The ABC's of Buying a Boat
When you go through a licensed broker, you are expertly guided through each of the below steps in the purchase process. You, the buyer, are being represented by the broker (even if he/she is also the broker listing the boat).
Step A- Make an appointment to see the boat(s) that you are interested in buying. Make sure to ask any and all questions that you have about the boat.
Step B- Once you find "the" boat, put together an agreement with the broker that includes your purchase offer and a 10% deposit.
Step C- Once the offer is accepted by the seller, and if financing is a contingency in your offer, now is the time to get approved. There are generally several days built in to the purchase agreement that allow for you to be approved (or pre-approved) for the financing before we move to the sea trial.
Step D- Once the offer is accepted by the seller, and the financing is in place, the boat needs to be taken out for a sea trial with the broker (and sometimes the seller) to make sure it performs to your satisfaction. If the boat fails to perform to your satisfaction, your 10% deposit is returned.
Step E- Once the sea trial is completed, and you are satisfied with the boat's performance, hull and mechanical surveys are scheduled. These surveys are always paid for by the buyer. They are typically $17 a foot for the hull survey, $300 per engine, $100 for a generator (if equipped) and $10.00 a foot for a haul out. I fully recommend that the buyers are present for these surveys. Not only are they a great learning experience, you will know first hand if there are any issues with the boat. If you choose to bypass having the surveys completed, you will be required to sign a survey waiver. Very few pre-owned boats come with any type of warranty, so surveys are the best way to know as much as there is to know about the boat and its present condition.
Step F- Once the surveys are complete, you will receive a detailed report of the condition of the boat and its mechanical parts. There will be items that the hull surveyor and/or the mechanical surveyor will call out that need to be repaired or replaced. This is not a time to panic, as every single boat I have sold has had at least several items that are called out. These repairs are negotiated between the buyer and the seller, through the broker. A decision now needs to be made by the buyers if they want to move forward with the purchase. If the buyer is unhappy with the surveys, the 10% deposit will be returned.
Step G- Once the buyer says that the surveys are acceptable, the boat heads to the funding portion of the purchase process. This will include the buyer wiring the money into the broker's trust account, bringing a cashier's check or giving the green light to their lending institution to proceed with their (hopefully pre-approved) loan.
Step H- The registration process starts now. If your boat qualifies for Coast Guard documentation (5 tons or heavier), or if it will be state registered, you will be sent the proper forms to fill out to complete the transfer. The registration process is handled by a marine titling company and is paid for by the buyer... $175 plus actual state registration fees for a boat-only registration through the California DMV, $350 plus actual state registration fees for a boat and trailer through the California DMV... $695 for Coast Guard to Coast Guard and $795 for DMV into Coast Guard. Please note that most financial institutions require your boat to be Coast Guard documented in order to obtain the loan.
Step I- Delivery of the boat and the beginning of your liquid lifestyle!
All in all, the average purchase process take about 2 weeks from start (accepted purchase agreement) to delivery. For those in a hurry, there have been cases where it has been completed in half that time.
Feel free to call (916) 572-6437 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any clarifying questions.
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Sacramento, CA 95833, United States