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Old 10-04-2020, 08:27 AM   #1
Vessel Name: Gyp-Sea
Vessel Model: Present
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 2
New to the Game

Hello everyone.
My wife and I are very new to the boating world and are currently looking to purchase our 1st vessel. It's 1981 Chien Hwa CT38. We are in Ontario, Canada and I guess I'm looking for some advice on how the transaction process works. We've found a marina to call home and want to make an offer on the boat. When do I complete the survey? Do I complete a sea trial & land survey on the same day if possible? Do i give a deposit prior to a sea trial? Any information would be greatly appreciated. We're just trying to go about things as best we can to avoid any hiccups. Thank you in advance, and I'm excited at the prospect of soon becoming a member of the trawler family.

All the best,
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Old 10-04-2020, 08:53 AM   #2
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City: Oriental N.C.
Vessel Name: true heading
Vessel Model: marine trader 38 dc
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 569
I think I found that boat I have never see that layout before. is that lowered cockpit original or a modification? I might like that idea .
I looked at my boat in Virginia made an offer then made a 10% refundable deposit. had the boat surveyed they did haul out and sea trial the same day. due to issues lowered my offer around 40% ,then paid the balance.
I had tried to buy a boat in Florida but my surveyor stopped the survey called me with issues and ask if I wanted to continue said .I let him continue to get a quick list of issues . when the seller did not want to lower the price enough I got my deposit back and got 200 off the survey for him not writing it up.
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Old 10-04-2020, 09:12 AM   #3
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City: Seneca Lake NY
Vessel Name: Bacchus
Vessel Model: MS 34 HT Trawler
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 5,636
Welcome aboard TF. Lots of good info and knowledge here. You might find Boat Search 101 helpful as a starting point. It contains tips on selecting as well as acquiring a boat.
It could differ some depending on the seller situation and the following may help others with responses...
Is the sale through a broker or private sale?
Similar to real estate there are both seller and buyer brokers available and if the boat is being offered through a broker generally the commission will be negotiated and split by the seller and buyer brokers. You might consider interviewing and hiring a buyers broker that can guide you through the process and have your best interest in mind. If the owner is offering the boat privately you may need to pay a buyer brokers commission / fees.
Have you already approached the selling broker? Inspected the boat yourself? Made an offer?
How far away the boat is may have an affect on the specific order of steps. If having a buyers broker is of interest the sooner you can make that decision and select one the easier the process will proceed.
As a general rule (assuming the boat is close by) you view / inspect the boat then make a written purchase offer and a refundable deposit, through the broker(s), that contains any / all contingencies ( satisfactory survey, mechanical / engine inspection survey, sea trial, ability to secure loan, insurance...). A deposit needs to be explicitly identified as refundable (based on the contingencies) and should be held in escrow.
The surveys will generally include both an in water as well as out of water portions. All surveys / inspections and haul out are generally the responsibility of the buyer. Usually the recommended approach is for hull & engine surveys be done simultaneously and both present for sea trial. If possible, having owner participate / be present can have advantages to observe items pointed out by the surveyors. As a buyer you can learn from being part of the process.
In some cases the buyer or another experienced person designated by the seller will do a preliminary inspection ahead of a professional survey. If so, this step needs to be included in the purchase offer contingencies.
While I and others may outline typical steps and sequence there may be exceptions and differences depending on situation specifics.
Hope this helps and I'm sure others will add to this.
2008 MS 34 HT Trawler
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Old 10-04-2020, 09:50 AM   #4
Vessel Name: Gyp-Sea
Vessel Model: Present
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 2
Thanks for the info. After making numerous multiple hour trips around the province to look at boats, this one is conveniently 5 minutes down the road. It is a private sale, so we want to make sure any transaction is "up to snuff". We spent a good 90 minutes or so on the boat the other day when we went for our viewing, so have had a look through the boat for ourselves. But being new to the scene, we obviously don't know what to look for in certain regards. The current owner has had the vessel for 20+ years and knows the boat very well. He was very open with his discussion when showing us all of the features and equipment. I'm hoping to make a tentative offer this week and look at scheduling a survey. Fingers crossed I guess.
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Old 10-04-2020, 10:14 AM   #5
City: Seal Beach, CA
Vessel Name: Epiphany
Vessel Model: 2001 Maxum 4100 SCA
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 19
I'm in Southern California and just went through this process; Put 10% as a deposit, broker will arrange an engine survey (I choose mechanic) followed by a boat survey and sea trial (I choose surveyor). Better to do the engine survey 1st as boat survey includes a haul out. These surveys are mine as I paid for them.
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Old 10-04-2020, 11:02 AM   #6
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City: Nanaimo
Vessel Name: former owner of "Pilitak"
Vessel Model: Nordic Tug 37
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 1,516
Hi Kyle, congrats on finding a boat that interests you, and welcome to the forum.
I have never bought or sold a boat "privately", and especially since you say you are new to this entire thing (boat buying and ownership), I would suggest you hire a broker (or other professional) to guide you through the process. Phone several to discuss this (if you are interested) to ascertain fees, etc. and exactly what they will do (or won't do) for you to facilitate the sale. However, there are good brokers and not so good, so questioning them and your feel for them will be needed to guide you in hiring one.

