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Discussion Starter #1
Is the buc guide the primary reference for determining used sailboat prices, or is there another reference? Some asking prices don't seem to be realistic and it seems like the brokers really jack up the prices. is buying a boat like trying to get the best deal on a car and how can you be reasonably sure that you're getting a fair deal?
 

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Great question. Have read that the buc and nada are both old school, and most brokers use the yachtworld site for sold boats data, it's proprietary, so you and I can't access it. I'm finding that it's harder than buying a used car and already feel like "fair" is a moving target. Starting to sour on the whole thing in this economy. Loved to hear from folks with experience.
 

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Something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. You should definitely look at the market to determine fair market value of a boat.

Banks and Insurance companies use BUC and NADA for assessing a boat's value.

You should use: lots of education, lots of questions, and a good surveyor.
 

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Great question. Have read that the buc and nada are both old school, and most brokers use the yachtworld site for sold boats data, it's proprietary, so you and I can't access it. I'm finding that it's harder than buying a used car and already feel like "fair" is a moving target. Starting to sour on the whole thing in this economy. Loved to hear from folks with experience.
It's nothing like buying a used car. Be patient. This economy is going to offer up some great deals.

Generally you'll find boats of a particular model either cheap and in need of major work, or expensive and in need of LESS work.

Occasionally, you'll find a cheaper example that's well maintained. Someone will be forced to unload it. I have a sneaking suspicion that there will be more distressed boat sales than usual in 2009.
 

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All that a used boat is worth is what someone else is willing to pay for it.
The real price is set by the used market, of course that varies from area to area.
Brokers are in the business to make money. Most are reputable, some not so much.
Boats are for sale for a variety of reasons. Some have to sell, some want to sell, and some will sell only if they get the price they want, however unreasonable that may be.
The market value of a boat has less to do with it's age (not talking about a 1970 compared to a 2007) but with it's condition. There are a lot of great used boats out there and also a lot of junk.
You have to make the search part of the adventure. Be careful not to get too attached to anything until a survey is done. Had a offer accepted on one recently, was sure it was the one, even the admiral really liked it. The hour ride home with the surveyor brought me back to reality. That's why we pay them.
The search continues.
Good Luck!
 

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I am not a broker, nor do I have have access to the recent sales data. I can guess with a reasonable amount of certainty that although sales VOLUMES are down that prices are not falling through the floor even given the current economic climate. When assessing values in today's market there will be less data I would bet. I am sure someone out there maybe a broker or surveyor who has access to the sales data could confirm this.

What I do know is from a handful of friends and aquaintances who have bought boats in the past 8 months there are some ok deals, but I know of no one who gave their boats away or been the recipient of a fire sale.

Some stories I can share: are two families of Norwegians who's contracting business slowed down in Norway so they closed down for 8 months and took off to the BVI to buy two boats.

A local heath practitioner who just left to buy a boat in the Caribbean and said Mooring wasn't willing to lower prices on used charter boats and had to look hard to find a decent boat.

Up here in Canada, on our lake, I have only noticed more and more people buying sail boats at what I percieve to be average prices. I think some people are now shying away from the stink pots after seeing gas prices so high so recently.

So what is a fair price?... I would suggest average sales figures (like those available to brokers) over the last 5 years would paint the most accurate picture of what does indeed constitue a fair price.
 

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Appreciate responses and pep talk. Portland, OR is not a sailing mecca, so boats are far and wide. Not really liking the vibe that we are getting from the broker, understand he works for the seller, but still feel like we aren't communicating. Pretty set on a PS 34, but may go with the safe and affordable choice, PS Dana. Ready to wait and see what the economy does for a month or two. Definitely will get a survey though.
 

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Appreciate responses and pep talk. Portland, OR is not a sailing mecca, so boats are far and wide. Not really liking the vibe that we are getting from the broker, understand he works for the seller, but still feel like we aren't communicating. Pretty set on a PS 34, but may go with the safe and affordable choice, PS Dana. Ready to wait and see what the economy does for a month or two. Definitely will get a survey though.
You should definitely get a new broker.
 

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Putting a value on a boat

Here's something I posted on my website that deals with this subject:
When a boat is listed for sale with a broker, he or she will come on board, take pictures, get a list of equipment, and get a good feel for the condition of the boat. Based on that visit and their knowledge of the market, and how eager you are to sell, an asking price is set for the listing.
When a surveyor is hired he does much of the same except that the inspection is more detailed, and instead of formulating an asking price, the surveyor is starting to formulate what the boat might be worth. The value that I put on a boat in my report is what is called "estimated fair market value". The definition of fair market value is - "the price that a buyer could reasonably be expected to pay and a seller could reasonably be expected to accept, if the vessel were for sale on the open market for a reasonable period of time, both buyer and seller being in possession of all pertinent facts, and neither being under any compulsion to act." In most cases, to come up with a fair market value, I research what boats of that model are listed for sale, I check to see if any book values are available with BUC book, NADA, ABOS blue book, and I also check on listed sold prices that are reported on soldboats.com. If the boat is a custom boat and there are no other boats like it, I try to look at boats that are similar in design and construction, and check the same sources. Then with the research done, I consider the equipment and condition on the boat I am valuing compared to the boats that were found and come up with an estimate of the "fair market value". These methods are very much the same as a real estate appraiser would use to value your home. Most successful marine surveyors and yacht brokers have considerable boating experience and are involved with boats on a daily basis, and have a good feel for what the boat should sell for. If there is a long list of recommendations, the fair market value is directly affected.
With all of that being said, there are times when all the book values and sold values just do not agree with a negotiated price....there are special boats and special cases where a boat just breaks from the mold and is a real standout. This makes all of the research pretty much obsolete, and other methods are used to determine fair market value, but in the end it all boils down to what the buyer is willing to pay and the seller is willing to accept!
Then there are the POS that are hard to give away! and people are asking good money for them.

