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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone,
My wife and I are trying to buy our first sailboat and have some questions about the procedure.
We are meeting a broker that represents the seller. The boat is a 1983 Sabre 30.
I expressed to the broker that I would like to schedule a survey and he said that would be fine after we agreed upon a price. Is this routine in the business?

If so, how should I protect myself if the boat doesn't check out?

Is it ok to ask the broker if I can talk to the seller?

What is the routine deposit amount?

Thanks for any advice you may offer.
 

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It is routine and after the survey you accept, re-negotiate or walk away. You bear the cost and the risk of a negative survey.

The usual deposit is 20% held in an escrow account by the broker.

However the 'golden rule' applies...He who has the gold makes or at least can bend the rules. The broker represents the seller and the higher the price the more he makes....he is not your friend!!!

Phil
 

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That Drunk Guy
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You agree on a price "subject to a survey, and sea trials". This way you will have an 'out' if you change your mind. Also any negatives that show up on the survey can be negotiated off the purchase price. Also don't automatically agree to 20% deposit. Offer 5%.
 

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if you are new to keel boats then it is best to bring someone with experience once you have narrowed the search. some will hire a surveyor to do a pre buy inspection. he can come with you as a friend and even though it is not the same as a full survey he may spot things that you would not. deposit depends on the price. a 30 foot boat here would be a 10% deposit
 

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Find a boating friend or someone that has experience to review the boat before any offers or hiring a surveyor. They will cost you 400 to 500 Plus the haul out cost. So you better be very sure of the boat and its Fair Price. As was mentioned the broker does Not represent you.
Use your common sense, inspect it. Look for signs of mold, smells of mold, odd stains that have been cleaned, etc. Look at the wiring, if looks like a birds nest of confusion, it probably is. Look for those Red Flags, they are talking to you. Best of luck. Remember there are hundreds of boats for sale. I mean hundreds. There is one for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for the great advice.
Do you all think it would be out of line to ask for the phone # of the owner? I feel most people are basically honest and will generally be upfront. I certainly don't expect a perfect boat but I would hope to get a fairly priced boat. i understand there is a certain amount of risk in all purchases, but there seems to be more fear around the things you know little about.

I am meeting the broker Saturday and again I appreciate the great advice.

Jerry and Lynn
 

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My fiance and I just closed on our first boat two weeks ago. We used a broker and had a good experience.

Our purchase agreement finalized our offer amount, contigent upon a satisfactory survey and sea-trial. We put 10% down as a deposit, which was fully refundable if we decided to walk away after the survey.

Our survey cost $17 a foot, and it is good to spend the day with your surveyor so he can explain things and point out issues. You will also have to pay for the haul-out during the survey, which is about $10-$12 a foot.

Good luck finding the right boat!
 

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Agree with all. While some people hate brokers, on our current boat our broker negotiated MORE off the price than I asked based on the survey results. He was extremely helpful and found us a great boat.

A survey is worth it's weight in gold. BTW, you pick the surveyor, don't go with one recommended by the broker. BoatUS has a list on their web site.

It's not normal to talk with the seller. That's what the broker is for. The broker will probably not be helpful on that but it's worth a try.
 

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I've never heard of anyone putting 20% down. 10% is typical. most likely, the contract the broker puts in front of you will have wording about "subject to acceptable survey and seatrial". Just make sure it does, maybe even subject to you obtaining acceptable financing. You need to spell out in writing what is acceptable financing.
 

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I'm not sure I'd advocate contacting the seller directly. The broker is there for a reason, and part of that is getting some distance from the emotions involved. Depends on the seller, of course, but having tried selling a boat privately I can tell you it's hard to stay objective when a buyer crawls around saying unkind things about your baby.

And NOT everybody is honest and up front... including brokers!..

As mentioned offers subject to satisfactory survey and seatrial are commonplace.
 

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You should be able to get a buyer's broker who is paid for by the seller (like a house the brokers split the commission). Since it is your first boat it would be an even better idea to have a pro represent you. For sure don't let the selling broker choose the surveyor.
 
