people buying boats...
I totally agree about the surveyor. Actually one should find a surveyor they can work with before they look at boats. A few boats ago, I used a surveor in Annapolis who was recommended. He was terrible, missed many things, and used boiler plate text in his expensive survey document. His reputation was good so I wonder what a bad one would be like!
Hire a surveyor for three reasons: one to make sure the boat is worth what you are paying and what it will need to meet your standards and needs. Its ok if it needs a bunch of work and attention. you just need to know how much work you will want to do. Banks and insurance companies, especially if you are going to the Bahamas etc., require a current survey. Finally with a survey in hand, you might get the seller to fix some of the items the survey found as lacking. As a buyer you will pay for haul-out and its expensive, maybe 4.00 per foot. If you are to the point where the deal is that close, look at the bottom- it tells a story and you nead to see it to know the boat.
Last but not least, all boats that are older,can make a great first boat. some might have short comings, blisters, chiped paint, broken parts, what ever but don''t let the surveyor scare you with lists and observations. the boat might be a half million new, and you are going to be sailing away in the sunset for a hundred thousand or two. There is no deal like a used sailboat! If you want new, buy new. Either way owning a boat, working on it, sailing it, is a gratifying and rewarding experience.