SailNet Community banner

21 - 40 of 61 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,903 Posts
Technically I can file a lien, I can also have the vessel arrested but there are issues with both of these although I did once have a bailiff chain a boat to a dock. It is much simpler just to go the small claims route. Curiously everyone I've taken to small claims over the years were lawyers with two exceptions and they were both reasonably well know politicians ... so pretty much the same thing.

I love taking lawyers to small claims court because they don't seem to realize how much the lower echelon of small claims judges hate them. ... always fun to watch their faces as they realize where things are going. Now many will tell you that wining in small claims is no gaurantee of actually collecting and that I suppose is possible however I once had a bailiff seize a brand new $30k Harley Davidison and sell it at auction to settle my $1k claim.

Small claims court can be very entertaining
We had an experience like that....we sued a neighbor in small claims court, we represented ourselves and the neighbor hired a lawyer. The judge was very tough on the lawyer, and I was able to work that dynamic a bit. We had a pretty solid case to begin with, and the lawyer tried to play games with us, (late and imcomplete disclosures among other things). I brought those to the judges attention and she came down hard on them. We ended up winning the maximum amount allowed in small claims PLUS expenses!

It was very satisfying beating the lawyer at their own game!

Sent from my SM-G981W using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,144 Posts
What recourse does a buyer have if a survey discovers an expensive fault
As others have said, generally none. I have tried to include conditions where the seller warrants that all systems operate properly. Therefore, they are obligated to deliver the boat, with everything in the listing in working order, at the agreed upon price. That deal never got done, but in the end, there could still be a dispute over the Surveyor's assessment and it's hard to put language as to what an acceptable repair would constitute. That's why these things are typically re-negotiated at Acceptance (post survey).

Not sure this is meaningful, but I'll point out that the Seller typically has a duty to sell the boat at the negotiated price, without liens, etc, etc, in the standard contract. If the Buyer decides to renegotiate after survey, that duty goes away, until essentially a new deal is made. IOW, you can force the seller to give you the boat at your original price, but after that, all bets are off.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Skipper Jer

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,144 Posts
Every deal I have witnessed, the marina won't lift a boat til' they have been paid and you can bet your a** the broker isn't paying it from the deposit he holds in escrow
Good point, at least for marinas where neither the seller, nor owner are clients. I've had boats lifted, without paying in advance, but clearly the marina would have expected the seller to pay, if I didn't. The contracts have always stated that the buyer can reject the boat and get their deposit back, but at that point any unpaid expenses would be deducted. Probably a calculated risk, given the lift was hundreds of dollars and the deposit was tens of thousands.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,408 Posts
Hey,

There are ways of minimizing your risk and exposure but nothing is foolproof.

The first boat I had surveyed was on the hard and had been there for almost a year. The surveyor told me he would do the 'on land' part first and if he found a serious problem I cold stop the survey there, before the boat went into the water for sea trial. That would have saved me about half of the total call. Also note that for this deal, with the boat being on the hard, I didn't have to pay the cost of a short haul. If I rejected the boat I would have to pay for the boat to be hauled and blocked.

Also be aware of the limits of surveys and what can be tested. Yes you can hire an engine surveyor, but you better get owners permission before doing something like a compression test where components must be removed and then re-installed. What if a part breaks when the mechanic / surveyor removes it? I believe you would be responsible for any repairs. Most surveyors I'm familiar with will do non destructive testing only. IE they will check the hull / decks for voids by sounding with a hammer but won't drill into a rudder to determine the condition of the core. They might do a dye test on rigging but not anything else. Same with the engine - they will run it to temperature and run at full throttle but won't remove any components for examination.

FYI I had a very low bid on a boat accepted because I told the broker that I would not try to renegotiate after the survey. I viewed the survey as pass / fail. So accept my offer and know the price, or wait for a higher offer and then see what happens after the survey. It was also late in the season and the owner would soon need to pay for haul out and storage. My offer was accepted, the survey revealed a few minor things, and I sailed that boat for about 7 years.

Buying an boat is not easy.

