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Just wanted to see what others have done in this situation. A buddy of mine is looking at a GOB in SC and expressed interest in it. The seller refuses to do any sort of contract that protects him while he’s arranging a survey. Basically if someone walks up tomorrow with the right offer, boats sold, even if a surveyor is coming in the afternoon. Purchase price is in the $25k range and I told him an insurance co won’t touch it without a survey. It’s a classic like mine and they’re aren’t a whole bunch of them on the market. He said it’s in really nice shape and basically ready to go. I’ve bought plenty of boats without a PreP survey but then again I can recognize major issues..usually....and understand that going in I might have missed something and have to fix it. There’s always something to fix anyway so I look at it as taking over the projects from the previous owner. Boats use us until we’re spent and broke then move on to another skipper.

Suggestions?
 

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Your other option is if your buddy doesn't want to let it slip away is that he goes ahead and buys it and then has the insurance survey done after he owns it.
 

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For me, personally, $25k is too much to spend without a survey. I would walk away. There are a lot of boats out there. I'm sure your friend can find one being sold by someone who understands that a survey is a normal part of the process.
 

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Generally, I’d tell the seller I was interested and to call me if he changes his mind. No hard feelings. Don’t make him feel like his tail has to be between his legs to open up conversation again. Then go find another boat.
 

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Just wanted to see what others have done in this situation. A buddy of mine is looking at a GOB in SC and expressed interest in it. The seller refuses to do any sort of contract that protects him while he’s arranging a survey. Basically if someone walks up tomorrow with the right offer, boats sold, even if a surveyor is coming in the afternoon. Purchase price is in the $25k range and I told him an insurance co won’t touch it without a survey. It’s a classic like mine and they’re aren’t a whole bunch of them on the market. He said it’s in really nice shape and basically ready to go. I’ve bought plenty of boats without a PreP survey but then again I can recognize major issues..usually....and understand that going in I might have missed something and have to fix it. There’s always something to fix anyway so I look at it as taking over the projects from the previous owner. Boats use us until we’re spent and broke then move on to another skipper.

Suggestions?
Make a price offer subject to survey with a couple of "outs," just in case. An offer has to have consideration, so a check for $1,000.00 into someone's Trust Account is a good idea, or just give the guy $500.00 to hold it until you get back with survey. Time limit the survey and acceptance. Until something's in writing and signed, nobody has anything. I did it with my most recent, just because I wanted full protection of equitable title (by virtue of a purchase agreement). Legal title comes with bill of sale, registration and/or documentation (to the extent that legal title actually exists).
 

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We did a survey the other day on a 1978' "classic". The fella had purchased it without a survey. Our survey revealed approximately $40k in immediately needed repairs before launching. He is devasted because he can't get insurance and repairs are about twice as much as he paid for the boat. Dock talk is he has now hired one of those "insurance surveyors" who never find anything wrong except for out of date fire extinguishers.

Ya pays yer money and takes yer chances
 

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If he likes the boat, make an offer pending survey. If the seller won't do that, and he still wants the boat, hire a surveyor. Have the survey and then finish the deal. If someone else walks up, he might be out the cost of the survey. What I wouldn't do is buy it without a survey. A survey makes it so much easier to get insurance, and can save you a lot of money if the surveyor finds something expensive!!
 

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It seems to me the seller has something to hide. He is trying to pressure the buyer into forgoing the survey. Unless it is the boat of his dreams and is a really good deal he should just walk away.

I suspect if he does get a survey it will reveal a serious problem. The seller probably already knows this and is trying to unload the boat to some sucker.

Or maybe I am just too cynical...

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It seems to me the seller has something to hide. He is trying to pressure the buyer into forgoing the survey. Unless it is the boat of his dreams and is a really good deal he should just walk away.

I suspect if he does get a survey it will reveal a serious problem. The seller probably already knows this and is trying to unload the boat to some sucker.

Or maybe I am just too cynical...

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It's just as likely the seller has dealt with too many BS surveys that served no purpose but too leverage the seller on price.

Or maybe I am just too cynical...
 

