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Why not refer to NADA for boat value? Also if you are going thru a broker they have access to previous selling prices however it has been mentioned to take those prices with a lump of salt. And that may be true with NADA. I recently sold our boat. I looked over the listed boats of the same model, considered how much we had in it (more than the listing price) and set a price. I had offers about 2/3 of asking, which I politely countered. I would have countered if the offer was half. The buyer and I went back and forth a few times arriving at a price agreeable to both of us. Now, I could have listed her at a much higher price and waited months for a buyer and in the mean time keep up with maintenance. The surveior found no issues. To the OP, you won't know if the seller will accept your offer until you make it. Don't be shy. You can always offer more but once the offer is accepted you can't offer less....assuming the survey finds no issues.
 

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Why not refer to NADA for boat value? Also if you are going thru a broker they have access to previous selling prices however it has been mentioned to take those prices with a lump of salt.
I've done around 5,000 valuations and always use all three BUC, NADA and soldboats.com
BUC and NADA are not too far off on 16' aluminum runabouts on trailers but totally out to lunch on any cruising type boats. I often hear from people who don't have access to the soldboats.com and have never used it that it should be taken with a grain of salt. Well I've yet to see anything that made me reach for the salt shaker yet. I've found a few that made me curious but with further checking they all turned out to be accurate but with some extraneous effect due to trade ins, financing or some weird deal involving shared ownership but those are rare and easily recognised and and confirmed.
 
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Why not refer to NADA for boat value? Also if you are going thru a broker they have access to previous selling prices however it has been mentioned to take those prices with a lump of salt...
That is a good way to get to a base value, but the value of a used boat is dominated by the upgrades and extras included in the boat or not. E.g. the NADA for a 1990 C30 might be $15,000. If you have one with a new engine, recent sails and rigging in well maintained, it'd would be worth say $22,000, while another example, with original sails and rigging, looking beat up, might be worth $6,000. So the value of an specific boat can go a far distance from NADA or completed sales, every boat's value needs to be constructed based on its condition and equipment. If you do not you run the risk of grossly overpaying, you wont underpay, because the current owner is likely be well informed as to the boat value, and generally wont accept a price below value except in unusual circumstances/.
 

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That is a good way to get to a base value, but the value of a used boat is dominated by the upgrades and extras included in the boat or not. E.g. the NADA for a 1990 C30 might be $15,000. If you have one with a new engine, recent sails and rigging in well maintained, it'd would be worth say $22,000, while another example, with original sails and rigging, looking beat up, might be worth $6,000. So the value of an specific boat can go a far distance from NADA or completed sales, every boat's value needs to be constructed based on its condition and equipment. If you do not you run the risk of grossly overpaying, you wont underpay, because the current owner is likely be well informed as to the boat value, and generally wont accept a price below value except in unusual circumstances/.
and that is the value of soldboats.com. I can go back and find the original sales listing with photographs, inventory, all specs, date listed, date sold, original listing price, actual sales price, how long it took to sell, the selling broker and his phone number .... on any vessel ever sold through YachtWorld. Not some generic list vased on depreciation tables like BUC or NADA
 

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Well I've yet to see anything that made me reach for the salt shaker yet. I've found a few that made me curious but with further checking they all turned out to be accurate but with some extraneous effect
I have on good authority, from a former board member of YBAA, that sold prices are sometimes faked and there is no process or accountability to confirm them. How would you have checked on them, let alone expected to learn of a fake, if there was intent to fake it in the first place?
 

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I have on good authority, from a former board member of YBAA, that sold prices are sometimes faked and there is no process or accountability to confirm them. How would you have checked on them, let alone expected to learn of a fake, if there was intent to fake it in the first place?
Simply checking my own records of a little over 5,000 survey valuations I have checked every valuation I have ever made against what my clients told me they paid over the years , not to specifically check soldboats.com but to check the accuracy of my own valuations. I've always done this after the fact so that I was not influenced by what they buyers told me.

I'm sure there's a fake in there somewhere but not in the 5,000 I'm familiar with. Your experience is apparently different. So be it.
 

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I have on good authority, from a former board member of YBAA, that sold prices are sometimes faked and there is no process or accountability to confirm them. How would you have checked on them, let alone expected to learn of a fake, if there was intent to fake it in the first place?
I thought you might like to see a valuation section from one of my reports, this does not show the full extent of the research and work sheets including Martin scale deprection tables as I only put the highlights in the report however, doing this thousands of times does give me confidence in what I do and the resources I use.
 

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I just finished buying a sail boat. My first, mind you, so take my experience with a grain of salt. But before I put an offer in I did a ton of research of what my now boat was selling for around all of the US. I was able to find old listings, prior to the 2020 boat buying boom to compare to, made an offer slightly below what I thought was Fair and ended up negotiating to what I expected it to go for. Everything contingent on Survey. Turned out the survey was great. The previous owner and I have had many great contestation about her and I hope to have him as someone I can chat with in the future.

