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first sailed january 2008
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I found my new boat. It's on the hard in Washington. The seller is in a different state and so am I.

How can I buy it safely and get the title and bill of sale?

He does have a friend that lives by the boat that I could meet but that involves me driving 600 miles.

Is there any way to do a safe transaction for both parties without seeing each other?
 

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I think an escrow company could probably handle it. The following is from the Washington State Escrow Association.
What is Escrow ?
Disinterested Third Party Escrow means any transaction wherein any person or persons for the purpose of effecting and closing the sale, purchase, exchange, transfer, encumbrance, or lease of real or personal property to another person or persons, delivers any written instrument, money, evidence of title to real or personal property or thing of value to a third person to be held by such third person until the happening of a specified event or other performance of a prescribed condition or conditions, when it is then to be delivered by such third person, in compliance with instructions under which he is to act, to a grantee, grantor, promise, promisor, obligee, obligor, lessee, lessor, bailee, bailor, or any agent or employee thereof.
 

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Ok. How does that work? It's 10k or under if it matters. Not a 300k boat.
It's less about the price and more about the potential liability. However, at less than 10k a broker would add significantly to the cost. I like the idea of using an escrow company but have no idea what the fees would be or how it would work in Washington.

There is no way I would buy a boat, any boat, without a thorough inspection. If you don't have the experience/expertise to do this yourself then you should hire a surveyor. That is a few hundred dollars you can't afford to save.
 

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In Washington Attorneys, Banks and Lenders, and Title Companies can also provide escrow services, along with independent escrow companies. They are all regulated however fees are not, you'll probably need to provide your own purchase agreement or sale contract. Might want to shop around a little.
Any attorneys or bankers in the family?
 

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██▓▓▒▒░&
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So you've got your state, the seller's state, Washington State, and federal laws all covering this and possibly all conflicting. That means you want it done absolutely right the first time.

You'd need to inspect the boat, survey the boat and engine, seat trial it (normally you pay for that launch and haul) and at least reserve significant escrow so that he doesn't get fully paid until you have all the necessary papers to establish clear title and register the boat. If that means he pays extra for the express title service, or waits the month for title to clear...that's how it goes. If he doesn't want to come do the deal, let him hire a broker or an attorney as his agent.

If the boat is such a steal that you don't care you just have to have it...that's your gamble.

This is a simple contract sale for titled property, a legal aid shop or an hour with an attorney should get you options to cover the specifics. Or, you could call a broker somewhere near the boat, and ask him what he'd charge to handle the details, and what he would guarantee to do--if you hired him as the "buying broker", not the selling broker.

Your money, your choices. But ten k for a pig in a poke, with four legal venues and jurisdictions involved...I'd be careful, unless that's lunch money for you. Too may "Craigslist" scams and other deals going on with 'distant' buyers and sellers.
 

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This one?
Pearson 33 sailboat

Just a guess based on what I think you were looking for.

First you want to inspect it in person, then pay for a professional survey, then figure out escrow.

If that is the boat -- is it a shoal draft keel? That isn't a good thing around here. It also sounds like it may be ready for new standing rigging and perhaps new sails. Those are areas that I'd want to have the surveyor pay good attention to (among everything else like wet decks, etc). Looks like it could be a good deal for this area.
 

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I would get a broker. Since all they have to do is handle the transaction costs, I would guess that you would only be looking at 4-$500 for this. And frankly unless an attorney deals with this type of purchase regularly it will take this much time in research to figure out what needs to be done.

Just spend an hour calling brokers close to the boat and ask what they would charge to just do the closing. Since the negotiations and boat selection have all been completed.
 

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██▓▓▒▒░&
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No way. When you buy titled property, you do not make payment until the title is handed to you and endorsed over to you.

That's the only way to make sure a car or boat has a title, and that title is being transferred to you. That's the way titled property is always transferred, and the only safe way to transfer it. Especially when the seller is a total stranger residing in another venue.

Or perhaps, in good faith, you would be willing to lend my Nigerian friend Umbutsee M'Boto the two thousand and fourteen dollars and tweney nine cents that he needs to pay the transfer fees in order to move his quarter million dollar inheritance over to America, where the inflation will not degrade it so quickly. In exchange, he will be gladly to sending you a finders fee of ten percent by cashiers check and then you could send him the US currency to pay the export fee?
 

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You might want to take a look at escrow.com. I was going to use them at one time, but the deal didn't go through. But it looked like a reliable option.

The cost is only (around) $60 and it can all be done online. It provides for title collection as an option as well as built-in safeguards for both Buyer and Seller.
 

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C&C24, Hamilton Harbour
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No way. When you buy titled property, you do not make payment until the title is handed to you and endorsed over to you.

That's the only way to make sure a car or boat has a title, and that title is being transferred to you. That's the way titled property is always transferred, and the only safe way to transfer it. Especially when the seller is a total stranger residing in another venue.
What about a deposit that would normally be made when signing an agreement?
How one would handle this in a private transaction?
M
 

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██▓▓▒▒░&
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What about a deposit? A deposit is a deposit and that is always at risk against a completed transaction.

But buying titled property on the promise of a title is a totally unnecessary risk. If the title holder can't or doesn't actually HAVE the title in hand, there's something wrong. If they can't deliver it with the property at the closing, there's something wrong. Maybe they're just lazy or sloppy or in a hurry and mislaid it. More often, they can't actually produce it and don't have clear title to it and that's what you are risking.

No need to risk that. Here's my deposit, and if you want the rest, you'll move your ass and product the title.
 

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Ok. How does that work? It's 10k or under if it matters. Not a 300k boat.
Not sure if this means anything, but if there was a car you were interested in...

You know it is a parking lot, maybe it runs... (like maybe the boat floats)

It's $10K

Would you have a mechanic look at it?

If it is at a marina, is there any chance you could call the owner and ask a few questions... just to get started?
 

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I found my new boat. It's on the hard in Washington. The seller is in a different state and so am I.

How can I buy it safely and get the title and bill of sale?

He does have a friend that lives by the boat that I could meet but that involves me driving 600 miles.

Is there any way to do a safe transaction for both parties without seeing each other?
Try Marine Title in Seattle. They can do all the services for you, safely, efficiently and provide you with peace of mind.
 
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