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Discussion Starter #1
I've been shopping for a new sailboat.

What I'm finding is a lot of boats that seem to be over priced. In my area it is not unusual to find a boat with an asking price 250% of NADA book value. Many of the boats are in "fair" condition, and that's being very generous to say the least.

What's wrong with this picture. Is NADA valuation way off? Is there more price flexibility in boats prices than I realize? Or are there just a lot of unrealistic people in my area?

I don't know what to make of this.
 

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On older boats what matters most is condition then original build quality. Blue book type guides are nearly useless in my experience.

On almost every boat <35' and >25 years old the wear items (sails, motor, cushions, canvas, rigging) are worth far more than the overall boat value. A boat which needs everything refit should be really cheap. A boat in amazing condition with new or excellent condition sails, motor, etc, from a good manufacturer would be worth a lot more (around here it would be about $30k for a 30' boat with excellent everything).

Understanding price means being able to understand condition.
 

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My take is that many sellers look at the prices of other boats for sale and sets his or her price similarly, sometimes regardless of condition in case that buyer comes along who doesn't look too deeply thinks the price is fair because the other boats in the area are the same price. This is when good negotiating skills and a spot on survey will help the buyer not make a poor decision.
 

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What budget range are we talking about ? What size, what age? Makes, models?

I could imagine a wide range of prices in an older boat that's been well cared for and one that's been neglected..or in " Fair" shape.

This spring I was sitting next to a 35 year old, one owner, Sabre that looked like it was just delivered yesterday from the factory. There would be a big swing in price for the same vessel that's been neglected for years.

Just out of curiosity, I looked up my vessel on the NADA site. I thought the asking price they returned was well within reason. I couldn't imagine them coming back with a price 250% more.
Nor would I sell it for 250% less.. ;-)

Seller motivation is something you have to feel out. I saw an asking price drop $20,000 once after being on the market for a year. The actual selling price was $50,000 lower. because the owner purchased his new boat already and just wanted to be done with the deal.

I think it's best to know what you want, and know what you think it's worth to you..and then kick a lot of tires until you find the deal you're happy with, or can live with.
 

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Hi Archimedes,

For starters, there are regional variations in prices with places like Lake Lanier GA being one of the higher priced areas. I attribute this to supply & demand; fewer boats available for large population of people wanting boats.
Boat prices seem to be cheaper on the east coast than on the left coast & PNW.
So where are you located & what kind of boat(s) are you looking for/at?

Some boat models do sell at a premium price (Pacific Seacraft, Canadian Sailcraft, Swann etc) while some are difficult to give away.
 

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Interesting, I "priced" out my boat on NADA and it came in at a little over half of a broker appraisal done this past spring. (Broker was putting together a deal on a 40 footer for me and had to sell my present boat before closing on the new one so I think I was getting an honest appraisal.)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Pacific Seacraft in my dreams, but that's just not in the budget.

This will be my first "big boat". I will be single handing it mostly. Preferably in the 27' to 30' range. I don't think I would need , nor feel comfortable, with anything bigger. Something under $30k

I spend part of the year in FL and part in Cape Cod, so I'm willing to look anywhere on the east coast if a good deal comes along. So far have only looked in FL. Mostly Com-pacs, Hunters, Catalinas. Preferably a shoal draft due to the shallow FL waters I sail in.

I looked at a boat today, almost thirty years old in pretty much original condition. It was fairly maintained, not well maintained, with an asking price of $27k and an NADA $9.5k. and nada assumes average condition, this boat was below average. It makes me scratch my head.

I'm willing to expand my boat brand wish list if anyone has any suggestions.

Are boat brokers a good idea or do they just represent sellers?
 

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Archimedes, the broker usually represents the seller. You can hire a broker to represent you. Brokers only get paid when the boat sells so they are pretty savvy when it comes to the marketplace. Remember that the price you are looking at is the asking, not closing price. You are free to offer what the boat is worth to you. Boats vary widely in condition, age, and added features. Do a lot of research, kiss a lot of toads. Enjoy the hunt. And remember, someday you too, will be a seller. In my particular case, the broker would be my agent in selling my boat, then an agent for Jeaneau in selling the forty footer.
 

