Buying Your Boat: After the Survey

The survey will give you a list of everything that is wrong with the boat. On this list will be things that are not really important as well as major issues.

Minor things could be burned out cabin lights or worn varnish. Major things could be hull delamination, engine problems, leaks, ect.

This list gives you impressive leverage to lower your original offer and the seller will be compelled to negotiate. The seller knows that he is dealing with an interested buyer, so they don't want to lose you! When you tell the seller you want to take $10,000 off the offer, the seller would laugh at you! After the survey, you could tell the seller you want to take $10,000 off the offer because that is the cost of repairing these specific issues listed in the survey. Now the seller will be more inclined to lower the price.

Items on the list that are great for lowering the asking offer are unimportant problems. My favorite are broken electronic devices, as the boat will not sink because the radar isn't working. These units can be expensive to repair and will give you lots of bargaining power! Getting a quote from the boat yard to repair the damaged equipment is the best way to give the owner a sound number that you wish to reduce the agreed offer.

My dad did this when he purchased his boat. The deck had a soft spot in the forepeak and the yard quoted $12,000 to fix the deck. The seller then reduced the agreed offer by $12,000! My dad and I then proceeded to repair the rotten decking. We peeled up the non-skid of the deck, removed all the rotten wood, made a template inside the forepeak, and laid down a new deck and core. The whole ordeal took us only 2 hours to complete and cost my dad less than $100 in materials. In other words, my dad got $11,900 off because of the findings in the survey.

My sister on the other hand had the opposite experience when looking at a boat being sold by a non-motivated seller. After the survey, it was found that one of the transmissions is failing and deck-hull junction has separated a bit in one area. The estimated cost to repair these two issues was $25,000 and the owner refused to adjust the price. His claim is that there is nothing wrong with the boat and he shouldn't come down in price. Purchasing a boat needing expensive repairs for full price is not wise, so this is when you walk away from the deal.

If you can do the repairs yourself, you can have the repair amount removed from the purchase price of the boat and repair it later as your budget and time allows. If you have to pay someone to repair it, the repair can always be carried out at a later point in time when your wallet has recovered from the purchase of your new yacht. 

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