Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Narragansett Bay
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Buying Boat in Winter
I agree with Jack''s articulate views regarding your posted questions. Perhaps my recent boat buying experience, although not entirely comparable, could be of some value as well.
During the northern "early" off-season, normal business protocal for yacht acquisition may be expected to be adjusted to the buyer''s conditions, if the yacht has not been serviced & hauled. In my case, the seller''s incentive for accepting my discounted offer was of course, to avoid the usual expenses associated with winter storage.
I did some research and found out what his yard usually charged. When this discount factor was combined with my preliminary rough estimate to repair/replace some obvious deficient items during my pre-survey inspection, my offer was considerably lower then the asking price. The owner accepted it, and the usual contingency of yacht condition acceptance based upon reported results from my professional surveyor.
After a sea trial and a full day of surveying, my surveyor found a few additional deficiencies. After obtaining some hard professional estimates to turn my dream boat into Bristol shape, I factored on the high side, decided what tasks I could manage myself and put the seller in the difficult situation of countering my low offer, with the risk of losing a sale. To my surprise, he accepted without barter and I now own a quality yacht, for 65% of the yacht''s documented fair market value. The fun now begins by paying out some minor sweat equity (and some money for professional help) to prepare her for next season. I will still end up ahead of the depreciation curve.
In a situation where the boat you are interested in has been winterized, the seller has most likely already paid the boatyard for their services and has little incentive to do it twice, at his/her expense. The seller then has the upper hand, knowing he has nothing to lose by waiting for high season, or simply add those expenses to the selling price. That is unless the seller needs the money sooner, or has relocated, such was the case in my transaction. Either way, his broker will still charge the same commission for the sale.
Enjoy your search but stay strong during the negotiations, there ARE a lot of boats out there.