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Old 06-16-2019, 01:06 PM   #1
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Who owns the survey?

When I bought my 1st boat way back in the 70s I thought the survey was private property belonging to the person who paid for it, that no one else had the right to see it. Anyone else wanting a survey of the boat had to pay for a fresh survey.

Fast forward to today and I see many listings saying "Recent survey available" or some such wording. So, during my most recent survey I asked the surveyor about that and he said, not in these exact words. I own the copy of the survey I paid for. He owns the intellectual (for lack of a better term) rights and I can't re-sell to the next buyer or to the broker if / when I pass on the purchase.

I'm wondering what the true story is....

Of course I understand that to go to a bank or insurance company for the boat I need a current survey that I commissioned.
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Old 06-16-2019, 01:23 PM   #2
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Well, unless you have a written contract with the surveyor that says he retains rights to the "intellectual property" contained in the survey, then it is yours. I am no lawyer, but I faced this question quite often in the engineering field. When you pay for a professional to write a report, you own the "work product" not just the ink and paper it is written on.


Surveyors try to maintain this fiction even in the absence of a contract in order to get paid to do another one.


So for example, if a PO commissions a survey to help him sell the boat without such a contract clause and you buy the boat, you could use that survey if it is current to support your application for insurance. I may be wrong about this but the insurance company shouldn't care who paid for the survey.


But maybe they are in cahoots with the surveyors ;-).


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Old 06-16-2019, 01:28 PM   #3
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Unless you specifically signed a contract stipulating that you can't sell it, I see nothing that prevents you from selling something you purchased. If nothing else, you could sell the paper it was printed on.

As a survey is but a snapshot in time of a deteriorating item, the survey's value has a half life likey measured in weeks. Don't believe me, ask your insurance company how recent the survey needs to be for them to insure your boat.

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Old 06-16-2019, 02:22 PM   #4
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I paid for my survey, I own it. Of course, if the broker wants a copy, he can ask me. If the sale falls through and the next in line wants a copy, I will be happy to sell him a copy of the survey for 1/2 what I paid for it. It will save him time and money.

I guess that makes me a bit strange. SHRUG
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Old 06-16-2019, 02:38 PM   #5
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When we bought Phoenix Hunter, the PO provided us with a survey done at the request of a buyer that went on to be a failed purchase. I presume that buyer provided it to the PO who passed it on to us in good faith. Perhaps he was concerned that the survey disclosed deficiencies that he felt needed to be revealed. We proceeded with our own survey that was similar to what the previous survey revealed.

I don’t know what the legal issues might be but it was nice for us to see this survey.

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Old 06-16-2019, 02:59 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
Well, unless you have a written contract with the surveyor that says he retains rights to the "intellectual property" contained in the survey, then it is yours. I am no lawyer, but I faced this question quite often in the engineering field. When you pay for a professional to write a report, you own the "work product" not just the ink and paper it is written on.

Agreed. Unless there is a contract saying otherwise, which there might well be, it's a work for hire, and you own the work product.
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Old 06-16-2019, 03:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
Well, unless you have a written contract with the surveyor that says he retains rights to the "intellectual property" contained in the survey, then it is yours. I am no lawyer, but I faced this question quite often in the engineering field. When you pay for a professional to write a report, you own the "work product" not just the ink and paper it is written on.


Surveyors try to maintain this fiction even in the absence of a contract in order to get paid to do another one.


So for example, if a PO commissions a survey to help him sell the boat without such a contract clause and you buy the boat, you could use that survey if it is current to support your application for insurance. I may be wrong about this but the insurance company shouldn't care who paid for the survey.


But maybe they are in cahoots with the surveyors ;-).


David
Insurance companies aren’t in bed with surveyors.

A major concern are surveys done on behalf of the seller, then presented to the buyer as proof of condition. More than once we have seen these types of surveys misrepresent the actual condition of the vessel.

Best to get your own survey as part of your purchase evolution.
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Old 06-16-2019, 03:32 PM   #8
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When we were in the process of purchasing our previous boat, the broker provided a survey from the seller that had been done within the previous month. To say that the survey was a complete misrepresentation of the actual condition of the boat would be a big understatement. I would never trust a seller's survey again.
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Old 06-16-2019, 05:05 PM   #9
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To say that the survey was a complete misrepresentation of the actual condition of the boat would be a big understatement. I would never trust a seller's survey again.
Kinda like listening to the used car salesman who assures you the car you're looking at (a 2010 Saleen Mustang) was only driven by an elderly couple on their way to get groceries and go to church.
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Old 06-16-2019, 05:34 PM   #10
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Kinda like listening to the used car salesman who assures you the car you're looking at (a 2010 Saleen Mustang) was only driven by an elderly couple on their way to get groceries and go to church.

What? That's not true?


If the lips are moving........
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Old 06-16-2019, 05:58 PM   #11
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In the Real Estate world the appraisal report belongs to the person or entity in most cases that placed the order. (Which is usually the lender for financed transactions) Who paid for the service is not a factor. In fact the appraisal report will state on the top of the first page there is a line for the Lender/Client with a space for the name and address. If the lender's name is on that line the appraisal report is for the lender.