Barry


Maybe the way to limit exposure to unknown faults is to do a series of surveys, rigging, mechnical (diesel engine) then the full hull/structure survey. I'm thinking about the Catalina/Westerbeake engine problem where the owner may not know the engine is slowly degrading. A compression check ($400 or so) would discover it. A series of surveys would have to be in the contract, and it would tie up the boat for several days. I'm just not too thrilled about risking a thousand or two. I site the Catalina/Westerbeake as an example but I'm sure there are others such as leaky tanks, debonded grids, saturated hull/deck cores, smiles, too much tension in the backstay affecting the transom. With the internet it is pretty easy to research common problems associated with particular brands.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,746 Posts
When I bought my current boat, I found just about everything the surveyor found before I made my offer, and factored those things into the price. The survey came back with only one "new" substantial find (leaking engine water pump), which we then factored into the final price. I've bought two "big" boats, and I had no issues with either sale.
 

·
Master Mariner
Joined
·
8,875 Posts
Since buyer beware is the catch phrase in boat buying, I don't see any "etiquette" in boat buying. There are no "full disclosure" laws regarding boat sales.
When I bought this boat I did some research by asking people in the marina and boat yard about the owner. Everybody loves to talk about boats and their owners.
I found out that he had lost a leg in a motorcycle accident and while recovering, his employees had destroyed his business. He could hardly get aboard. It was July 2009 and he was going to have to pay another winter's insurance and storage if he didn't sell, because boats were not selling at all.
I got the boat in pretty good shape for less than 2/3rds the asking price. He was so upset that he wouldn't even come to the boat to show me stuff, until all his friends convinced him he was lucky to have sold the boat at all.
Decide the minimum you want to spend and start there. Buying a boat is a business deal, not a friend seeking opportunity, so act as though you were buying a used car from someone. All above should cover offers re; surveys. However, I should note I had my own survey company and am perfectly capable of doing my own, but I always hire a surveyor, as I'm emotionally involved and could gloss over things I shouldn't, and a surveyor won't.
 
  • Like
Reactions: BarryL

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,259 Posts
On the subject of surveys and what they can reveal, I have known three good local surveyors over the decades and all are willing to stop the survey and bill only for time spent IF they are finding expensive and substantial problems and the buyer then tells them to just stop spending time (the buyer's $) on a full survey.
:(
It's not unusual to find a boat where the seller has mislead the listing broker about the true condition of the boat or some of the major components.
Admittedly some owners are so "hands off" concerning the maintenance of their boat that they are just short of willfully ignorant of it's unaddressed defaults. "Yacht Ownership" means quite different things to different people. (!)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
So if I get this straight, I would offer the seller about 75% of the asking price. Then since I wouldn't want any surprises after the purchase and only if my once/twice/possiblity three personal inspections, I would then pay for a survey with an adjustment to my offer based on the results of the survey. My thought was if the purchase was agreeable I would schedule the boat into Maintenance right away so I could enjoy the boat with all systems operating.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,746 Posts
So if I get this straight, I would offer the seller about 75% of the asking price. Then since I wouldn't want any surprises after the purchase and only if my once/twice/possiblity three personal inspections, I would then pay for a survey with an adjustment to my offer based on the results of the survey. My thought was if the purchase was agreeable I would schedule the boat into Maintenance right away so I could enjoy the boat with all systems operating.
No, I think your offer should be a fair price with a bit of a discount thrown in to account for negotiating; there's no "75%" rule, guideline or anything like that. I've seen boats listed at double the market price, and boats that were fairly priced to start with. You will have to research the market for comps to help you come up with your offer price. And beware: what you see on line are asking prices, not sold-for prices. This may not give you a strong current market price, but it will give you a good idea. Most asking prices for the same model/year tend to cluster around a common range.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,903 Posts
So if I get this straight, I would offer the seller about 75% of the asking price. Then since I wouldn't want any surprises after the purchase and only if my once/twice/possiblity three personal inspections, I would then pay for a survey with an adjustment to my offer based on the results of the survey. My thought was if the purchase was agreeable I would schedule the boat into Maintenance right away so I could enjoy the boat with all systems operating.
I'm not sure where you are getting the 75% from. Certainly there is usually some negotiating room, but you really have to use your judgment. If you Low-ball the seller too much you run the risk of him not even giving you a counter offer, particularly if the boat is already priced fairly.

