Boat Buying Question
I am new to the forum and have read through several threads that have offered helpful perspectives on the following general questions, but would value any specific comments/insights from experienced used boat buyers.
I'm considering buying an old fiberglass sailboat, roughly 28-35 foot, for use as a fair weather weekend bay/coastal pleasure sailer, weekend retreat, etc. Not interested in racing or overnight passages. Nights to be spent in slip, safely anchored or on mooring. Would like enough room to "relax and hang out in my boat with a girlfriend and/or a friend or two, etc.", but nothing fancy in way of features/appliances. Mostly stargazing/socializing/reading at night, kind of like camping, etc.
Clearly, a considerable number of manufacturers/models would meet these exceedingly modest needs.
Two very strong consideration, however, are economy and preservation of value. In short, given other demands on my life and on my time, I'm frankly not sure just how much time I would actually end up spending on the boat and sailing it. This conceivably may be the start of a process leading to long crusing and circumnavigation. Or it may be two/three years and out. I just don't know. If the former, I'd sell the boat and upgrade to a more capable vessel. If the latter, I'd like to be prepared.
Ideally, I'd like to get something for $15 - $20 G (less would be even better, $10G would be perfect), but I'd prefer to pay $30 G for something I can confidently anticipate selling for $30 G in three years than pay $15 G for something I have to throw away in three years 'cause nobody wants to buy it. Of course, I may keep it for 10 years, but I'm trying to cover all possible scenarios.
Based on reading I've done, it seems that the determinants of value are primarily condition of hull, deck, keel & attachment, steerage, rigging, then electrical system, plumbing and tanks, and engine, and less so, sails. Not much on inside electronic appliances and creature comforts. Given my anticipated useage, I don't need fancy or high-value equipment.
I don't mind if the electrical system, plumbing, etc. are shot (as long as I don't pay for them in the boat's price). I can use camping equipment -- i.e. propane stove, toilet, ice box, battery powered lights, etc. -- long as I can meet Coast Guard and any other applicable regulations. Given that I won't be racing it, even worn out sails wouldn't bother me too much. Or worn out rigging, or worn out anything, as long as it holds up for a few years of easy sailing and doesn't lead to deck/hull problems requiring expensive repair.
My nightmare would be buying a boat that somehow had severe deck/hull damage or expensive damage to systems that a surveyor missed (I sure wouldn't know myself by examining the boat). This is where I could see a risk in spending $15 or $20 G on something that would be impossible to sell for even $10 G -- if it sells at all -- in 2 or 3 years.
I've done a lot of "internet shopping", looking at classic plastic boats, etc. Probably all of them would meet my basic needs. I prefer the classic look. Not too keen on the high tech modern look, but am not willing to pay for it anyway, so it's sort of a moot point.
Why not charter? Well, I might. But I kind of like the idea of my own boat to putter around in and have as a retreat, as well as for re-learning sailing (used to daysail as a kid on a family boat, 26 foot, but that was years ago. Now in my mid-40s and looking for a source of relaxation, getting outdoors, new experiences, new friends, new energy into my life, R&R, etc. Chartering would not offer that on a consistent basis.
I have met folks who've done quite well with "cheap" older boats. One young (mid-20s) couple I met had bought a 28' Pearson Triton (I believe) for under $5 G and cruised the Carribean, and sold it for about the same price.
Any thoughts/ideas/comments would be appreciated, i.e.: Is this a reasonable scenario? What is risk of a erroneous survey? Any specific suggestions as to buying tactics? Any specific boats? etc. Also, related to the above, is there a point where a low-ball bid becomes downright insulting. I understand that bidding 20% or so below asking price is routine, but what about half? I guess some folks will take anything to get out of an old boat that isn't moving and avoid the storage fees. But I like to be civil and would prefer to be able to document a reason for a low-ball bid.
Thanks for any thoughts and suggestions,