Buying a used boat in the best possible way? You have to do this

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used boatNow is the right time to buy a used boat. The prices are good, and the offerings on the Internet are wide and varied. But you must not forget that the boat is a complicated object, whether small or large. It moves like a car but is equipped and complicated like a house. Pitfalls lurk, the trouble, if mismanaged, can become gigantic. To help you,we have analyzed most of the possible questions that people who want to buy a bargain boat should ask themselves.

USED BOAT. WHERE TO FIND THE BEST ADS ON THE INTERNET?

First of all, where to go to look for a good second-hand boat? The Internet has become the first impulse search for second-hand hunters. But buying a boat is not a game; you have to be careful. Dozens of small ad sites have proliferated on the Web, whether they specialize in boating or not. Brokers and we ourselves recommend those that also present paid offers (such as the Top Boat Market site, www.topboatmarket.com).

used boat
Top Boat Market

The reason is simple, those who post free ads do not really involve the owner. We receive continuous reports from readers who have run into scams or narrowly avoided them. Buying a boat of any size is not like buying an ordinary object. What about the generalist sites, like e-Bay, Subito, Kijiji??? They poorly lend themselves to this trade, and offerings are scarce. Another issue concerns price. Often out-of-market owl prices should put you on alert.

But then what is the right price? On Top Boat Market, for example, most of the used models offered come with a boat sheet complete with quotes, useful reference to assess whether the proposed price is in line with the market. Not forgetting the “Market” section of the site, where to buy, sell and trade accessories, sails, spare parts and even berths.

BETTER TO BUY A USED BOAT FROM INDIVIDUALS OR BROKERS?

There are pros and cons. On the one hand, buying from an individual eliminates the commission reserved for the broker. On the other hand, often owners who sell, complicit in “love” for their boat and trying to recover the maintenance costs incurred, tend to overvalue the asset. The professional operator almost always aligns with actual market values. He has no interest in overvaluing the bargain boat because he does not want to keep it unsold for a long time. For the rest, negotiation at the buying stage is an identical element whether the seller is a private or professional.

used boatIf you are inexperienced or afraid of getting ripped off, it is certain that professionals will guide you in your purchase (visits, appraisals, paperwork, financing) by facilitating and guaranteeing you. They also provide you with other services such as possible relocation of the boat, yard work, berth, etc. Increasingly, professionals are also offering warranties on newer boats (usually within 10 years of life) for one or two years.

But if you are a fairly “seasoned” yachtsman, buying from a private party can also be an excellent option. The formalities are nothing insurmountable. But it’s obvious that if the seller is a messy guy, can’t find the invoices of the work done, doesn’t provide you with an up-to-date inventory of the equipment on board, you have to prick up your ears! The key to guaranteeing the buyer, whether the purchase is from private individual to private individual or using a broker, is to rely on an appraiser (see next question). If you choose a professional, construction site or broker, evaluate his or her reputation well.

AGAINST WHOM TO RETALIATE IN CASE OF LATENT DEFECT?

The warranty of latent defect or hidden defects (recognized by law) that becomes apparent when the boat has already been purchased is the responsibility of the seller. But it is not enough just for you to bring in an expert to automatically sue the seller. And here beware, if you end up in court, the judge may consider whether or not the expert was put in a position to point out the latent defect.

And it is not necessarily the case that if the boat was purchased through a professional, that professional is necessarily held responsible. If the broker was not involved in the contract it will be the actual seller (the previous owner) who will be liable and not the broker or boatyard who actually sold you the boat.

If, on the other hand, the latter have provided a warranty, they will be responsible for hidden defects. However, it depends on which parts are covered by the warranty. One clarification, we are not talking about the so-called “conformity warranty,” which instead binds the seller for two years and covers by EU law all equipment explicitly included in the sales contract.

CAN YOU FINANCE THE PURCHASE OF A USED BOAT?

Even for the used boat, you can finance the purchase while avoiding shelling out everything right away. Nautical, Italian and French leasing can be used. And you can take over the lease of the boat you buy, rediscussing the duration, lengthening or shortening it with the benefit of retaining the advantages in terms of VAT (or TVA in the French case) saved provided by nautical leasing. Also of interest is buying a boat outside the European Union (e.g., the U.S. or Turkey where there are excellent bargains to be found) and financing it by taking out a new lease.

