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I have been looking for a 30' sailboat for the past year and a half. Traveled hours to see "excellent" boats that turn out to have black mold, wet decks, bad engines, and rotting bulkheads. Except for yesterday when I checked out a really nice Catalina that the owner had put lots of time and care into. I put down 10% deposit and will purchase pending survey. I get home and email half a dozen surveyors and get one who can see the boat early next week. Today the owner calls saying she's talked with another buyer who's basically offering cash now sight unseen and since I hadn’t put down “earnest money” She’s going with the other offer. (Isn’t a deposit “earnest money”?) I told her to tear up the deposit check, well she’s already deposited it and would have to send me a check. What the fuck.  I get that it’s a sellers’ market, I get that she wants to sell fast but her telling me she loves the sailing community because it’s a ”real community that helps each other out” and that she wants to sell to someone like me “who will learn on the boat” is sounding a bit like bullshit. In the end it’s about the cash. As I told my wife before driving up to the boat, this is the last boat I’m looking at. And it was.

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Yep.  I'd call a 10% deposit 'earnest money'.  The bad news is that having demonstrated that the owner is untrustworthy (She didn't consider your offer as a priority/obligation on her part), you have no way of knowing just 'when' she'll get a check to you...    Either she 'knows' something about the boat that a survey scares her or she's just desperate to put (more?) money in her pocket.  Just a thought...is she even the real owner?...  Hmm, well, this might be why using a broker has its benefits.  Either way, this one might cost you 10%...   Sorry Cap, it stinks all the way around.  I guess I'd put the whole process on indefinite hold as well if I had your experiences....

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That is straight up bullshit.

The most basic tenants of contract law deal with an Offer and Acceptance.

If she accepted your check AND DEPOSITED IT then you HAVE A CONTRACT.

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29 minutes ago, Veeger said:

Yep.  I'd call a 10% deposit 'earnest money'.  The bad news is that having demonstrated that the owner is untrustworthy (She didn't consider your offer as a priority/obligation on her part), you have no way of knowing just 'when' she'll get a check to you...    Either she 'knows' something about the boat that a survey scares her or she's just desperate to put (more?) money in her pocket.  Just a thought...is she even the real owner?...  Hmm, well, this might be why using a broker has its benefits.  Either way, this one might cost you 10%...   Sorry Cap, it stinks all the way around.  I guess I'd put the whole process on indefinite hold as well if I had your experiences....

Around here, brokers don't tend to get involved in boats under $30k, so you are pretty much left to your own wits.

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Foolish me trusting someone else. We definitely formed a verbal contract. On the check I noted it was a deposit for the boat. The adjacent slip holders knew her so it's her boat. If I had the time, interest, and money I'd contact a lawyer and try to fuck up any other deal she had cooking. But it's not worth it. And yeah, I'd better be seeing a check ASAP.

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19 minutes ago, Capt. Andy said:

Foolish me trusting someone else. We definitely formed a verbal contract. On the check I noted it was a deposit for the boat. The adjacent slip holders knew her so it's her boat. If I had the time, interest, and money I'd contact a lawyer and try to fuck up any other deal she had cooking. But it's not worth it. And yeah, I'd better be seeing a check ASAP.

Post her name and we can go searching for a pic of her tits. True this won't get you your money back but a pair of tits is a pair of tits.

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33 minutes ago, Capt. Andy said:

Foolish me trusting someone else. We definitely formed a verbal contract. On the check I noted it was a deposit for the boat. The adjacent slip holders knew her so it's her boat. If I had the time, interest, and money I'd contact a lawyer and try to fuck up any other deal she had cooking. But it's not worth it. And yeah, I'd better be seeing a check ASAP.

Depending on what state you're in, that memo on the check may form an implied contract.

Have you got a friend who's a lawyer, or find one who will do ten minutes consulting fairly cheap.

You can also go burn her house down. No fucking loss to the world.

But don't give up on finding a boat. This past year has been tough. A good approach might be to crew for somebody, every keel boat sailor I know is always looking for crew.

FB- Doug

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2 minutes ago, Steam Flyer said:

Depending on what state you're in, that memo on the check may form an implied contract.

Have you got a friend who's a lawyer, or find one who will do ten minutes consulting fairly cheap.

You can also go burn her house down. No fucking loss to the world.

But don't give up on finding a boat. This past year has been tough. A good approach might be to crew for somebody, every keel boat sailor I know is always looking for crew.

FB- Doug

This and the yacht club members often have an idea of whats coming on the market, just make sure its not DFL in all the racing.

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59 minutes ago, Expat Canuck said:

Around here, brokers don't tend to get involved in boats under $30k, so you are pretty much left to your own wits.

