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Sailski3 09-14-2011 03:26 PM

Buying First Boat Advice Needed On Offer Process
Hi All,

After a few months of searching, I've found "The One". An Ericson 27. Since I am a boat-buying virgin, I need some help on what is customary. I am not willing to rely strictly on the Broker for advice as they are after max commission. (sorry to any brokers out there).

I will make an offer subject to personal inspection, survey and sea trial and a reasonable amount of time to launch the boat to new destination (till end of current month). Those are really the only stipulations I can think of as I am a cash buyer and have no other boat to sell.

What else do I need to know? What is the customary deposit to hold a boat through inspection? Do I have to be specific about what is not acceptable with the survey report or is it up to my discretion upon survey review? Is the offer a written or verbal process? Under what conditions is my deposit at jeopardy if the boat does not meet with my approval upon survey?

Anything else you seasoned boaters can suggest would be very much welcome information. I am hoping to make the offer today.

Thanks in advance.


Boasun 09-14-2011 04:24 PM

I just bought my own sailboat...
Start with an offer of 20% less than asking price. There may be some haggling after the first offer.
After the the sea trial, you will need to decide on whether you want that boat or not. If you do take a really good look at the vessel while you are aboard it. Any discreptencies can allow you reduce the agreed on price lower to cover the cost of repairs. If they demand "As Is". You will really need to take a good look at the vessel to see if you have the skills or money to do the repairs. Usually you may want to walk away and look else where.
You may have to put about 10% down with the first offer, (with good brokers) it is refundable, but it goes to toward the price of the boat and the broker knows that you are serious.
And talk with the broker and get a feel for him/her also. The good ones will be up front with you on any boat you are interested in.

dhays 09-14-2011 04:25 PM

I'm not an expert by any means but...

The offer needs to be written and signed. If accepted, a 10% deposit is usually customary and the selling broker would hold it. If you don't like the boat on inspection or sea trial, or you don't like the survey for any reason, you can back out and get your deposit back. The only reason for the deposit is so the seller knows you are serious.

The process is really very much like buying a house. Make offer, they counter, you accept, counter again, or walk.

Good luck. The Ericson 27 is a nice boat.


Boasun 09-14-2011 04:31 PM

But one minor detail, You will have the onus of paying for the survey and haulout. This was close to a thousand dollars for both on the vessel that I've gladly acquired. So how enthralled are you with this boat??

Sailski3 09-14-2011 04:39 PM

I have seen pictures and read alot of reviews. I have not seen the boat and broker is telling me he has offer already. I am not real comfortable making any offer without my own visual inspection. The boat was just listed and I can't go down until Saturday to inspect. I am wondering if broker is just trying to turn the heat up on me. Boat is well equipped and looks very well cared for - but pictures have a way of making all look good. . .

dhays 09-14-2011 04:47 PM

You end up making the offer based on what you think the condition of the boat is. If they accept the offer, then you find out upon inspection that it isn't in as good of shape as you thought, then you withdraw right then. Bosun makes a good point about the survey.

Sequence of events goes like this:
1. Ask questions of broker about condition of boat.
2. Make offer based on that information.
3. If accepted, inspect the boat yourself (there is a good thread on that here).
4. If you still like it, then you do a sea trial.
5. If you still like it, then you have the boat hauled and surveyed.

Keep in mind that after steps 3, 4, or 5 you can amend your offer. If you see something on inspection you don't like, tell the broker and that due to inspection you would like to renegotiate the price. If they agree, great. If not, you walk. You can do the same after the sea trial or survey as well.

PS: Keep in mind that it is a buyers market. Don't feel pushed by a broker. You have cash in your pocket and are buying in one of the worse boat markets ever and are doing so at the end of the season.


saildork 09-14-2011 04:55 PM


Originally Posted by dhays (Post 774813)

Sequence of events goes like this:
1. Ask questions of broker about condition of boat.
2. Make offer based on that information.
3. If accepted, inspect the boat yourself (there is a good thread on that here).
4. If you still like it, then you do a sea trial.
5. If you still like it, then you have the boat hauled and surveyed.


The thread referred to is the 'Boat Buying Trip Tips' by Sailingdog in the Boat Buying Forum here on Sailnet. Print it out and take it with you when you travel to see the boat.

Remember, boats grow on trees. If this one gets away or it's just not the one for you, don't worry. There will be another one soon. Good luck!

apogee1mars 09-14-2011 04:57 PM

If you have decided on the type and model of boat you wish to own, stay away from the brokers and just buy one private party. They made lots of Ericson's. They are tough boats with lot and lots of fiberglass in them. Not a bad choice for a boat of that size, but then again Columbia 26's cheap, fast and roomy. The biggest decision is to settle for what you want. Then find one that has been loved and care has been taken to keep it in good order. If you seek, ye will find. There is some private party guy out there right now chomping at the bit to upgrade or get out right this second. Everything should always be contingent on a survey. If you find something that looks the part on the topside, when it is hauled out and gone over you will be in a better place to make a deal, and you can re zinc/ bottom paint before you relaunch with true peace of mind.

sfchallenger 09-14-2011 05:02 PM

I'd amend Dave's advice above as follows -

Make your own inspection before making an offer - I wouldn't accept a broker's word on anything. If the broker won't let you inspect the boat without an offer, keep walking.

If you don't find anything horrifying during your own inspection, you make an offer, and usually a deposit, then you get your sea trial, etc as described above.

I would also really emphasize what Dave mentions about amending your offer based on sea-trial/survey results, but I'd suggest that you hold it all in for after the survey unless you find anything really flagrent.

Try to find out how long the broker has had the boat, this can be a good clue to how motivated the seller is - my boat had been sitting at the brokerage for over a year - and come down very significantly from the initial asking price already.

Also, don't take the broker's advice on surveyors, and ask around - find the most particular person you can to help you identify every single problem with the thing, then itemize those to the broker as reasons why you won't pay more than _____ for the boat.

Best of luck,

Minnewaska 09-14-2011 05:09 PM

Don't ever give one second thought to a broker's pressure.

Never fall in love with a sailboat until after you own it. There are always others.

The only other contingency I would consider is that you can get it insured, if you intend to insure it. This can be a bigger issue with larger boats, as your experience is going to dictate that as much as the boat's condition. However, condition is on your radar with the survey already anyway.

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