Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Narragansett Bay
Thanked 224 Times in 209 Posts
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Sure, the seller knows the condition of the boat better than anyone else, so I want the seller to make written representations about the condition and his knowledge of the condition before I spend money in reliance on his representations inspecting it.
If it turns out the seller was misrepresenting the condition, then the seller would be liable for the costs of discovering those misrepresentations, i.e., the haul out and marine survey, travel costs, etc.
In fact, if the buyer takes this posture, the dishonest sellers/brokers will refuse to deal with the buyer at the outset, and the buyer saves himself from the costs of a purchase fiasco.
A prime example of this recently was the buyer who bought an expensive boat with extensive keel/hull damage from a grounding - a grounding that was so severe that the seller, or one of his agents, must have known about it.
Some would say "buyer beware"; I say "fraud". When discovered, the seller should reimburse the buyer's damages. The buyer would likely have no recourse against the seller with the standard broker's contract because of the way it is structured and because the boat is sold "as is", so the buyer is out all of his costs due to a dishonest seller/broker.
Unfortunately, this isn't practical. I know you are trying to contain fraud, but a seller could unwittingly become liable for the buyers costs when discrepancies are found that they were truly unaware of. In fact, I've never heard of a survey with zero discrepancies and typically there are one or two that a non-technical owner has been unaware of. Certainly, one should not find obvious problems. How often have you returned to your boat to find a problem that wasn't previously known? Way too frequent for me to agree to sign what you are looking for. If I told you everything worked last I knew, I would not be defrauding you.
The best way to avoid wasting survey dollars is to do the best you can with your own personal inspection first. I always say to look for the story. Was she used frequently? Raced? Cleaned? Look for deferred maintenance. Many deferred items probably suggest a careless owner or one that couldn't afford to maintain her correctly. Research common issues with the make/model and go looking for them yourself.
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In the harsh marine environment, something is always in need of repair. Margaritas fix everything.