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Old 02-24-2010
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Buying your first used boat - 3 Months later

This forum was immensely helpful when we were in the process of buying our first keel boat this past Fall. In an attempt to contribute to the forum, I put together some observations from the perspective of a newbie. There's a lot of great buying advice here on SailNet, I'm not trying to repeat it, just add some general observations.

1. Make negotiating easier on yourself.
We looked at a lot of different boats to find the exact one we wanted (Mfg. and model). Once we did that, those were the only boats we looked at. We made an effort to not get attached to any specific example of that boat so we could just walk away if the deal didn't feel right.
2. Brokers.
We didn't have a buyers broker. But we met a bunch of selling brokers and they come in all flavors. The vast majority of them were outstanding to work with, but there sure are some doozies out there (just like buyers I assume). We got lucky with the selling broker of our boat and he did a great job in getting a deal done that was fair for both parties. I'd recommend him to anyone.
3. Startup Costs
If you don't already have a boat (or owned one in the past that's of a similar size), there are a lot of things you'll need that you may not be thinking of right now. It's been a blast gearing up, but putting a spreadsheet together that captured our costs to date was an eye opener.
4. Used Boats
When buying a used boat, there will be things you have to do now, things you'd like to do now and things that can wait (and probably should until you get a better feel for the boat). We're addressing the majority of the first two this first off season. It's costing us a lot more than what's needed to safely launch this Spring, but we'll be able to enjoy everything moving forward as opposed to delaying projects that may never get done. There will be plenty of surprise work for us going forward.
5. Buying in the Fall
You might save some money buying in the Fall if you find the right situation. But even if you don't, it will give you a chance to make the changes/fixes needed. It's been great to have the time to research everything without the pressure of knowing your boat's out there waiting to be sailed. But don't forget you still have to pay yard fees and you won't have a season of sailing to show for it.
6. Patience
We only got to sail the boat 3 times in November before putting her away. Buying in the Fall results in the longest damn Winter in your life!
7. Budgets
We went into it thinking we'd spend between $20K-$25K on the boat and minor repairs, and another $7-$10K in upgrades to get it in the condition we wanted. We're doing most of the work ourselves. We should be pretty close to this budget come Spring. Just keep in mind there's still fee's for winter storage, slip fee's, insurance, etc.
8. Previous Owners
OK, this one I'll repeat as it's often recommended here, but it needs to be stressed. Go out of your way to meet the PO. It wasn't a priority for me, but I lucked out during the process and got to spend some time with the owners of the boat we bought. Really great people and they've been very gracious to this day. It also provided a human perspective to the boat's history that we would have otherwise missed.
9. Know your limits
We've sailed for over 10 years, but on smaller boats. We know we don't know enough about sailing a boat this size, in these waters. So we're taking more advanced classes and getting help when we need it. This might be the best money spent so far.
10. Be respectful
These are other people's boats you're crawling over and passing judgment on. When inspecting boats, I made every effort to always put things back the way they were and kept my shoes dry and clean. I also didn't want to offend anyone with an offer. I made sure to explain the logic of our offers to the brokers and left it up to them to present it to the seller or not.
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Old 02-24-2010
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Thanks for taking the time to write that up, it's always useful for potential buyers to hear from someone who's been there. Sounds like you had a pretty good experience overall, and I'm sure the sellers (and brokers) appreciated your efforts to avoid getting the boats dirty/messy. On your very last point, it's common practice if not a general rule for a broker to present all offers to the seller, no matter what. It's up to the seller how they want to respond, and the broker would never want to be in the position of hearing, "Why didn't you tell me about that offer?"

With all that said, what did you buy and where are the pictures!?
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Old 02-28-2010
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Good Contribution

Tanley:
Appreciate the look back-rare to hear/read.

Can you go in more detail on a couple of categories?

1) Negotiating - Offer process - % offered & % accepted vs List - An other thoughts

3) Start Up Costs - What are some of the items / $$ in that category?

Thanks in advance
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Old 03-01-2010
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Sure,

Negotiating: Not sure how applicable this will be to others since there are so many variables involved, but here's the breakdown relative to the last published listed price.

Initial pre-survey offer - 74% of asking
Negotiated price pre-survey - 78% of asking
Adjusted price post survey (sold cost) - 67% of asking

Start Up Costs for 2 people This doesn't include repairs or upgrades to existing equipment. It's simply things we didn't/don't have, or if we did, they weren't the correct scale. This list changes weekly and it's bound to get a lot larger once we actually get on the boat.

Winter Cover $1.8K
Docking (dock box, water hose) $450
Dinghy $2K
Motor $2K
Life Jackets - Type III (x4) and V/III (x4 - Hydro Inflate) $450
Safety (Flares, Extinguisher, bells, air horn, etc) $250
Binoculars $300
Charts and navigation tools $200
Sailing gear (foulies, shoes) $700
Sheets/towels/pillows/blankets $200
Galley/Cabin (plates, glasses, cookware, etc) $225
Marine specific tools/supplies (electrical, mechanical) $500
Maintenance Books $150
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Old 03-01-2010
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Thank you for your detailed overview of your purchase, outside of the actual $ amount spent, from reading your first post I think you lucked out from the seller perspective. I had the opposite, a remopte seller who was difficult for his broker to contact and was reluctant to negotiate even though the survey and supporting repair quotations were provided to support offers...

Well Done and enjoy your boat - It will reward you many times over......
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Old 03-01-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanley View Post
Initial pre-survey offer - 74% of asking
Negotiated price pre-survey - 78% of asking
Adjusted price post survey (sold cost) - 67% of asking
Wow what did you find wrong with the boat that was worth 11%?

Mind sharing any details of what boat you bought and why you choose that one.
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Old 03-01-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
Wow what did you find wrong with the boat that was worth 11%?

Mind sharing any details of what boat you bought and why you choose that one.
Actually, considering what our budget was, 10% was just a couple of grand. That adds up pretty quick on a boat.

It's a Cal 28-2. Here's a link to a sister ship with info/pictures of the model.

Cal 28

Why this boat? After college we started freshwater sailing on 20' one designs, with occasional outings on friends' larger boats. Now we're living near the ocean and want to do some overnight cruising and daysails. Being our first keel boat, we didn't want to go much bigger than 28'. Mostly due to our own comfort in handling a larger boat, but we want to make sure we'll like ocean sailing as much as we think we will. It's a boat to learn on, not just for coastal sailing, but the DIY maintenance and all the other aspects of 'real' boat ownership. If we don't like it, we'll be walking away from a relatively modest investment. If we like it, we can keep her, or move up with a better understanding for our preferences. Either way, we'll learn a lot about each other, working on boats and best of all, sailing.

For our budget, we were looking at cruisers built in the mid 80's. Speaking to brokers and other boat owners, Cal seems to have a decent build reputation for that era. It's set up well for short handed sailing and was a bit roomier than other boats of it's size. The admiral really likes the interior layout and I'm not looking to win any regatta's yet, so a high PHRF doesn't bother us. Not sure why, but most of the 28-2 Cal's we looked at were better maintained than the other boats we saw. I'm sure that had something to do with it too.

We'll see. I'm sure it will be a hoot to look back at all this one day and reflect on how little we know/knew. But I'm betting we'll have some getting there.

Last edited by Tanley; 03-01-2010 at 09:41 PM.
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