Yeah, not just brokers but surveyors and insurers tend to be ‘busy’ when talking about sub 100k boats.  I was going to opine that while admirable to want a survey, it was probably a bit too cautious given the probable purchase price. Over 20 yrs old and/or under $50-$75k and you’re best to self survey/insure ( apart from marina req’d liability ins)

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Sue the cunt - it's the American way.

A letter from a lawyer with a pic of the cancelled cheque will really ruin her day.

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Call your bank and issue a stop payment order on the check.  

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Well, there's ONE thing to be sure of - she cannot be trusted.  May have dodged a bullet.

She MAY have been concerned about a surveyor finding fault,  and gone with the sure sucker - after hedging her position.   Greasy as all Hell,  sure - but that's the person you were dealing with.

Might be for the better.

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22 minutes ago, Cristoforo said:

Bad advice 

It does depend on one's experience and pocketbook for sure. (and I may have put the threshold a bit high) Nonetheless, you see how well it's working out for the OP.  Once you have a broker involved, everything gets (somewhat) easier (or should).  We have all experienced the challenges that can arise with a broker too.

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The "bad advice" comments were with respect to not getting a surveyor involved, not the broker aspect.

You need a survey in order to get insurance (in my experience), and you need insurance to be able to tie up at a marina (in my experience).  But insurance companies are becoming less and less interested in insuring 30 year old fg boats.  Which is a problem as there are more and more of them around.

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Being a newbie sailor I would want a survey on any boat I'm interested in. I would work with a broker but find their stock to be pretty limited for my price range which admittedly is low (below $30K). I think the boat is actually in very good condition and she is just wanting quick cash. But to have shaken on the deal, cashed the check, then backed out is shitty. My BIL is a lawyer and my check did clear my account with her signature on it so I may just ask him to draft a letter to fuck around with her.

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Find a nice alley cat who is really hungry and feed it all it can eat. The last couple of bowls add a generous amount of Ex-Lax and immediately go down to where the boat is docked and toss the cat below and close the companionway!  Shit is as shit does...

Peep Show | GIFGlobe | SHIT IS AS SHIT DOES, MY FRIEND.

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I know it's retrospect, but the conversation should have gone:

"I sold the boat to another buyer."

"Did we have an agreement?"

"Ah"

"We sure as Hell did.  You cashed my check."

"Ah"

"I do not release you from our contract."  click

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24 minutes ago, Cristoforo said:

There are some reputable brokers that will work for you as a buyer in that price range, and hope you will use them on your next (bigger) boat 
in a few years. 

 

This ^.  Hire them as a buyer's rep for a k$ or two. Use the standard YABA (or whatever it is nowadays) contract. Require a survey. It's not like buying a used car from your neighbor - more like buying a "used" house.    

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33 minutes ago, JoeO said:

 It's not like buying a used car from your neighbor - more like buying a "used" house.    

^ This.

I've been saying for years that buying a boat is much more akin to buying a house than it is to a car.

I think people make the car comparison because both are vehicles but any similarities end there.

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9 hours ago, Expat Canuck said:

The "bad advice" comments were with respect to not getting a surveyor involved, not the broker aspect.

You need a survey in order to get insurance (in my experience), and you need insurance to be able to tie up at a marina (in my experience).  But insurance companies are becoming less and less interested in insuring 30 year old fg boats.  Which is a problem as there are more and more of them around.

Hehe, I just bought a 30yr old, 34ft FG boat. Self-surveyed, insured for about 300€ a year… Europe! :) 

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@Capt. AndySorry to hear about your issue.  Learning lesson for us all.  Hope the "Seller" does send you a check.

Doesn't have to be an official Broker's agreement however something in addition to the check covering basic terms would be useful and easy to produce.

Seller details

Buyer Details

Boat Description (incl HIN, equipment)

Selling Price

Deposit made

Contingencies (i.s. survey)

What happens to the deposit if contingencies are failed.

Timing to address contingencies (i.e. get survey, seller remedy issues or renegotiate price)

Viewing boat at marina where slip neighbors know seller sound like there are handy witnesses to add to the form.  

Crowd sourcing: Anything else to add?

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8 hours ago, 10thTonner said:

Hehe, I just bought a 30yr old, 34ft FG boat. Self-surveyed, insured for about 300€ a year… Europe! :) 

This insurance unavailability seems to be a uniquely American thing.

I've been reading about it for years - ferro uninsurable, older boats uninsurable etc. etc.

Never experienced it here - if it passes survey you get insurance.

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I've dealt with similar bullshit both buying and selling a boat.  Best not to do any kind of deposit and to pay cash.  Sounds to me like maybe someone is getting scammed.  Either you or her.  I would never accept a sight unseen offer.  Almost certainly a scam.  In your case, she may be just scamming people for deposits.  That is not uncommon.  It may not even be her boat.    

