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pinayreefer 04-14-2011 05:46 AM

So we found a boat we like..... Now what?
After searching for awhile and deciding on what kind of boat we wanted, we found something near to it, and went and looked. It's a Cape Dory 33 (though we found several 30's we think we would have liked, but they were in distant ports). with some age and things that need to be repaired.
So what is normal protocol?
Make an offer?
Get a survey first?
Offer the list price (which would mean for us "forget about it")?
Try and figure what all needs to be done and how much it will cost then do a general survey of all boats of that vintage and style and what their asking price is then offer that?
Buying a boat sure isn't like buying a car, is it!
Any info on pricing, fair market value, how to proceed would be very welcome.

Tim R. 04-14-2011 06:37 AM

Is it listing with a broker? If so, you might be better off using the services of a buyer-broker. He/she can walk you through the entire process.

If you are strictly a DIYer, start with SailingDog's boat inspection tips. Then if you still want to buy, make an educated offer contingent on survey and sea trial. Make sure YOU pick the surveyor. If they accept your offer you will be expected to put some good-will money into escrow. After the survey you will have the opportunity to haggle further based on findings of survey/sea trial. Agree on final price and pay the remaining balance.

Either way, make sure you ask the broker(buyer or seller) for comparables from so you can get an idea what similar models have sold for recently.

This is a good site for researching Cape Dorys: Welcome to the Cape Dory Sailboat Owners Association's Home Page

JohnRPollard 04-14-2011 06:39 AM

The normal procedure is to make an offer, negotiate, and then only if a price is agreed upon proceed to survey and seatrial. Surveys come with a price tag, so in most cases you don't want to expend that money if there is never going to be a meeting of the minds on price.

If you've been looking at these CDs for a while, you probably have a fairly good idea what the price range looks like. Remember, though, especially on older boats which can range from sorely neglected to upgraded like new, there can be a pretty good spread. It takes some judgement to evaluate where a boat falls in that spectrum.

kd3pc 04-14-2011 06:41 AM

your offer should be based on what the boat is worth to you...without professional help (a broker) you have little idea what the sold boats actually sold for...the boat is worth exactly what some one is willing to pay for may or may not get a "deal"...if that is your goal, I would be very leery..."deals" often turn out costing way more than a correctly priced, correctly maintained boat in the long run, or even short run. YMMV.

that being said, most buyers will make an offer - subject to:
1. acceptable financing to you
2. Successful Survey
3. Successful sea trial
4. Rigging survey (if desired)
5. Engine survey (if desired)
6. Anything else you may want to add where you do it, not after the offer is presented..

A contract is written and presented, along with your deposit money (again this is where the broker is usually of value, if no broker find a local bank or use BoatUS) and then you proceed to go through the list - at YOUR expense unless agreed to previously.

As you satisfy the contingencies, you move closer to a decision and lose leverage to back out of the deal if you find things are not as they appear.

When the survey has been completed by a competent surveyor YOU have hired (not last years paperwork, or a friend or a surveyor identified by the seller or his agent), you often can re-negotiate your initial offer i.e. - have the seller reduce his price, have the seller "fix" those items, or simply walk away and have your deposit returned. You will be out the haul/survey charges. And the seller may or may not respond as you would like. This is generally "big" things, show stoppers and the like. Not nuisance things.

I would read up here and at other sailing forums for more details. There are volumes written on "value, offers, deals,, fair market value, what it is really worth", etc..

Best of luck

Minnewaska 04-14-2011 07:02 AM

It sounds like you've seen the boat and find it acceptable. If you are totally unfamiliar with inspecting a boat, I might consider reading up and taking another look. You want to minimize your chances that you waste money on a survey, which will be entirely at your expense. Overall, I look for the story on how it was care for, more than trying to find specific discrepancies. The professional surveyor can find those better than I. Stored well, cleaned well, broken stuff fixed timely, etc. It doesn't have to be perfect, something will need repair. I try to get a sense of whether the owner was attentive or tried to defer everything.

The reason I find this important is that the survey will only tell you what is wrong in the moment. If she wasn't cared for properly, you can guarantee you will have premature failure of many things that pass the survey test today.

If she passes this test, you have to research a fair price and make a reasonable offer, subject to a survey and anything else you may require (financing, insurance, transport, whatever). The more contingencies, the less attractive your offer. Most expect to negotiate, so offering a bit below what you are willing to pay is customary. Some will say to agree to anything and then try to pound it down after the survey identifies every little scratch. I disagree with that approach. I suggest you agree to a price that you are willing to pay if the survey confirms that she is in the condition you believe. The survey may find things you are unfamiliar with or that cause concern. Your two remedies should be to either walk away or ask the seller to pay to repair them for your agreed price. You may want to control or inspect the repair process.

