Buying a boat remotely, smart or not? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 29 Old 04-30-2010
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No, absolutely no.

For example, during my last boat search, I only went to see boats that looked good enough to buy, yet 3 out of 4 boats that I visited (some by plane trips), I walked away from within minutes of first seeing them. Pictures are a woeful and completely inadequate substitute for seeing, and as to relying on someone else, we all have our own idea of what's trash and what's not.
Well said....

Ron

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post #12 of 29 Old 04-30-2010
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I would want to see the boat first, put an offer in yes, final sale after you see it, I bought mine from ebay, put down a deposit through paypal, went to see her, then worked out the rest of the deal, now working on getting her back home
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post #13 of 29 Old 04-30-2010 Thread Starter
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It seems to me that it may be a bad decision. I was really wanting to know if it is fairly common. It seems as if most are in agreement to go and look at the boat first. With the selection of boats that is available it just seems a little bit much to fly to four or five places, but I had a feeling the answer was to not purchase without looking. How should I go about narrowing down the selection before wasting a plane ticket, any suggestions? Preferably I will buy one down here but I thought maybe I can get a better deal up in the states. Alot of the boats here look very used in the price range Im looking for.
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post #14 of 29 Old 04-30-2010
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As indicated above, it's quite difficult to do this without wasting some time and money.

Pictures can be deceptive, there's no real way of knowing how current they are, or for that matter if they are actually of the boat for sale. Brokers have a strong self interest so they are generally not terribly objective. We bought our boat a few hour's drive from home, but a friend did shop elsewhere and ended up flying to California and Chicago from Vancouver BC based on conversations with the brokers and assurances that this boat, indeed, was exactly what he was looking for and in GREAT condition. In both instances within 5 minutes he knew he'd wasted a trip. They ultimately bought a boat in WA.

Several others I know of have bought at a distance, even one member here bought a boat in Hawaii and shipped it to the PNW - but everyone has always made the personal trek to check it out.

If you can develop a good relationship with a broker of your own in the area of interest, they should be able to do some filtering for you for a modest fee.

Ron

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post #15 of 29 Old 04-30-2010
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How should I go about narrowing down the selection before wasting a plane ticket, any suggestions? Preferably I will buy one down here but I thought maybe I can get a better deal up in the states. Alot of the boats here look very used in the price range Im looking for.
I had this same issue recently when looking for my boat. I travelled a lot before I found a boat I liked. I quickly caught on to the fact that boats are almost never as good as they look in pictures.

However before you buy a boat or even have it surveyed you are going to want to see her and preferably do a sea trial. My best strategy was to ask as many questions in email or over the phone as possible before getting on a plane. If you are talking over the phone make sure you have a list of questions in front of you so you are not stumbling trying to remember them. Many sellers will not post problems with boats in ads, however they will sometimes cop to problems if you ask them a direct question, especially if it's something you are going to notice when you get there.

Ask if there are any known issues with the boat. Ask about the hull, deck, rigging, chainplates, plumbing and anything else you can think off. Ask how fair the hull is (especially if you are looking to buy a metal boat). Ask about corrosion. If it's a wooden boat or has wood decks ask a lot about maintenance. Has the boat been rebuilt/refurbished in any way recently? If it's a fiberglass boat understand what you are buying. Is the hull solid or cored. If it's cored what kind of coring does it use. Make sure you are OK with that. If the decks are cored (and they almost always are in glass boats) are there any soft spots?

Ask HOW OLD THE PICURES ARE. In my limited experience this should be one of the first questions asked. You may also ask the broker/seller to take some extra pictures for you. Bilge pictures are always good. I'm sure there are a lot more things you can ask. You basically want to eliminate as many unacceptable boats with the least amount of time and money. If there is a similar boat in your area, (perhaps one that isn't for sale) see if you can get a look at her just to get a better feel for the design without having to make the trip. You may find an interior too claustrophobic for your tastes or it may fit you perfectly. You won't know until you step inside.
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post #16 of 29 Old 04-30-2010 Thread Starter
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Those are ll good questions and I am going to write them down. After hearing everyones opinion I am pretty much sold on not buying without seeing the boat yourself. I just thought with an surveyor you chose it may have been common practice to do so. Thanks.
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post #17 of 29 Old 04-30-2010
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Check out the Local boat buying assistance sticky thread. If you hook up with some help it should at least tell you if it is worth looking at a prospect.
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post #18 of 29 Old 05-01-2010
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Actually, it is standard procedure to make an offer subject to "visual inspection, survey, and seatrial." As an additional security, you could have a surveyor walkthrough the yacht in question but in your case the cost of about $10/ft would not be worth it.

The primary reason you might want to make such a pre-emptory offer is if you have a price in mind. There is no sense in flying in to see a yacht, liking her, and then making an offer only to find out the owner is not negotiable. You just wasted your time and funds on the visual inspection. Doing it this way also gives you additional leverage in negotiation as not only can you re-negotiate based on the seatrial/survey results but also your impressions from the visual inspection (ie the photos do not match the condition).

The problems are that the boat may not look anything like the photos. In fact, I have experienced horror stories where upon inspection you found out the boat was not even the advertised model. I think it only works in the case where (a) you know exactly what you are looking for, (b) you know exactly what you want to pay for her, and (c) you have a good feeling that the advertising is relatively accurate.
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post #19 of 29 Old 05-01-2010
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Where is "down here"?

Makes a big difference.

Two Americans move to the TCI.

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post #20 of 29 Old 05-01-2010 Thread Starter
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I live in Puerto Rico.
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