Survey necessary? Please Advise.
A survey is important when purchasing any boat but is especially important on boats with any age on them. Furthermore Hunters, like any budget conscious boat, is more likely to have problems than a higher quality boat for two reasons, the boats were built lighter and less expensively to begin with and people who buy ''value'' boats rarely are as willing to spend as much on quality maintenance and upgrades as someone who bought a quality boat in the first place.
Issues that one might expect with a 15 year old boat might include rigging problems, structural issues such as broken tabbing, keel/hull joint problems,delaminated frames or core problems in the deck, electrical and electrolysis problems, disabled safety systems or cobbled up installations of such critical safety items as the propane system for the stove.
If nothing else the surveyor provides a check list of deficencies that the new owner can use to put the boat back in shape. Additionally, it is a good idea to have the sails looked at by a Sailmaker and the engine looked at by a mechanic.
It is important to understand just how old a 15 year old boat actually is. At fifteen years the standing rigging is approaching the end of its useful life, some of the running rigging should also be replaced. The first (and maybe the second)set of sails are at the end of their useful life (especially with the comparatively poor quality sails that come standard on board Hunters. This is said from experiance as my family have owned two Hunters one of which was bought new and the other was bought at 15 years old.)Uphostery is near the point where the foam in higher use areas is close to shot and the fabrics are starting to show age. Engines are close to needing thier first overhaul or at least injector work. Electrical systems have enough age that connections often need to be renewed. Depending on the model instruments are near the end of their lifespan or at least need rebuilds. (I had to replace mine at 12 years because the LED''s were getting bad and they did not have replacement parts for my model any longer.)
Colletively these items, the difference between a good boat and a project, can in the worst case easily cost close to the value of the boat. SO- with all of that, a marine surveyor is your best way to know what you are getting yourself into.