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Hey,

Welcome to Sailnet. There are many people with a great amount of knowledge and experience. Take advantage of them!

The typical boat buying process goes something like this:
The buyer looks for boats places like yachtworld.com, local marina's, sailboatowners.com, etc.

When you find a boat you are interested in you contact the broker to get more Information.

If you are still interested you make a trip to see the boat. The broker should show the boat to you and demonstrate basic functions like engine operation, galley operation, electronics, etc. You get to spend as much time on the boat as you like. If you are interested you should spend A LOT of time on the boat and crawl all over it. Look in the bilges, engine compartment, storage lockers, etc. Look at things like the water heater, heat exchanger, engine block, water tanks, winches, mast, boom, furling unit, cabin sole, bulkheads, ports, hatches, etc. You won't get to go for a sail, leave the dock, or otherwise use the boat. That only happens after you agree on a price.

If you STILL like the boat you decide if you want to make an offer. If so, you contact the broker and make the offer. The broker will cry and then will present the offer to the boat owner. If there is enough interest on both sides, you may agree on a price.

Now if gets serious. If you are smart, you will hire a surveyor. Now you get to spend money on the survey, haul out, sea trial, etc.
When you get the survey report, you MAY be able to renegotiate the price. Or you may not. I have had three boats surveyed, bought them all, and never had the purchase price changed (I have had the owner make repairs, install new gear, and that sort of stuff).

After the survey, you can either decide to purchase the boat and then close on it, or you can walk away.

If you have been dealing with a reputable broker, any money you put down as a deposit gets refunded to you. You do not get the survey money back.
Most brokers will want a 10% deposit. If they sell the boat that typically becomes their commission.

And that's about it.

Barry
 

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I am not in the boat buying business, but I am in the buying and selling business. Save your money by having a knowledgeable friend go over the boat with you. There are some great resources on the on the net and the library on what to look for. If satisfied then make arrangements for a survey. If the broker demands a contract walk away. There are plenty of boats for sale. You have the gold you make the rules.
On the other hand if you are rich and have plenty of money then by all means get wrapped up in a contract for a boat that your not sure of until after the survey.
One last thought I don't know if I would walk or run away from a broker that wanted me to agree on a price before the survey.
 

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Hey,

Welcome to Sailnet. There are many people with a great amount of knowledge and experience. Take advantage of them!

The typical boat buying process goes something like this:
The buyer looks for boats places like yachtworld.com, local marina's, sailboatowners.com, etc.

When you find a boat you are interested in you contact the broker to get more Information.

If you are still interested you make a trip to see the boat. The broker should show the boat to you and demonstrate basic functions like engine operation, galley operation, electronics, etc. You get to spend as much time on the boat as you like. If you are interested you should spend A LOT of time on the boat and crawl all over it. Look in the bilges, engine compartment, storage lockers, etc. Look at things like the water heater, heat exchanger, engine block, water tanks, winches, mast, boom, furling unit, cabin sole, bulkheads, ports, hatches, etc. You won't get to go for a sail, leave the dock, or otherwise use the boat. That only happens after you agree on a price.
You forgot a few important steps:

You arrive at the boat and realize it was grossly misrepresented by the ad/broker.

You find another boat to go look at.

Repeat many times.

If you STILL like the boat you decide if you want to make an offer. If so, you contact the broker and make the offer. The broker will cry and then will present the offer to the boat owner. If there is enough interest on both sides, you may agree on a price.

Now if gets serious. If you are smart, you will hire a surveyor. Now you get to spend money on the survey, haul out, sea trial, etc.
When you get the survey report, you MAY be able to renegotiate the price. Or you may not. I have had three boats surveyed, bought them all, and never had the purchase price changed (I have had the owner make repairs, install new gear, and that sort of stuff).
I am sure there are varying opinions about this, but I am in the camp of wanting money off to do the repairs rather than have the PO do them. The POs goal is to do the minimum repair to get the sale completed. You can take the money and do the repair right.
 