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I've been shopping for a new sailboat.

What I'm finding is a lot of boats that seem to be over priced. In my area it is not unusual to find a boat with an asking price 250% of NADA book value. Many of the boats are in "fair" condition, and that's being very generous to say the least.

What's wrong with this picture. Is NADA valuation way off? Is there more price flexibility in boats prices than I realize? Or are there just a lot of unrealistic people in my area?

I don't know what to make of this.
Until last month I had been doing all the boat valuations for all the banks in Ontario for the last fifteen years. I have worked will all the marine valuation tools available. I came to the conclusion that the NADA values are just about in line with what a bank would loan on a particular vessel and no where close to actual market value.

The most accurate pricing tool I have seen is soldboats.com but it is quite expensive unless you can write it off.
 

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Archimedes,

I saw a very nice Cal 2-29 in the Baltimore area last week (anybody know Wildfire?.) The owners told me they are considering selling her so they can move up. I didn't ask how much they thought she was worth, but I was kinda blown away by how nice that boat was. An average Cal 2-29 (not this one) might go for something in the $15k range. I have a Cal 2-27 and can recommend this line of boats for the use you described.

As a general comment, I occasionally see boats for sale that are clearly being sold by someone who bought them many years ago when the market was much different than it is now. These people have not paid attention to the market and have had an idea in their mind for all these years about what their boat was worth. I pity them for the rude awakening that they will surely have after a few weeks. This phenomenon may account for some of the prices you've seen, though probably not all.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the inputs guys.

I think I might add the Cal 2-29 to the list - nice boat. :)

A factor I hadn't considered and am noticing more now is the length of time some boats sit on the market. I guess that goes to the point raised about the change in the boat market. The boat I looked at today has been for sale for almost 3 yrs.

I guess I just need to get more comfortable offering what I think it is worth to me irrespective of the asking price - within reason of course.

But if a boats has been on the market for years and years that should be a pretty good indication that the asking price is too high. Or maybe the seller isn't really interested in selling.
 

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Absolutely the worst thing one can do to a boat is not use it. If a boat has been for sale for 3 years, you can be pretty sure than much of her equipment; fresh water system, roller furling gear, engine and windlass, etc. has not been used very much.
That may mean a terrific opportunity for someone who can do the work necessary to bring all the gear back into service, but not for someone who must hire that work out.
Purchasing a boat in the spring or early summer, rather than the late fall or winter, will make getting a great deal harder, so if you can wait, you can save big.
Offer much less than you are willing to spend; you can always come back with a better offer if your first is refused. This is a business deal and feelings shouldn't come into play. A low offer shouldn't embarrass you, nor should it offend the seller. You either come to an agreement that suits you both or you move on; there are plenty of good boats out there.
I purchased my boat for around 2/3rds of the asking price, so don't let a high asking price prevent you from making an offer.
Good luck.
 

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The NADA people specialize in automobiles not sailboats. There are so many variations to consider between boats of the same make and model. When dealing with sailboats look at the model you are interested in on a boat buying website like Yachtworld.com or sailboat listings.com. After you back out the cost of brokers (10% in most cases) from the averages you will have an idea what the market is asking. Last thing you have to do is figure out what you want to pay and make an offer. Don't be a silly ass and l low ball the hell the owner of a boat you really want...I had a guy do this to me and I told him to pound sand...even when he came back with more reasonable offers I refused to deal with him. Anyway, it is a buyer market so come up with a reasonable offer and you may be surprised that you get the boat you want for the price you feel is fair to pay.
 

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Fair market value is what a willing buyer pays to a willing seller.

Boats are not cars. Cars are necessities and sell in high volume. Their value is not so dependent on economic conditions. Cars are "fungible" and generally have fewer variations in value as boats do.