There are many aspects of the process that you could use advise on. There are surveyors and there are surveyors! Some much better than others, particularly on some types of boats. This may be difficult for you to determine on your own. Same for mechanics for the engine survey. Brokers deal with these people regularly so they should have good advise in this area. The deposit will have to be held in trust, if you use a broker, he will do that, but you could find someone else (Notary?).
Bacchus gave good info/advise. Your offer should include a "refundable" deposit and several contingencies but ensure that being able to obtain suitable insurance is one of them. Some insurance companies will not insure a boat this old, or will exclude or place restrictions on coverage. Once you and the seller agree on a price (a broker can tell you what the market would suggest as a fair price or actual value) and have a signed contract, you will schedule the surveys and haulout (at your expense). I would assume that the seller will operate the boat during the sea trial and will attend the survey, so he/she will get a first hand look at issues that are discovered during these "testing" activities. The surveyor will not "disassemble" anything to gain a better inspection, but you can ask the owner to do so to allow better access for the surveyor (a definite advantage).

Often, (after the various survey reports are in) if "serious" faults or issues are discovered, the buyer and seller reopen negotiations again regarding "repairing" the issues and/or reducing the price. If the seller agrees to look after the repairs, ensure that they are "overseen" by your surveyor or mechanic or insist that you will have it done and obtain a suitable deduction in price. Realize that most insurance companies will require that you get all deficiencies listed in the surveys repaired within 30 days of you taking ownership as a condition of insurance. They will probably also ask for a written confirmation that you have done so (for legal purposes).
Being as this owner states he has owned the boat for a long time, it is not likely this boat is a "hurricane" boat cosmetically fixed moved to a distant location to help hide the fact, and is trouble waiting for the next owner, but a title and history search is a good idea.

"In some cases the buyer or another experienced person designated by the seller will do a preliminary inspection ahead of a professional survey. If so, this step needs to be included in the purchase offer contingencies." This quote from Bacchus is a good one as long as you know someone who can help you. Often a knowledgeable boater can do an in depth look at the boat and discover any "glaring" problems before you have to spend a lot of money on haulout and surveys.
If you do contact a broker, you can use their "usual" contract adjusted as necessary. If you do not go that way and are interested, send me a PM with your email address and I can send you a sea trial checklist (starting point) and a sales contract document that you can alter as needed.
Last comment. Be aware that especially with an older boat, you will be spending a fairly large sum after the sale with repairs, updates, and just making it the way you want it. Budget for that as well.
Nanaimo, BC
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Old 10-04-2020, 11:40 AM   #7
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City: Out Cruisin'
Vessel Name: SCOUT
Vessel Model: Great Harbour N37
Join Date: Aug 2017
Posts: 1,151
Kind Sir, this is no game.

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Old 10-04-2020, 12:39 PM   #8
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City: Au Gres, MI
Vessel Name: Black Dog
Vessel Model: Formula 41PC
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 13,323
Welcome aboard. If you go through with the purchase on your own you will need a sales contract. Boat/US has a sample sales agreement on their website. Make sure you have contingencies for any condition you discover, insurance, financing if any and sea trial. Generally you make an offer and the owner either agrees or gives a counter. Then after you agree on a price you put a 10% deposit that should be specified as refundable if you back out for any reason. The deposit needs to be held in escrow. Then you schedule surveys and sea trial. If everything is ok you complete the deal. If there are significant things wrong you renegotiate a new price. I would rather have the price discounted than have the seller fix the problems so you can control the quality of the fix. Good luck with the process. If you buy it we will need a lot of photos...
Boat Nut:
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Old 10-06-2020, 08:50 AM   #9
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City: Westerly, RI
Vessel Name: N/A
Vessel Model: 1999 Mainship 350 Trawler
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 3,204
1) Offer (signed P&S from Buyer; subject to Successful Survey, Seatrail, (Financing & Insurance optional))
2) Acceptance (signed P&S from Seller)
3) Deposit (This often accompanies Step #1 if working through broker, otherwise deposit goes into escrow account)
4) Survey
5) Sea Trail
6) Renegotiate
7) Close
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