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Old 01-14-2014
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Any safe way to buy a boat when neither of you live close?

I found my new boat. It's on the hard in Washington. The seller is in a different state and so am I.

How can I buy it safely and get the title and bill of sale?

He does have a friend that lives by the boat that I could meet but that involves me driving 600 miles.

Is there any way to do a safe transaction for both parties without seeing each other?
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Re: Any safe way to buy a boat when neither of you live close?

The simple answer is yes, if the boat warrants one, with a broker.
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Old 01-14-2014
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Re: Any safe way to buy a boat when neither of you live close?

Ok. How does that work? It's 10k or under if it matters. Not a 300k boat.
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Old 01-14-2014
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Re: Any safe way to buy a boat when neither of you live close?

Have you seen the boat, does it involve a trailer..??

Are you not concerned with a survey and sea trial..??
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Re: Any safe way to buy a boat when neither of you live close?

I think an escrow company could probably handle it. The following is from the Washington State Escrow Association.
What is Escrow ?
Disinterested Third Party Escrow means any transaction wherein any person or persons for the purpose of effecting and closing the sale, purchase, exchange, transfer, encumbrance, or lease of real or personal property to another person or persons, delivers any written instrument, money, evidence of title to real or personal property or thing of value to a third person to be held by such third person until the happening of a specified event or other performance of a prescribed condition or conditions, when it is then to be delivered by such third person, in compliance with instructions under which he is to act, to a grantee, grantor, promise, promisor, obligee, obligor, lessee, lessor, bailee, bailor, or any agent or employee thereof.
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Re: Any safe way to buy a boat when neither of you live close?

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Originally Posted by northoceanbeach View Post
Ok. How does that work? It's 10k or under if it matters. Not a 300k boat.
It's less about the price and more about the potential liability. However, at less than 10k a broker would add significantly to the cost. I like the idea of using an escrow company but have no idea what the fees would be or how it would work in Washington.

There is no way I would buy a boat, any boat, without a thorough inspection. If you don't have the experience/expertise to do this yourself then you should hire a surveyor. That is a few hundred dollars you can't afford to save.
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Re: Any safe way to buy a boat when neither of you live close?

In Washington Attorneys, Banks and Lenders, and Title Companies can also provide escrow services, along with independent escrow companies. They are all regulated however fees are not, you'll probably need to provide your own purchase agreement or sale contract. Might want to shop around a little.
Any attorneys or bankers in the family?
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Old 01-14-2014
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Re: Any safe way to buy a boat when neither of you live close?

So you've got your state, the seller's state, Washington State, and federal laws all covering this and possibly all conflicting. That means you want it done absolutely right the first time.

You'd need to inspect the boat, survey the boat and engine, seat trial it (normally you pay for that launch and haul) and at least reserve significant escrow so that he doesn't get fully paid until you have all the necessary papers to establish clear title and register the boat. If that means he pays extra for the express title service, or waits the month for title to clear...that's how it goes. If he doesn't want to come do the deal, let him hire a broker or an attorney as his agent.

If the boat is such a steal that you don't care you just have to have it...that's your gamble.

This is a simple contract sale for titled property, a legal aid shop or an hour with an attorney should get you options to cover the specifics. Or, you could call a broker somewhere near the boat, and ask him what he'd charge to handle the details, and what he would guarantee to do--if you hired him as the "buying broker", not the selling broker.

Your money, your choices. But ten k for a pig in a poke, with four legal venues and jurisdictions involved...I'd be careful, unless that's lunch money for you. Too may "Craigslist" scams and other deals going on with 'distant' buyers and sellers.
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Old 01-14-2014
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Re: Any safe way to buy a boat when neither of you live close?

This one?
Pearson 33 sailboat

Just a guess based on what I think you were looking for.

First you want to inspect it in person, then pay for a professional survey, then figure out escrow.

If that is the boat -- is it a shoal draft keel? That isn't a good thing around here. It also sounds like it may be ready for new standing rigging and perhaps new sails. Those are areas that I'd want to have the surveyor pay good attention to (among everything else like wet decks, etc). Looks like it could be a good deal for this area.
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Re: Any safe way to buy a boat when neither of you live close?

I would get a broker. Since all they have to do is handle the transaction costs, I would guess that you would only be looking at 4-$500 for this. And frankly unless an attorney deals with this type of purchase regularly it will take this much time in research to figure out what needs to be done.

Just spend an hour calling brokers close to the boat and ask what they would charge to just do the closing. Since the negotiations and boat selection have all been completed.
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