...A buddy of mine is looking at a GOB in SC and expressed interest in it. The seller refuses to do any sort of contract that protects him while he’s arranging a survey. Basically if someone walks up tomorrow with the right offer, boats sold, even if a surveyor is coming in the afternoon. Purchase price is in the $25k range and I told him an insurance co won’t touch it without a survey.
The seller is pushing to close the sale. I would advise your buddy not to alow himself to be pushed around.
If your buddy is seriously interested in this boat, and has the money, I would tell him to arrange for a survey of the boat before a final price is agreed upon. He should tell the seller that he is serious, and that he has arranged for a pre-purchase survey. If the owner will not allow a SAMS/AMS surveyor to inspect his boat then your buddy should RUN.
I highly doubt that anyone is going to walk up and offer full asking price in the interim. If that does happen, then in the grander scheme of things your buddy wasn't meant to own that boat. THE lesson that I learned when I bought my current boat is that:
there will always be another boat
After the boat has been surveyed, then your buddy should make his final offer. He should tell the seller "this is best and final, and it is based on his and a surveyor's inspection of the boat." A survey will be required by insurance, so it would be wise to find out what repairs his insurer will require before he becomes responsible to make them.
Frankly, after owning my boat for the last 9 years, I would not hesitate to buy a boat without a surveyor's input. The surveyors that I have dealt with have provided a "service" similar to home inspection, and their "service" was just about as useful (not very).