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Old 07-02-2015, 09:07 AM   #1
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Advice wanted

Good day all and thanks in advance for any advice you can offer. Having looked at a bunch of boats locally am seriously considering one far from home. It's in FL and homeport is MA. So my questions are;
1. Is it as crazy as it initially seems to buy a boat long distance?
2. How do you find an honest and competent surveyor both locally and far from home? Thanks again.
Dave
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Old 07-02-2015, 09:35 AM   #2
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I'm from Cape Cod and purchased my Trawler in South West Florida. Brought her home by the ICW and then when winter was approaching rather than haul and winterizing sailed back to Florida. Loved the trip! Not so much the time it takes, can't have a schedule or try to rush. With a few purchases I have used word of mouth to find surveyors both locally and at distance.
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Old 07-02-2015, 09:50 AM   #3
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Lets clarify that if your serious enough to be looking long distance. Then you have hopefully extensively exhaused all local resources.

Either your needs/wants from the particular vessel put it in a category that makes it unique.... or it is what must seem like a great bargain compared to what is locally available?

A little more info on the value position I think would clarify the options...

An honest survey combined with a sea trial can put your mind at ease... just beware that if mentally you already like the vessel, that you arent just mentally rationalizing yourself to go through the motions when you already have decided.

Distance by water bringing her home on her own bottom is nearly moot if boat is in proper condition. ie see price point relevancy mentioned earlier. Only you can answer this one to yourself.

Finding an honest surveyor wont be hard. Maybe take a vacation and go see it yourself before you spend big money...

Or propose a reverse that survey cost is deducted from sale price if purchased. If not closing the sale..then its on you. Its a win-win if your that serious of a buyer?
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Old 07-02-2015, 11:05 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Daveo View Post
Good day all and thanks in advance for any advice you can offer. Having looked at a bunch of boats locally am seriously considering one far from home. It's in FL and homeport is MA. So my questions are;
1. Is it as crazy as it initially seems to buy a boat long distance?
2. How do you find an honest and competent surveyor both locally and far from home?
Have you considered looking for a boat in Canada or Michigan or even western NY for a mostly fresh water boat?

Looking in FL isn't crazy if you have enough free time on your hands and a large travel budget.

A question to this forum will get you several names of competent surveyors once you identify the area and the boat.
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Old 07-02-2015, 12:48 PM   #5
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Having been a broker in both Connecticut and Fort Lauderdale I can give you some generalizations. The boats in Florida are normally less expensive than in other parts of the US or Canada, and there may be more choices.
Boats in Florida are used all year and may have many more engine hours.
Boats in Florida may be less expensive.
Boats in Florida are in the strong sub-tropical sun and may have suffered UV damage to gel coat, paint, canvas, and isinglass.
Boats in Florida may be less expensive.
Boats in Florida are usually in the water all year and may have more salt corrosion than boats out of the water for the winter.
The cost of travel to look at the boat, travel for survey and the cost to bring the boat to New England should be considered as a percentage of the total price. If you spend $20,000 to travel to the boat, rent cars, stay in hotels, eat meals, then bring the boat north, it will be too much for a $75,000 boat but fine for a $300,000 boat.
However the cost to bring the boat back may not be a major factor as you get to do an amazing adventure.
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Old 07-02-2015, 01:02 PM   #6
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As far as competent surveyors, I have the guys for you if the boat is around the Ft. Myers area.
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Old 07-02-2015, 02:05 PM   #7
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Don't be afraid to ask for recommendations for surveyors from the members here. Most have gone through what you are, and some several times. They were a great help for me. Best of luck!
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Old 07-02-2015, 03:51 PM   #8
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Recently just purchased a boat in SW Florida. Arrived in the Chesapeake which will be home for now. Great trip,hired a Capt. for part of the trip and learned a lot about the boat and how she handles. All expenses added up to about an additional 8000 +-. Well worth it since I felt we got a good deal on the boat. Couldn't have found a similar boat up north for the price. Only advise - have lots of time and enjoy.
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Old 07-02-2015, 04:54 PM   #9
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Old 07-02-2015, 07:12 PM   #10
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Thanks