Don't expect to be able to renegotiate the price based on the survey unless it reveals a costly repair that wasn't already disclosed. In that case you either walk away or renegotiate. It is very unlikely that you will get a completely clean survey. Old boats always have deficiencies. Don't expect the owner to pay for every little thing to be corrected.

Many of the deficiencies that show up on a used boat survey will be things that are pretty straight forward DIY repairs. Unless you are mechanically inept you would be foolish to pay professionals to fix every little thing. Those repairs will be a good way to learn about boat maintenance, and doing them yourself would save you a lot of money. When you buy a used boat, even a relatively new one, you are committing to either an ongoing list of maintenance projects and a moderate flow of cash expenditures, or just a steady stream of cash flowing out of your wallet if you pay others to do the work.



Sent from my SM-G981W using Tapatalk
 

·
Old soul
Joined
·
4,880 Posts
So if I get this straight, I would offer the seller about 75% of the asking price. Then since I wouldn't want any surprises after the purchase and only if my once/twice/possiblity three personal inspections, I would then pay for a survey with an adjustment to my offer based on the results of the survey. My thought was if the purchase was agreeable I would schedule the boat into Maintenance right away so I could enjoy the boat with all systems operating.
No... offer what you believe the boat is worth, with perhaps a little bit of wiggle room for some negotiation. There's no 75% rule. And you should not expect to need to adjust your offer based on the survey. Again, the survey is there to reveal unexpected issues. Since you don't expect them, you can't be planning to reduce your offer from the outset.

IF there are unexpected findings, then by all means, attempt to renegotiate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,144 Posts
Echoing the no-75% rule, but offering one other perspective. I've come to think that boats, which may be listed that far above market value, are just trolling for idiots these days. There has been a pandemic run on some boats, which offer great socially distanced recreation. Some have sold at top dollar to the desperate. I think others want to see if they can get it too. I don't expect a boat value crash, but I think the top has already been found and some are seeing if they can set a new record.

What's reasonable to ask to be repaired in a survey can be variable, based on what you're buying and how it was represented. Most all deals assume there is no big seaworthy problem. If one is found, that's a legit renegotiation, at least. If the boat is marketed as "near new" condition, that also raises the bar on what a survey may find. We bought this boat, when she was 4 years out of the factory and had that expectation. The only squawks I recall needed repaired where the winch batteries and relocating a stern light, which was illegally blocked by the dinghy on the davits. Both necessary, just to make the passage home. Perhaps both would be expected on a 30 year old vessel.

I think who does the repairs is a matter of personal preference and what is found. Indeed, the more critical, the more likely I'd want to oversee the repair. Swapping batteries certainly wasn't.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Before I saw this post I was pretty much planning to negotiate similar to how I buy my old cars. Make a reasonable offer below the asking price with the caveat that I would pay for the survey and depending on the results renegotiate the price. Since I would be an hour to an hour and a half from the moorage and don't want to work on the boat out of the back of my pickup, I'd just take it in and have it worked on so all I'd have to do is drive up and go sailing.
 

·
ASA and PSIA Instructor
Joined
·
4,164 Posts
'..reasonable offer...' is entirely in the eye of the beholder. Whats reasonable is to offer to pay something close to what the boat is worth. That value may have very little relationship to the asking price...so unless you establish an informed value for the boat, there can be no reason in sight.

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
299 Posts
Before I saw this post I was pretty much planning to negotiate similar to how I buy my old cars. Make a reasonable offer below the asking price with the caveat that I would pay for the survey and depending on the results renegotiate the price. Since I would be an hour to an hour and a half from the moorage and don't want to work on the boat out of the back of my pickup, I'd just take it in and have it worked on so all I'd have to do is drive up and go sailing.
Thats about how it works, though most of us prefer to do at least some of the work to get better acquainted with our new boat. I don’t think it’s realistic to expect that a price adjustment based on the survey would cover the cost of a professional addressing every issue mentioned on the survey. Usually the adjustments are enough to cover only a portion of the most pressing items with many other, lesser items to be addressed by the new owner at his leisure. Then, before that list is all addressed, additional items will reveal themselves, just the nature of owning a boat.