With that said the lender can and usually does transfer the appraisal report upon request. And by federal law the borrower is required to get a copy of the appraisal report.

And it does have a shelf life of 90 days. Markets change and a 6 month old appraisal is worth nothing.
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Old 06-16-2019, 06:08 PM   #12
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When I sold my last sailboat, my broker would, if asked, help procure a surveyor for the interested buyer. She always selected reputable surveyors who would provide an honest appraisal.

We had one potential out of state buyer that was a real axxhole. He was rude and profane to my broker in every conversation. My broker maintained her cool and continued to bend over backwards for this potential buyer. The buyer backed out of one sea trial and survey (after the broker had arraigned for haul out, sea trial and survey all on the same day. The next time the buyer showed up, but was such an ass to the surveyor (a different one since the original wasn’t about to schedule another survey for this buyer) that the surveyor actually just walked off (the boat was in the slings at the time). My broker at this point was livid.

She told me that if the buyer wanted another surveyor, she would just get the local “broker’s surveyor” to do it. I had to ask what she meant by that term. She described it as a hack surveyor that will come up with whatever value the selling broker wants to make the sale. She never uses this one, but in this case, she would have made an exception.
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Old 06-16-2019, 06:34 PM   #13
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You "own" the rights to the survey you purchased. Facts can't be copyrighted. The surveyors opinions unless written in iambic pentameter can't be copyrighted. A survey is not intellectual property. It is merely a survey. A statement of facts about a particular boat at a particular place in time.
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Old 06-16-2019, 07:04 PM   #14
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Regarding seller provided surveys.

A survey is written by a human being that is attempting to serve a customer. The survey report, in theory sould be the same for each instance, but that is not the case.

Yes, the big deficincies will probably all be the same, but the surveyor, within professional conduct bounds can and will tailor the survey to the buyers wishes. This is especially true of the “value” part, since that number is pretty subjective.

Insurance surveys that get used as a buyers survey are probably the worst I would imagine.

If I commission a insurance survey I want the surveyor to find as little wrong with the boat as professionally possible.

If I commission the survey as a buyer I might want the surveyor to nit pick so that the results of the survey can be used as a negotiation tool.

Two very different surveys, written by the same professional surveyor, on the same boat, for two different, and very valid reasons.
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Old 06-16-2019, 08:31 PM   #15
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There is a maritime lawyer on TF. I remember he chimed in a few months ago about something and mentioned his profession. Can't remember the thread. Lol. He'd be a good forum member to befriend! Save some boatbucks with free legal advice
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Old 06-17-2019, 06:24 AM   #16
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Since a new buyers survey can cost several boat $, It is common to access any & all info before proceeding to sea trial & survey. Sometimes a deal falls through. That buyer owns the survey technically. But, the selling broker will have a copy of the deficiencies found at survey (forms the basis for renegotiations) and can certainly make it available to subsequent prospective buyers. When I sold my previous boat, 1st deal fell thru after sea trial/survey. Subsequent buyer bought the entire buyers survey from 1st buyer (since it was only a month old) at a significant discount. Reputable surveyor, everyone happy. Surveys conducted as pre sale devices or for insurance purposes by seller have no $ value and best used only in the decision to proceed with your own buyers suvey/sea trial
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:22 AM   #17
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Most insurers and lenders will not accept a survey performed on behalf of anyone except the named insured.
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:49 AM   #18
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Most insurers and lenders will not accept a survey performed on behalf of anyone except the named insured.

Interesting responses to my original post. I was approached to see if I'd sell my recent survey on a boat that failed survey miserably. Pau Hana nails it, there is no value to me in a survey conducted for someone else. If broker or seller make a recent survey available at no cost or perhaps a small fraction of full cost I'll take it for information in making my decision to make an offer or not.

Further to being no value to me because insurance and lender won't accept it I want to choose a surveyor I have full confidence in for my pre-purchase survey.
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Old 06-17-2019, 08:11 AM   #19
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Interesting responses to my original post. I was approached to see if I'd sell my recent survey on a boat that failed survey miserably. Pau Hana nails it, there is no value to me in a survey conducted for someone else. If broker or seller make a recent survey available at no cost or perhaps a small fraction of full cost I'll take it for information in making my decision to make an offer or not.

Further to being no value to me because insurance and lender won't accept it I want to choose a surveyor I have full confidence in for my pre-purchase survey.

All of this is true but not all buyers require surveys for their lenders or their insurance.
In those cases a previous survey may contain value for others.
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Old 06-17-2019, 08:12 AM   #20
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A slight twist on the thread. I wrote a contract on a boat that was under contract to another buyer. That deal fell through based on price negotiations after a few minor survey deficiencies and unexpected fuel consumption at seatrial. I contacted the surveyor and was able to negotiate a reduced price on the survey because he had already done it and the associated research. Didn't work out quite as well for him as he had to resurveyed the boat with me, and I found a bunch of stuff he missed which required even more work on his part.

Ted
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