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Long Distance Boat Purchase Tips


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This is my first post although I have been reading this website for about 6 months now. I'm looking to buy a used 1999-2002 Sunsetter LXI and am kind of specific in my list of "wants"...therefore I've found that many of my interested boats are far away. Over the course of the last several months, I've called people that have ads from craigslist to boattrader.com, ski-it-again and onlyinboards. It seems that, depending on the seller (private or even dealership), it is very difficult to closing on a sale for one reason or another - whether they're lying to you or they just don't want anything to do with you. So, I'm wondering what kind of tips you all have on making a long distance purchase. I've been burned before en route when not telling a seller that I'm greater than 4 hrs away (seller selling it from under me) so I am pretty upfront that I am a long distance away but I realize that I lose some negotiation leverage. I've found that being upfront is best. Do you agree?

Are some sellers reluctant to sell long distance? if so, Why? How can I build their trust? I would think I have more to lose. I realize they may just not want to waste their time with me but I feel like I put up a convincing story. Seems like you have to build a good seller/buyer relationship....

What other tips are there? Experience using boat surveyors?

Thats about it for now, there's more but I'll let the conversation start.

Thanks,

Nick

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Bought two boats that were 5+ hrs away from home. And recently bought a golf cart that was 1500 miles away. It is a test in your negotiation skills. Some people don't want to mess with it, I think their just being cautious, in light of all the issues you hear about some transactions. But likewise, I am going to be cautious too. So that means they may have more hoops to jump thru with you. I just explained to them that I'm looking for some very specific features, and have not been able to find those features locally. Typically they are pretty understanding. I also was fortunate in that the items had been for sale for some time. Good for me to negotiate a price & they may have thought their options were pretty limited.

My best suggestion is that you find someone local to the boat who can help you. Whether you offer to pay them, or buy the beer the next time you see each other, thats up to you. I've had a mechanic do the looking, and paid him $100, and then walked away from the deal because of what he saw inside the motor.

Both the boats I bought were at a dealer, and I had a local friend go by & call me, take cell pics of it, etc. Then I had to negotiate with the dealer to have anything fixed or installed, based on what my friend told me he was seeing. In the most recent purchase of my Vride, I had some gelcoat repairs to be done, stereo installation issues, missing spare tire, and I wanted their soft cooler. I told the dealer when I was coming out & that if he could pull it all off, I'd pay cash for the boat & he'd never see or hear from me again. I think both the boat dealers liked that kind of deal.

In the golf cart purchase I was looking at very specific features, custom items only done by shops in the SW US. The guy I asked to help out is a guy I've met online here on TMC & in a cart forum (he's a cart owner too). So I think he could relate to what I was thinking. He ended up sending me several cell videos of the cart running, any features, issues, the transaction itself, and the VIN & title work. I almost felt like I was there.

No way the Vride or the cart purchase would have gone down the way it did without these guys eyes there to see what they saw. I would not have had the information to get the seller to drop their price, and I may have been disappointed if I hadn't know about some of the issues, or been able to resolve them easily. So do what you can to get a set of unbiased eyes there in front of the boat before you do anything. Then do what it takes to get the deal done. :rockon:

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HMMM. Ill tell you my point of view but everyone is different.

Last season I listed my boat for sale. I did not try very hard to sell it. I was on the fence about letting it go. I put flyers up at my dealer and a small add on onlyinboards. I listed it with the price on the high side to weed out some of the loosers that I know would call. I made sure my add had all the important info. how the boat was equiped a list of all the custom add ons etc. Included lots of pictures and made sure I had alot of current ones or links to some of the write ups I have done on this site.

I had one long distance gentalmen that seemed to be interested multiple phone calls and emails back and forth. right out of the gate he made an offer that was almost insulting. quoting auction prices to me. I explained to him I was not in that kind of position and he should move on. No way was I going to give the boat away. Over the course of two months he would call/email once a week asking for pics of this or that and records for service. He was concerned that I had so many hours. (425 on an 07) I explained that my boat does not sit in the driveway and look pretty. I gave him all the contact info for the dealer who services my boat etc. Instead of calling the shop he simply keept asking me for reciptes. I finaly got so tiered of his lazy nature that I told him it was off the market and please don`t call.

