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Old 03-14-2018, 11:03 PM   #1
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advice for buying without a broker

Hey folks,

I may have found our family's first trawler!

I spent the last 6 months looking at yachtworld and the last two months talking with brokers. Everything was a wash so far using the YW/broker approach.

So I decided to check out Craigslist. I found a great boat within my budget on the first day looking on CL. I've spoken with the owner twice and things are moving forward. If all goes as planned I'll be driving from western NC down to Jacksonville, FL on Tuesday to do the initial inspection.

The seller is not local and has a couple who has been looking after the boat for her. I will be meeting them and they will show me the boat.

The seller is not willing to negotiate the price with me until I have put my feet on the boat. (Which I understand. She is weeding out the tire kickers.). I'm fine with that. She has given me a verbal first right of refusal.

Here are my two initial questions....

Does a boat have a title just like a car?
What things should I be aware of in the process of buying directly from an owner vs. using a broker?

I understand the normal boat buying process with a broker to be:
see the boat
negotiate
go to contract with a 10% refundable deposit
sea trial
survey
close, renegotiate, or walk away

Thanks in advance,
Perry
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Old 03-14-2018, 11:22 PM   #2
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First things first. Get a very good look at the vessel. If you're not sure of your experience and knowledge to properly assess the vessel, take a boat smart friend with you. Be patient, take your time, it will fall into place if this vessel passes muster prior to offer and surveys.
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Old 03-14-2018, 11:41 PM   #3
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Thanks Sunchaser, I got my first experience boarding a boat I was considering for purchase back in July of last year. I am much more equipped this time around. Still a newb but I have a much better understanding of what to look for. I hope to take at least one person who has more experience with boats than myself along. I took two guys with me last year. I learned a lot that day we inspected a 40' Marine Trader that needed a LOT of work. I walked away from the boat for multiple reasons. One of which being the boat required much more work than I wanted to take on. (I know they all need work.)
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Old 03-14-2018, 11:55 PM   #4
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If the boat is a documented vessel it will not have a title and there will be no numbers on the bow. If is just registered with the state it will have a title like your car has. It will also have the registration numbers attached to the bow of the boat. A documented vessel is the safer of the two. You might want to see about having a marine documentation service handle the paper work for you. That is how a broker would handle the sale. They will make certain there are no liens on it and the title is clear.

If it passes the survey to your satisfaction, I would feel good about it's condition and you should know exactly what your in for. Good luck.
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Old 03-14-2018, 11:56 PM   #5
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Bought a Meridian 391 without a broker. Important to know whether or not the boat is USCG documented. If so then title and financing become easy. If not then depends on state but lien holders can be hard to find. Assuming a USCG documented boat you can use a marine title transfer company. Couple 100 but money well spent.

Did not mess the broker at all.

Russell beat me to it��
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Old 03-14-2018, 11:59 PM   #6
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Dealing with a seller at a distance and being shown the boat by other people half raises a red flag for me. At some early point if/when you decide you like it,ask for a copy of the registration(or whatever it is there)and confirm the seller is the person identified as owner.An internet search or two can tell you a lot.
As a seller, I`d not be impressed with offers before inspection. How could anyone frame an offer without seeing the boat?
Step by step, as Sunchaser says. I believe there are people who do boat title transfers for a fee,check for encumbrances(money owing) etc. Be safe and engage one, at the appropriate stage.
(You both beat me to it.)
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Old 03-15-2018, 12:03 AM   #7
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It depends where the boat is registered if it is state registered. Some states have titles to boats, some do not. If the boat is federally documented then the USCG does the documentation. Before I would travel to look at the boat I would ask which it has, state registration (ask which state) or federal documentation. Then if it is state registered look that state up or call the secretary of state and find out about their procedures. If it is federally documented ask the owner what the document number is and you can search the CG data base and see who the documented owner is. If the owner is unwilling to give you this basic info, then I would not be willing to spend my money traveling to look at the boat.

If it does work out and you do go see the boat and you do want to buy it, then you need to negotiate an offer. BOAT/US is a great organization to join. I believe they have some sample purchase agreements on their web site. I would absolutely not make an offer to buy without clauses that make the offer contingent on a sea trial, survey of the hull and engines, loan approval if applicable and maybe insurability.

