenarios, I'm wondering how much I can expect to streamline the process and reduce the costs.

Please tell me if this is at all realistic: I fly down on a Friday evening sometime in the next month or so and view the boat on Saturday, maybe go out for a sail...

Jack

First, if you are not ready, now, don't expect the boat to still be around in a month, or more. Prepare yourself. Then go take care of business. Have your funds instantly available. And save some time off to do proper due diligence and see things through. If you're so busy or preoccupied to take the time off, then wait until you do have time, or hire someone to do that for you.

Buying a boat out of your area can significantly increase the expense and time required, by the time the vessel relocates to its permanent home. I have been involved with shopping, purchase, refitting and delivery of yachts in distant ports and foreign countries. Most buyers are initially unprepared for the additional cost.

Schooner Chandlery 12-04-2016 12:17

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
We purchased a boat from afar. We were in DC, the owner in WA, and the boat in CA. We looked at boats meeting our needs around the world, first. But--our "we looked at" was having a recommended, competent surveyor go take a first look (not a full survey, mind you!) and this cost about $200/ vessel considered. We then chose to fly to the location of 2 of the boats we were considering. The best vessel for us was actually in the UK but the logistics of running our US-based business while working on or overseeing the boat rebuild just wasn't going to work out. We did not fly to see that boat though we did have the surveyor do the first look. In the end, we'd has 4 boats looked over by surveyors in addition to a few we drove to on the east coast. We flew to see 2 of the 4 boats. Decided on 1, had it fully surveyed, hired a boatyard and planned the rebuild. Gave the owner a hefty non-refundable deposit (if we backed out) and paid fully for the boat 6 months later on an agreed upon date. It all went well.

OrangeCrush 12-04-2016 12:44

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Wow, sorry I've been slow to chime back in here. Incredibly helpful info, everyone, thanks. Now here comes the follow up... I'm trying to respond to many of your comments so settle in and forgive the length. :popcorn:

The boat is a 1986 Southern Cross 39. The sellers are a couple currently living aboard but reportedly ready to sell. They are asking 77k and they're not using a broker. I know of two other SC 39's that started above 60k and sold for less than 40k. Then again, this boat is newer, nicer and much better equipped than the others I saw. Everything is reportedly in good to very good condition with all systems functional. If everything checks out well, I'm thinking this boat may be a bit overpriced but not wildly so.

It's encouraging to hear you think I can work on getting the price down before going to visit. But do you think I should simply reveal to them my true and honest upper limit (which is around 60k assuming a really great boat) and see if they are open to it? Or should I offer something lower first as I would in a more conventional negotiation? Or give them a range? I feel like telling them my upper limit almost locks me in to that (except for survey issues). On the other hand, making an offer on the low end runs a higher risk they tell me to take a hike.

Obviously fitting it all into a weekend was wishful thinking. I'm a middle school teacher and I won't be taking any weeks off until summer, at which point I have all of July. If some of this process has to wait until then it's ok. But if possible I would rather have the purchase sorted and spend July prepping the boat and sailing home to NYC. If this boat doesn't work out for whatever reason, I'll still be on the hunt and squirreling away money to increase my boat budget.

From here I see a few ways of approaching it....

I like your bold approach, Reed. It's wouldn't be impossible but I think it's too risky for me to go straight to the survey without seeing the boat first.

The next approach would be that I fly down myself and spend a whole weekend carefully checking it out on my own, including a thorough sea trial. I am pretty comfortable inspecting things myself, at least until the pros take over. At this point I've looked at more than a few boats, I'm acquainted with problem areas, I have a moisture meter and I know how to use it, etc. But I don't really know how I would create a contract before this type of visit as vjm suggests. It seems like that would be just as likely to work against me. With this approach I run the risk that the boat is not up to snuff and I lose a few hundred on the travel. But if I like what I see, then I can haggle over the price, make a real offer contingent on survey, and I hire the surveyor to follow up without me. I can find a very reputable surveyor who provides a sample of what he will be reporting on beforehand and I make sure he addresses any concerns I have from my own personal inspection.

