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Old 01-09-2014, 10:56 AM   #21
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IMO - If a person does not know enough about boating, used boats, and how to ask questions to determine if a marine surveyor and/or a marine mechanic is worth their salt... then they have two options:

1. Find a friend who does know for helping you through the levels of finding surveyors to accomplish boat review and purchase, or;

2. Buy a brand new boat after reading all the printed material available regarding boats in your preferred size, model and price range.

Boat buying ain’t rocket science; but, used-boat buying can become real costly if too many pre purchase mistakes are made!
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:01 AM   #22
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Often the broker will know which surveyors know that make and model best and are therefore well suited to survey the boat. Just becauce a broker suggests a surveyor does not mean there is collusion of some sort. If a broker demands the use of a certain surveyor then it's a signal to find another broker.

I don't know where "smug" came from but DCBD was spot on with his response to the surveyors when he wrote "I asked both about their backgrounds and what qualified them to work as surveyors, in both cases my inquiry caused a hostile response."

Very few owners buy and sell boats often enough in one area to know the best and worst surveyors. Very few brokers are stupid enough to scam a client into buying a junker by a survey scam.
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Old 01-09-2014, 11:37 AM   #23
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When purchasing a boat I follow a pretty simple plan. Of course; having decades experience owning and being on/in boats, several years working alongside shipwrights in boat yards and at a new boat builder when young, as well as reading all about boats for well over 50 years... gives me a bit of a leg-up! lol

My Plan (upon gaining real interest in a boat after cursory inspection):

1. Inspect boat myself for anywhere from a few hours to a couple days (I have full assortment of inspection equipment and if I become really interested my self-inspection may include initial sea trial.
2. If I'm still interested after my inspection I hire a real good marine mechanic and marine electrician to REALLY check things out!
3. If I'm still interested after mechanical and electrical inspection pros are finished I hire a competent marine surveyor to review the boat and write a conclusive document.
4. If I'm still interested after all reviews are complete I go over my contract contingencies with the seller and I make my purchase price offer.
5. Seller and I either settle on a price - or we don't - I've no problem walking away from any deal... for anything; boat or otherwise.

Three rules of thumb:

A. NEVER fall in love with a material object prior to a completed purchase agreement with papers in your name. Then you can make love to it all you want, but be frugal!
B. When time to re sell comes... fall right back out of love. Business IS Business!
C. Be on site whenever a surveyor of any type is working for you and ask as many questions as you can... with clip board for notes.
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Old 01-09-2014, 12:12 PM   #24
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Art, so spot on with your rules of thumb!

I guess I'm a little surprised at how much you go through before making an offer. Maybe that's just a regional difference. Here in Florida, sellers and brokers are usually going to want a purchase contract before they will let you do a sea trial, or have the boat surveyed. And I, personally, would like to know that the seller and I can agree on a price before I spend the money for a surveyor and a mechanic.

Of course, the purchase contract must always include a contingency that lets me out if there is anything about the survey/sea trial that I do not like. That also gives another opening for re-negotiation if things turn up that I did not expect.
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Old 01-09-2014, 12:32 PM   #25
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Often the broker will know which surveyors know that make and model best and are therefore well suited to survey the boat. Just becauce a broker suggests a surveyor does not mean there is collusion of some sort. If a broker demands the use of a certain surveyor then it's a signal to find another broker.
This is true. I will add that here in Eastern NC, there are not that many surveyors in the business. Certainly just one or two that know trawlers. So, in this case, sometimes you just have to go wit' wucha got.

The upside is that those guys have usually surveyed every boat in the area more than once and can comment about the ongoing condition. At least that was the case with Skinny Dippin'.
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Old 01-09-2014, 12:33 PM   #26
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Art, so spot on with your rules of thumb!

I guess I'm a little surprised at how much you go through before making an offer. Maybe that's just a regional difference. Here in Florida, sellers and brokers are usually going to want a purchase contract before they will let you do a sea trial, or have the boat surveyed. And I, personally, would like to know that the seller and I can agree on a price before I spend the money for a surveyor and a mechanic.

