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Tempest point is well taken. I'm talking about boats that have been in commission for years by knowledgeable owners, and are out of commission for a winter. I'd stay away from a boat that has been on hard for years, unless I got a bargain and loved projects.
 

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... You can't hire enough lawyers to paper over a deal with a scoundrel. Start with dealing with good people and making a fair deal. ...
This is my perspective in a nut shell. When I look at a boat, I am also chatting up the seller to get a feel for his mindset. If he seems like trouble, I don't get tangled up with him. That is why I walked away from the deal that I referenced in my previous post.
 

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The SOP is that you send a 10% deposit, with your initial offer. However, brokers will always continue to show the boat, while you are in contract and have not yet accepted (post survey). ...
Show the boat yes, accept additional offers, no. In my situation, I spoke to the owner after the broker told me he had two more people coming to look at the boat (as soon as the part I pay for is put in the boat to make the motor run). The owner said that he was still accepting any & all offers & would take the highest one. My bid had no preference. That was someone that I did not want to do business with.
 

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The owner said that he was still accepting any & all offers & would take the highest one.
Must not have had a contract in writing, I assume. Interestingly, the standard YBAA purchase agreement does more to tie up the seller than the buyer. At least the last time I signed one anyway. Up until survey, the buyer can typically walk for any reason, whatsoever. The seller has to contractually hand over the boat, free of encumbrances, if the buyer accepts it for the price in the contract. In practice, however, most surveys introduce something that needs to be renegotiated, so each party gets an opportunity to say no thanks at that point.

With a standard contract, the seller could continue to show it and accept backup offers, but would be prevented from entering into a contract of sale, until the first buyer decided to either renegotiate price, post survey, or refuse to accept it.
 

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I get the sellers view point, the broker indicated the boat has been maintained by the marina the last few years, so if there are decent maintenance records than I could forgo the sea trial.
Don't count on that. The yard may have a relationship with the seller or broker or both, and can cover up a lot by just keeping mum.

In your purchase " trust but verify".

I've been on both sides of a number of sales the had escrow held pending sea trials so I would consider it common. Note the sale is not held til sea til, so you want to be sure to employ a rigger and engine mechanic for surveys in addition to the hull surveyor. Have the mechanic do a compression test and collect the oil sample. He may then need to re-winterize the engine.

The sea trial scope is limited to items that cannot be verified by inspection alone - instruments, engine load, furler, etc. 10% is standard deposit but it is not the escrow and may not be enough for a escrow...depends on the price of the boat. If the sale is $10000 and the boat has a diesel and an array of electronics thT the seller says work, you may want the escrow to be 50%.

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