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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum
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  #1  
Old 01-06-2005
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orizon is on a distinguished road
Hello!

Iím really interested in buying a sailboat, 38-foot Cutter/1977. Soon I plan on having the boat Iím interested in surveyed. I need some advice on a timeline for buying a boat that works best for the BUYER.

Below is a list of things I need to do (that I know of). What order worked best for you??? Am I leaving anything out (probably)?? Any advice is appreciated.

Things I need to do:

> Survey - out of the water (or should i only do in the water?)

> Survey - in of the water

> Make an Offer

> Sail Her (I have seen her, but not sailed)

> Apply for Insurance

> Apply for Boat Loan (who would you recommend as a lender?)

> Slip Ė the boat comes with a slip I would like to keep. I donít know much about slip transfers. I know I need insurance to apply for the slip.

One more question - when I take the boat out for a test-sail... Should I ask the current owner to sail it? I don''t feel experienced enough yet to sail it. If I am not ready to sail the boat myself is it custom to ask the owner, or should I bring someone to sail it for me? What is customary?

I know it looks like I need a lot of help, and I admit I do. Iím just learning. A clean slate, really. Hopefully you guys can help me organize the process. Thanks in advance for your advice and experience!!!!
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  #2  
Old 01-07-2005
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TrueBlue is a jewel in the rough TrueBlue is a jewel in the rough TrueBlue is a jewel in the rough
orizon,

I''ll offer my suggestions based upon my experiences in the yacht buying process.

"Below is a list of things I need to do. What order worked best for you??? Am I leaving anything out??"

"Survey - out of the water (or should i only do in the water?)"

Assuming you have already made initial inspections and convinced yourself this 1977 38 ft. cutter is the boat you want, do some research into the best surveyor you can afford and follow his lead. It is not required, but I found that being with the surveyor during the entire survey (it took all day) was both an education and a means of bonding with the boat. The out of water survey is important since damage below the waterline (such as grounding, running gear condition, osmosis blisters and delamination) could be very costly to repair.

"Survey - in the water"

The boat should be surveyed in-water prior to (of course), during and after the sea-trial. Your surveyor will check all 12v & 120v electrical & mechanical systems so it''s necessary to connect to shore power. How the boat behaves under way while sailing and motoring should be important to your final decision.

"Make an Offer"

This is usually done prior to the survey, based upon findings from your initial inspection. Since the cost of the survey and the haul-out is the responsibility of the buyer, you need acceptance of your offer before foolishly taking on those expenses. During my most recent boat purchase, my surveyor discovered several conditions requiring repair or replacement . . . enabling me to adjust my final offer.

"Sail Her (I have seen her, but not sailed)"

This goes without saying . . . sail her to determine if all systems and hardware function properly (the list is too long for this post).

"Apply for Insurance"

I would recommend inquiring about insurance prior to making the initial offer for two reasons. You need to know your monthly budget limitations during boat ownership and the time span between Seller offer acceptance and closing is limited. Therefore, line up all your ducks beforehand.

"Apply for Boat Loan (who would you recommend as a lender?)"

See above, since qualifying for a loan could take several days. Ask advice from local brokers and shop around for the best lending rate.

"Slip Ė the boat comes with a slip I would like to keep. I donít know much about slip transfers. I know I need insurance to apply for the slip."

The marina will require insurance . . . some even want to be listed as insurer. Check to see if there is a waiting list for that marina; you may not be eligible for the current or upcoming season. There is a three year wait for mine, but fortunately I had a slip from my prior boat.

"One more question - when I take the boat out for a test-sail... Should I ask the current owner to sail it?"

Normally, the broker, or owner''s agent assumes the role of "Ship''s Master" during the sea trial. You should not be required to due to liability issues. I was surprised to see the Owner take part in all events during my purchase proceedings . . . shows good faith on the owner''s part. Ask the owner or his broker; this is not an unreasonable request.

After finding the boat I wanted and before making an offer, it was important to find out as much about that model and year as possible. Intensive research into known issues from current and prior owners, owner''s internet forums and published material, revealed much about potential underlying problems that may not be visually obvious. I was able to focus on these potential problem areas and coupled with a very detailed surveyor''s report, am now completely confident that I made a good choice.

Best of luck, Steve
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Old 01-07-2005
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orizon,

I''m in the boat buying process meeeself and boy is it... er..."fun." Like you, I''m absolutely new to this (they can see my guppiness a km away).

But if I may be so bold to add my humble, yet fresh off the press, opinion to TruBlue''s experiences:

Survey:
There was no way that I could get a loan without a complete haul out. And I''m glad I did as it revealed some aging. Once I was sure I was going to buy the boat, I decided to get the bottom painted while she was out of the water.

