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  #1  
Old 02-03-2007
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Hiring a Surveyor

So, we received financing for the purchase price of a boat that we are currently interested in. The seller is asking a little over 8k for a Cheoy Lee Cadet, which is actually quite low so needless to say I am wary... Nonetheless, I am currently taking him at his word, which is that he is merely anxious to sell b/c he needs the money (that and the engine which is supposedly rebuilt, is not currently hooked up seller says he has an estimate for $500-600).

Obviously I will hire a surveyor, but here are a few questions I have:
First, does it make sense to do the sea trial portion of a survey if the engine isn't hooked up, or should I make my offer contingent on a certain amount of money in escrow until the engine has been repaired and a sea trial can be done?
(My other thought was to offer the seller $600 more than the asking price but have him get the work done before we purchase. My reasoning is that it would be fool hardy to buy a boat without the survey and my insurance probably won't allow it anyway, and it would be a waste of time to get the survey if the engine isn't running, and really annoying to have to deal with an escrow account, two surveys etc.)

Question 2 is this: We live on the east coast. I know that a cardinal rule of boat buying is never to buy a boat without actually seeing it. Nonetheless, would it be absolutely crazy to entrust the inspection of the boat to the surveyor given the distance involved? I wondered about a broker, but since this is a private sale I'm not sure that a broker would work with me...

Question 3: I am a new sailor (read: still learning how to rig sails and so forth.) During the sea trials portion of the survey, is there any reason not to let the current owner skipper the boat with the surveyor and hopefully myself on board (I assume the surveyor will be busy surveying rather than sailing)?




Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-03-2007
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Be careful!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mkrautha
So, we received financing for the purchase price of a boat that we are currently interested in. The seller is asking a little over 8k for a Cheoy Lee Cadet, which is actually quite low so needless to say I am wary... Nonetheless, I am currently taking him at his word, which is that he is merely anxious to sell b/c he needs the money (that and the engine which is supposedly rebuilt, is not currently hooked up seller says he has an estimate for $500-600).

Obviously I will hire a surveyor, but here are a few questions I have:
First, does it make sense to do the sea trial portion of a survey if the engine isn't hooked up, or should I make my offer contingent on a certain amount of money in escrow until the engine has been repaired and a sea trial can be done?
(My other thought was to offer the seller $600 more than the asking price but have him get the work done before we purchase. My reasoning is that it would be fool hardy to buy a boat without the survey and my insurance probably won't allow it anyway, and it would be a waste of time to get the survey if the engine isn't running, and really annoying to have to deal with an escrow account, two surveys etc.)

Question 2 is this: We live on the east coast. I know that a cardinal rule of boat buying is never to buy a boat without actually seeing it. Nonetheless, would it be absolutely crazy to entrust the inspection of the boat to the surveyor given the distance involved? I wondered about a broker, but since this is a private sale I'm not sure that a broker would work with me...

Question 3: I am a new sailor (read: still learning how to rig sails and so forth.) During the sea trials portion of the survey, is there any reason not to let the current owner skipper the boat with the surveyor and hopefully myself on board (I assume the surveyor will be busy surveying rather than sailing)?




Thanks in advance!
Ok,make your offer contingent on having the boat in "survey-able" condition. I would not accept his contention that the engine is ok and just needs to be installed. The owner knows more about his boat than you do. Failing that, I would commission an engine survey by a competent mechanic.
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Old 02-03-2007
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During a sea trial, it is the owner or his representative who is in charge of the boat. You are there primarily as an observer.

As to the question of the engine, in my opinion it should either be installed and working, or the purchase price should be held in escrow until it is installed within the limits of cost the owner states. One thing you will soon learn (after you have one) is that rarely does any project on a boat stay within the bounds of estimates or expectations. Invariably, one project uncovers another problem. Not always, but very often. So while it may only take $500 to install the engine if it goes perfectly, that is rarely the case.

Question #2 - would you spend that kind of money on anything else, sight unseen?
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Old 02-03-2007
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Hi MK !!

Just one thing here. Do not buy until you've seen it.
I'm sure the surveyor will let you know about all the aspects of the boat but it will be you who will be sailing her... besides like PB said would you spend that much on anything without seeing it?


