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Curious Customs: Setting Price Before Setting Sail?
Cold hard cash is the only way to "prove" the buyer is serious.
The other aspect is that "going for a sail" as opposed to "conducting a sea trial" are two different animals. Taking the sea trial is part of the survey; the professional surveyor has things he''s doing and measuring. The owner should get a chance to wear a stupid grin at the helm for a while, but that'' not why your out there.
I suppose, in theory before I turned my boat over to a broker I would have allowed a sea-trial without a contract if and only if the buyer was conducting a PAID non-destructive survey, with a hired surveyor.
Even then I''d hestitate to even allow a survey anyway, because "non-destructive" means different things to different surveyors. Once it''s under contract, anything the surveyor does to the boat is the buyer''s problem unless he rejects the boat. And I believe you could whack his deposit for any damage caused by the survey (someone correct me if I''m wrong on this).
From the broker''s perspective too, they tend to not have the owners around for sea trials & surveys. In this case the broker is assuming liability for the boat. I don''t think most brokers want that liability if they aren''t pretty sure of a sale.
Being where I am in New England has advantages to sellers and disadvantages to buyers in re: seal trials. For most of the peak buying season (Oct/Nov & more so in Feb/Mar/April) around here boats are not usually in the water. I was lucky with the boat I bought last fall, I made an offer about a week before she was scheduled to get hauled for the winter, so we got to do a sea trial. Third boat I''ve owned, first sea trial I ever got. This boat did cause an incredibly stupid grin on my face...
The boat I am selling now is sitting up on the hard, shrink wrapped, with the mast down. Tough to do a trial since I''m not intending to launch her for my own use at all. Of course, she doesn''t look very pretty this way either which works against me because she''s a very pretty boat.
For me, it will be practically impossible to conduct a trial unless the buyer is planning to pull the boat afterwards, or close within a couple of days and take it away, as I have no place to put it once it gets in the water.
Good luck finding your boat; sorry you had to get a rude wakeup on this one.