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Buying a boat without a Broker

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Buying a boat without a Broker

by fbchristo » Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:00 am

We are not new to owning a boat, but the purchase of a 46' floating home with sails is different than an 18' beach cat. We are in the process of winding down life on land and gearing up for life aboard. Aside from small details (selling the house and contents) we are on track for this to happen any time after 5 July when I finish teaching my last class after 30 years as a college professor. I have read more articles than I should have up; many on how we would be crazy not to use a broker when buying a boat but here's the deal, we have found a boat (maybe THE boat) and the owner is ready to sell and does not want to use a broker. No question we would get a survey done for insurance and our own piece of mind but what are the other things we need to consider? Like a house, is there title insurance? What about a title search? The boat was salvaged and rebuilt/repaired and upgraded, is it possible there are past owners and creditors with a claim on her? I guess the biggest question is how do I protect myself legally and not end up loosing my new home? Forms, there's got to be a bunch of forms right! What am I forgetting to ask? No wonder I am wide awake at 0300hrs.

Thanks in advance-

Fred
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Re: Buying a boat without a Broker

by jacaldwell1 » Tue Apr 09, 2013 7:03 am

Fred,
I am not qualified to comment on the title search process for boats. But I am relatively confident brokers do not do that either, or guarantee clear title if you use one. The seller should be able to document the chain of prior ownership to your satisfaction. If he had major work done by others, contact those providers and insure they have been paid. The almost universal SOP is "no cash, no splash." Get your hands on a standard yacht purchase and sale agreement and read what the broker warrants. I believe it is to just disclose any defects "known to them."
The major red flag is "salvage." Presumably you are hiring an excellent surveyor, will be there yourself and have read all the other threads here and on the other forums about the checklists and pitfalls of surveying. And you are prepared to walk away from the deal if something does not seem right, despite being out of pocket for the survey, haulout, etc.
Good luck and welcome to your retirement! 8)
Jonathan
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Re: Buying a boat without a Broker

by fbchristo » Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:22 pm

Jonathan,
Thanks for the reply. I agree the term "salvage" makes my skin crawl. The story I got was the former owners had no business owning a yacht of this size (if any) and her anchor was way undersized and drug into a bridge and with a 72' mast vs. bridge, well we know who won. The boat was towed to a yard where the current owner picked her up for the slave and yard bill plus and set about rebuilding her at his own dock. I have been on the vessel and spent a good deal of time with the current owner prior to him deciding to sell and to my eyes and ears he appeared to be more that qualified in the restoration and repair work needed; guess that's is for the surveyor to confirm. I am not sure how I would find out if any other trades worked on her and have a lien on her but some good foot work will be involved. The boat is in the upper keys so I am guessing there is no shortage of qualified surveyors and we know that we might have to walk away as hard or expensive as that might be. I guess this process works to debunk the myth that sailing off into the sunset is idyllic and without worries; but darn well worth it!

I found some sample documents at BoatUS so I will keep study those and if we go forward check everything we can and set back a good sum for those things we didn't find.

Fred
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Re: Buying a boat withoOrder an ut a Broker

by stormalong » Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:55 pm

Order an abstract from the USCG. It costs $25.00. It will show any liens against the boat.

Depending on the state it is registered in, there may also be a state title.
Brian
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Re: Buying a boat without a Broker

by fbchristo » Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:02 pm

Excellent Brian; thanks!
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Re: Buying a boat without a Broker

by jacaldwell1 » Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:47 pm

Fred,
Please consider posting a summary of your experience at the end. I'll sure many of us will be interested to hear.
Jonathan
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Re: Buying a boat without a Broker

by fbchristo » Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:29 am

jacaldwell1 wrote:Fred,
Please consider posting a summary of your experience at the end. I'll sure many of us will be interested to hear.


I'll be happy to. Thanks for all the helpful advice!
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