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Old 01-14-2013
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No Sea Trial

Hi folks,

I just went to look at a boat for possible purchase, Mariner 31. Ok shape, but would need at least a moderate amount of work. This is my first boat purchase.

So here's my question, the seller, who is a private broker (the owner is in california), won't allow me to arrange with her a sea trial without making an offer on the boat first. She insists this is the way it works and won't budge. Is this true? This is my first time at this so I don't know, but it just seems a little funny. Doesn't it seem natural that I would want to see how the boat sails before making an offer????
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Old 01-14-2013
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Re: No Sea Trial

I should also mention that she insists that the sea trial is on the same day of the survey, and then only. While I agree I would definitely like to have the surveyor onboard for a sea trial, it seems reasonable to want to see how the boat handles before making an offer.
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Old 01-14-2013
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No Sea Trial

She is telling you the normal process. Most of the time you can do a visit / inspection but then have to make an offer to proceed to sea trial and survey. You protect yourself by having language in the written offer that gives you the ability to walk away if either the sail or the survey fails to meet your needs.
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Old 01-14-2013
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Re: No Sea Trial

That is how it works.

For starters, owners don't want to put wear and tear on the boat for tire kickers that just want to sail for an hour. Not saying you are, but they can't know.

More importantly, you'll never really get a sense of how she handles on a sea trial anyway. At best, you'll only know how she handles in whatever wind and sea conditions exist on that specific day and there may be no wind or too much wind. Unless you've sailed that particular boat before, you'll spend more time thinking about where the lines are than really paying attention to any subtleties. Sea trials are important, but are intended to insure things work that can't be tested at the dock (furlers, engines under load, gps tracking, autopilot, etc). They are not intended to be test drives, like a car.

You can usually do good research on a particular model's sailing characteristics. If you like what you research and the boat is in good shape, make an offer and press forward.

By the way, it is also common practice that your offer is accompanied by a 10% downpayment, which is fully refundable until you accept the results of the survey at your full discretion. Again, intended to weed out the tire kickers, but be sure you are dealing with a reputable broker. They hold your money. Many never actually cash the check until you accept.
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Old 01-14-2013
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Re: No Sea Trial

Quote:
Originally Posted by willykunkle View Post
...This is my first boat purchase.

So here's my question, the seller, who is a private broker (the owner is in california), won't allow me to arrange with her a sea trial without making an offer on the boat first...Doesn't it seem natural that I would want to see how the boat sails before making an offer????
Yes. You can structure this transaction however you please. It is all negotiable. She is merely establishing the fact that she will be in control of the transaction and you will do as she pleases. It will not just end there, you will never regain the control that you should have as a buyer. She knows better than you that buying a boat is an emotional decision, so she expects you to throw reason out the window like most folks do.

Why let someone lead you around by the nose during one of the strongest buyer's market ever experienced?

Available boats are a dime a dozen now. Find another boat with a reasonable, motivated seller. Buy from a private seller who is not a broker. Don't allow anyone to tell you, "This is how we always do it."
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Last edited by jameswilson29; 01-14-2013 at 07:50 AM.
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Old 01-14-2013
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Re: No Sea Trial

james , he always has "control as a buyer"
He has the cash and he can walk.
I am a little concerned to hear an attorney say "it is all negotiable"
That's bad advice, counselor.
You imply that there may be other brokers out there who provide cruises on OPBs without an offer and earnest money in hand. Doubtful, unless you know one or two, in the buyer's area, who do so. I don't.
A broker is like a realtor- there are constraints on how the offer is structured, whether by law or association practice.


Having said that, the others are also correct- you want a sea trial, make an offer.
A sea trial without an offer is a joyride.
This is not like buying a used car, where the car is simply sitting in the garage/parking lot, no prep time is required, the test drive takes 5 minutes, etc.
If you were buying a house, the realtor would not let you live in it over night, take a shower, have it inspected, etc., without an offer, no matter how bad the market is.

If you want to sail before you buy, i suggest you buy privately.
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Last edited by bljones; 01-14-2013 at 08:32 AM.
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Old 01-14-2013
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Re: No Sea Trial

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
More importantly, you'll never really get a sense of how she handles on a sea trial anyway. At best, you'll only know how she handles in whatever wind and sea conditions exist on that specific day and there may be no wind or too much wind. Unless you've sailed that particular boat before, you'll spend more time thinking about where the lines are than really paying attention to any subtleties. Sea trials are important, but are intended to insure things work that can't be tested at the dock (furlers, engines under load, gps tracking, autopilot, etc). They are not intended to be test drives, like a car.
This is spot on!

Think about what equipment is on the boat that you would need to test at a sea trial.

My first boat had new sails, and a new roller furler when I bought it. Nothing else; no GPS, no auto pilot, no engine driven refrigeration, etc. The bottom had been cleaned and the keel bolts replaced a week before (but that's another thread). I had been out on demo sail on a sistership a month or so before, so I knew how she should have sailed.

Here is a pic taken during the "sea-trial";

That's the surveyor on the foredeck.

Therefore, the "sea-trials" consisted of bringing the boat from a mooring to the dock, then, running the engine in gear while tied to the dock. We ran the engine up to operating temp, and ran her at WOT in fwd and rev.
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Old 01-14-2013
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Re: No Sea Trial

She wants him to "have some skin in the game", meaning - some cash spent and at risk - so he completes the sale. Once the buyer spends money for a haul out and a survey and all the recommended inspections (engine, rigging, etc.), there is more of an incentive to make the most out of this transaction instead of walking.

Who you choose to deal with is probably the most important step in a sales transaction. Act as if you have power and you will have power. Do not deal with someone who immediately wants to subordinate you. Find a motivated seller, not someone who immediately wants to take control.
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Re: No Sea Trial

James,...
You've never been in sales, have you?
A good broker is always in control, but also gets the buyer a boat and a deal that he/she is happy with.
A broker who lets the buyer dictate all the terms ends up with TWO unhappy people, both the buyer and the seller. This is usually where lawyers get involved.

If i was a seller, which is why i have hired a broker, I want the broker to do my qualifying for me, not simply be a tour guide. I don't want a broker essentially lending out my boat once or twice a week to folks who
a) have no money
b) can't get financed
c) are looking for a boat like mine and want to try mine out to see if they like it



As a seller I want prospects to be qualified, so yeah, "skin in the game" is a requirement.
You know what they call brokers who can't control the process?
Former brokers.
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Old 01-14-2013
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Re: No Sea Trial

Quote:
Originally Posted by bljones View Post
...I want the broker to do my qualifying for me, not simply be a tour guide. I don't want a broker essentially lending out my boat once or twice a week to folks who
a) have no money
b) can't get financed
c) are looking for a boat like mine and want to try mine out to see if they like it



As a seller I want prospects to be qualified, so yeah, "skin in the game" is a requirement.
You know what they call brokers who can't control the process?
Former brokers.
I totally agree with you on pre-qualifying the buyer. Show me the money. If you intend to pay cash, show me a bank statement or investment account statement showing liquid assets. If you will finance, show me a pre-approval for a loan for a hypothetical purchase, or at least an application with credit pull.

As a seller, if a potential buyer shows me financial ability and a proposed sales contract, I will take the potential buyer out for a sail/sea trial without the deposit and scheduled survey. Tire kickers will not show financials. Money talks, bullsheet walks.

As a buyer, I passed up one boat I inspected with a broker who would not let me start the engine and another who was too busy to schedule me in. Others will treat you the way you allow them to. Stand up for yourself buyers.

Last edited by jameswilson29; 01-14-2013 at 10:00 AM.
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