I always figure that if you are able to rip someone off by getting something way below market value, there is a reason they are willing to give it up that cheap. Yes maybe you are taking advantage of a hardship they are in, but maybe you are also buying a turd....
 

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I have checked every valuation I have ever made against what my clients told me they paid over the years
I thought you might like to see a valuation section from one of my reports,
That truly is the most thorough explanation of how a surveyor determined value that I've seen. Nice work. My last survey had the following disclaimer and really no substantiation on how they determined it.

Although I understand that you have retained my services for the purpose of establishing value of your vessel, it must be understood that any such valuation is subject to challenge and you are advised that my opinion of value is based upon appropriate investigation and market analysis which includes analysis of recent sales of comparable vessels.
Understand there is a bit of circular logic, however. IF the soldboats data was faked and you used it to determine value, your survey is suppose to help inform the buyer what they should be willing to pay, post survey, so confirming that's what they did pay may be a bit self evident.

I do give your process more credit than that. Only saying it doesn't really disprove fake data.
 

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Indeed... BP's example is leaps and bounds above what I've seen in my surveys. Although, to be fair, it's hard to find directly comparable boats to mine, especially in the small markets I operate in.

This raises a question, or really a theory of mine. I think most used boat sales operate outside of anything we'd call a normal market. Markets set prices based on multiple similar sale transactions over a similar time period in a given area. But most used boats are sold outside of such things. There aren't multiple transactions going on over a similar time period in the given area. They're more like one-off or unique sales, more like art or antiques.

For example, I can tell you the market price of cheese or beer in Lewisporte, NL because I can look at the recent transaction history. But the number of boats like mine that even exist on the whole island, let alone in my area, are tiny. And the number that get bought and sold are numbers that vanish into nothing. So what's the actual market value of my boat?
 

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I agree completely with Mike O; the huge differences in condition and features among the same model boat, the variations in suitability for particular locations, as well as the miniscule number of transactions, makes the idea of true market prices for used boats a misnomer. It's more like buying a house than a car.

That being said, things (including boats) are worth whatever someone is willing to pay, and being social creatures, boaters are always looking at what someone else has paid for the "same thing". Regardless of whether they really are the same or are only vaguely similar. I've cut and pasted the valuation section of my pre-purchase survey below (sorry, but the formatting got screwed up in the process). Given my extensive research prior to making an offer, as well as my own general knowledge of used boats, I knew the sale price we had agreed to was fair before I saw this survey, but it was nice to see it in print anyway. Either way, I have been very happy with my purchase, and I know the PO was too.

VALUATION Method of Appraisal: The Business Method was not used because the vessel is used only for recreational purposes. The Cost Method was not used as there were sufficient recent sales to determine Current Market Value using the Market Method of appraisal. The following sources were used: YachtWorld and Sailboatlistings.com lists nine Catalina 28s for sale, built between 1991 and 1995, at prices ranging from $14,900 for a 1991 model to $26,800 for a 1993 model. The average asking price is $20,600. soldboats.com lists twenty sales of such boats within the past 24 months at prices ranging from $10,500 for 1991 model to $28,900 for another 1991 model. The average selling price was $22,200. BUCValuPro estimates the current retail value range of a 1991 Catalina 28 with a fin keel in BUC condition in the North Atlantic at $17,400-$19,800. ABOS Blue Book estimates the retail value at $14,613. NADA estimates the average retail, as equipped, at $19,800 Analysis: Discounting the average asking price by 15% suggests an average selling price of $17,500. The actual average selling price was higher at $22,200. The average of the three blue book valuations was $17,600. Based on the above data, I estimate the current retail value of a 1991 Catalina 28 in average condition at $19,000. I estimate the current retail value of this boat at $19,000. REPLACEMENT VALUE BUCValuPro estimates the replacement value of the base boat at $109,000.
 

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Indeed... BP's example is leaps and bounds above what I've seen in my surveys. Although, to be fair, it's hard to find directly comparable boats to mine, especially in the small markets I operate in.

This raises a question, or really a theory of mine. I think most used boat sales operate outside of anything we'd call a normal market. Markets set prices based on multiple similar sale transactions over a similar time period in a given area. But most used boats are sold outside of such things. There aren't multiple transactions going on over a similar time period in the given area. They're more like one-off or unique sales, more like art or antiques.

For example, I can tell you the market price of cheese or beer in Lewisporte, NL because I can look at the recent transaction history. But the number of boats like mine that even exist on the whole island, let alone in my area, are tiny. And the number that get bought and sold are numbers that vanish into nothing. So what's the actual market value of my boat?
You are right, its harder the fewer of any particular model exist and none of the accepted methods are are going to be accurate in all circumstances. Actuarial and statistical sciences are a realm unto themselves but ASA methods are generally accepted by NA courts.