The third approach would be to just plan on two separate visits from the outset, one for my own inspection and one to attend the survey. This is the most costly but least rushed option. Or I can start out with my own visit and decide later whether or not I feel the need to be there for the survey. It seems like there is a near consensus that it is worth the cost of a second trip to be there. By the time I get to that stage I will no doubt be eager to be as involved as possible so I'll just plan on that.

Great advice about asking to get picked up at the airport and to stay on the boat, Grant. That's what I meant about needing some schooling on the etiquette.

Some more assorted questions...

How formal is a sea trial, generally speaking? I do that myself without a professional on board, right? I have plenty of experience on boats of this size and I think I can judge its sailing and motoring characteristics pretty well, especially with some methodical preparation and checklists.

How much should I expect to pay a mechanic to go over the engine? What kind of checks should I be asking for? Should I at least ask potential surveyors about their ability to do this, or just skip it and find a mechanic? Is a compression test necessary? I'm expecting the sellers will have a preferred yard for haul out, but I could try to find a disinterested mechanic from the area, or I could find another yard with a mechanic to do both the haul out and motor check.

Not trying to "skimp" on anything so shoot me down if this is a bad idea, but can I perhaps do the motor and rigging inspections myself with careful preparation and diligent checklists? The motor is a Universal 5432, "new re-manufactured with 450 hours". The mast was recently repainted with Imron (I'm not crazy about this) which I guess could complicate the rig inspection, but I have no problems spending time aloft to check it out carefully.

Thanks again for all the help and encouragement! I've definitely got my work cut out for me. Collecting more info, negotiating a price, choosing an insurance carrier and finding a good surveyor are the first orders of business.

Dr. Sea 12-04-2016 13:02

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Marine surveyors are essential to making a good decision about a major boat purchase, but not infallible. They are like people in any other line of work--some are great, most are good or OK, some are marginal, and some are terrible. Make sure that any surveyor you use is accredited and independent. The Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors (SAMS) and the National Association of Marine Surveyors (NAMS) are the two major professional associations of marine surveyors. Being a member of one of those organizations is not a guarantee of a great surveyor, but not being a member is a "stay away" sign. To be independent, the surveyor should NOT be anyone recommended by the broker or the seller. A broker can steer you to a surveyor who has more allegiance to himself than to you.

Use only a surveyor who will go aloft to inspect the rig carefully--and ask him to take photos of the deck from the top of the mast to be confident that he really went aloft. Most marine surveyors are not engine mechanics, so you will most likely need to hire a mechanical surveyor for the engine and generator.

OrangeCrush 12-04-2016 13:07

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Terra Nova (Post 2095700)
First, if you are not ready, now, don't expect the boat to still be around in a month, or more. Prepare yourself. .

Fair enough, TN. I've got the funds ready but they are not infinite. I'm trying to anticipate and reduce costs where possible. If things seem like expenses are getting out of hand I will bail and keep waiting. Your perspective is helpful.

The boat has been listed for at least a few months, maybe longer. No matter what the first time I can get down there is May 7-8th. If it goes before then, so it goes.

jdazey 12-04-2016 13:16

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
The owners may not be comfortable with you staying on the boat, especially if they're living aboard. If they are, great. At least try to get some time alone on the boat.

While you may want to share you upper limit with the owners with the hope of avoiding a wasted trip, I personally would not make an offer without full disclosure by the owner and personal inspection.

It's nice to go for a sail with the owner, but the surveyor should want to conduct sea trials. At least our surveyor did.

Oil analysis will tell you a lot about the condition of the engine. Driving the boat under power will show major defects in the power train.

Basically the more you inspect the boat yourself, the better. Hiring a surveyor will give you a hopefully unbiased opinion regarding the condition of the boat. A surveyor will most likely spot things you don't. It should also give you a stronger bargaining position when it comes to remedying undisclosed defects. Nonetheless, if you have experience with boats, nothing substitutes for a close personal inspection of every part you can get at. Surveyors have a mixed reputation for good reason:(

Good luck,

vjm 12-04-2016 13:21

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
You run the risk they will sell it out from under you or decide not to sell if they are not locked into a contract. Yes, it requires you to write in that the sale is subject to your personal inspection as well as a sea trial and survey. All you have to do is put a time limit on it for them, like "conditions will be waived or executed by 30 days after acceptance of this contract". Then they know you aren't just going to tie them up indefinitely.

