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Old 10-08-2012
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Re: Buying A Boat, Need Some Help

If you want to make an offer on a boat, generally the broker (or seller) takes a deposit of 10% of the offer, which is made subject to the boat's passing survey. The deposit is refundable in the event that the boat does not pass survey, but the buyer pays for the survey. (You wouldn't want a survey that the seller paid for!) The best thing to do might be to contact a few marinas or yacht yards near where the boat is and ask which surveyors they might recommend. (The broker or seller might have some ideas on that too. If they all name the same guy, he's probably ok. If the seller and broker really push someone other than the one(s) named by the marinas, be forewarned. ) Contact the potential surveyors and ask them what they'd charge. Costs will vary depending upon the type of boat: a small sloop should be less than a large ketch. The material and condition of the boat factor in too. A wooden boat in mediocre condition can take a LONG time to go over. Steel, fiberglass, engines & systems can all affect survey costs, along with the distance the surveyor has to go, and how long he thinks it will take. The depth and detail of his report will be reflected in the cost as well.
In any case, make sure to be present when the surveyor looks over the boat. You're paying for his expertise, and it is an excellent way to learn incredible amounts from him as he points out issues, causes, and effects that you had NO idea of. We had the boat we bought surveyed by two different surveyors, and learned something new from both of them. This, despite my having had more than 30 years of sailing experience, 20 in cruising boats.
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