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My initial reaction from the cynical side of my brain is to suggest that you run, don't walk, away from this boat because my first impression is that either 1) the owner does not know boats and how they are bought and so cannot assure the buyer that there is nothing wrong with his boat, or 2)he knows something is wrong with the boat and he is concerned that a surveyor will find it.

But the kinder-gentler side of me thinks that there may be some legitimate reasons that a seller might be concerned with a survey such as the unnecessarily delay before going to closing with the boat off the market or worried that items found in the survey will be used to renegotiate the price. Oddly, I went through something like this on a boat that I was buying. The owner had specific concerns that focused on not wanting the boat off the market during the last of the season before winter set in, and the agreed upon price was his rock bottom price. To address those concerns, my offer that had a very strict time limits:
1 week to name a surveyor
1 week after that to go to survey
2 days to agree to proceed after the survey was complete
1 week after the survey to close
2 weeks after closing to get the boat out of his yard.

And the agreement specifically did not permit renegotiation of the price based on the survey, I could only agree to proceed or leave the deal and get my deposit back. It had a larger than usual deposit that was non-refundable 1)If a surveyor was named and a survey date was set and the boat did not actually go to survey, or 2)once the survey was accepted if the deal did not close. That was a very tight schedule and tough conditions, but we met it.

If those are too much time for this seller, you might set something up where the seller can bail out if he gets a better offer up until you name the surveyor, and a date and time is set for the survey, and that the buyer only has one week (or week and a half) to go to closing once the surveyor is named. That should take some of the risk out of it for the seller.

But if you can't negotiate a reasonable deal with the seller that allows a survey and retains the price for the period during which the survey is performed, then there is no way that i would buy the boat. I have bought a few pigs-in-a-poke and its too much of gamble when looking at a G.O.B. since the costs to make hidden repairs can be many times the value of the boat. There are almost no fiberglass boats that are so unique or rare as to be worth that kind of gamble.

Reading Viexile's comments above, if your friend wants the boat bad enough, maybe he can at least negotiate with the owner to agree that the owner will hold his price in exchange for a deposit and for allowing the buyer to have the boat surveyed. The offer might preclude accepting an offer to sell the boat to someone else for an equal price or lower price until the buyer can get the boat surveyed. That does not take the boat off the market, so the buyer still has the risk that the owner could accept an equal or higher price. At least in that case the seller would return the deposit if someone else bought the boat but your friend would be out the survey costs.

Jeff
 

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It's just as likely the seller has dealt with too many BS surveys that served no purpose but too leverage the seller on price.

Or maybe I am just too cynical...
Been in the marine business a long time.
There is no such thing as "too cynical".
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the replies guys. I found it strange too. I understand not worrying about surveys on cheap boats that are projects going in, but at this price range it’s mandatory for me. I’ll send a link to this thread to the guy in SC. I owe him one so I might fly down there for a weekend to look at it with him. I’ve never run into a seller who either hasn’t had a survey done or won’t wait for one. Perhaps there are offers on the boat already, though classic boats like this in this price range are a niche market so I doubt this things “hot” right now.....I deal with many classic Tartan’s, besides also owning one, and they rarely “move” quickly as they’re not floating condos.

Anyway, appreciate it. BTW, a detailed reply from Jeff H....I feel blessed. Lol. 🤙
 

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...A buddy of mine is looking at a GOB in SC and expressed interest in it. The seller refuses to do any sort of contract that protects him while he’s arranging a survey. Basically if someone walks up tomorrow with the right offer, boats sold, even if a surveyor is coming in the afternoon. Purchase price is in the $25k range and I told him an insurance co won’t touch it without a survey.
The seller is pushing to close the sale. I would advise your buddy not to alow himself to be pushed around.

If your buddy is seriously interested in this boat, and has the money, I would tell him to arrange for a survey of the boat before a final price is agreed upon. He should tell the seller that he is serious, and that he has arranged for a pre-purchase survey. If the owner will not allow a SAMS/AMS surveyor to inspect his boat then your buddy should RUN.

