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Old 08-04-2022, 06:53 PM   #1
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General etiquette when initially viewing a boat questions.

Hi all. We are finally in the preliminary stages of our boat search. We're in Utah and none of the stuff we're looking to get in to is here, so for the past two years we've just been window shopping online.

We're headed to Maine next week to visit family, and there are a few boats within reasonable driving distance that we're going to look at while we're there.

The questions are,

1. What's acceptable and unacceptable to ask/do while aboard beyond the mandatory shoes off/booties on? We don't expect them to fire everything up for us, but we would like to do things like check out all the mechanical rooms and look through access hatches at the bilge.

2. Can we ask to see things like a recent survey if there is one, maintenance logs, ect... or is that saved for later on in the purchasing process?

3. How quickly does the purchasing process take once we want to pull the trigger? We are NOT going to buy the first one we see without looking at others, but once we make our decision, is it as fast as buying a used car after the survey's done, or is it more like buying a house where there's a set closing date before which the survey stuff will need to be performed?

3b. As I understand it, the general process is to go look, make an offer, if offer is accepted the boat is under contract, then pay for haulout and engine surveys, and a sea trial. Once that's taken care of, the surveyor(s) present their report with their estimated cost to repair issues found as well as their valuation of the boat based on comps. After that, another offer is made with consideration to the reported repairs and once both sides agree to a price... bank transfer, title issuance and good to go? Would it be unreasonable to ask the seller post purchase to spend a day aboard with us demonstrating all the systems? Am I missing anything, or is that pretty much it?*

4. We are not currently working with a broker as at this point as we are simply kicking tires (hulls? props?), but should we get our own when the time comes, or would working with the listing broker be fine? Again... not sure if we should treat this as buying a used car or a used house.

*What we are looking at will definitely require boating courses, captain supervision and signoff in order to secure insurance, and those issues are something we take very seriously. We're currently investigating our options with several yachting/cruising schools and once we get detailed information on a few, will approach some insurance agents to determine the feasibility of our plan before we make an offer on anything. I bring this up because I know someone will mention it, and I'd like to respectfully ask that insurance and education be topics for a later discussion.

Thanks for reading, and we look forward to hearing your input and suggestions! And we're also really looking forward to finally putting eyes on and stepping aboard something other than a wake boat or a 35 year old 28' Bayliner.
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Old 08-04-2022, 06:57 PM   #2
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard. Find yourself a buyer's broker. Someone who is looking after YOUR interests (or should be).
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Old 08-04-2022, 07:04 PM   #3
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard. Find yourself a buyer's broker. Someone who is looking after YOUR interests (or should be).
Thank you. That we will. Follow up questions- what's the usual % brokers get and who pays them- the seller or the buyer? When I've bought houses, I've usually asked the agents to accept 2% instead of their usual 3% split and have never been unable to overcome any objections. Are yacht brokers similar in that regard?

*edit- if it helps, the price range we're looking in caps at $250k.
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Old 08-04-2022, 07:47 PM   #4
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Welcome aboard TF and to the potential owner group.
A buyers broker is a plus and the only one looking out for your interests.
I think of boats akin to real estate purchases... buyer / seller brokers, contracts, contingencies, inspections/ surveys, liens, titles vs deeds, etc. Make sure all are in a written contract.
If boats are being advertised / sold via broker it is customary for selling broker to negotiate a split with a buyer broker.
I would have a buyer broker make any / all initial contacts. If you contact a selling broker direct they may consider you their customer and be unwilling to work with another broker later.
IMO looking in eng rms, bilge, hatches, inquirevre availability of maint records, etc OK for casual lookers. If you want to have owner start engines, gen, appliances, etc I'd expect a purchase offer with contingencies spelled out and a small (refundable) deposit based on contingencies. Final selling price is contingent / negotiable based on findings and youbshould V retail the rite to walk if any inspections/ surveys show any deficiencies.
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Old 08-04-2022, 07:47 PM   #5
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If you're at the initial stage, just getting someone to meet you at the boat and let you look at it is great.

Not everyone cares about the booties. That's more a thing with high-end yachts, and rare in Maine.

