I have had good success hiring surveyors to do preliminary walk-thrus on some far-away boats I was considering. Twice I spent a couple of hundred dollars and saved myself the cost of an airplane ticket when my man said the boats had problems not revealed in the listing or discussions with the seller's broker. I had gone to the professional surveyor sites (i.e. SAMS and NAMS)and gotten contact info for several surveyors in the area near the boat. I then emailed them and requesting information on rates. Based on their replies, I then telephoned several likely candidates. I made my decision on hiring after having personally spoken with several of them. Most of the ones I contacted said that the cost of a full survey would be reduced by the cost of the walk-thru.