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Old 10-08-2012
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Buying A Boat, Need Some Help

I'm going to look at a boat this weekend. If I like it, I will make an offer. However, my offer will be contingent upon a survey. How do I protect myself in terms of the cost of the survey? Do I negotiate a price ahead of time based on the seller's info and have a written contract if the boat checks out? How is this done?
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Re: Buying A Boat, Need Some Help

Typically the cost of the survey is on you.. it's your insurance payment on not making a bad buy. On used boats early every survey will reveal an issue or two that will aid in reducing the negotiated sale price by at least that amount.

And even if it doesn't, better to be out $500-1000 than to have paid $10K or more and have ended up buying someone else's problem(s).

If you're spending serious money then you have to look at the costs of even several surveys as 'part of the process' and the associated costs of making such a major purchase - again, so the purchase is made with as much info as you can get, which always helps in making a good decision.

All of which, of course, presumes a quality survey from a truly good surveyor...
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Re: Buying A Boat, Need Some Help

Surveyor's also typically charge by the foot. So that is how you can figure out what it will cost. IIRC $10 US a foot would be a good budget. Some may also have a minimum, so if you hire some one to look at an 8' pram, they might have 2-4 hrs going to and from the boat, so some cost needs to be taken in for that.

The foot price is probably a good thumb up, armlength away guess on a price. It could vary some depending upon what you need etc.

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Re: Buying A Boat, Need Some Help

Marty, $10/foot would be a pretty good deal methinks.. some locals are approaching $20, we paid $12 in 2004 in Seattle.

It's not a minor expense, that's for sure... but for most it's worthwhile, and in any event if the boat is to be financed or insured a recent survey is usually a requirement.
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Re: Buying A Boat, Need Some Help

hmmmmm, I know of a local that is about $10........ok, so 10-20 depending upon the surveyor. Some IIRC charge a bit more per foot for longer ones, just to cover some of the beam etc too.................The $10, could also be because it was an insurance survey.....so not remember the cost of the initial one, might be a bit more for new vs insurance also.....

Worth the cost any how!
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Re: Buying A Boat, Need Some Help

If you want to make an offer on a boat, generally the broker (or seller) takes a deposit of 10% of the offer, which is made subject to the boat's passing survey. The deposit is refundable in the event that the boat does not pass survey, but the buyer pays for the survey. (You wouldn't want a survey that the seller paid for!) The best thing to do might be to contact a few marinas or yacht yards near where the boat is and ask which surveyors they might recommend. (The broker or seller might have some ideas on that too. If they all name the same guy, he's probably ok. If the seller and broker really push someone other than the one(s) named by the marinas, be forewarned. ) Contact the potential surveyors and ask them what they'd charge. Costs will vary depending upon the type of boat: a small sloop should be less than a large ketch. The material and condition of the boat factor in too. A wooden boat in mediocre condition can take a LONG time to go over. Steel, fiberglass, engines & systems can all affect survey costs, along with the distance the surveyor has to go, and how long he thinks it will take. The depth and detail of his report will be reflected in the cost as well.
In any case, make sure to be present when the surveyor looks over the boat. You're paying for his expertise, and it is an excellent way to learn incredible amounts from him as he points out issues, causes, and effects that you had NO idea of. We had the boat we bought surveyed by two different surveyors, and learned something new from both of them. This, despite my having had more than 30 years of sailing experience, 20 in cruising boats.
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Re: Buying A Boat, Need Some Help

Two approaches I've heard of for reducing the cost of a survey:
(1) learning enough to "pre-survey" boats on your own and eliminate clunkers so you only pay for a survey on a boat that in which you have high confidence;
(2) asking whether the surveyor might consider stopping the survey and reducing the fee if a big deal-breaker surfaces very early during the survey.
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Re: Buying A Boat, Need Some Help

Also worth noting that most surveyors will not climb the mast so you do not get the rigging checked.

The engine check carried out by most surveyors is limited. If in doubt you need a specialist who will organise things like oil analysis and cylinder pressure or rpm drop checks.
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Re: Buying A Boat, Need Some Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimmy-D View Post
I'm going to look at a boat this weekend. If I like it, I will make an offer. However, my offer will be contingent upon a survey. How do I protect myself in terms of the cost of the survey? Do I negotiate a price ahead of time based on the seller's info and have a written contract if the boat checks out? How is this done?
Use the attached link and do a thorough pre-survey yourself. It will reduce the number of times you have to pay someone else.

Boat Inspection Trip Tips

If you are planning on spending a lot of money, say more than $10K, picking up and studying Don Casey's book on inspecting old boats would be a good idea too.

A lot of surveyors are "in name only" and they all cover their a$$es re: "errors & omissions" so being able to narrow the field severely by yourself is good practice.
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