Ask if everything works. Don't expect a survey or sea trial until you're ready to sign a contract. Look everywhere they'll let you. You want to look at enough boats to get a good idea of what you need, what you want, and what you don't want. Only when you've narrowed it down to the point where you can eliminate most boats pretty quickly should you start to get serious. At that point, you'll know when a good one presents itself.
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Old 08-04-2022, 08:20 PM   #6
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I really appreciate the replies so far! I just got done reading the "Boat Prices has the world changed" thread, and it was a real eye opener. To riff on what I read in there a bit, I've already contacted a few listing brokers directly and both were amenable to showing the boats while I'm there. I didn't ask either of them any questions about the boats because I feel that that sort of thing happens in person. Besides- we're still a year or two out from making the move and because we can't just go walk a dock after dinner, we're starting to poke around now in order to see which layouts we like. When we're ready, cash in hand so to speak, we don't want to waste time driving all over the eastern half of the US to "try" different boats and layouts out. After two years of research, we're fairly well set on what we'd like to end up with, contingent upon the insurance part lining up, but as we've yet to step on anything bigger than 28', we are not married to any one brand, layout or size of boat. Like when buying anything else- you make a list of requirements and negotiables, then look at what's out there and find the one that checks the most boxes.

Bacchus, I wasn't expecting anything turned on beyond lights to see the cabins, let alone the owner be there for the initial viewing. I'd be thrilled to pay an owner a couple hundred bucks for the fuel and their time to take us out for a half hour, but I understand that's too big of an ask when a sea trial occurs once we've demonstrated serious interest, anyway.
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Old 08-04-2022, 08:34 PM   #7
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I have no idea what a "buyers broker" is. I don't think it exists. What does exist are good brokers who understand that the sales cycle for a larger boat takes time, up to a couple years. Brokers who have been in business for a while, brokers who have sold the same boat a couple times means a buyer became a seller. That's a really good sign. Market is softening, but let's be fair: it's been a sellers market for a couple years now. Hard part is finding inventory, not finding buyers. A broker who isn't seeking listings has probably failed in this market.

You will need a team in your corner. Foremost will be an insurance broker who will help guide you. Pau Hana on this forum is an insurance agent and routinely gets strong referrals (disclosure - I don't know him, never done business). If you're looking for a loan, your team will include someone knowledgeable about your finances. If you haven't been to a trawler fest, consider attending and getting acquainted with some of the vendors and experts. When I was delivering and a presenter st Trawler Fest, I consulted to buyers and did sea trials. I acted as a sounding board to buyers, including equipping, etc. Not sure how you find someone like that, but in hindsight, was a pretty valuable service.

As far as what to ask when you view a boat, first step is to get a feel for what you like, what you don't. Getting time alone on a boat so you can chat privately is number one. Don't be afraid to ask for some alone time. Might be hard if you and the broker needed go drive to the boat, but you get the idea.

Unless he/she has sold the boat before, the broker probabiy won't know the details of the boat. Good ice breaker questions are why is the boat for sale, how long has the owners owned it, how long has it been for sale, what is the price rationale, etc. Then there are a ton of observations you can make about maintenance. Are there any leaks on the engine. Water or grease in the bilge. Is the wiring neat and organized. Do all the lights and switches work. Are hose clamps rusty. Are there tools and spares aboard (FYI - tools do not convey unless specialized such as stuffing box wrenches). Open the breaker panel - look for orderliness. Do the bilge pumps work. Is the carpet and woodwork in decent shape. Are there unusual or offensive smells. You are looking for pride of ownership.

Good luck. There is a wealth of knowledge on TF. Keep questions coming.

Peter
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Old 08-04-2022, 08:40 PM   #8
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.... I'd be thrilled to pay an owner a couple hundred bucks for the fuel and their time to take us out for a half hour, but I understand that's too big of an ask when a sea trial occurs once we've demonstrated serious interest, anyway.
Asking for a boat ride is a bridge-too-far. It's an unusual request and will not help your cause.

