If you don't mind saying again, what is your budget ? ( or did you say )?
I would guess you are ready to give boat buying advice. How can you streamline the process, or can you ? Is the journey becoming more fun than getting that Final boat ? A friend of mine was looking for a sailboat and I joked with him that he was a "professional boat buyer". He finally bought a 'lemon' and is still working on it. He first had 18 questions and then developed 28 questions he would ask sellers.
Sidney, sorry I delayed in answering your questions, but the search for the right boat was reaching a crescendo and the owner of one of the boats on our short list may have been a member of this forum so I didn't want to show our hand on how much we were willing to pay!
There have been several threads about what kind of market this is, and even brokers admitting (possibly to push the deal) have said it's a buyers market.
We ended up with two Allied Princess's we were going for, one a fixer upper, but close at hand, and a sense that we could have gotten it at a real good price (whatever that might mean, good or bad) and another, much farther away (will require a cross-gulf trip to bring it home), very good condition, but of course higher price. In the end, you just have to pull out your wallet and see what happens. The negotiating I'm sure had the broker earning more of his commission than normal, but in the end I paid a bit more than I wanted, and the buyer accepted less than he wanted. I'd have preferred another way, where we're both happy, but I guess that's the nature of our present economy? Still, I got the boat at a substantial reduction of asking. When we first started looking I assumed that the asking was roughly what we'd pay, but that turns out not to be the case, at least in our experience.
As far as giving advice on boat buying, I'm not sure I'm qualified in any way yet, it'll take a few months to see what kind of deal I really got! For sure I'm glad I am at least familiar with boats, and was willing to look at ones I was interested multiple times as they often didn't look as good on second inspection! And with the cost of a survey and haulout, I'd hate to make an offer and have the surveyor discover something that breaks the deal; the buyer still loses.
I don't know how many questions we asked each seller. For sure it was better to have the boat shown by the owner rather than the broker, too much waiting while the broker found the answeres, sometimes we'd forget the question before the answer came back. I broke the looking up by systems. After deciding on an Allied I researched to discover what their strengths and weaknesses are known to be and see what the present state of those systems was. For instance, a boat that old should have been repowered or at least rebuilt. the standing rigging should have been replaced or inspected and repaired. Sails? Electrical? Hull condition. (A friend got a funny look when reading a listing that said "freshly painted blister-free bottom"!)
Now to prepare for the survey and return home. I'm fortunate to have a friend who spend many years in the south pacific, longlining for tuna. Between his offshore experience and my sailing hopefully we can bring it home with no fuss.
For anyone curious, here's the links to the three final boats on our list. the Seawind was the boat that made us decide to go for a boat in better shape. It was really nice inside, with a new engine, but it would always be 32 feet, and just a bit too small for the idea of an eventual liveaboard. Nice boat for someone though.
Highland Winds II