Good luck to you!
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Old 02-03-2007
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So, we received financing for the purchase price of a boat that we are currently interested in. The seller is asking a little over 8k for a Cheoy Lee Cadet, which is actually quite low so needless to say I am wary... Nonetheless, I am currently taking him at his word, which is that he is merely anxious to sell b/c he needs the money (that and the engine which is supposedly rebuilt, is not currently hooked up seller says he has an estimate for $500-600).

Obviously I will hire a surveyor, but here are a few questions I have:
First, does it make sense to do the sea trial portion of a survey if the engine isn't hooked up, or should I make my offer contingent on a certain amount of money in escrow until the engine has been repaired and a sea trial can be done?

mkrautha,... congrats.
The survey should include structural, systems, rigging and engine. You might or might not be able to combine the times of the different surveys as the engine survey should be performed by a diesel engine surveyor, preferably a dealer for the engine manufacturer just like the rigging survey should be performed by a rigger.

...What do you mean the engine is not hooked up?


(My other thought was to offer the seller $600 more than the asking price but have him get the work done before we purchase. My reasoning is that it would be fool hardy to buy a boat without the survey and my insurance probably won't allow it anyway, and it would be a waste of time to get the survey if the engine isn't running, and really annoying to have to deal with an escrow account, two surveys etc.)

A preliminary survey by the diesel mechanic might confirm the claim. If so, then once the other surveys are completed with results that match your expectations then you can negotiate how to pay the 600.00 which will allow you to complete the diesel survey underway/under load.

Question 2 is this: We live on the east coast. I know that a cardinal rule of boat buying is never to buy a boat without actually seeing it. Nonetheless, would it be absolutely crazy to entrust the inspection of the boat to the surveyor given the distance involved? I wondered about a broker, but since this is a private sale I'm not sure that a broker would work with me...

You should definitely see the boat. The surveyor does not address all the personal preferences/dislikes of their buyer/sellers. And, there is no broker that is going to do his job without pay. In addition to the fact that: the broker does not know you anymore than the surveyor does.... therefor, the easiest most inexpensive (short & LONG run ) option is for you to take care of your $,$$$.$$ and go to see the boat before you start spending money on surveys.

Question 3: I am a new sailor (read: still learning how to rig sails and so forth.) During the sea trials portion of the survey, is there any reason not to let the current owner skipper the boat with the surveyor and hopefully myself on board (I assume the surveyor will be busy surveying rather than sailing)?

The current owner is the skipper of the yacht up until such time that he volunteers the helm or agrees to hand the helm to another. As you point out, the surveyor will be busy with his/hers check list. It will be beneficial for you to be there to look at things from a different angle. That is, the angle of the guy spending the money and owning the commitment.

.... George.
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Old 02-03-2007
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Everyone else said most of the stuff that needed saying, but a few thoughts:

1. When we were looking for our current boat, my wife put things into perspective by noting that there a lot of used boats out there and are almost like commodities with prices are in a relatively small band. Outside that band, there is a mitigating circumstance. I expect that this guy has dropped the price due to lack of a working engine.
2. If it were me, I'd either walk away from the deal until the engine was installed and a proper survey could be performed OR I'd put down a refundable deposit with an expiration date far enough down the road to allow for installation & survey. No way would I get into an escrow situation, waiting for someone else to get work done - maybe he tries to save $ and do the work himself, maybe not. I smell disaster.....
3. Did I already say that there were lots of boats out there?
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hey, I've got a boat you've never seen, It's just what you want can you cut me a check?

Hiring a surveyor to inspect the boat if you're not there is ok, not preferred, but, ok.

Whats not ok is buying a boat site unseen.

Whats not ok is buying a boat thats unsailable, that you haven't seen.

Its clear by your threads you want a cheoy lee, and I'm thinking you want this particular boat. Why, I dunno, but is your money.

as far as the sea-trial goes, the surveyor does not sail the boat... he might check the operation of the rudder, and centerboard if so equipped, but, he'll be busy checking out the boat while under sail.
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Old 02-03-2007
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There is no justification on Gods' Green Earth to buy a boat that you have not seen. Be with the surveyor when he does the survey. Call boatyards within a hundred miles of the boat. Ask them who they would hire if they were buying a boat and needed a survey done. Hire the one that gets recommended by two or three people. DON'T RUSH !!!