Sorry to beat the drum on this, but I just ate the cost of flight, hotel, and car when a seller (who had committed to a price and insisted on sending more pictures before I made travel arrangements) decided to keep the boat. It sucked. If I had had a signed contract he would not have been able to do that, and while he may have made the same decision it would have been before I made travel reservations.

Figure out a fair price if everything works and is in the condition that is represented. You can always renegotiate after the survey if things don't work or are in poorer condition. If they are asking 77 and aren't even really on the market I bet they balk like a spooked horse at 60. It's worth finding out if the deal could even go through between you before you spend good money on travel. You aren't committed to paying the contract price, it's just a place holder until you can get a real number for this boat.

But that's just me.

Great boat, and I am sure you will enjoy it, or one like it very much.

zippy 12-04-2016 14:20

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
I live in Canada and bought my first large boat in the US. I plan on buying another (bigger) boat outside of Canada in about a year. In order to justify the travel, I am looking for a bargain (like everyone) compared to the average price for that model. I don't think it is possible to secure a good deal without first getting a conditional offer accepted before you travel. I also want to know that I can buy the boat if I want it, and it won't be sold while I am looking. If a boat is listed at $150,000 and you can/will only pay $125,000, you are wasting time and money by not securing an offer before you proceed. If the boat has been misrepresented, in your view, than your deposit is returned upon your inspection. My process is:

1- When you find a boat get as many pictures as possible, complete description and talk to the seller.
2- Make an offer as to what you are willing to pay based on the description, contingent on your personal inspection and/or survey results. You have now secured what you think is a bargain deal on that boat. Few offers will get this far.
3- Travel to the boat and see if it is as you expected. I will know now if the boat is worth surveying.
4- If it is the bargain I expected, I am looking for big ticket items on the survey and not looking to nickel and dime the seller, so I can schedule the survey and haul out at a later date. I may or may not attend the survey depending.

This worked for me once, hopefully my next purchase will go as well.



Sent from my iPad using Cruisers Sailing Forum

Terra Nova 12-04-2016 14:49

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
When neither buyer nor seller are represented by a broker, it is helpful to hire a broker just to handle the contract, escrow funds and see that title and such are properly dealt with. Their charge for such service might be several hundred $.

Forget about dirtying up the deal by asking sellers to let you sleep over and chauffeur you around. You certainly don't need to take up a weekend of their time to inspect and sea trial the boat.

Dsanduril 12-04-2016 15:09

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jdazey (Post 2095738)
... At least try to get some time alone on the boat....


Having just been through this process with an owner-liveaboard-seller, this one is a critical item in my book. It will be hard, this is their home, but you are the buyer. You have the try the boat on for yourself, and be able to look anywhere you want without someone over your shoulder, asking questions, or pointing out something else, or distracting you (deliberate or inadvertent). Make sure you tell them up front that after you meet and do a walkthrough you will want at least an [hour, two hours, whatever] on the boat by yourself (or with your surveyor, or someone else you trust who is working on your side).

Cheechako 12-04-2016 15:20

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
I would say in most instances, not realistic. If you give yourself a week or so... more realistic.
-first; most boats are nothing like they look in the ads.
-Hard to negotiate a fair price too quickly and hard to determine what it's worth to you if you haven't even seen the boat yet.
-I don't think most surveyors would appreciate you cancelling, but the non busy ones might not.
-You wont find a yard to haul the boat on Sunday likely.
-your trip is short. A day trip to view the boat is not expensive and a good thing probably. View the boat, take pictures, ask a million questions... then GO HOME.
-think about it, if you want make an offer in a day or two, negotiate hard.
-once that's done, arrange the whole survey sea trial.
-negotiate again based on problem items.

Terra Nova 12-04-2016 15:28

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
ko--good post.