When it comes to closing, that's another matter. I highly recommend a closing/escrow agent that is contracted to do title searches and file registration or documentation paperwork.

sidney777 04-14-2011 07:30 AM

Glad to see you found a sailboat you like. All this other stuff must sound confusing. Take a look at this site for tons of Cape Dory research and conversation Cape Dory Boats - Index Your boat info is listed under "About Cape Cory Boats". --Buying Flow chart is kinda like buying a house---. Besides the usual title & registration the boat may be a "Federally Documented" boat with the US Coast Guard. Info at USCG National Vessel Documentation Center, Home Page Some people do the transfer themselves and others pay to have it done. All instructions are provided, I did it.

pinayreefer 04-14-2011 09:28 AM

You guys are the greatest. Lots of good information, some that I didn't know the proper sequence on, other things I just didn't think about.
It is a "for sale by owner" deal. I wouldn't have had so many questions if there was a broker involved, though I might have still asked as the broker works for the seller, not buyer. :)
I'm not sure why I was confused on the price; obviously I can only offer what I'm willing to pay, and if that isn't satisfactory then there's no deal. I guess I was concerned about offending the seller with a low price, but as long as there can be negotiation afterwards there should be no cause for offense. We're both looking for a good deal, with how badly I want the boat and how badly he wants to sell it as the final determiner of what that price will be.
As for the state of the boat, I see several things with my limited knowledge.
1) the bilge had some water in it. To me that's a risky deal right there. But maybe it shouldn't necessarily be. He told me that he'd just installed a dripless stuffing box so it's either not working or the source is somewhere else. I didn't taste it (if it'd been my boat I wouldn't have hesitated, but since it's someone elses......., I'll bring a refractometer if I go back to the boat to see if its salt or fresh.)
2) crazing of the gel coat ondeck. There's quite a bit of it, not sure how serious or how it can be repaired (DIY or hire) As mentioned earlier, I had a Searunner 31 for 10 yrs., so no stranger to glass work, but never had this to do.
3) While the woodwork on deck will require a lot of work, the woodwork below will too. There is damage severe enough on several ports that a replacement of the panel on the starboard side should be pursued. Not a cheap job, but one I can do myself, I feel. The owner kinda blew it off, saying everything just needed a coat of oil and it'd be fine.
4) The engine is likely original, so will need an overhaul, at least, in the near future. It looks good now, but a bath in degreaser and a paint job could have achieved that.
5) No history on the standing rigging. It looks okay, but if it's 29 years how much longer can it go before needing replacement?
6) The one improvement is a new bottom job. Reviews state that this vintage boat (1982) can be subject to osmotic blistering. No info from seller on this either.
Thanks for the help guys. We're excited about getting on the water again, and would like for this to be the boat, but not so much that we're willing to make a bad investment.

Tim R. 04-14-2011 09:50 AM

1) Could be from the mast if it is keel stepped. Many boats have water in the bilge and should not automatically be a deal breaker.
2) Big job to make it look right again.
3) What you can see inside that is damaged is likely just the tip of the iceberg. I have done this job and it looked minimal until I cut into the plywood and found a large portion rotted while the outer veneer still looked good. Veneers are usually better species than the substrate which tends to hide the real problem underneath.
4) Big $$$
5) If 29 years old then it has lived 3 lifetimes. Replace before you sail. If not then get a qualified rigger to do dye testing on it to ensure it is safe.
6) New bottom job is a plus if done properly. Look for receipts for this.

EJO 04-14-2011 09:54 AM

pinayreefer, Sounds like you have a handle on it. Is the boat on the hard if so you could determine if she leaks after your sea-trial her if the water in the bilge is higher.:D
All boats that have been in water or the weather have water in their bilges. Hence most all boats come with bilge pumps.
In older sailboats a lot of the water in the bilge comes from leaking ports (rain water) which you mentioned the boat has/has seen.
If the bilge pump(s) doesn't come on every hour you should be OK. Also depending on the bilge form sometimes you can't pump them dry.
Make sure you stipulate the contingencies with a subject to your acceptance and possible price deduction.
Good luck, hopefully you'll be sailing soon.

pinayreefer 04-14-2011 12:52 PM

the Searunner I had was stepped on the cabin with a compression post, I guess that's why it never had a drop of water in the bilge, which is why when I see water in the bilge, even a little, of a boat I get concerned. Thanks for the clarification, as the Dory is keel-stepped.
I called a boatyard, one of only a few in town, and they wanted $350-$425 for a lift and replacement, and stating that the surveyor only kept it out of the water for an hour or so. Ouch! Seems a lot, given that the surveyor cost on top of it will result in close to a K. I guess that would have answered whether you do the survey before you negotiate a price! Sound reasonable to you all?
Thanks again everybody!
Now to search for "gel-coat crazing" fixes!

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