For most buyers, a boat is a luxury item. There is no need to buy one. It's value is much more elastic and depends upon economic conditions.

There are several factors to consider:

1. Supply is much greater than demand. Sailing is a dying sport/hobby/activity; there are fewer and fewer participants in the market. Buyer demand has fallen. The heyday was in the 70s and 80s, when supply was plentiful. Boats have lasted longer than anyone ever expected. There has been only incremental functional improvements in recreational sailboats in the last 50 years. There are now many more boats that can supply the functional enjoyment of sailing than there are potential buyers.

2. Fewer folks can afford to own a keelboat due to the economic recession. Discretionary income has fallen. Few are willing to shoulder the ongoing expenses associated with keelboat ownership: slip rental, maintenance, and operating expenses.

3. Most boats are barely used. Walk down the docks of any marina, any day of the week. The majority of boats are rarely, if ever used.

4. There is a lack of accurate market information due to low volume and a lack of any centralized accurate sales price informatin. Boats take a long time to sell. Many owners do not need to sell. Owners are hesitant to fully comprehend the concept of market value; they believe their boat is worth a certain amount, regardless of market conditions. Some owners do not accept the idea that they will never recover the money they have spent on improving their vessels. Contrary to broker bullshizzle, a boat is not an "investment" - boats are depreciating property with high ongoing expenses.

Your best bet is to educate yourself, be skeptical of all the marketing B.S., become aware of the supply and what sellers are willing to sell for. You should become your own market expert, and not rely on someone who will make money off your ignorance.

There are some motivated sellers out there who are going through financial distress, divorces, business failures, etc. Those are the ones you want to buy from. Look for well-maintained boats whose owners recently improved with new sails, new inboard, new electronics and other costly "improvements", not knowing that there financials circumstances would take a downturn.
 

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When I was selling my previous boat and buying my current one about 4 years ago, I looked at NADA and BUCValu prices. I found them to be of limited value, especially on older boats. The problem is they don't have enough sales data, so it appears they use some sort of a depreciation factor to generate the number. As noted, soldboats.com is the best source as it gives you actual recent sales. But it is for boating professionals only. If you are working with a broker , he should be willing to give you a report with recent sales of the boat model you are considering.
 

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NADA values are worthless

You offer what it is worth to you so if you look at a boat they are asking $15K for and you see it worth $10K then that is your offer. If you have cash and they are tired of sitting on the boat you may actually be doing them a favor.;)

P.S. - If you are finding boats in the 27'-31' range overpriced you are looking in the wrong places
 

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I will have to say I think NADA has some value, and like it or not it will likely be used for any insurance claims unless you have an agreed value policy. Boats I see that sell quickly are normally not too far from NADA value. It really depends on how fast you need to buy or sell. If you are willing to let a boat sit on the market for years go by what people are listing on Yachtworld, if you want to sell quickly go more by NADA. I have had my eyes on Yachtworld for a long time and a rough estimate I would say at least half the boats listed have been on there four years or more, at least in the northeast. Even if you go to Sailboat listings it is not uncommon to see listings that were posted in 2011. To me that says one thing, they are asking too much, or it is not really for sale. I will say sometime NADA values are surprisingly high, other times very low. There have been some cases here that people say they paid significantly less than what the sale shows on soldboats so even that may not be 100% accurate.

If you think your NADA is half than actual value then good luck with getting what you want. Even if your boat is mint.
 

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But if a boats has been on the market for years and years that should be a pretty good indication that the asking price is too high. Or maybe the seller isn't really interested in selling.
Or their is something wrong that shows up every time it is surveyed.
 

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I just checked Nada for a 1985 Catalina 30
They said 15k to 17k.

Sounds right about right to me.

They may sell for maybe 20 to 25 so Nada is a little lower than what they actually sell for.

Makes sense if it is a bank number, IE what the bank figures they can get in a fire sale.


Give us some examples.
Boat
Nada
Listing
 
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