This is certainly not a comprehensive list of things to consider before buying but rather just a few thoughts off the top of my head. You need to do a lot of research if this is your first voyage into large boat buying. This forum has a lot of good people and info. You might ask if there are any members nearby to go look at the boat with you. You need an unemotional eye when you are “falling in love” with a possible new boat. They can be a money/time pit. Which is ok if you go in with your eyes open and are knowledgeable enough to know what you are getting into.

Whatever happens, good luck.

A couple of guys are faster typists.
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Old 03-15-2018, 12:27 AM   #8
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Thanks everyone for the helpful replies.

I doubt it is USCG documented vessel. If it were I imagine that information would have been disclosed in the ad or during the phone conversations. But we all know what assuming does... I'll find out for sure before I make the drive. Upon further inspection of the ad photos there are no registration numbers or letters on the starboard side of the bow. The port side is not pictured. Maybe there's a gaping hole in the port side! Why wouldn't she have the port side pictured!!! AHHHHH! Just kidding. lol. There isn't a port picture though for reals.

How do I go about hiring said marine documentation service. Simple google search? Is this a local entity or a national thing?

Same question for a marine title transfer company? Also can one company do both? It would be more efficient.

I reread my OG post and realized I came across rash. I am definitely going into the process slowly with scrupulous eyes. Slow. Slow. Slow. It's a scam. What is she hiding???

The owner lives in NY and vacations in winter on the boat in FL. Reason for sale is they have family in NY and don't spend enough time each year to justify the cost of ownership. Makes sense.

She said it was listed with a broker for two years and she felt like the broker wasn't doing their job. Two years on the market is a red flag for sure. However judging from what I've read on this forum maybe she honestly just had a bad broker. Y'all seem to be pretty fond of them. Ha!

I understand buying and selling, negotiating, and creating contingencies etc. I have no plans to buy a boat without having it hauled and properly surveyed. Nor do I plan to go into contract with someone without creating an easy out for myself. I'll jump on Boat US and check out their contract. The pros always catch details I would overlook.

Definitely a good call to have someone who has no emotion goggles on to help me look at the vessel.

Thanks a ton everybody. Y'all are a super helpful bunch.

Also, I want to change my user name. Anybody know how to do that? I don't see an option on the user CP page.

-P
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Old 03-15-2018, 12:50 AM   #9
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Good luck. Have no idea how to change your user name. Maybe just create a new account???
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Old 03-15-2018, 01:20 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by PerryH View Post
..Also, I want to change my user name. Anybody know how to do that? I don't see an option on the user CP page. -P
Two accounts is a no no. Enlist the help of a Moderator by clicking the triangle with exclamation mark, located in the left margin of your post. A box to type in your request will appear, ask for help to do it, hit send.
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Old 03-15-2018, 06:16 AM   #11
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Live close enough to Jax that we see the boats on CL. If this is the 36' President, the few pics look real good. Before you go any further, ask the owner for the equipment list which they most likely had if previously listed with a broker. Review it carefully and ask what works and what doesn't work.

Look at other President's on YW for price comparison and layouts/specs.

Pay real good attention to the fuel tanks.

Consider having an engine survey in addition to the hull survey.
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Old 03-15-2018, 06:36 AM   #12
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I did a DIY survey to help decide whether to proceed w the deal and real survey. Checklists here on TF and internet were helpful to develop my list.
I'm surprised oil / fluids analysis hasn't been recommended... or maybe i missed it?
Oil analysis not very expensive and can uncover some hidden issues. Applies to engine(s), gen and tranny.
USCG documentation database is public info and available online. Just need the boat name and home port. I was able to learn a fair amt about owner before first contact just from a pic of the stern that was posted w the ad.
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Old 03-15-2018, 07:06 AM   #13
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Monk?