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4 hours ago, LakeBoy said:

@Capt. AndySorry to hear about your issue.  Learning lesson for us all.  Hope the "Seller" does send you a check.

Doesn't have to be an official Broker's agreement however something in addition to the check covering basic terms would be useful and easy to produce.

Seller details

Buyer Details

Boat Description (incl HIN, equipment)

Selling Price

Deposit made

Contingencies (i.s. survey)

What happens to the deposit if contingencies are failed.

Timing to address contingencies (i.e. get survey, seller remedy issues or renegotiate price)

Viewing boat at marina where slip neighbors know seller sound like there are handy witnesses to add to the form.  

Crowd sourcing: Anything else to add?

Yes. In retrospect I would have done things differently. At least note a drivers license #, confirm it's her name on a title, and something in writing. But still, if she's a scammer would it matter? And if a scammer why would she call the next morning telling me she's selling to someone else? Whole thing doesn't make sense. And it's still listed on CL without a "Sale Pending" notice. I did make a complaint with  the Sheriff's office.  If I were a diver, I'd dive the boat to make sure the zinc's are on good and tight. Turn the bolts counter clockwise is my understanding.

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7 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

This insurance unavailability seems to be a uniquely American thing.

I've been reading about it for years - ferro uninsurable, older boats uninsurable etc. etc.

Never experienced it here - if it passes survey you get insurance.

It's getting more difficult in BC too.  I've had insurance brokers have to shop various underwriters to get a policy.

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1 hour ago, Expat Canuck said:

It's getting more difficult in BC too.  I've had insurance brokers have to shop various underwriters to get a policy.

Mine just shops underwriters to get the best price, not to get someone to write one.

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4 hours ago, Capt. Andy said:

Yes. In retrospect I would have done things differently. At least note a drivers license #, confirm it's her name on a title, and something in writing. But still, if she's a scammer would it matter? And if a scammer why would she call the next morning telling me she's selling to someone else? Whole thing doesn't make sense. And it's still listed on CL without a "Sale Pending" notice. I did make a complaint with  the Sheriff's office.  If I were a diver, I'd dive the boat to make sure the zinc's are on good and tight. Turn the bolts counter clockwise is my understanding.

Or you could paste the add here, I'm sure someone would like to make her an even better offer, wink, wink.

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1 hour ago, bigrpowr said:

i'd like to place a wager there's blisters on the bottom.

My suspicion as well - she wanted you as a back-up position and figured a good survey would find fault,  that would cost her money - so,  once she had you on the hook she used you as leverage to get the next buyer to cash-out without survey.    

You got played.  Played like a cheap guitar.  and depositing your check,  well - that's fraud.

But then,  I'm a skeptical person.     In the immortal words of Marion Barry: "Bitch set me up."

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11 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

This insurance unavailability seems to be a uniquely American thing.

No it's a problem here too... Especially old boats on moorings, surveyed or not.  Might be better now I don't know but after every storm here it seems like the insurance goes up as random mooring minder X washes up on a beach and takes a few more expensive boats with it.

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Sorry, you did what? You paid a couple of grand without anything in writing? You don't have her DL # or anything else besides a CL ad? And now you want to fuck with her by having your lawyer family member write her a letter?

It is you who has been fucked with. 

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On 6/23/2021 at 6:43 AM, Cristoforo said:

Bad advice 

I don't know about there, but here you usually need a survey to get insurance, esp if the boat is 20+ years

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Don’t give up. Get a broker, buy a boat, fix what’s wrong with it, go sail. All of these used boats are fucked up. It shouldn’t take a year and a half. Pull the trigger. And whatever you do don’t tell the sellers you have been looking for a year and a half.

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27 minutes ago, loneshark64 said:

Don’t give up. Get a broker, buy a boat, fix what’s wrong with it, go sail. All of these used boats are fucked up. It shouldn’t take a year and a half. Pull the trigger. And whatever you do don’t tell the sellers you have been looking for a year and a half.

This

FB- Doug

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Do they have small claims court there?  By the time the lawyer writes that letter, you already paid more for the letter than you lost in the deal.

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3 hours ago, loneshark64 said:

Don’t give up. Get a broker, buy a boat, fix what’s wrong with it, go sail. All of these used boats are fucked up. It shouldn’t take a year and a half. Pull the trigger. And whatever you do don’t tell the sellers you have been looking for a year and a half.

Good advice. I've been looking for "problems" that help me eliminate potential boats rather than seeing the potential of older boats that need work. And I'm going to focus on broker's listings and work through them.

Also, I received a cashier's check for the deposit. In the future I have to be a bit smarter and have a written offer sheet with basic information and agreement.

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9 hours ago, Capt. Andy said:

Good advice. I've been looking for "problems" that help me eliminate potential boats rather than seeing the potential of older boats that need work. And I'm going to focus on broker's listings and work through them.

