One off or custom boats
We purchased a one-off custom built cutter out of Muiden Holland ten years ago. She was lofted and completed for an individual owner at a yard in Hamburg Germany which had done the Kaiser's yachts in the early 1900's. Our boat is steel and is as solid as the day she was built, 1986. I am replying to confirm one comment made on this blog that custom/one off boats are much more expensive than production boats (when lofted by a professional yard with a great reputation and not someone in their backyard). In northern Europe, ie- the North Sea, many sailors prefer steel due to its strength and other factors. We sailed our boat across the Atlantic and she has been on the East Coast of the US the past ten years.
I share this because many who are in the 'hunt' have questions to which the answers are not readily available. Everyone you talk to has his or her biases. We first had our boat surveyed by a local surveyor where the boat was located. We used him as a test driver. When we got serious, we brought our own US certified surveyor over for an out of the water survey as well as a wet sail in the boat. We identified her shortcomings, which were few, and we struck the deal. We used a professional captain and crew and myself for delivery. If anyone is contemplating a one-off boat , the first question to ask is who designed her and who built her. With the internet, we have all this information at our fingertips.
From our experience, production boats offer a 'standard' up or down, and a reputation, thus comparable sales. This may create a confidence factor in a buyer or a wariness, depending on the manufacturer. Most production boats are not customized and can be more affordable because the builder has a mold and can utilize semi-skilled labor to loft the hull, etc. This is not the case in a one-off lofted by an experienced yard. The construction is usually accomplished by experienced people.
Most sailors who would have their own boat custom built have spent a lot of time on the water and have refined what they want in a boat. This can allow the buyer to pick up a quality boat which cost a great deal of money for a great buying price.