You might consider chartering a trawler. PNW has several companies, there are a couple on Florida too. They can assign a captain for you for as long as it takes to get you comfortable. Will help you down the road with insurance, and you'll learn a bunch in the process.

Good luck. Love your enthusiasm

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Old 08-04-2022, 08:52 PM   #9
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my opinion your first look at a boat is just that a first look.

that is the time when you and your spouse walk through the boat and just look at things. This is not a detailed examination of maintenance logs or anything like that. That kind of stuff comes later if you're serious about buying the boat.

this is a walk-through looking at the general condition and seeing if you like the layout. you're getting an idea how well the boat was maintained just by its condition visually.

The questions to ask at this point are things like the size of the engines what is the cruise speed of the boat. What size are the water tanks and fuel tanks that type of thing. again you're looking at general condition and getting a feel for in general how new things are on the boat hasn't had continuous upgrading for example.

then later if you decide that you're very serious about this boat and are contemplating making an offer then and only then you ask for the detailed maintenance logs and you really look over the boat very carefully and write down things you do not like

then you make an offer based on everything you know about the boat and everything you could see making an assumption that what you cannot see is all functional and that there is no hidden damage or defects.

The amount of money you offer for the boat reflects anything visual that you can see that is a defect in the boat. In my opinion it is unethical to return to the negotiating table for things that you could see as your casual observer of the boat.
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Old 08-04-2022, 09:57 PM   #10
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I had good luck with the seller's broker. Was very up front and honest. Later found out that the seller was a real asshat, so that was in our favor. The broker sold the boat twice, once to the asshat and again to me. I had the mechanical and general surveys from 2 years ago and the guy put a whole 40 hours on the engines in 2 years. Also did a soft grounding and managed to break a swim platform bracket from parking under a dock. Later admitted to being afraid of the boat. Nothing changed in the 2 years except one head broke down.

Yeah, no booties needed, no boat ride before offer made. You want to make sure the size and layout are what you like first. A big one for my wife was the smell. Lots of used boats stink some and some more than others. I could look at her face when we entered the saloon and know in 2 seconds if we were wasting our time.

Tell the broker up front that you need training, they all have captains working for them as deliveries are common. I got a lot of training included in the deal for free.

Yes, you can look at all the spaces you like, but don't waste yours and the brokers time in the "initial impact" doesn't work. And price is again negotiable if survey reveals fixing needed.

I've only done this once and it's just like buying a house.
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Old 08-04-2022, 10:19 PM   #11
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Hello... Ll InUT. Welcome to TF!

You're bitten off a big piece of pie without background of eatten this type of pie.

Questions you ask make it seem some studying may be required. I imagine google must have links to written steps/procedures to purchase pleasure boats... from A to Z.

Maybe I missed it, but: What size, style, type of boat you currently interested in owning? New or used, price level; and, many other items such as single or twin engines, fast or slow, interior and exterior layouts, flybridge or not, construction material - e.g., fiberglass, steel, aluminum, wood [I don't recommend wood due to need for previous experience caring for wooden boats].

Please give us an outline of this "first" boat to fill your current dreams.

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Old 08-04-2022, 10:28 PM   #12
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A buyers broker would be rare here. My understanding of over there is the buyers broker gets part of the selling brokers commission, which is being paid by the seller. So, your broker is paid by the seller. To me, that`s odd.


Ask all the questions, seek all the access and inspections you would like. Going for a run in the boat is unlikely but starting engines etc is unexceptional here. Asking for logs and previous surveys is fine, concern rises if you know they exist but access is not given. If inquiry gets brushed aside or responses seem BS,it could be a red flag.

Brokers don`t seem keen on a seller "handover" but I think it`s a good idea. I offered it when selling my previous boat, my broker showed no interest. Risk of conflicting information unsettling buyer?

Read the sales agreement. Don`t accept it without checking. Is it subject to survey? What are your rights/obligations on pulling out if you are not happy post general and/or mechanical survey.