Also, I received a cashier's check for the deposit. In the future I have to be a bit smarter and have a written offer sheet with basic information and agreement.

Sounds like a plan! I learned so much from buying a 35 yo boat with a survey that was sailable but weird and needed a bunch of work. 

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On 6/22/2021 at 2:31 PM, Capt. Andy said:

I have been looking for a 30' sailboat for the past year and a half. Traveled hours to see "excellent" boats that turn out to have black mold, wet decks, bad engines, and rotting bulkheads. Except for yesterday when I checked out a really nice Catalina that the owner had put lots of time and care into. I put down 10% deposit and will purchase pending survey. I get home and email half a dozen surveyors and get one who can see the boat early next week. Today the owner calls saying she's talked with another buyer who's basically offering cash now sight unseen and since I hadn’t put down “earnest money” She’s going with the other offer. (Isn’t a deposit “earnest money”?) I told her to tear up the deposit check, well she’s already deposited it and would have to send me a check. What the fuck.  I get that it’s a sellers’ market, I get that she wants to sell fast but her telling me she loves the sailing community because it’s a ”real community that helps each other out” and that she wants to sell to someone like me “who will learn on the boat” is sounding a bit like bullshit. In the end it’s about the cash. As I told my wife before driving up to the boat, this is the last boat I’m looking at. And it was.

Call Rudy G. Sue her.

You should at least have a letter agreement with dates, conditions, etc. If you don't, drop the Captain from "Capt. Andy" - a real captain wouldn't make such a rookie mistake.

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On 6/23/2021 at 8:22 PM, Capt. Andy said:

Yes. In retrospect I would have done things differently. At least note a drivers license #, confirm it's her name on a title, and something in writing. But still, if she's a scammer would it matter? And if a scammer why would she call the next morning telling me she's selling to someone else? Whole thing doesn't make sense. And it's still listed on CL without a "Sale Pending" notice. I did make a complaint with  the Sheriff's office.  If I were a diver, I'd dive the boat to make sure the zinc's are on good and tight. Turn the bolts counter clockwise is my understanding.

NO NO NO..... 

FOR NEPTUNES SAKE .. that is all wrong...

Ensure you have several  slightly old cucumbers (wrapped in cling film) and old potatoes.

To make sure the boat is safe... and the seacocks do not leak you insert (whilst diving) the cucumber then the potato into the seacocks.  .. use a hammer if you must..

The most important one is the engine intake.. then gen intake..  then the discharge seacocks...

 

I am a very conscientious person.. and I have done this for my Neighbors in se3cluded coves when they remind me that they did not do the preventative maintenance due to the generator and loud music running all night...  Since I can't sleep.. a quick dive with cucumbers, potatoes..  works wonders...

 

I find that noisy Neighbors tend to appreciate my subtle gesture, as not long after they shut the  generator down and the music stops.. and  I can sleep.

 

It pays to be nice.....

 

 

 

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On 6/22/2021 at 2:15 PM, Expat Canuck said:

But insurance companies are becoming less and less interested in insuring 30 year old fg boats.

Cry me a river.  Try insuring a 49 year old FG boat.  The only reason I'm still insured is I've been with the same independent agent for 32 years and he's switched carriers several times as the market for ancient boat insurance evolves.  And it's gold plated agreed value insurance,  pricey @ $1,400/yr because agreed value is about double my guess at market value.  Mariner's knows boats and last time I visited with them I asked why they're still insuring me with such an inflated AV Frank said I've paid premiums up for a total loss over the years & +32 years of interest has been huge profits.  Not to mention my boat was slipped in sight of his office windows for a decade,  we used to do lunch and race against each other in local stuff.

A good insurance broker is well worth the premium.

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If a boat's worth over $50,000 after the owner guided tour at the slip if I'm interested I'll never deal with the owner again until signing ceremonies at the bank.  I'll hire a broker who will take the boat off the market through the earnest money process, subject to an out of the water survey I pay for (if no recent one is available) and if satisfactory a sea trial maybe with the owners.  Only then through my broker I will a make a counter offer listing deficiencies and respond to their counter, etc.  If we can't agree I get my earnest money back and offer to release my survey at a discount to facilitate their future efforts.

It works pretty good.  I looked at 15 boats of the genre I desired (took a year) and dismissed the overpriced junkers, earnest money deposited on two and paid for surveys,  one revealed big problems the other had a clean bill of health so after negotiations concerning price mainly concerning whether the dinghy was part of the boat, deal.

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Boat buying can be weird. I’m currently on a verbal deal, but thankfully the current owner and I get along great. It helps that even though I didn’t know him well, we have dozens of mutual friends. Even so, we agreed I’d put a deposit down and we’d sign a buyer’s agreement before I have to start spending money  (survey, get a cradle built, etc.) It’s just better for everyone. 

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