Boat Shopping Tips - SailNet Community
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Boat Shopping Tips

  • Before you get started, set a maximum price that you are willing to pay and try to avoid looking at anything priced higher. It will be harder to stay in your price range once you've looked at more expensive boats. There's always a nicer boat out there- no matter how much you spend.
  • Look at a broad variety of designs to ensure that what you think you want is really what you want. You may be surprised.
  • Once you've seen enough different types, styles, designs and layouts, eliminate those that don't suit your needs. Then begin another, more-focused search.
  • Take detailed photos (a full roll of shots) of each boat you look at that interests you. It's amazing how quickly you forget details after stepping off a particular boat.
  • Seek other opinions on the boat you're looking at, but don't let them be your only influence. For every expert's thoughts on one type of boat, there is another expert with very different views on the same boat. Re-examine your own needs and requirements, then make the decision for yourself.
  • If you are buying an older or poorly maintained boat, be aware that it is likely to have many problems and system failures. If you're not mechanically inclined, don't take on these "projects," instead opt for a newer model.
  • Whenever possible try to find and deal with the listing broker of a particular boat. Not only will he/she know the boat better, he'll also have more incentive to get a prospective buyer and the seller together on a price, and may even be ready to cut his commission a little to help the deal develop.
  • Once you've found your perfect boat, research its value before making an offer. Look for comparable vessels for sale in boat publications, local trader magazines and on the Internet. Check the BUC book, a used-boat value guide, but don't rely on it as your sole source. The information reported in BUC's is very inconsistent, and we found it didn't reflect what many boats were selling for today.
  • When you're ready to make an offer, remember to include contingencies such as, sea trial, satisfactory professional survey and any financing you may need.

—L.H. and S.H.

Sue & Larry is offline  

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