Of course, the purchase contract must always include a contingency that lets me out if there is anything about the survey/sea trial that I do not like. That also gives another opening for re-negotiation if things turn up that I did not expect.
It just seems by wrote to me... but, I should have mentioned that after my brief cursory review (to see if the craft even interests me)... usually before my full-on personal review, and way before professional surveyors' reviews... there is nearly always a pending agreement signed with DP$$ in place and my list of contingencies well spelled out. I can at any time walk due to contingencies and quickly get my DP back which must be held in an escrow account - or homey don't play! LOL
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Old 01-09-2014, 01:13 PM   #27
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I tell clients that it could be a conflict of interest for me to suggest a surveyor but I can provide a list of surveyors that have done over 2000 surveys each. Also on the list are three insurance agents, three documentation agents, three maritime attorneys. I tell people is it is not a list of recommendations but a list of experienced professionals.
At the top of the surveyor section are website links to NAMS, SAMS, and BoatUS to find other surveyors.
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Old 01-09-2014, 01:21 PM   #28
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I tell clients that it could be a conflict of interest for me to suggest a surveyor but I can provide a list of surveyors that have done over 2000 surveys each. Also on the list are three insurance agents, three documentation agents, three maritime attorneys. I tell people is it is not a list of recommendations but a list of experienced professionals.
At the top of the surveyor section are website links to NAMS, SAMS, and BoatUS to find other surveyors.
ybg - Tucker - Perfect!!
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Old 01-09-2014, 01:29 PM   #29
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I tell clients that it could be a conflict of interest for me to suggest a surveyor but I can provide a list of surveyors that have done over 2000 surveys each. Also on the list are three insurance agents, three documentation agents, three maritime attorneys. I tell people is it is not a list of recommendations but a list of experienced professionals.
At the top of the surveyor section are website links to NAMS, SAMS, and BoatUS to find other surveyors.
BINGO ... conflict of interest, perceived or real, the buyer has no means to determine that. It's a business transaction ... the buyer needs to do the due diligence using own trusted resources.

BTW, I am going to keep your name on my list of brokers I want to do business with when buying my next boat (a trawler/pilot) ...
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Old 01-09-2014, 02:28 PM   #30
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I tell clients that it could be a conflict of interest for me to suggest a surveyor but I can provide a list of surveyors that have done over 2000 surveys each. Also on the list are three insurance agents, three documentation agents, three maritime attorneys. I tell people is it is not a list of recommendations but a list of experienced professionals.
At the top of the surveyor section are website links to NAMS, SAMS, and BoatUS to find other surveyors.
That's a perfectly reasonable way to do it. I had some business at a marina once that also had yacht sales and they had something like that in their outer office, so even if you were just curious about local services you could take a copy. We all need a surveyor from time to time.
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Old 01-10-2014, 08:48 AM   #31
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Same thing goes in our real estate office on dauphin island, al. We act as "the source of the source" with our list of appraisers, surveyors, builders, title companies , and insurance experts. These folks are known entities to us with good track records in our area. Buyers and sellers make their own decisions on who to use. No conflict of interest nor liability issues that way.
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Old 01-10-2014, 10:16 AM   #32
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...way before professional surveyors' reviews... there is nearly always a pending agreement signed with DP$$ in place...
Okay, I misunderstood. I thought you were saying that you had a surveyor and mechanic look over the boat before you got around to signing an agreement and making a down payment. This makes more sense to me now.
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Old 01-10-2014, 11:10 AM   #33
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Okay, I misunderstood. I thought you were saying that you had a surveyor and mechanic look over the boat before you got around to signing an agreement and making a down payment. This makes more sense to me now.
Actually I have done it this way, with a surveyor, mechanic and diesel guru via phone/photo previewing a vessel before an offer was made. Or better said not made as issues found were too numerous to consider an acceptable (to seller) offer.

As a buyer you can take whoever you want to on the look see tours. On higher end vessels your Captain and crew can look things over too, particularly at a boat show. Two years ago I had a very reputable yard group who happened to be at a boat show give a detailed look over to a vessel. Their punch list ended up being part and parcel of the offer I made.

For pros like RickB a walk through can be most illuminating and point one in the right direction as to areas requiring more thoroughness.
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Old 01-10-2014, 03:25 PM   #34
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I've paid lots of my hard earned cash for at least a dozen surveys over the years and not one has been worth a damn! This includes those done by some of the best respected surveyors in the industry. The only way to get it done properly is for you, the buyer, to be aboard when the surveyor is actually inspecting the vessel. Let him know this before hand so he will expect to be working with you and you might then walk away with a good survey in hand and not one done by looking at your boat from the bar across the street. I always ask to see the sellers last insurance survey as well.
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