Keep a' chugging. We've been looking since July and have driven 500 miles or better on numerous occasions to look at some real "problem children". I have a buyer's broker (though in reality there is no such thing - only a listing broker and a sellers broker with two involved) and I actually trust him . . . mostly. I've known him for years and he was, in fact, "the enemy" representing the knutball that bought our Catalina 34 three years ago (and expected a brand new boat as opposed to a used boat). He kept trying to steer me back to boats within his listing network (100% commission) but I kept finding other listings off yachtworld.com (50/50 comission split). I don't blame him, but we pretty much knew the boat(s) we wanted and, out of curiosity, checked out everything he had to show (and even bid on one but, again, low). I gave him a list of ten brand/models up front and said those were acceptable - find us one.
I've found that the only one you can truly trust is a good surveyor on your side.
I always insisit on the words "pending a buyer inspection and a favorable survey". That allows you to back out as few surveys don't show some faults and your own "inspection" is very subjective.
The survey should, at the very least, be a "pass/fail" option. If you get the results you should always have the contract written for an out. Then, if you're still interested, you can make a later bid at a lower amount citing the survey. Heck, you don't even have to cite the survey. You make an offer and don't have to justify it. The seller takes it or not. We did get refused on two boats I bid on but at lower (one was MUCH lower) than the listing. There is one dreamer in VT that has a P31-2 at $55K and apparantly wants $55K. That's about 23K over NADA, though he does get points for freshwater, one-owner and a few extras . . . but the sails are original. He may find a buyer. It is a cherry. But you could never re-sell it for that.
I bid on this one pre-survey. If the survey had come back all fire and brimstone I would have backed away and started over. We've got a few things to address, but normal for an older (21 years) sailboat. We're getting two season old sails, a Zodiac and an outboard and that offsets some of the rebedding and such that were recommended. All sailboats are compromises and used ones more so. You can tell the minute you step aboard whether a boat was loved and treated well by the prior owner.
But have it surveyed, anyway. ;-)
Charlie P. P31-2 #80 CATNAP
To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive - R.L. Stevenson
I suspect that, if you should go to the end of the world, you would find somebody there going farther . . . - H.D. Thoreau
Last edited by Delirious; 10-15-2008 at 12:01 AM.