I'm making the assumption that you are considering the 1982 Monk listed on Craigslist-Jacksonville. If I'm correct, a quick USCG Documentation look-up by vessel name indicates that 'Old Spice' is documented (number 1129037, last updated 01/18/2018). Hailing post is listed as Charleston, SC. Owner's first name matches that shown in Craigslist ad.
Photos look reasonable. The ER does look TIGHT. Also the window AC through the aft cabin wall with power cord hanging down is not real attractive.
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Old 03-15-2018, 07:37 AM   #14
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p { margin-bottom: 0.1in; line-height: 120%; } You’ve gotten good advice so far on title, state registration, USCG documentation and survey. There is another risk associated with not buying through a broker. That is handling what I call the ‘gray area’. There will be a period of time when ownership is not 100% clear. Money is changing hands, title or registration is not fully complete, insurance must be in place. A remote owner raises the risk level of the gray area. When going through a broker all of that is handled without stress.


I purchased without a broker but felt very comfortable with the risk for two reasons. The first being the purchase process took months, many face to face meetings with the seller whom I came to fully trust. The second was the way we were able to handle the transaction. We live a short distance apart and use the same bank. We found a building with a bank branch, a state license and title office and the insurance agency I was using all in the same building.


We sat with a bank employee as the funds were transferred from my acct to his and both witnessed the change in account balance. We next attended to registration / title transfer. And finally “turned on” the insurance policy I had pre-arranged. We were in the gray area less than 30 minutes.


There is another reason I was willing to take the risk, and may have done so if we couldn’t have arranged the change of hands as quickly as we were able to. I bought a very inexpensive boat, not much more $$ than I’m willing to pay for a car. If I’d been swindled I’d have been hurt but not wiped out.
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Old 03-15-2018, 08:31 AM   #15
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If you’ve been online, youve probably run across this very helpful site: Marine Surveyor, Port Credit Marine Surveys, Toronto, Ontario.
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Old 03-15-2018, 11:08 AM   #16
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Thanks everybody!

Boatdb.net is where I was able to find the documentation. Is that what y'all are using? It is a USCG documented vessel.
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Old 03-15-2018, 12:17 PM   #17
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BTW, it is probably too late to engage a buyers broker at this stage since you have already been in direct contact with the seller and that usually prohibits a broker from now getting involved unless the seller agrees to it. One of the biggest value a broker brings is the buyer - and your seller already has you.
She may be willing to pay your broker a flat fee to handle the paperwork etc. but its doubtful she will be willing to pay anywhere near the usual.
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Old 03-15-2018, 12:20 PM   #18
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monk

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom A View Post
I'm making the assumption that you are considering the 1982 Monk listed on Craigslist-Jacksonville. If I'm correct, a quick USCG Documentation look-up by vessel name indicates that 'Old Spice' is documented (number 1129037, last updated 01/18/2018). Hailing post is listed as Charleston, SC. Owner's first name matches that shown in Craigslist ad.
Photos look reasonable. The ER does look TIGHT. Also the window AC through the aft cabin wall with power cord hanging down is not real attractive.
Yep. That's the one. Going to check her out on Monday morning.

If anybody else wants to take a look at the ad and chime in an observation. I'd be all ears.

There was a thread on here with a pic of the weird keel from a couple years back. Anybody know anything about the wings on the keel that are supposed to be anti-rolling devices. Seems like to me if it actually worked lots of boats would have it vs. being an oddity.

http://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/a...1&d=1464882521

Thanks,
P
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Old 03-15-2018, 12:41 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by PerryH View Post
...
Also, I want to change my user name. Anybody know how to do that? I don't see an option on the user CP page.

-P
Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceK View Post
Two accounts is a no no. Enlist the help of a Moderator by clicking the triangle with exclamation mark, located in the left margin of your post. A box to type in your request will appear, ask for help to do it, hit send.
Thanks, Bruce!

Perry, we got your message and we'll be in touch with you regarding the name change. Only a select few TF muckety-mucks have the authority to change the username for you. That's well above my pay grade but they're aware of the request.

Here's the site I use to look up documented vessels.

https://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/st1/Coa...selByName.html

Welcome aboard!
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Old 03-16-2018, 02:07 PM   #20
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For around $25 you can get an Abstract of Title from the Vessel Documentation Center that will tell you if there is a current loan on the vessel and if there are any liens against it. It takes about a week to get the abstract back.
Be careful about a deposit, a third party should hold it and you want to make sure that the person who gets the money at closing really owns the boat.
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