How far is too far, or When to look outside your market
I am looking for a good, 30-36' putzing around on our lake here in GA. I have looked at (or at least read about) 90% of the boats that are currently on the market on the lake and have not found one yet. For a boat in the $40-$50k range, how far outside my market is it worth looking. I am assuming it will cost me at least $1.50 mile to move it, plus the costs of hauling at the source end, and re commissioning at my end. Then there's the expense of traveling to examine the boat to begin with. So, my question is... Since I am not looking for a very specific make and model (ie "I absolutely have to have a 1984 Tartan 34"...) am I better off just being patient and waiting for something to come up on our lake? How long do people typically look locally before expanding their search?
Thanks in advance!
It depends... If you can find a good boat at a really low price, then it might be worth going out of your market and paying the expense of trucking it back to GA. There are a lot of boats that are capable of "putzing around on a lake" on the market. You don't say what lake it is, or how large it is. If it isn't one of the larger, major lakes the market for used boats on it may be rather slim.
The checking I have done on shipping costs are closer to $3/mile for trucking, if you can sail it home the cost are much less.
If you've looked at 90 o/o of the boats in your market you pretty much have to go outside your market. While you may not be able to sail it all the way home you should be able to get it close. You can always make an offer on a boat contingent on your personal inspection before acceptance. If you use a broker and by a brokered boat you should be able to get all the information you need to make your decision and the inspection will almost be a formality. That should give you a fairly large market as there are thousands of boats for sale in your area within an easy days drive.
Sometimes there's little choice
A couple of years ago we were shopping for a new-to-us boat and after shopping all the (BC) local brokers, classifieds etc determined that a) the local selection was poor, and b) the few boats that came close to meeting our criteria were either over priced, in poor condition, or both. Some of our local brokers had a very poor - it's here, take it or leave it- attitude as well.
So after just a few months we looked farther afield and were successful in finding a boat across the border that fit our needs. We were lucky enough to find one that could be sailed home.
Several friends around the same time were boat shopping and some found boats in Oregon and California that were suitable and even after trucking to the Washington/BC border were reasonable deals.
So it's quite possible to do this over some distance. There are some things to be aware of and to watch for.
-Boat prices, even for similar models, can vary regionally (positively and negatively) by a fair amount. This, of course, can help or hurt you depending.
- Never take a broker's word over the phone on the condition of a vessel. This raises costs a bit because you have to go and inspect the boat yourself. One friend made two trips (Cleveland and San Diego) on a broker's promise of condition only to know it wasn't THE boat within 5 minutes of stepping aboard.
- Choosing a surveyor in an unfamiliar area is a bit problematic even if you are present. Ask around, and not just the dealing broker.
- Carefully research the boat movers/truckers that you might use.
- in our case, the volatile exchange rate is a factor, not so if you are staying in the US for your search.
Anyway, all told I personally know of 7 boats imported over the last 2 years, all considered reasonable deals (or better) after all costs were considered in. I guess it depends on your timetable, patience, and requirements.
If you have a good idea of what you want, and you're shopping for boat that's far away, you might try making a low-ball offer sight unseen (contingent on your own inspection as well as survey and sea-trial). Only once you've come to terms on the boat in question do you take the time (and incurr the expense) to travel to the boat and check it out. Make sure that your purchase agreement says that if the boat doesn't live up to your expectations on this visit, you can walk. For this approach to work, you have to know what you want, you have to be realistic in your expectations about the boat's condition, and you have to get what you feel is a good price, given your realistic expectations regarding the condition.
As for finding a surveyor, I've written up my experience at: http://sailing.thorpeallen.net/Greyh...Selection.html
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