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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > Boat Buyers & Sellers Forum
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  #1  
Old 06-29-2010
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pre purchase survey

I'm still looking for my first boat, have looked at several but havent found "the one" yet. I was looking at buying a 1971 mirage 24 for several months and when I finally decided to buy her, she sold that morning. oh well not meant to be.

I know getting a survey is important but I was looking at a boat last weekend a C&C 24 that looked in good shape and the boat was recently surveyed but I had a bad feeling about it for some reason and decided to walk away.

anyway my question is this.

As important as getting a pre purchase survey is would you rely on a survey that the owner had done within the last year that showed the boat as in well maintained condition with no concerns, or would you go the added expense and hire your own surveyor to do a new survey?

my concern is this, I've looked at several boats in the last 6 months that some had a survey done within the last 2 years for insurance purposes and I'm not sure if accepting them as true condition of the boat as stated or did the PO have a survey done my a "friend" inspector that gave him a good survey for insurance purpose.

I know this is being paranoid to a degree but if it was your first boat purchase with a budget of 6- 8,000.00 what would you do?
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Old 06-29-2010
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I would get a survey, last one I had done was only $300 and you will likely need it for insurance anyway, there is a time limit on surveys.

Check the boat over and if you want it put a deposit down with a contract accepting it with a good survey. Of course defining a good survey can be a bit tricky.

Good Luck
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Old 06-29-2010
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Step 1: Check out Sailingdog's "Inspection Trip Tips" That will give you a good grounding on what to look for and how to look for it when you are out kicking tires and checking out boats. This info will cut down on the likelihood of having surveys done on boats that you shouldn't have even gotten that involved in anyway.
Step 2: If it is a candidate to become YOUR boat, get YOUR surveyor to do YOUR survey.
Why?

First, your insurance company will likely want one, even if a survey was done a year ago. So you're gonna have to spend the money anyway.

Second, YOUR surveyor has YOUR interests at heart. Who knows who was invested in the previous surveys, or the quality of those surveys.

Third, an insurance survey is often a cursory survey, providing a basic overview of the boat's condition at the time of survey, while a purchase survey is more involved.

Fourth, a survey is a snapshot of the condition of a boat at a particular moment in time. A survey done two years ago, last year, even three months ago can have little value, especially if the boat has been in use since the survey was done. Who can say that the engine hasn't been overheated and the head warped, the jib sail shredded and stuffed back in the bag, and the keel bounced off a reef since the last survey was written up?

Fifth, a good survey won't cost you a dime. A survey on a boat up to 25 feet might cost you $3-400, possibly less. If that survey doesn't give you $4-500 worth of bargaining power, because of defects discovered yet undisclosed by the seller, than that is a boat that will give you at least $500 worth of peace of mind, because it must be a pretty good boat, and it has saved you from spending gas and time looking at more boats.
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Old 06-29-2010
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I'd point out that the survey the owner had may have been for insurance purposes, and not the same thing as a pre-purchase survey.

I'd also point out that you don't know what the survey was done for or who did it....and what their relationship to the owner is.

Instead of getting a survey on every boat you look at, I would highly recommend you read and use the information in the Boat Inspection Trip Tips thread I wrote. This should give you a pretty good idea of what is really going with the boat and whether it is worth spending further more money on.

As for hiring a surveyor... it depends... mostly on how much experience you have with inspecting boats. If you don't have much experience with boats and the various problems they can have, HIRE A SURVEYOR. Talk to the boat yard that works on the most expensive and biggest boats locally and use the guy that the yard manager says he'd use for a boat he was buying.
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Old 06-30-2010
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Get a survey...end of story.
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thanks for the replies everyone,

I had planned on getting a survey done when I find the boat I decided on, I was just wondering what everyone's opinions were of surveys done by the owner of the boat. I had looked at a 25 Catalina two weeks ago and the owner had a pre-purchase survey done a month earlier that he said was so the prospective buyers would see any concerns up front. someone else ended up buying the boat the afternoon I looked at it based off what he saw in the survey the owner had done.

I had actually printed off the information in the Boat Inspection Trip Tips thread that saildog posted a couple weeks ago and used it to put together a small kit that I'm able to carry with me when I go look at a boat. also use the points/tips from that post as a check list and check each item from every boat I look at to get an idea if I want to continue with the next step of a professional inspection. we have two main companies locally who are posting ads for both pre-purchase and insurance inspections for 10.00 per foot plus tax with no travel cost so a 25 fot boat should cost 250.00 plus tax to inspect.
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Old 07-01-2010
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A Catalina 25 -20 years old with a relatively new outboard that starts shouldn't have a lot wrong with it.

The keel bolts should not look like rusted snaggle teeth and the shroud swages should not be cracked or bent.

These conditions are more common to 20+ year old models.

A survey, regardless of who commissioned it, is only as good as the surveyor!!

Since there are few major components in a vessel of that class, a rigging survey (aloft) may be more valuable.
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Old 07-01-2010
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A pre purchase survey commissioned by the owner can be a lot different than one commissioned by the purchaser. The owner is slightly biased.
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Last edited by mitiempo; 07-01-2010 at 12:24 PM. Reason: cor
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Old 07-01-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
A pre purchase survey commissioned by the owner can be a lot different than one commissioned by the purchaser. The owner is slightly biased.
But the surveyor should not be.

Should being the operative word.
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Old 07-01-2010
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But the surveyor could be the owner's brother-in-law or the local village idiot... so getting your own survey is key.
Quote:
Originally Posted by WouldaShoulda View Post
But the surveyor should not be.

Should being the operative word.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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