I know it is hard to slow down but I am pretty comfortable in assuring you that the number of people who want to buy a Cheoy Lee without a functioning engine is not large.

SABREMAN said "my wife put things into perspective by noting that there a lot of used boats out there and are almost like commodities with prices are in a relatively small band. Outside that band, there is a mitigating circumstance" SABREMAN is married to a wise, wise woman.

This is not to say you are making a bad move, but if you are paying the vendor $8,000.00 for the boat, I hope that it is because he was asking $16,000.00 - if not, call him and renegotiate.
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Old 02-04-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GilHuguley
Ok,make your offer contingent on having the boat in "survey-able" condition
Careful... Any boat, whether it floats or not is "survey-able". A broad statement like this in a purchase agreement may be meaningless unless it is specific to the situation. Many sailboats are built W/O a motor; that does not mean that it cannot be surveyed or sailed in/out of the slip.

If you go the route of making the offer contingent on the engine installed/running; you should put it in the survey as a condition of sale that the engine and drivetrain is installed/operational/serviceable and a closing date for which the work will be completed. That way it is not open-ended in terms of getting the repair complete and the boat sea-trialed (which should also have a closing date).

Ask any prospective surveyor how he conducts his sea-trial survey. Be sure that he is not just going to do normal dockside survey work while aboard; he should be willing and able to work sheets, check sail trim, check the rig while underway, comment on how well it sails and if the helm is balanced, measure the pointing ability, etc.

IMHO a good surveyor will not nitpick on the overall condition of the boat (like minor maintenance items) but definitely will comment on repair items that affect the safe operation and or structural integrity of the boat. You as the purchaser should make yourself aware of the minor repair items and adjust your pre-survey offer according to the "laundry list" and your surveyor should fill in the blanks and so that any adjustment in price reflects those findings (if you decide to go ahead and buy the boat).

Get a survey on the powerplant if the pre-purchase survey shows any problems with operation. Make this a buyer's "option" in your purchase agreement. Usually a diesel engine either runs perfectly or it runs poorly; not much inbetween. Extremely hard starting and heavy smoke when warm are two warning signs. All diesels can be stubborn when dead cold and smoke when first started; but if the engine won't start without starter fluid and if it does not start immediately when coming back in to port after a daysail it is likely that the engine is getting tired; or injectors need replacement; etc.

If the boat is being sold through a broker on the seller's side; you should obtain a broker to represent you. It costs you nothing and it puts someone with boat purchase experience on your side. Let your broker draft the purchase agreement, tell him what you want in the document.

You should definitely see the boat first; if you are on the east coast you should look at a similar boat in bristol condition so you can compare a good apple to a potentially bad apple. Be sure you can obtain insurance for the boat; which includes recent rigging and a survey that is "clean". If you intend to live-aboard be sure you can find an insurance company that will insure you as such and the boat you are considering first. Most marinas in SF Bay area require liability insurance as a minimum; some also require hull insurance (to keep non-seaworthy boats out).
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Old 02-04-2007
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A lot to take on...

Correct me if I am mistaken, but by your other threads, you have a new baby, are starting Medical school in a few months, and now want to buy an older boat that is not in criusing condition site unseen? I commend your desire, and am a little envious, but consider the following:
  1. You will have no time to work on this boat during Med school, and little time during Residency (that is, if you ever want to sail, not just work on the boat).
  2. Based on my experience, you will have limited free time during Med school, and given a choice between sailing, watching your baby grow up, giving your family a little time, doing the busy work to get and keep this boat sailing may fall off the bottom of this list, which means you may not actually be sailing.
  3. Give a thought to a newer, but maybe not as seaworth boat that you may be able to sail instead of rebuild/refit.
I wish you all the luck and many happy days sailing with your young family - I'm still trying to find enough time to sail nearly 20 years after Med school. so you have a good jump on me.
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