Be sure of the completion process. I believe there are title transfer coys in US, use one if not confident.
Always remember, there is always another boat if this one falls over. And, absolutely no "falling in love", it`s a commercial transaction, keep it that way.
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Old 08-05-2022, 12:24 AM   #13
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Gentlemen,

Thank you all so much for the outpouring of knowledge! This is far more than I expected, and I am humbled by the thought you all gave to your answers. I started this thread thinking I could reply to individual posts, but I'm going to have to just do it all in one shot. I also appreciate the long, thought out replies. So in return, here's a book I just wrote. There's no tl;dr on this train, so grab a beer or a bowl or what ever vice you most enjoy and settle in for this.

First... I spoke briefly with Pau Hana about eight months ago regarding insurance and boat size range to be looking at and still be insurable, and he suggested 32-40' for the first go. I'm paraphrasing here and going off memory, but I believe he said some people go bigger, but will need a captain present whenever the boat is moving and be signed off by said captain once they've been properly trained. I can't say anything that everyone here doesn't already know about his character, and he will be our very first and hopefully only stop when it's time for insurance.

Before I go any further, I'd like to clarify some things. I'm not new to boating. I'm 44 and have been around boats most of my life, in FL, VT and here in UT. I just don't have any experience with anything bigger than 28', and no ownership experience beyond a 17' Larson. I'd also like to address where my head's at and my approach to this as I know there's a TON of dreamers out there that have never stepped on a boat and want to head out across the Pacific as soon as the paint on the transom dries. We're not those people. As someone that's survived half a lifetime of high-risk jobs and hobbies, and as someone who's taught people how to safely exist within those environments, I am acutely aware that you don't know what you don't know. Some say I'm a know-it-all, but I say I'm a know-nothing. All I know is where to find reliable sources of information and that once it's deemed accurate, needs to be followed to the letter. Both my wife and I are mechanically inclined and work well as a team out in the shop, and between the two of us, have experience working on anything that we could possibly run into on the boat. That said, I'm going to acknowledge that I'm about to sound like an askhole...

We have read over and over the advice that repeats itself: Start small. Of all the advice we've read online and in books, the ONLY piece we are deviating from is in regards to the size of the boat for several reasons, but none of which I'll mention at this time for the sake of brevity. I'll simply lay out the plan we have to get where we want to be, which is the oft-dreamed about and entirely unoriginal full time work/live aboard cruising between Maine and the Bahamas with an occasional summer in the Thousand Islands and Georgian Sound regions on a Hatteras 53 YF, MY, or ED.

We have no allusions that we have the knowledge or muscle memory to operate those boats right now, and would in no way risk ourselves, others, or others property for the sake of trying to learn on our own. Hubris kills. We also fully acknowledge that we just simply may not be able to get on a 53 for our first boat due to insurance and if that's how it goes, we will be looking at other smaller boats in the range that Pau suggested. (side note- we understand that we also might find the 53's way too big and/or hop on a GB32 and go, "yep, this'll do!")

What we are looking into is first taking a 101- level cruising/boating school. If we've been given a solid green light by the insurance that we can get on that 53 with enough training/sea time/captain sign off, then we will proceed with furthering our education and will have a captain aboard from the first minute through at least the first week to make sure we're spun up on the particulars of the boat. If we hit that insurance wall and need to reel it in a bit, then we will buy a boat that we can insure and continue our education on the water, revisiting the 53 down the road. We have $40k earmarked for these schools and captains and will be able to take 4-6 weeks off for an immersive and comprehensive education, so when I say school, I mean far more than just the USCG Boating Skills & Seamanship course or some online "certificate" school.

We are currently waiting to hear back from some schools regarding the particulars of their curriculum so that when we approach an insurance agent, we can talk in specifics to give the underwriter the best picture possible, and to make sure that the school we go with is acceptable by the underwriter.

Since it was mentioned, financing is not an issue.