Cheechako 12-04-2016 15:40

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by OrangeCrush (Post 2095718)
Wow, sorry I've been slow to chime back in here. Incredibly helpful info, everyone, thanks. Now here comes the follow up... I'm trying to respond to many of your comments so settle in and forgive the length. :popcorn:

The boat is a 1986 Southern Cross 39. The sellers are a couple currently living aboard but reportedly ready to sell. They are asking 77k and they're not using a broker. I know of two other SC 39's that started above 60k and sold for less than 40k. Then again, this boat is newer, nicer and much better equipped than the others I saw. Everything is reportedly in good to very good condition with all systems functional. If everything checks out well, I'm thinking this boat may be a bit overpriced but not wildly so.

It's encouraging to hear you think I can work on getting the price down before going to visit. But do you think I should simply reveal to them my true and honest upper limit (which is around 60k assuming a really great boat) and see if they are open to it? Or should I offer something lower first as I would in a more conventional negotiation? Or give them a range? I feel like telling them my upper limit almost locks me in to that (except for survey issues). On the other hand, making an offer on the low end runs a higher risk they tell me to take a hike.

Obviously fitting it all into a weekend was wishful thinking. I'm a middle school teacher and I won't be taking any weeks off until summer, at which point I have all of July. If some of this process has to wait until then it's ok. But if possible I would rather have the purchase sorted and spend July prepping the boat and sailing home to NYC. If this boat doesn't work out for whatever reason, I'll still be on the hunt and squirreling away money to increase my boat budget.

From here I see a few ways of approaching it....

I like your bold approach, Reed. It's wouldn't be impossible but I think it's too risky for me to go straight to the survey without seeing the boat first.

The next approach would be that I fly down myself and spend a whole weekend carefully checking it out on my own, including a thorough sea trial. I am pretty comfortable inspecting things myself, at least until the pros take over. At this point I've looked at more than a few boats, I'm acquainted with problem areas, I have a moisture meter and I know how to use it, etc. But I don't really know how I would create a contract before this type of visit as vjm suggests. It seems like that would be just as likely to work against me. With this approach I run the risk that the boat is not up to snuff and I lose a few hundred on the travel. But if I like what I see, then I can haggle over the price, make a real offer contingent on survey, and I hire the surveyor to follow up without me. I can find a very reputable surveyor who provides a sample of what he will be reporting on beforehand and I make sure he addresses any concerns I have from my own personal inspection.

The third approach would be to just plan on two separate visits from the outset, one for my own inspection and one to attend the survey. This is the most costly but least rushed option. Or I can start out with my own visit and decide later whether or not I feel the need to be there for the survey. It seems like there is a near consensus that it is worth the cost of a second trip to be there. By the time I get to that stage I will no doubt be eager to be as involved as possible so I'll just plan on that.

Great advice about asking to get picked up at the airport and to stay on the boat, Grant. That's what I meant about needing some schooling on the etiquette.

Some more assorted questions...

How formal is a sea trial, generally speaking? I do that myself without a professional on board, right? I have plenty of experience on boats of this size and I think I can judge its sailing and motoring characteristics pretty well, especially with some methodical preparation and checklists.

How much should I expect to pay a mechanic to go over the engine? What kind of checks should I be asking for? Should I at least ask potential surveyors about their ability to do this, or just skip it and find a mechanic? Is a compression test necessary? I'm expecting the sellers will have a preferred yard for haul out, but I could try to find a disinterested mechanic from the area, or I could find another yard with a mechanic to do both the haul out and motor check.

Not trying to "skimp" on anything so shoot me down if this is a bad idea, but can I perhaps do the motor and rigging inspections myself with careful preparation and diligent checklists? The motor is a Universal 5432, "new re-manufactured with 450 hours". The mast was recently repainted with Imron (I'm not crazy about this) which I guess could complicate the rig inspection, but I have no problems spending time aloft to check it out carefully.

Thanks again for all the help and encouragement! I've definitely got my work cut out for me. Collecting more info, negotiating a price, choosing an insurance carrier and finding a good surveyor are the first orders of business.

