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  #1  
Old 12-01-2009
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I Blew It, but got an education ..

I won't go into all the details, but:::... I've been looking for a boat,
finally got my financial house in order, and now I want to get back on
the water .. I looked at this boat, that boat, fell in love, fell out of love,
talked to this one, sent emails to that one .. and came across a boat
which for lots of "me" reasons seemed about perfect. Then, I blew it.

What I forgot is that purchasing a boat is like purchasing anything else.
You are the buyer, you look at the product, add up the plus's and minus's,
and submit an offer. Rather than the cold cutting edge of capitalism,
I let the warm breeze and sunny days, of sailing, distract from the transaction.

The owner/seller may have a million reasons for selling his/her boat. He may be too old, too fat, too lazy, his wife doesn't like the boat, he lost his job, the dog does not like the boat.. blah blah.. While I may sympathize as I listen to his many reasons for selling, the fact remains, I am purchasing a sailboat, not the owner's family, friends, summer vacations, illness, et all.

The purchase fell apart, because I did not approach the transaction in a
business like manner. In retrospect, I would do everything differently.

First, after I looked at the photos of the boat, I would ask for more information. More photos, a damage report, usage history, equipment list, on and on ...

Second, I do my homework, such as speak to the boatyard, the harbor folks, anyone who I think will help me in the transaction.

Third, if the boat is a long distance from home, find someone to take a look or ask the boatyard for an opinion.

Fourth, set a price. Simply, tell the owner/seller that this is my offer based on what I know, and the offer is subject to an inspection, if I want one.

No long talk about sailing trips, summer vacations, family and friends.

The cold hard logic of capitalism.

Here is the offer, with a check for 10% of my offer.

Tell the owner he/she has 24 hours to accept. No negotiating, no long
talk about where I will use the boat, or where I will go with the boat,
or crew, nothing.. Just the offer, period.

The owner decided to hang on for a little while longer, maybe his family will use the boat..

What did I learn? I went to the web, looked up Negotiation, read a bunch of web blogs about purchase, price, procedure, approach, communication, and the hard cold reality of buying a sailboat.. Let's face it, the purchase of the sailboat is like the cover charge. Then the fun begins: dockage, taxes, maintenance ..

And so I will move along. A good education.

I owe the owner/seller a pat of the back, for teaching me a good lesson.
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Old 12-01-2009
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Live and learn.

This is one of the reasons many folks prefer to buy/sell through a broker. Yes, their commission is steep (and negotiable ), but the role they play as a go-between can save time and money, not to mention frustration, etc.

If you do go it alone on the next offer, be sure to use the words "subject to survey" rather than "subject to inspection". In boat purchasing lingo, "inspection" usually means a look-over by the buyer, whereas "survey" usually refers to a comprehensive check of all the systems, structures, gear, etc by a professional. A professional survey is usually well worth the money.
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Old 12-01-2009
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I've never given a time limit on an offer (24 hours). If I'm considering other boats, I tell the seller that. If my offer is final (non-negotiable), I say so. Otherwise my offer is good until I buy something else. Sometimes a seller needs time to realise that an offer is a good one, or even the only one.
Boats are the subject of emotion. Sometiimes a seller needs to like or trust the buyer. Be practical, not hard.
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Old 12-01-2009
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Let's say that you want to take advantage of the winter price drops and you want a survey. You find a local boat, it's 30 degrees outside and the boat is in the water. Does someone put on a drysuit and swim the hull or does the surveyor tell you to wait until Spring?

Thanks.
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Old 12-01-2009
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Travel lifts work through the winter. Haul it out and take a look.
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Old 12-01-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasper Windvane View Post
Let's face it, the purchase of the sailboat is like the cover charge. Then the fun begins: dockage, taxes, maintenance ..
So true, so true.

There will be other boats. Losing a good one just teaches you how to recognize the next good one.
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Old 12-01-2009
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JW - this is a great post. Seriously.

I'm stealing it for the Salt's thread because it's exactly the kind of thing a newbie (like me) needs to remember when boat shopping.

Thanks
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Old 12-01-2009
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Jasper.....

After buying 15 and selling perhaps a dozen boats in my life, and being involved with dozens of purchases more, the two things that I would say is 24 hours to decide is not enough time for a seller to take an offer, especially a low one. As a seller, I would automatically reject an offer that came with a 24 hour deadline, seeing the potential buyer as a know-nothing-wiseguy who will be trouble down the road.

If you prefer to go the 'hard capitalism' route, then you are way ahead of the game using a broker whose job it is to hard-sell your offer. If you are dealing with a for sale by owner, many owners have some emotional attachment to their boats and they want them to go to a good home. The seemingly useless chit-chat gives both parties a sense of the other person's character and in most cases is more likely to get you to a fair deal and sometimes better than that. To most sailors theur boats are not simply tools being sold as commodities and boat deals are more complex and take more cooperation than buying something like a used car off a lot. Sizing up the other guy is a big part of the process. When it comes to for sale by owner deal it gets much harder when there is no sense of where the other party is coming from.

As I read your post what seems clear to me is that you may be working at cross purposes for the sake of an ideological viedwpoint about boat buying. I respectfully suggest that you need to decide whether your goal is to buy a boat at a reasonable price or whether your goal is to set up arbitrary rules which in most cases is likely to make getting the closure more difficult.

BubbleheadMd: You haul out the boat on your own nickel...

Reespectfully,
Jeff
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Old 12-01-2009
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Jeff, being one of those know-nothing wiseguys - I honestly see no problem with his approach. In my view, the "arbitrary rules" you mention are exactly what you lay out in the owner's emotional attachments and desire for the boat to "go to a good home", etc. How do you valuate that?

I don't see where JW is advocating aggressively low-balling the guy with a 24-hour boot to his throat. He's just saying be logical and firm.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with making such an offer, especially if as he said, you've got a 10% check clipped to it.

What the owner does with it is his business.
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Old 12-01-2009
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Quote:
be logical and firm
Absolutely. Along with doing all the other homework things like knowing the market, relative condition and making the sale conditional on a survey. IMO, that's the easy part. What I think is getting muddied is that Jasper says that he blew it. He doesn't exactly say what went wrong, but assumes that he blew it. But I'm guessing that the cause of the breakdown relates to differing expectations caused by a breakdown in communications.

As Jeff indicates, establishing communication and understanding the other person is crucial to any negotiation and will most likely lead to a successful outcome. Forcing the other guy's hand (as in a 24 hour deadline) will often lead to a total breakdown since most people don't want to be told what to do with their property.

I sincerely believe that negotiations can be easy and pleasant. My work entails more than a little negotiation (technical & financial) and I've bought my share of cars, boats, and houses and feel that I've been successful in most of the transactions. But somewhere along the line (maybe through movies or the Trump empire), we've come to believe that negotiation is a zero sum confrontation. It's not.

In order for me to "win", the other guy doesn't have to lose. That doesn't mean that I have to roll over, but with preparation and an easy attitude, negotiation can be really fun. Take it or leave it isn't negotiation. It's WalMart.

Just my $0.02......
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