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Old 01-29-2005
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Boat Buying Process

Malcolm,

I think the most important point to remember about contracts and buying a boat is that you can word them anyway you want to protect yourself. Let the seller come back with a counter offer if he wants. There are a couple of "stock" contracts online but don''t think for a minute that you are limited to what they say. Also, if dealing through a broker, don''t let him/her talk you out of a clause you want based only on the statement that such a clause "is not part of a standard agreement." So what if it''s not? Let the seller counter with better language if he wants.

Remember, it''s all open for negotiation. I just went through this process 18 months ago, both buying and selling (private deals, no brokers). When I was the buyer, I modified the standard contract in several places, primarily gaving myself an out at any stage of the process for any reason with a full refund of my deposit. The seller never blinked at the language. When I was the seller, the buyer only made minor changes in the standard contract. Both transactions went off without a hitch. I would hesitate to include arbitrary percentages for price reductions for repairs before a survey, however. The survey could reveal deal breaker problems that could go far beyond the value of a set percentage reduction, and then you are in a real bind absent an escape clause elsewhere in the contract. Make sure you have an out.
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