As for the boat itself and something about cake, I think you've guessed by now that I don't just jump into something new on my own. I can't tell you how many hundreds of hours we've poured into reading about those boats in particular, what others have said to look for when buying and what the idiosyncrasies of the various phases of production run are, looking up what spare parts and replacement this and that cost. Starters, alternators, raw WP impellers, filters, oil, zincs, AC units, appliances, bilge pumps, life rafts, dinghys, davits, ect ect ect. We've looked up what it'd cost to do an in frame on one of the 8V71s or what it'd take to pull one of the Allison M20 gears for a rebuild or replacement, the trials and tribulations of marine toilets, how to make a mattress survive a marine environment, what spares and tools to have on board, safety equipment and emergency drills, bla bla bla. We have a membership over on Boatdiesel so we can pull up data sheets on the engines and gears, and have gone as far as using those and some basic dimensions of the boat to roughly estimate fuel burn, all the way down to something as minute as trying to figure out how much it'd cost to fuel the generator long enough to power the water maker to fill the water tank, then looking at how much water we use at home (no kids) to get an idea of the cost per gallon and then the cost per month for the quantity of water we anticipate using. We've calculated the cost of everything we can think of- payment, insurance, fuel burn, mx, haulouts, bottom paint, zincs, added 10% hull value for unforeseen repairs to that, then zoomed out to a ten year timeframe to take into account bigger costs that occur less frequently than yearly or monthly, then finally taking that back down to the scale of what the true total cost per hour really is. And then adding 25% to take into account anything we missed and to err on the extreme side of the extreme side. Last thing we want to do is start making early withdrawals from the inheritance... lol...

OK, I think that's a good start for now. I hope I answered the questions and filled in some blanks. I'd like to think we're giving this more thought and being more realistic than the usual dreamers that want to have their patreons pay their bills, but if everything I've said is well-trod ground and flat-out impossible given what I've said so far, or there is something huge that we're just missing (other than hands-on time) please hit me with that reality check.
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Old 08-05-2022, 12:39 AM   #14
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I started with a 10 foot inflatable and a 7 HP Merc. Now that was easy.

But 4 boats later (all outboards) and the fifth boat is Dream Catcher. Yeah, big.

But it was pretty easy to learn and I did the oil change (8 gallons) and the 4 oil filters and the 4 Racors, and the 4 fuel filters and the 2 impellers...which saved me a lotta dough.

Just have liability insurance, Co wouldn't cover a boat that old for what I bought it for.

Yeah, it's a whole new world. Running water, flush toilets, queen size bed, air conditioning and a galley. Whodathunk it. Amazing.

But hey, I'm retired, I like the Delta and it's a good place to learn stuff and have fun and relax -
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Old 08-05-2022, 01:09 AM   #15
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I started with a 10 foot inflatable and a 7 HP Merc. Now that was easy.

But 4 boats later (all outboards) and the fifth boat is Dream Catcher. Yeah, big.

But it was pretty easy to learn and I did the oil change (8 gallons) and the 4 oil filters and the 4 Racors, and the 4 fuel filters and the 2 impellers...which saved me a lotta dough.

Just have liability insurance, Co wouldn't cover a boat that old for what I bought it for.

Yeah, it's a whole new world. Running water, flush toilets, queen size bed, air conditioning and a galley. Whodathunk it. Amazing.

But hey, I'm retired, I like the Delta and it's a good place to learn stuff and have fun and relax -
I started out when I was four in my dad's lap at the helm of our avocado green Orlando Clipper with some cable-steered 40 HP Evinrude from the 60's. After that, my first boat was a Sandpiper 8 with a 1.5 HP Cruise 'n Carry that made my hand numb and gave me tinnitus. By then, my parents had stepped up to a Wellcraft V20 with a two thirsty five that continued the then-established tradition of childhood hearing loss. Sailing at the yacht club was in there, too... a Bluenose sloop, K-class cat, Thistle, some J boats, Optimists, Sunfishes, and an entire humble pie right in the face the first time I single handed an International Fourteen. I was uprooted from my Florida home when we moved to Vermont. A 17' Montauk was involved, but fresh water boating just wasn't the same as salt, so that was kind of the end of it for me as other things were grabbing my attention. 20 years later, a friend here in UT buys a 28' Bayliner and then realizes he doesn't even know how to back it down the ramp, much less why the blower needs to be running. He'd rather drink beer, and I'd rather drive the boat, so I got back into boating. My wife and I decided to get the Larson and shortly after, the bug bit hard and here we are today.