The bottom line is find a boat you like, and maybe you have been watching it during price reductions, make your best offer, and see if you can strike a deal. If the seller doesn't think your offer is fair, he can either counter your offer or refuse your offer. Simple negotiating. There are a lot of boats being sold at unbelievable prices these days and you might find one of those good deals.
Brian
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the input. It's really helpful for beginners like me to be able to draw from all of your experiences and opinions. This will be our second sailboat purchase, we lucked out on the first one working out well, since we went into it kind of blind. This time I know we're doing better, looking at alot of boats, comparing prices, condition, looking at the buc and will definitely use a surveyor(didn't the first time and like I said, we were just lucky it worked out well) I can't believe i've gotten my wife to climb up into so many boats this winter!
 

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A year ago, the Dow average was at 13,000. Now it's - well you know where.
No matter where the used market has been, it's going to crash, just like the market - it has to. Wait 6 months and halve the normal price of whatever boat your looking for. The new and used boat market will be seriously depressed for the forseeable future due to fear. Any extra money people have is going to go towards paying down debt.
 

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A year ago, the Dow average was at 13,000. Now it's - well you know where.
No matter where the used market has been, it's going to crash, just like the market - it has to. Wait 6 months and halve the normal price of whatever boat your looking for. The new and used boat market will be seriously depressed for the forseeable future due to fear. Any extra money people have is going to go towards paying down debt.
another opinion heard is that sellers will just take their boats off the market and continue to sail them if they can't get their asking price or close to it. We live in Ct. and when we spoke to few marinas at the boat show in February, they didn't have too many slips available for the coming season. I don't know how bad people are hurting in Ct., maybe not as much as in other parts of the country. If I wait for the market to fall further, I'll have less money too, so heck, I'm:D going for it now, before I'm too old, too broke , sick or dead!
 

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I agree 100% mystic. i didn't believe half of what the media and hysteria was saying when the bubble was forming and I don't believe half the doom and gloom right now. If you find a boat that will bring joy into your life I say go for it if it feels right. Why live life governed by the fear the media creates to keep it's ad revenue up when you could be ....sailing!
 

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Lots of good points have been made. From what I've seen in boats and airplanes is that in bad economies "marginal owners" are the first to exit recreational pass times such boat ownership. These are folks that could barely afford their boats in the good economy and the boat is likely to have had "defered maintenance" to put it kindly. At the same time, owners with more financial security who were more likely to have properly maintained their boats are more likely to just suck it up and try to continue enjoying the boat they have rather than put their boat on the market and try to move up. However, some of them will be at junctures in life where they have to sell, regardless of the economy. What this means is there are likely going to be a lot of doggy boats with some real pearls scattered in and a patient buyer has an opportunity to get a really nice boat for far less than when the economy is booming.

As far as valuations, don't forget to ask the broker for the sold boat data from Yachtworld as well and compare that to the book values. They can show you the final sales prices of similar boats sold over the past couple of years and you can extrapolate from there what you might be willing to pay today.

Good Luck.
 

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My understanding is the sold boat data is optional for brokers to enter. If I was a broker, I'd avoid entering the super low sales and just do the ones that where close to asking price. As far as comparing this to past recessions, unfortunately it's not comparable in my 45 years. Past observations just won't hold in the long term. Many owners will "suck it up", but the reality is boats cost money to float and a lot of people just lost half there cheese. "sucking it up" can't last forever when you've got to pay the mortgage and put food on the table.

While the downturn has affected me the same, fortunatly I didn't have the debt so I'm waiting to pounce on my boat when the time is right, which in my opinion will be from now until 2011.
 

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My understanding is the sold boat data is optional for brokers to enter. If I was a broker, I'd avoid entering the super low sales and just do the ones that where close to asking price. As far as comparing this to past recessions, unfortunately it's not comparable in my 45 years. Past observations just won't hold in the long term. Many owners will "suck it up", but the reality is boats cost money to float and a lot of people just lost half there cheese. "sucking it up" can't last forever when you've got to pay the mortgage and put food on the table.

While the downturn has affected me the same, fortunatly I didn't have the debt so I'm waiting to pounce on my boat when the time is right, which in my opinion will be from now until 2011.
I agree there is incentive to delay and/or fudge the data, but I think dealers also somewhat rely on this data so they can't avoid it forever.

I hear you on the "lost cheese" but don't want to turn this to a political thread so I'll just leave it at that.
 

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The economy is in a mess right now, and it will not be getting better anytime soon.

There are only three reasons to pay "fair market" value for a boat right now:

1. you are loaded
2. You are very specific about what you want
3. You need a boat right away and will/can not wait.

This is the best buyers market for major purchases of used houses/boats/cars etc that this country has seen in quite a while. cash is king.

For a person looking for a used, 25-40' boat right now, I personally advise offering only about 60% of a fair asking offer. Nobody seriously selling right now expects to get top dollar. A high percentage of sellers are selling because they NEED to sell. If you want to get a good value on a used boat, play your cards right, because now is the time.
 

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IMHO

If you are seriously interested in a boat, then make a serious offer. I am afraid (having recently been on both sides of the transaction) that if you go in at 60% of any asking price, you are going to seriously annoy some people, which will result in an immediate response. Maybe the one you want, may be not.

As usual your mileage may vary, but I am afraid that these times actually make people more on edge and a ridiculous offer will be treated as such.

And if your offer is accepted, and the survey turns up some repairs, you will likely kiss those off as well....buying and selling is the art of negotiation at it's finest.

dave
 
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