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post #1 of 51 Old 4 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Philosophical used boat buying question

Hi all hope you are doing well,

I am in the midst of buying a used sailboat circa 1982 Cape Dory 30 and just about to receive the surveyors report. My 'philosophical' question is how much of the financial outlay that will be necessary to make the boat safe to sail should the seller be expected to be responsible for. And to give a specific example, the surveyor flunked the rigging after finding cracks in the swages (sp?). So the sailing part of the survey was suspended. There were I think 3 swages (sp?) that were cracked. Enough that the surveyor did not want to have the responsibility of the mast crashing down on a boat that none of the 3 of us owned. What percentage of the rigging should the seller be financially responsible for in this transaction? My initial thought is to split the cost of re-rigging with the seller using the logic that he could make the boat safe by simply replacing all that is involved with the 3 pieces that are faulty. Another approach could be that he needs to pay for the entire re-rigging because common practice is for the entire rigging to be replaced as a whole at one time. For example you do not replace 3 spokes on a bicycle wheel....I think? That is just the first analogy that came to mind. In this case you would expect the seller to pay for the entire re-rigging.

I am just curious if any of you out there who have been buying and selling sailboats for many years could give me any insight as to how you have dealt with this kind of situation as sellers and buyers. I want to be as fair as possible in what is turning out to be a more complicated transaction than it first appeared to me.

Thanks very much,

Jim
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Re: Philosophical used boat buying question

I assume youíve made an offer based on the state of the boat as expressed by the owner and your best assessment of itís current condition. If this assessment did not include the need for a re-rigging (and this is indeed what the survey found), then I would simply renegotiate the sale price based on this new, unexpected, finding of the survey.

Now, whether the current owner wants to meet you 1/2 way on this price reduction, or any other permutation, is open to negotiation. But also be prepared to walk away from the deal. If you open it up, the current owner is also relieved of obligations under the previous agreement. He/she may not choose to accept your new terms.

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Re: Philosophical used boat buying question

1982.... Where is, As is.

I wouldn't give 1 cent discount. Your survey report is for you, not the seller.

But that's just me

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Re: Philosophical used boat buying question

I guess I should add that if this rigging is original to the boat, then you certainly SHOULD have included the cost of re-rigging in your assessment and offer.
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Re: Philosophical used boat buying question

That is the funny or interesting thing about buying a boat. You make an financial offer based most often on a picture and description found on the internet. Then you find out
the boat needs X, Y and Z to even begin to be what you pictured in your mind when you first saw the boat. Reality comes down hard when you get the surveyors report. Then the real work begins. What do you need the seller to do versus what you can accept doing. Tricky business.

Another thing I find interesting is when the seller wants to wash his hands of a boat so much that they do little to nothing to make the boat more attractive to the buyer. I am looking at a boat that has food in it left over from who knows when. It's 'poop tank' is almost full, also from who knows when. A half an hour spent cleaning the most obvious of places in the boat would have made a huge difference in its first impression moments. It is like selling a car with the kids McDonalds food left in it. I don't get it.

The surveyor, who makes his living watching these boats change owners explained it to me as the seller just wants to let go and has moved on to his next boat, either literally of figuratively, long before he/she has sold their current boat.

My seller spent a few thousand dollars adding various brand new electronic doo-dads
on to the boat but did not bother to pay the installer to actually get them working. For example the brand spanking new autopilot is not getting power during the survey we did the other day. We were downloading the software for the electronic wonders that had been installed but not actuated during the survey.

The seller has already brought another boat, a trawler though not a sailboat. Sailing was apparently not for him. This transaction is all happening through a broker. A broker who has his work cut out for him. I guess I should be happy that all these signs of carelessness on the part of the seller are in my favor when it comes to the final negotiations....then again...I have already come across sailboat sellers who think of their boats as investments that accumulate buy never depreciate. For example the owner who spent $25k on a boat a couple of years ago, then spent $5k more so in his head the boat is now worth $30k or more notwithstanding he did not get a decent survey done when he brought the boat and paid $7k more than the boat was worth. I hope to keep you all updated as to how this transaction, or lack of transaction, plays out in the days ahead.

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Re: Philosophical used boat buying question

Sorry.....that should be "Bette Davis"
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Re: Philosophical used boat buying question

Quote:
You make an financial offer based most often on a picture and description found on the internet
No you don't, I've never made an offer without a thorough personal inspection and if the boat is supposed to be "ready to sail" I expect everything should be "ready to sail". If you are rooting thru the bargain bin it's "as is, where is."
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Re: Philosophical used boat buying question

It's really your call. You can ask for whatever you like and the seller can agree to whatever they like. Otherwise, dead deal.

Personally, I'm fine with asking for anything that was not as advertised, or obvious when making my offer. However, for example, you should not ask for a scratched boat to be repainted, as you already knew it was scratched, when you made your offer.

The cracked swages are an interesting issue. Were they disclosed? If so, the seller isn't likely to fix them now. If they weren't disclosed, it will be hard for the seller to suggest you should have noticed them prior to the offer, when they can't prove they noticed them.

It's all about willing buyer and willing seller. No one answer.


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Re: Philosophical used boat buying question

If the seller is going to help out with the costs of all the necessary repairs he will probably end up having to give you the boat free. You decide what the boat is worth to you in it's present condition and make an offer.
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Re: Philosophical used boat buying question

I've made several offers on boats without a personal inspection. It isn't reasonable to always visit the boat first, and a trip to see a boat that the owner will not budge from an unreasonable price is just a waste of money.

A good boat hunting strategy is to find a boat you like in the comfort of your home, contact owner and/or broker and get a lot of detailed information about the boat and its equipment. Ask direct and pointed questions that require detailed answers. Maybe a couple of pictures that aren't on the listing that you need to see. If things are good so far, then determine what a reasonable offer will be for you. Make the offer contingent on a personal inspection, sea-trial, and survey. Make sure the contract allows you to pull out without penalty on the personal inspection. Go through the negotiation process with the owner/broker, and if all come to agreement, then sign a contract to freeze the boat, and set up a visit. Have a surveyor ready (and tell him/her what you are doing), but get to the boat several days ahead of survey for the inspection. If things don't inspect as expected, then cancel the survey.

Otherwise, unless the boat is in your local area, you will be spending a lot of time and money looking at boats without ever knowing if the owner will accept a price in your ballpark, and then needing to do the time and money trip stuff again to close the deal.

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