Thanks for all the valuable advice. Here's a little info on where I am coming from. The boat I seek is a little hard to find in my sub-150k price range. In no particular order I am looking for passagemaking potential, displacement hull, single screw protected by keel, cockpit adjacent to salon (saloon for those so inclined), flybridge, pilothouse, two cabins and stabilization (active or passive) in 40-48 feet. Wooden hulls need not apply. Put all that together and I'm looking at only a few boats in the east and the top choices so far seem to be a project locally or a going concern, if there is any truth in advertising, in Florida. The idea of a project boat scares the h**l out of me but if the one in FL turns out to be a dog I will still consider it.
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Old 07-03-2015, 11:49 AM   #11
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As to finding a good surveyor in an area you're not familiar with I'd ask at the most respected boatyards in the area. They're the ones who hear after about things the surveyor missed and the ones who repair what surveyors catch and in need of repairs prior to closing. Also, generally a lot of captains hanging around those yards.

It's not really the added cost to the one you buy, as that you can predict. It's more about how many trips to ones you don't buy. This is a time having a buyer's broker who you have confidence in can really pay off. They should not have you traveling back and forth for boats that don't meet your needs. They can also line up multiple boats for you to see on a trip.

If you have the time to enjoy the trip home, then I don't look at cost of getting it home as delivery cost. It's cruising costs and the boat just happened to be conveniently located in a good area to start the cruise. Regardless I would look forward to the cruising on my new boat, even if it had to be done at delivery speed. It's your new toy you're dying to use. And remember that you don't have to make the entire trip at once. If your schedule doesn't allow that, then move the north in increments.
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Old 07-05-2015, 10:07 AM   #12
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Some great boats in FL where owners had time and skills to maintain them well. A lot of junk too. Brokers are just not the right people to gives straight answer. Distant boats always seem more attractive until you get within 20'. Consider lining up a bunch of boats that sound good and making a boat shopping vacation.
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Old 07-05-2015, 10:28 AM   #13
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Some great boats in FL where owners had time and skills to maintain them well. A lot of junk too. Brokers are just not the right people to gives straight answer. Distant boats always seem more attractive until you get within 20'. Consider lining up a bunch of boats that sound good and making a boat shopping vacation.
Indeed, pictures are deceiving!
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Old 07-05-2015, 11:14 AM   #14
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That Fla sun burns up boats just like it burns up people. Amazing how bad fla boats look compared to NE boats.

It takes a lot of work down there to keep a boat up. That UV is strong.
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Old 07-05-2015, 12:11 PM   #15
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I have experience in purchasing two boats in Florida from distances of 1-2,000 miles away.


In the first case I planned a trip to look at three boats that were for sale. In one case the broker never told me that there was a contract on the boat. The other two weren't misrepresented but their condition was well below those of boats where I lived- the Florida factor. After I got home the broker representing one of the poor condition boats called to say that they just got a trade in for an owner moving up and it was near Bristol condition. Negotiated the sales price long distance and when I went down for the survey, it was as represented or maybe better. The broker was also the new boat dealer for the one I was looking for used, so probably had reason to be totally candid about the trade-in's condition.


In the second case I was working with an Annapolis broker. We found a boat in New Orleans that looked ok, but we were leery. He lined up a surveyor for a hundred bucks or so to take pictures and look with his own eyes at the boat. Turns out it had been used as a floating flop house for construction workers after Katrina. Used condoms in the corners, reeked of dope, etc.


The next boat was in SW Florida. We negotiated the price long distance and my broker helped me find a surveyor. Went down for the survey and the boat was ok but had a bad overheating problem. The owner spent thousands to fix (although the immediate cause was a collapsed r/w suction hose) and my surveyor had to go back twice before it was fixed satisfactorily. But I did get a brand new r/w system as a result.


In both cases I used the boats for long term live aboard cruising so there were no delivery costs.


The moral of these stories is trust but verify in a long distance purchase and nail down the purchase price before spending travel time and money.


David
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Old 07-05-2015, 01:05 PM   #16
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The moral of these stories is trust but verify in a long distance purchase and nail down the purchase price before spending travel time and money.

Truer words where never spoken. I'll never drive 200 miles out of my way to look at another boat without independent verification of condition again. At the minimum I ask for a couple of HD photos emailed to me showing today's newspaper in them, a trick an honest broker taught me.
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Old 07-05-2015, 01:31 PM   #17
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Also consider any required additions you may need to make it compatible with your cruising area. Will you need to add a heating system or change the ground tackle, etc.
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