Insurance and Boat Loan:
For me, they hinged completely on the survey. So while they gave me quotes, nothing is locked in until you get that darn survey done.
And since the survey is expensive, well, can you see where I''m going? You better be pretty sure early on that this is the boat for you.

Another note about insurance:
My lack of boat owning experience was a big deal. It jacked up the premium. I shopped around for three weeks; even considered lying (not). I finally accepted it but will try hard to lower payments as time (and experience) goes by.

Slips:
Geez! Talk about "who knows who!" I ended up paying the old owner so I could stay in his slip while I hustle to find a home. Many marinas will tell you they have long, long waiting lists and they don''t accept live aboards, but then turn around and you will see many a seadog quietly working away. Maybe that''s just how it works. So start hanging out on the waterfront and maybe someone will "do you a favor."

Taxes:
I''ve seen lots of posts on this message board about different ways to make different places work to your advantage. You got me. Again, call me Tadpole, but I just sucked it up and paid.

Bottomline:
IMHO a good broker will handle all of this for you. I''m not saying you should be like a college Dad, standing back and writing checks, but I do think the broker should arrange for survey, sea trials, etc. It''s good to ask a lot of questions, but being new, I found a lot of times, I just had to trust them and go for it.

Good Luck!
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Old 01-07-2005
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Hello,

A few points for you:

1. You need to know that you can afford to purchase the boat before you do anything. So getting pre-approved for the loan is step one.

2. You need to know approximate insurance costs before you make an offer on the boat. What if insurance, for whatever reason, is sky high? You need to know that BEFORE you pay for survey, etc.

3. Now that you know you can afford to purchase the boat and insure it, you can make an offer. The offer is contingent on the boat passing a survey. The results of the survey will allow you to renegotiate the sale price, or walk away if you decide. When the offer has been accepted you hire a surveyor.

4. Surveying in water vs on land - both need to be done. The order depends on where the boat is now. If it''s on land, do that first, then splash and do in-water and sea trial. If the boat is in the water, do the in water and sea trial, then haul and do the dry part. This way, if the survey shows a serious problem, it will be cheaper to stop before you pay for haul / launch.

5. Generally, it is the owner''s (or his agent, like a broker) responsibility to operate the boat and demonstrate the boat systems during the sea trial.

Good luck!!!

Barry
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Old 01-07-2005
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GUE,

Your comment about relying on the broker for assistance with the surveyor may be misunderstood, so here is clarification.

Do not take a yacht broker''s advice on selecting a surveyor any more than you''d take such advice from the real estate broker about a home inspector. The broker just wants to get the deal completed, so a "quick pass" surveyor would be recommended.

Selecting a surveyor is the most important decision in the buying process other than the purchase decision. Like home inspectors (IMHO) most surveyors only scratch the surface and don''t have the knowledge, expertise or take the time, to find all the non-obvious problems in a boat. Get an expert servoyer, one of the best. How can you tell - find someone who is paid to travel the world, surveys multi-million dollar yeachts and is too busy for the next three weeks to do yours. Then pay him (or her?) the $800-$1,000 required for a full day. This is the best money you will spend on your boat. Even a very experienced buyer should have such support in any purchase (as I proved to myself in my last purchase, when I went with someone available, rather than waiting...)

Good luck.
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Old 01-07-2005
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Hi everyone, I just wanted to say thank you for the great advice. Iím a little intimidated starting this process, but weíre very interested in the boat. We think sheís a great investment and what we need right now. We''re dealing directly with the owner. After I line up the loan and insurance weíll need to make an offer. Negotiating the price of the boat will be the most nerve racking and interesting part. First big purchase by myself. Bought my car ($12,000) but thatís about it. I know the owner has bought and sold a few boats and is in sales so I am a little nervous. But I also know that they are looking to part with the boat soon. So hopefully I can use that to my advantage. Thanks again! And wish me luck! :P
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Old 01-07-2005
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I couldn''t agree more -- sorry for the confusion.
The survey is indeed the most important part. However, being new, I had to get recommendations from sources, including my broker. Then after I decided on one, my broker became a key link in coordinating lots of moving parts (marina, boat yard, surveyor, seller).
And of course, let''s not forget the final product (the survey) is yours and yours alone. So no use skimping. Gee this is fun!
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Old 01-07-2005
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orizon,

If 12,000 is your biggest purchase to date, a 1977 37 ft cutter (which most likely lists between 40k to 80k, depending on make & condition) is a big leap by your standards. I can understand why you are nervous, especially when investing that much into a 28 year old boat.

With the age against the boat, the survey will be priceless . . . hire the best one you can find. I invested nearly $1,000.00 in a certified marine surveyor and consider it well spent money.

After investing in coastal real estate in southern New England, used boat prices don''t make me nervous anymore. Stay firm and don''t let the Owner control the deal. Always remember, he''s more anxious to sell then you are to buy and there are lots of boats out there.
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