I highly doubt that anyone is going to walk up and offer full asking price in the interim. If that does happen, then in the grander scheme of things your buddy wasn't meant to own that boat. THE lesson that I learned when I bought my current boat is that:
there will always be another boat.

After the boat has been surveyed, then your buddy should make his final offer. He should tell the seller "this is best and final, and it is based on his and a surveyor's inspection of the boat." A survey will be required by insurance, so it would be wise to find out what repairs his insurer will require before he becomes responsible to make them.

Frankly, after owning my boat for the last 9 years, I would not hesitate to buy a boat without a surveyor's input. The surveyors that I have dealt with have provided a "service" similar to home inspection, and their "service" was just about as useful (not very).
 

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Discussion Starter #14
He plans on registering the boat in Texas, which I’m not familiar with, but I know in Florida you’re foolish not to have insurance, and to get it you need a survey. Regarding if a surveyor is worth his salt, I too have seen good ones and bad ones. Regardless though the insurance co requires one so you’re damned if you do....Anyway, I’m working on a boat in Michigan right now and it’s not nice here.....yet lol...so a weekend in SC wouldn’t be so bad. I like crawling around old boats anyway. There’s probably some details about this boat I’m not aware of as I’m playing “that guy” on the phone so I’ll figure it out when I get down there. Apparently it’s an estate sale or something, I had bad reception when talking to my friend but that’s the jist of it I think.
 

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If this is an estate sale, have your buddy make SURE that the seller has a clear and unencumbered title to the vessel. I am sure that there are members of SailNet that are also practicioners of the legal profession who can provide better advice and more detail, but the ownership of the vessel can get tied up in probate for a very loooooooong time.
 

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Get too detailed and the Seller might be driven off. Offer, price, deposit, time to get survey done (talk to a surveyor before even making an offer, NAMS, SAMS). It takes 15 minutes to read a survey. But then you have to put prices to repairs unless you ask the surveyor to estimate cost to cure. I didn't have my last 5 boats surveyed. Three might have gone to hurricanes, but one is still working off San Francisco and ones in a shed awaiting spring and the laying on of hands. A good surveyor is worth their salt. But I've run into some bad ones. Usually involving insurance and screwing the insured as an "adjuster." I was trained by Giffy Full and Paul Coble many, many, many years ago, in surveying, but never pursued it for anything more than personal application. Too many other things going on.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The seller does want to dick around or spend time on gamers.
Maybe busy with turkey season or similarly important things in life
I’m pretty sure the “owners” dead or about to be. I think it’s being handled by the family. Like I said, details are kind of murky but I think it’s an estate type sale. I hadn’t considered title issues as I haven’t bought anything from an estate but that was some solid information as well. Regardless it didn’t seem to me, based on me being a 3rd party getting second hand info, that the seller, whoever they are, was interested in any type of survey by a pro. That’s why I thought it was strange and posted in the first place. I’ve never heard of that and thought it was pretty standard fare to do in this price range. Investing 25k is significant for regular people I would think and surveys, if anything, give the buyer a warm and fuzzy (or not) that they’re not buying a disaster. I’ve bought boats with no survey but I can usually spot the “hahaha you’ve got to be kidding” kind of issues that cost big $$ to repair. The friend who called me, well, it’s his first boat......I had given him advice on the “right way” to buy an old boat, which is pretty in line with everything everyone else has said. When he called me and said the seller wouldn’t do any kind of contract pending a survey, I was baffled.

Anyway, I asked that he hold off on anything and I’m going down either next weekend or the next. Sometimes things that happen in this world absolutely amaze me...I’m told but those older and wiser that it keeps getting better too lol.
 

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We did a survey the other day on a 1978' "classic". The fella had purchased it without a survey. Our survey revealed approximately $40k in immediately needed repairs before launching. He is devasted because he can't get insurance and repairs are about twice as much as he paid for the boat. Dock talk is he has now hired one of those "insurance surveyors" who never find anything wrong except for out of date fire ext
Yup, safe to say, if someone told me I needed $40k repairs on a $25k boat, I would be looking for a second opinion too.
 
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