In most cases I've taken the surveyor on the sea trial. He needs to know things from the trial. Listen for sounds, electronics tests etc. While he doesn't survey engines, he will inspect such and comment on things he doesn't like.
Unless there is a reason for such, most often the surveyor has inspected the boat in the water, tapped the deck etc first. If nothing too big , then we either sea trial or haul next.
It's hard to get much from an engine inspection. It either runs well or it doesn't. The fluids are checked for any indicators of course. Visual or audio indicators. Compression test would be a big plus but often not available due to special adaptors needed for diesel engines.
With other available boats sold at much lower prices you are in perfect negotiating position. Electronics over 5 years old are worth zero when comparing boats.

OrangeCrush 12-04-2016 19:25

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Cheechako (Post 2095818)
I would say in most instances, not realistic. If you give yourself a week or so... more realistic.
-first; most boats are nothing like they look in the ads.
-Hard to negotiate a fair price too quickly and hard to determine what it's worth to you if you haven't even seen the boat yet.
-I don't think most surveyors would appreciate you cancelling, but the non busy ones might not.
-You wont find a yard to haul the boat on Sunday likely.
-your trip is short. A day trip to view the boat is not expensive and a good thing probably. View the boat, take pictures, ask a million questions... then GO HOME.
-think about it, if you want make an offer in a day or two, negotiate hard.
-once that's done, arrange the whole survey sea trial.
-negotiate again based on problem items.

Hmm you do make a good case... I guess I'd be more likely to either pay too much or mess up the deal if I made an offer without any knowledge of the boat. So you wouldn't talk money with them at all before going down there? You're right about the day trip, too.

Cheechako 13-04-2016 09:02

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by OrangeCrush (Post 2095952)
Hmm you do make a good case... I guess I'd be more likely to either pay too much or mess up the deal if I made an offer without any knowledge of the boat. So you wouldn't talk money with them at all before going down there? You're right about the day trip, too.

Well... it's hard for sure. Each instance is different. Depends on how good the pics and listing are, how well you know the market, has the boat been listed for a long time or just listed? etc.
You could negotiate up front and always walk away later, then come back later yet with your best offer based on "what you saw and thinking about it".
In general you will likely find a boat listed only say 3 months ago the owner is not very negotiable. A year ago, might be very negotiable. Is the owner nearby? or 3000 miles away.
I finally sold the 38 footer (noted in my early post) at 40% below list because it had sat well over a year, needed maintenance, and I was in the PNW and the boat was in Florida! I was just ready to wash my hands of the deal at that point.
I probably should have went down, spent a month on the boat at a new location and relisted with a new broker.
There really are no wrong moves, just whatever works for you.


BTW, with today's cellphone cameras.... when you look at the boat, try to take a pic of the registration or anything with the owner's address /info. You never know how that might help. If you end up with an obstructive broker, you can always contact the owner and ask questions about the boat. It's amazing how owners will sometimes say too much!
I had a boat listed once and had an "almost" sale with the broker. I met with the potential buyer over a drink and went thru the boat details with him. He had walked away in negotiation with the broker. He bought it immediately after our discussion. Brokers are terrible at explaining things, knowing things and selling often! I still had to pay the lousy broker.

OrangeCrush 13-04-2016 09:36

Re: How to Purchase a Far Away Boat
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Cheechako (Post 2096289)
Depends on how good the pics and listing are, how well you know the market, has the boat been listed for a long time or just listed? etc.

Unfortunately I'm not sure how long this boat has been listed, as that would help. I have been keeping track of prices diligently for almost two years but this boat slipped below my radar since it only comes up under a search for "CE Ryder" and not "Southern Cross". It has been listed for 3 months that I know about, perhaps much longer.

That's good advice about dealing getting around a broker, but this one is listed for sale by the owner. Terra Nova's idea of using a broker for escrow is another good piece of advice, thanks.

Does anyone else have an opinion as to whether the figure of 60k on an asking price of 77k will be seen as an insulting low ball or a reasonable offer for this boat?

There is also the chance that they balk at the number 60, but that it looks better after the boat sits on the market for a few more months. I'm saving up money rapidly right now, so by then I could meet them in the middle.

Jack


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