I disagree with those opposed to making a low offer on a boat. If I had a boat that I thought was worth about $85K, I’d probably ask about $100K. If someone offered me $70K I’d counter with $90K and if someone offered me $25K I’d counter with $90K. Then the ball is back in their court and I’ve made a statement about the general vicinity of my bottom line price. Then, they could counter or not and we might arrive at a selling price somewhere between $80K and $90K, if not, then my boat would remain on the market. If I were desperate to sell, my counter would be appropriately lower. But I see the initial offer as just a starting point for serious negotiations and would never not counter. Then, once the survey was complete, I’d read it carefully and consider how realistic the issues were and then I’d consider whether I should revisit the selling price, knowing that the next prospective customer will have access to this same info and will probably ask for a similar adjustment if the issues in question are legitimate.
 

·
Dirt Free
Joined
·
2,728 Posts
Before I saw this post I was pretty much planning to negotiate similar to how I buy my old cars. Make a reasonable offer below the asking price with the caveat that I would pay for the survey and depending on the results renegotiate the price. Since I would be an hour to an hour and a half from the moorage and don't want to work on the boat out of the back of my pickup, I'd just take it in and have it worked on so all I'd have to do is drive up and go sailing.
Unless the issues found at survey are very small and/or simple, the chances of you taking a boat in, having issues addressed and be out sailing come spring are very slim especially in the current market. Many posters here can tell you stories of months of waiting for this or that techie to even show up. Unless you are capable and willing to do much of the work yourself, you may be in for a rude introduction to the marine service business.
 

·
Old soul
Joined
·
4,880 Posts
My suggestion, as one who has both bought and sold boats, is make an offer that makes sense to you. Offer what you think the boat is worth. If that turns out to be significantly lower than the ask, then know you are taking a chance with that offer. Unless you really know something about the seller or their situation (actually know, not just speculate or think you know...) then this has a good chance of pissing the seller off. But sometimes you get a good deal. It's a guess.

As a seller the worst and most annoying potential buyers -- worse than the scammers -- were the low ballers who thought they knew my situation and my boat better than I did. They always came with some made-up excuse, and I always sent them packing. I sold this boat at a fair price to someone who I'm still in contact with.

So I say, don't play games. Offer what you think is a fair price. If your fair price is significantly below asking, then approach respectfully, or just move on. There's always lots of boats on the market. If you are so fixated on this one boat, then clearly it has high value to you. So your offer should reflect that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
Points well taken. I see this as similar to my purchases of old cars. However again I can work on my old cars in my garage vs driving to the marina with tools in the back of my pickup. Since I'm not familiar with boats with inboard engines and electical systems I'm thinking of researching, just ordered a book, what to look for, then call a surveyor, (already checked with one on the price) and a shop or three that could do some work and timelines.
 

·
Dirt Free
Joined
·
2,728 Posts
Points well taken. I see this as similar to my purchases of old cars. However again I can work on my old cars in my garage vs driving to the marina with tools in the back of my pickup. Since I'm not familiar with boats with inboard engines and electical systems I'm thinking of researching, just ordered a book, what to look for, then call a surveyor, (already checked with one on the price) and a shop or three that could do some work and timelines.
This may give you an idea of how to inspect the boat before hiring a surveyor ...
 
  • Like
Reactions: mstern

·
Registered
Joined
·
23,144 Posts
'..reasonable offer...' is entirely in the wye of the beholder.
That's a fact. I made an offer this past Fall on a boat that has 3 other identical hulls for sale (various years). Another (same year) has been near fully refit. Big stuff, like new engine, new electronics, new teak decking, new topside paint. High dollar stuff. Listed for more, but easily reconciled back to the one I wanted. We actually prefer to do the refit ourselves, so we can have things a little different. The numbers, however, were clear and obvious. The seller wouldn't even counter their listing price, which was a solid 10% over reconciled value. I was not deducting full cost of the refit either. My standing theory is they haven't found their replacement boat yet. When they do, they'll accept less than overpriced. For now, they'd just as well keep it, unless someone overpays.
 
21 - 40 of 61 Posts
Top