It is true that you will have to pay VAT (albeit reduced), which is not due instead in the case of an intra-EU purchase, but you will be able to save money by playing on the favorable exchange rate and with a low initial contribution, spreading the cost over time with lease installments. That leaves buying with normal consumer credit financing, with rates between 5 and 8 percent depending on the term.

IS IT WORTH GETTING AN APPRAISAL?

If the boat is of a certain size and value, it is necessary in our opinion. The appraiser does this job and is there to find any flaws that you are not able to notice. But the appraiser is also the one who makes a careful check of the actual state of preservation of the boat, putting the buyer in a position to make the choice with full knowledge of the facts. The expert, upon request, can provide an estimate of the vessel’s value to see if it is consistent with the seller’s offer. Don’t think that if you buy from a construction site or broker this will not agree to the involvement of an appraiser. It also guarantees them! Especially from any hidden flaws that would otherwise go undetected.

OK, BUT WHAT APPRAISER?

Let us make it clear at the outset that we are talking about a technical appraisal and not an insurance appraisal that is used to determine the value at which to insure the used asset. Checks by a professional surveyor include at least: detailed visual inspection of the entire boat (live work, dead work, deck, rigging, interior furnishings, antifouling condition, engine, propeller, etc.).

With boat ashore, kept dry as long as necessary, check the condition of the submerged fiberglass with the hygrometer. Normally the price of an appraisal is paid per linear meter, the costs range from 50 to 80 euros with invoice, excluding travel expenses. The cost is normally borne by the buyer and it is up to him then to choose the appraiser.

WHERE TO FIND IT?

If you type “boat surveyor” into Google, hundreds of offers will appear. How to choose the right one? First rule, select those in the vicinity of the port where the boat you have your eye on is located. Then, be careful, he can be registered as an appraiser and expert with the Chamber of Commerce and better if he has the qualification of engineer or architect. Watch out for the resume: it is important that there is also construction experience on a construction site.

But don’t limit yourself to fallible Internet research; good appraisers are well known in the ports, and the brokers themselves know who the best appraisers in the area are. it is in their interest that a good expert is used.

IS IT WORTH BUYING A USED BOAT THAT HAS BEEN IN CHARTER BUSINESS?

used boatIt may sound strange, but the answer is yes. A boat that has engaged in charter activities is not necessarily a “squeezed” boat. Instead, it was definitely taken care of by serious technicians who corrected any original defects. In addition, its price is usually lower than that of a “proprietary” boat. If the charter company is serious, you will know everything about the life of the boat, including all the invoices for the work done on the boat. If not, turn away. However, we advise you to make a thorough appraisal of the boat’s condition and not to be dazzled by the advantageous price.

SHOULD THE USED BOAT BE TESTED IN NAVIGATION?

Relatively few people test the boat at sea. And they err, perhaps to save putting in water (at the buyer’s expense) if it is dry. Don’t get lazy, even if they run your engine and have you check that the electronic instruments and systems are working perfectly. Nothing beats a test outing at sea, just a few miles of sailing the area.

THE BEST TIME TO BUY A USED BOAT?

When we talk about seasonality, we do not identify a time when boats are on sale, but the time of year where there is more or less market movement. From September to December, after the summer and boat show season, sales are more active. Then, after January/February, with the good season, the market starts again.

WHAT ARE THE FORMALITIES?

WHEREAS, the costs of the transfer of ownership fall on the buyer, the steps in brief are as follows. The first stage is the compromise stage where in a private writing the price and payment terms are defined that bind both parties, seller and buyer.

Upon signing, the buyer pays a deposit to “lock in” the boat. If it is purchased with the mediation of a professional, he is in charge of drawing up the document. The second stage is the deed of sale. Where you may not even use the notary. Simply go to the municipality and request notarization of the deed.

The validated deed must then be registered with the Internal Revenue Service and then taken to the harbormaster’s office where the boat is registered (if it is registered, whereas if it is a watercraft it is not needed) for transcription of the changes in the RID (Registro Italiano Diporto). Transfer fees vary according to length, from 300 euros for an 8-meter to about 800 euros for an 18-meter. It is obvious that the use of the notary, although expensive, reduces the steps because he takes care of most of the tasks.

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