One-off or low volume boats require more effort for me to feel comfortable with a value but I usually get there. My comfort level is the most important aspect to me. The apparent market value of the vessel and purpose of the valuation affect my approach on any particular job. In a normal purchase situation I might spend 1/2hr on a 35' one-off steel sloop that appears to be worth 10k. I have spent days on a one-off million dollar boat in a divorce situation that may end up in court when wife says it's worth $2million and the husband says it's worth $200k. My valuations must be "defencible"

For a vessels such as yours (I call them orphans), the Martin scale tables are not going to work. Soldboats is invaluable to me for these situations due to the vast amounts of information provided. What you saw on my report snippet is a wisp of a fraction of the data available. In your case I would enter search parameters that can drill down to all the "orphan" boats of a similar type/material sold over whatever number of years I need to see a trend, filter down until I'm comfortable that I have enough boats with enough similarities, then go through the original sales listings including all the original photographs until I'm satisfied that I have enough comparables to see the trend. I can very often find a particular boat and track it's every sale over the last 25yrs. the more sales I can find the more accurate my valuation The spread among these "comparable" boats will become the basis for my valuation.

I know this sounds tedious and complicated but I've been doing this for a long time and can drill through one of these orphan valuations in 15-20 minutes, for a production boat 5-10 minutes.

Production boats are so much more simple and any "puffery" in the numbers would be obvious to all but the most dense when you can follow the entire sales history of a particular vessel . I don't doubt that it happens but I've never found one that could not be explained and find that the most critical of soldboats are those that have no idea of the scope of data available.

Wow! the above is a very messy explanation but I've never actually tried to explain this before. I'm sure I could write a a few more chapters but I just can't be bothered :)

PS. I have a friend who depreciates by material and weight of the vessel. He is surprisingly accurate but I wouldn't try it in front of a judge.
 

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When looking at my old survey, I recalled it drew a value about 8% higher than I was paying. Since I was buying a 4 yr old hull, which was characterized as an 11 out of 10, I knew I was already paying top of market and was okay with. It was still about 2/3 of new and the boat had only a few hundred hours on it. Still, I sometimes wonder if the surveyors are trying to make their clients happy. I think he did know the contract amount. I also think many buyers just want to be able to justify their number to the insurance company. I suspect some surveyors (not our boatpoker) don't want to create a stink over a few thousand.
 

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Still, I sometimes wonder if the surveyors are trying to make their clients happy. I think he did know the contract amount. I also think many buyers just want to be able to justify their number to the insurance company. I suspect some surveyors (not our boatpoker) don't want to create a stink over a few thousand.
My surveyor specifically asked us the contract price at the survey. Is that unusual?
 

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My surveyor specifically asked us the contract price at the survey. Is that unusual?
I consider it unethical and lazy. I specifically tell clients I do not want to know as I'd consider it an undue influence.,
 

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Thanks BP, that's a great explanation, and does indeed help me appreciate the effort you put into your valuations. Would you say your approach is common with most other fellow surveyors? I hesitate to say too much, but this doesn't appear to be what I've seen in the few surveyors I've used.

Please note though, I'm not knocking the surveyors I've used ... they all provided me with good information.
 

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Out of 250 (ever changing number) surveyors in Ontario I have known six that work the way I do. Of those, three have retired in the last year. and I now only work when I feel like it or if an interesting job comes up :)
 
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My surveyor specifically asked us the contract price at the survey. Is that unusual?
I think that's the most common approach. I suppose it could be considered lazy. On the other hand, let's say a deal has been made that's off market. Assuming it closes, it becomes part of the fact pattern for the next survey's valuation. It doesn't make it any less the correct value, because surveyors are looking backwards. When markets are rising quickly, like they seemed to this past summer, it has to be harder to assess. It think some would just consider knowing the deal value as just another data point and, if their initial thoughts were way off, provoke them to double check. For others, it's probably the best way to avoid a conflict and, therefore, lazy.
 

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I've had surveyors ask me what they should value my boat at. These have been for insurance surveys, not pre-purchase. I assume if I'd given ridiculously high or low numbers the surveyor would have ignored me, but this gets back to the questionable value of these kinds of surveys with regards to insurance. It all seems like a game, but one that costs boaters in both money and time.
 

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I've had surveyors ask me what they should value my boat at. These have been for insurance surveys, not pre-purchase. I assume if I'd given ridiculously high or low numbers the surveyor would have ignored me, but this gets back to the questionable value of these kinds of surveys with regards to insurance. It all seems like a game, but one that costs boaters in both money and time.
Yup ! most will just stick a number in there so you'll pay them and go on their way.
Ethics in this entire industry are somewhat flexible.
I'll work to my own standards ... I've been told that I am inflexible (not the actual word used) but I can live with that :)
 
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