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I am not in the boat buying business, but I am in the buying and selling business. Save your money by having a knowledgeable friend go over the boat with you. There are some great resources on the on the net and the library on what to look for. If satisfied then make arrangements for a survey. If the broker demands a contract walk away. There are plenty of boats for sale. You have the gold you make the rules.
On the other hand if you are rich and have plenty of money then by all means get wrapped up in a contract for a boat that your not sure of until after the survey.
One last thought I don't know if I would walk or run away from a broker that wanted me to agree on a price before the survey.
What circumstances would occur where having a contract before survey end up costing extra money? This has not been my experience in any of several boat or house purchases. The contract is written so you can back out and get your escrow returned if the survey is not satisfactory. In most cases, I think it actually ended up saving me money. Negotiate once with the knowledge you have from inspecting the boat yourself. Then negotiate new terms if unexpected items come up during survey. By then the seller is more motivated for the sale to go through because the boat has been under contract (and thus missing potential new buyers) for some amount of time.
 

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One last thought I don't know if I would walk or run away from a broker that wanted me to agree on a price before the survey.
I don't know where you're from, but in the United States it just does not work that way. No broker is going to let his client agree to a survey and sea trial if a contract is not in place, and a contract cannot be in place without an agreed on price (that price being "subject to survey and sea trial").

What's more, the contract at this point protects the buyer as much as the seller. Without a contract, the seller is free to sell the boat to anyone else. Meaning that you could pay thousands for a haul-out and survey only to have the seller say, "Sorry. I just sold it to someone else. Too bad."

Without a contract you would have no recourse at that point, other than to suck it up, learn your lesson, and be sure that you get a contract before paying for anymore surveys. Once you do have a signed contract, on the other hand, the seller is legally obligated to go through with the sale to you, barring any provided-for contingencies. He cannot back out, or sell it to anyone else.

(Again, this is how it works in the United States. Other countries, no doubt, have other laws and customary procedures.)
 

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You should be able to get a buyer's broker who is paid for by the seller (like a house the brokers split the commission). Since it is your first boat it would be an even better idea to have a pro represent you. For sure don't let the selling broker choose the surveyor.
I agree with this. As a buyer there is nothing to be gained by not having your own broker. And if new to boating your broker will know a lot more than you when looking at a boat.
 

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I don't know where you're from, but in the United States it just does not work that way. No broker is going to let his client agree to a survey and sea trial if a contract is not in place, and a contract cannot be in place without an agreed on price (that price being "subject to survey and sea trial").

What's more, the contract at this point protects the buyer as much as the seller. Without a contract, the seller is free to sell the boat to anyone else. Meaning that you could pay thousands for a haul-out and survey only to have the seller say, "Sorry. I just sold it to someone else. Too bad."

Without a contract you would have no recourse at that point, other than to suck it up, learn your lesson, and be sure that you get a contract before paying for anymore surveys. Once you do have a signed contract, on the other hand, the seller is legally obligated to go through with the sale to you, barring any provided-for contingencies. He cannot back out, or sell it to anyone else.

(Again, this is how it works in the United States. Other countries, no doubt, have other laws and customary procedures.)

+1

That's how it works, contract first, then survey. As the buyer, you can back out after the survey for any reason. Don't like the color of the sails? You can back out. I've been through this. I agreed to buy a boat for $X. I put down a 10% deposit, did not like the survey, did not complete the purchase, deposit refunded in full. All very professional, no hurt feelings. I was only out the cost of the survey.

I don't think a buyer's broker will help you. A buyer's broker might be helpful in the search for the right boat but you don't need one after you found it.
 

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One last thought I don't know if I would walk or run away from a broker that wanted me to agree on a price before the survey.
You'd pay for survey for a boat without an agreed on price? Say what? The survey follows the signed agreement, the agreement includes the price. I'd doubt any broker or seller would put themselves out to permit a survey without a signed agreement.
 

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There ought to be someway to hold the seller to fix the problems or rebate the cost of repairs. Maybe two prices are in the contract, one if no problems are found, the second one would be the first minus the cost of repairs. By the time the survey and haulout is done, the buyer is out close to a thousand dollars. Kinda sucks if the seller doesn't agree to cover the cost of repairs.
 
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