It would help if you could provide a little more information. Things like your budget, expected sailing location and type, ability and / or desire to work on the boat yourself or pay others to work on it, boat size, etc. Do you plan on buying from a broker or a private person? Do you plan on leaving the US or not?
If you are looking for a simple small cheap boat then things are a lot different than if you expect to pay over $100K for a boat that will take you across oceans. If you have your heart set on a wooden ketch the steps will be different than if you want a typical production boat around 30' for day sails in decent weather and a few overnight trips.
For example, back in 2006 when I was in the market for a bigger boat,
had the following requirements:
budget: Under $35K
Type of boat: fiberglass sloop, cruiser / racer, wheel steering, 33 - 36' in length (big enough for my family of 5 to spend a week on, small enough for me to maintain and single hand), light enough to move in light air, no need for a heavy cruiser
Sailing location: Long Island sound in fair weather
Required features: swim platform, propane stove, hot and cold pressure water, shower, wheel steering,
Close enough to my home port to sail the boat home
As to your specific question, assuming that you are spending at least $15K I would suggest you find a good broker and work with him / her. There are a number of benefits to working with a good broker, such as:
-They let you know if the boat has a clear title or a lien / judgments
-They have standard purchase agreements and contracts (subject to survey, etc.)
-Dates for when things should be done (survey, sea trial, closing, etc.)
It may take you visiting a few brokers until you find a good one. Let us know where you are and people can make recommendations.
I think you should think about what you want / need in a boat and then find a number of makes and models that meet those needs instead of focusing on a specific boat (unless you have your heart set on one particular boat).
Regarding titles, that depends on your state. In NY you pay sales tax and they issue a title.
USCG documentation is only required if you plan on leaving the US. There may be some other benefits as well.
Moving a boat overland gets real expensive real quick.
I guess this is long enough for now.
Deep Blue C, 2002 C&C 110
Mt. Sinai, NY
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