Sometimes there's little choice
A couple of years ago we were shopping for a new-to-us boat and after shopping all the (BC) local brokers, classifieds etc determined that a) the local selection was poor, and b) the few boats that came close to meeting our criteria were either over priced, in poor condition, or both. Some of our local brokers had a very poor - it's here, take it or leave it- attitude as well.
So after just a few months we looked farther afield and were successful in finding a boat across the border that fit our needs. We were lucky enough to find one that could be sailed home.
Several friends around the same time were boat shopping and some found boats in Oregon and California that were suitable and even after trucking to the Washington/BC border were reasonable deals.
So it's quite possible to do this over some distance. There are some things to be aware of and to watch for.
-Boat prices, even for similar models, can vary regionally (positively and negatively) by a fair amount. This, of course, can help or hurt you depending.
- Never take a broker's word over the phone on the condition of a vessel. This raises costs a bit because you have to go and inspect the boat yourself. One friend made two trips (Cleveland and San Diego) on a broker's promise of condition only to know it wasn't THE boat within 5 minutes of stepping aboard.
- Choosing a surveyor in an unfamiliar area is a bit problematic even if you are present. Ask around, and not just the dealing broker.
- Carefully research the boat movers/truckers that you might use.
- in our case, the volatile exchange rate is a factor, not so if you are staying in the US for your search.
Anyway, all told I personally know of 7 boats imported over the last 2 years, all considered reasonable deals (or better) after all costs were considered in. I guess it depends on your timetable, patience, and requirements.