As long as you're out there having fun, that's all that matters. You guys are the ones out there doing it; I'm just some guy doing circles in an evaporating puddle in the middle of the desert.
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Old 08-05-2022, 05:38 AM   #16
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Hi Landlocked:

Etiquette for looking at boats is simple: Be kind and thoughtful, and with any luck, it will be returned.

When we bought our big boat, I knew I wanted (needed) two things: Dual motors and a bowthruster.

Dual motors gave me control of the direction I need to move the stern. And a bowthruster is freaking amazing!

These two mechanical options allowed me to move seamlessly from our 22' boat to our 41' boat, particularly when docking.

An inexperienced boater friend recently purchased a 28' Mako with dual outboards, and I made a laminated card for him with the images below on each side. He said it was the best boat gift he's ever received.

Cheers from Florida,
Mrs. Trombley

P.S. What are y'all going to do for electricity there in Utah when your evaporating puddle (Lake Powell) runs dry?
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Old 08-05-2022, 06:12 AM   #17
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A buyers broker would be rare here. My understanding of over there is the buyers broker gets part of the selling brokers commission, which is being paid by the seller. So, your broker is paid by the seller. To me, that`s odd.

That's the way our real estate market works here, too.

The actual split can be up to 4 ways, ~25% to each: selling broker, selling brokerage, buyer's broker, buyer's brokerage.

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Old 08-05-2022, 07:43 AM   #18
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Landlocked,

This is only my opinion but I believe it is probably a bit early in your process to be looking at boats with brokers if you are 1-2 years away from making a purchase (I believe this is your intent). Instead I would suggest identifying a couple of brands/styles/models that may peak your interest and then look for owners (boats not for sale) that would be willing let you take a peak at there boat and advise you on their experience.

If you are shopping for specific boats on the market, it is unlikely that the boat you inspect will still be available or it may frustrate you to fall in love with a particular boat and feel pressured to accelerate your timeline. Also, a broker showing you boats is working and assuming that you are honest about your timeline, they are unlikely to go above and beyond to show boats to a eventual buyer, as the market slows down, this will probably change but I believe right now they are focusing on completing sales this season.

Unlike a broker, an owner willing to show you around their boat is not on the clock, and is spending time on their boat is likely their favorite thing to do and is no hurry. You will probably be surprised at how accommodating strangers with a common interest can be about showing their boat off and talking your ear off about it, some would be happy to take you for a ride for the sake of company and some genuine interest in trawlers. You may be able to find an owners group rendezvous and ask permission to stop by, they tend to spend plenty of time looking at each others boats and discussing upgrades and modifications, this would be a good chance to see some boats.

I would suggest posting an inquiry on this site about the types of boats you are looking to see and you will probably get plenty of invites, maybe a couple of critical responses as well, but these are easy to ignore. Best of luck.
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Old 08-05-2022, 07:47 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by ranger58sb View Post
That's the way our real estate market works here, too.



The actual split can be up to 4 ways, ~25% to each: selling broker, selling brokerage, buyer's broker, buyer's brokerage.



-Chris
Agreed. I'd guess the boat brokerage business works the same. I've been an advisor on several boat purchases (including new builds), but have only bought and sold a few myself. I have much more experience in real estate where I have an agent who has been my go-to on a half-dozen transactions over 12 years. On one transaction, I wanted to purchase a vacant lot that was not for sale so I asked her to reach out to the owner to see if they were interested. Eventually, we closed the deal. My agent steadfastly refused anything from me beyond a small token gift. Even though she was paid by the seller, I had no doubt she was representing my interests due to the relationship (BTW - if anyone needs a real estate agent in Clearwater-St Pete Beach area of Florida.....)

But I think those types of relationships are rare. I am a huge supporter of the agent/broker profession and get a bit testy when they are derided as shiesters. Some are, but that's true anywhere. They have a cannon of ethics that the vast majority take very seriously (I didn't realize it at the time, but that's why my broker refused anything beyond a token gift). But still, they are paid by seller funds. I do not believe anyone should expect a broker to fully represent the buyer, though they should expect ethical behavior (note: very few states license boat brokers and have ethical standards- Florida and California being two).

