Mark I wouldn't downplay the real cost of buying this way. Auctions are often selling as is boats that you may not be able to inspect - so the hidden costs can be significant.
And buying something far from home has a lot of hidden costs in either shipping the boat or traveling back and forth to work on it.
We bought five hours from home and the costs included:
- Two hotel stays
- Five trips to the boat (hauling tools, parts, etc.)
- Food and fuel for all those trips
- A one way rental (for the trip to bring her home)
- Meals for the guy who helped me bring her home
It's really easy to underestimate your all in cost on a long distance transaction.
I am not speculating, I have done this for many years. My primary business from 1990 to 2005 was buying and selling, primarily for export, trucks, heavy equipment, boats, and other equipment and vehicles. I bought online without ever seeing the vehicles, vessels, equipment in person more often than not. The one thing that sets me apart from the normal buyer is that at the time I was the owner of a trucking company with the right equipment to haul any piece of equipment, or vessel, or vehicle which I had purchased. I also stated in my post that in some of these auctions the general public is not allowed to purchase.
Obviously if a person is purchasing a vessel with the intentions of reselling it, then the costs must all be calculated. However, if you purchase a vessel for $3000.00 that if it had been well maintained would have brought closer to $30,000.00 you should first know that it will have issues. Then you should also know that you have to pay to get it home to your shop. If you were to spend $10,000.00 to get it fixed up and $3,000.00 on the original purchase, and you throw in another $5,000.00 fro transport and motels and what have you and you still have a $30,000.00 for $18,000.00. It is a risk if you do not know what you are doing, but if you do not know what you are doing, you will by the time you do it five or ten times.