My Experience Update
I have a few more thoughts to add to my boat buying experience and a question. I have had generally good experience dealing with the brokkers. Several, who have shown me boats, have many years experience in boating including running marina's. They admit they are not salespeople and are more interested in me having a good experience in buying a boat as much of their business is repeat from either their sales or someone else's. I have also not run into any bias in surveyor recommendations. I was given a list of a dozen in the area and that was it.
I intend to go with a separate engine survey, even though the general surveyor says I could hold off on this until we run the boat on the sea trial and determine if the engine is not performing as it should. But I have to move the boat from NE to NC and I would prefer to know that the engine has been thoroughly checked out.
Also, I am considering a rigging survey. The boat is approaching 20 years old and is a mid size sloop around 35' ( I am still being silent about what boat it is until I get the survey's done, just because). The rigging is rod rigging, the boat has been kept and maintained in a yard every winter where the rigging is removed and the mast restepped in the spring. Any deficiencies have been dealt with by the PO and the yard, religiously. The rigging surveyor gave me an admittedly high (conservative) estimate for the survey (~$500). Which has made me stop and think about having it done. If the general surveyor will look at the rigging before the mast is stepped (although he admits he is not going to be able to do as complete a job as the rigging experts) and the yard will make sure the rigging is in good working order when they set the boat up. Do I really need a written report that seems to cover the same ground? Any comments or suggestions are welcome.