Steve Zimmerman of Zimmerman Marine in Chesapeake Bay is one of the few I've seen advertised as acting in a buyers broker capacity. I don't know him except by reputation (he writes for Passagemaker).

Personally, I prefer to do the legwork and not bother a single broker. For local real estate, if I find something I'm interested in, I'll call the above referenced agent. If its somewhere else, I'll reach out to the listing agent and proceed directly. I'd do the same with boats if I were in the market. But I wouldn't try to find a single broker and work exclusively. I'd be open to that if it developed in a mutually beneficial manner, but I wouldn't expect it if for no other reason than I'd be respectful of their time.

Question for the OP: how did you land on a Hatt 53? If you're sure, there are likely a few brokers who know these boats well so I might alter my previous suggestion. Personally, having owned a raised aft deck motoryacht, I find them a bit awkward to dock and would prefer a cockpit extension. As a suggestion, you definitely want one that is stabilized.

Have you considered other boats? Along similar lines is a Defever 44 which is a pretty large 44 footer (frequent TF contributor CatalinaJack has his for sale).

Good luck.

Peter
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Old 08-05-2022, 10:52 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by LandlockedInUT View Post
Hi all. We are finally in the preliminary stages of our boat search. We're in Utah and none of the stuff we're looking to get in to is here, so for the past two years we've just been window shopping online.

We're headed to Maine next week to visit family, and there are a few boats within reasonable driving distance that we're going to look at while we're there.

The questions are,

1. What's acceptable and unacceptable to ask/do while aboard beyond the mandatory shoes off/booties on? We don't expect them to fire everything up for us, but we would like to do things like check out all the mechanical rooms and look through access hatches at the bilge.

Look, open all doors, use a flash light. Do not touch any switches. Think about storage


2. Can we ask to see things like a recent survey if there is one, maintenance logs, ect... or is that saved for later on in the purchasing process?


Ask for maintenance logs, past survey, but donít ask to turn anything on and donít ask for a boat ride


3. How quickly does the purchasing process take once we want to pull the trigger? We are NOT going to buy the first one we see without looking at others, but once we make our decision, is it as fast as buying a used car after the survey's done, or is it more like buying a house where there's a set closing date before which the survey stuff will need to be performed?


Closing usually takes 30 days, itís all depends on the buyer. Takes time to set up a survey and procure a loan.

3b. As I understand it, the general process is to go look, make an offer, if offer is accepted the boat is under contract, then pay for haulout and engine surveys, and a sea trial. Once that's taken care of, the surveyor(s) present their report with their estimated cost to repair issues found as well as their valuation of the boat based on comps. After that, another offer is made with consideration to the reported repairs and once both sides agree to a price... bank transfer, title issuance and good to go? Would it be unreasonable to ask the seller post purchase to spend a day aboard with us demonstrating all the systems? Am I missing anything, or is that pretty much it?*


You are basically correct. The survey report will point out deficiencies, some sea worthy, some cosmetic and you will need to choose what is important and what is not. Asking the past owner for a day of training is not unreasonable but keep in mind the past owner might be un able.


4. We are not currently working with a broker as at this point as we are simply kicking tires (hulls? props?), but should we get our own when the time comes, or would working with the listing broker be fine? Again... not sure if we should treat this as buying a used car or a used house.

You will be using the selling brokers offer sheet which wonít be looking out for your interest. Itís ok but be prepared to read it completely and donít be afraid to ask for modifications to the offering sheet.

*What we are looking at will definitely require boating courses, captain supervision and signoff in order to secure insurance, and those issues are something we take very seriously. We're currently investigating our options with several yachting/cruising schools and once we get detailed information on a few, will approach some insurance agents to determine the feasibility of our plan before we make an offer on anything. I bring this up because I know someone will mention it, and I'd like to respectfully ask that insurance and education be topics for a later discussion.

Thanks for reading, and we look forward to hearing your input and suggestions! And we're also really looking forward to finally putting eyes on and stepping aboard something other than a wake boat or a 35 year old 28' Bayliner.
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