Buying a Boat
Written by Duane
We consider this an adventure of a lifetime, but this blog post might be a little boring to anyone not interested in buying a boat.
Shopping sounds fun, but finding the right boat is a lot of hard work. Andrea spent a lot of time on various websites and at boat shows looking for boats. Her search criteria was
Between 40-50 feet
East Coast, USA
Mostly interested in Hanse, Dufour, Beneteau, Elan, Auree, Hylas, Jeaneau, and Bavaria
We have a friend that was willing to help us as a buyers-agent, but we found that most of the boats we looked at did not allow splitting the commission. It's typically a 10% commission which seems extrordinarilly high for a $300k boat and even more surprising that the brokers told us their margin is too small to split.
She found a few in Anapolis, so we met up in Anapolis to go boat shopping and eat crabs. Then we drove up to Connecticut and saw a couple more boats. The two in Connecticut were our favorites and we made an offer on a Dufour 512, although we were hesitant that it was too much boat for us in terms of size and cost. Our offer was rejected, so we decided it was not meant for us. The other boat we found in Connecticut was similar in terms of outfitting for cruising and it was perhaps a little better size for us -- actually, it's huge, but we feel better about the size since we are "downsizing" from our previous offer.
We made a verbal offer, got a counter offer, and accepted the counter offer immediately since it was quite fair. It then took us a few days to sign the official offer because it contained a bunch of deadlines that we needed to make sure we could meet. We talked to a couple loan brokers, insurance agents, and surveyors and came up with some deadlines that made sense. We also wanted to close the deal in time to sail the boat south before it got too cold and stormy.
Our surveyor, Ray Clifford, was very thorough.
The survey is like the home inspection. It takes a few hours for someone to look in every nook and cranny of the boat. We had to pay for the boat to be lifted out of the water so that the underside can be inspected for damage. The total cost of the survey was about $2000 and 6 hours of our day. Fortunately, there was nothing major revealed in the survey, but the survey did include a lot of helpful "have a fiberglass expert fix this" and "These fire extinguishers are expired".
We lined up an insurance broker and a loan broker that gave us the best rates and had everything ready to close as soon as we could after the survey was complete. The survey finished on a Friday, and the insurance came through on Tuesday. The mortgage was ready for us to sign on Wednesday, so we thought we were ahead of our Thursday schedule expectation. Unfortunately, we needed to print out the documents and physically sign and then get it notaraized! We scrambled and found a printer at a library, scheduled an appointment for a notary on Thursday (luckly there was a slot available). Duane used his phone to scan the documents and send them back in order to speed up the process, but the broker didn't receive the funds until 4:55pm on Friday -- past the cuttoff to wire the funds to the seller. Fortunately, the seller is super nice and allowed us to take posession of the boat before the weekend. That was fortunate because we had all of our important possessions packed onto the pickup truck ready for us to move in.
We began our new life as boat people on November 4, 2022. We spent the next 6 days in the Connecticut slip and getting it ready to leave New England.