To make a long story short. Know everything you want to know out of the gate. I would have delt with this guy alot better if he had said here is all the info I need to consider your boat. Bam one email to him and done. not 6 trips to the boat for pics and 10 phone calls to get copies of oilchange recipts etc. if your list is satisfied ask a crew member to go and have a look see. The crew is great about this kind of thing. We love to spend other peoples money. Then if everything still looks good fly out with a cashiers check for deposit, look at it and swing the deal. you can always use a local dealer to help with the sale for a small fee.

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Just bought one from 1800mi away and was no big deal. As stated above I asked for everything I needed, how it would go down from my side (inspection/wet test wise), and made an offer.

You may be running into one thing I ran into a few different times. I tried negotiating on 4 other boats first and all were scams. After a bunch of BS they finally asked me to wire them money or this or that upon which I asked for further proof of ownership and they all disappeared. In general the lowest price boats on all those sites don't really exist as for sale boats. Be careful of jerks like that.

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I bought my '01 SSLxi from a seller 9 hours away so I know what you are going through. It was a little bit tough to get through all of the hopes on both of our ends but nothing too bad. After talking with the seller multiple times in a few days I made him a full price offer contingent upon verification of boat condition. I offered to put $1000 into an escrow account for his peace of mind, but after speaking several times he could tell I was serious and trusted me. I then had a TMC member go out and take a look at the boat to verify condition (thanks again John). Lastly, I had him give me the title information on the boat and trailer. With that info in hand I called the county office it was registered in, let them know that I was an out of town buyer and they verified the title, owner, etc. I did learn in doing so that he had not yet had the lein removed from the bank, so that gave him a hoop to jump through. Lastly, I gave him my bank name and branch and he called them to verify that my cashiers check was legit. I did not give him any account information, but everyone at my bank knows me pretty well and I let them know he'd be calling and gave them permision to verify the check. During all of this we had scheduled a date for me to come pick up the boat. When that date came, everything went very smooth.

Good Luck!

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hey mate how are ya ...

i think i can help you out a bit with this one ....where we live is pretty much in the middel of now where ,you got 12 hours minimum drive to nearest big town ,so if it aint here you gota get it shipped in ..

when it was time to by our wakesetter there was no doubt it was going to be at least that far away ...

so we started the search an as luck would have it we found one that we absolutely loved an guess where it was ? at the other end of the farking country 32 hours drive away..

so at first i went down the path of least resistance with the boat dealer an let him talk his s***e up a little bit, all the while checking an double checking what he had told me in past conversations to make sure he wasnt pulling my leg ..

long distance dealings can be easyer becuse your over the phone you can hide your emotions so at the point where im comfortable with the boat ill sort of sneak up on the topic of cash like

"yeah mate the weathers nice up here looks like a storm tonight , hey ill take that boat ill put 5 grand deposit in to your account now if you give it to me for 65 ,000"

if i get a pause or a silence then i know i got em .... cus all they hear is 5 grand rite now LOL

thats when you can get in to the fine details like transport ,if its under a grand i will try an get a grand of the price of the item ...over that ill get the seller to half transport costs....

my biggest rule of thumb is "he with the cash rules" an as soon as you show a big deposit your king of the situation , so dont be afraid to ask the dumbest question you can think of!!

you can buy it if you want!!! make that frick sell it to you!!

an when you feel youve got what your after in the deal then hand over the deposit

but allways stick to what you say your going to do , an remember this gut is "NOT NOT NOT NOT YOUR FRIEND" hes tryin to make money off of you ....

so be a bastard your money is hard to come by an you work hard for it

so in turn make him work like fark for your money

an when its landed in your drive way an youve nailed an awsome boat give him a call an say thanks mate your a legend

any way worked for me an i mite add my was bought site unseen ,so i was one difficult Mother farker in that sale LOL

fT

Edited by fredtopp
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Thanks for all the replies. Big help. The registration and title verifcation, along with the verification of the cashier's check is a great step too, msuwaterski. I also like the tip about having a crew member go out and look at it.

Yea msuwaterski I had found one in Illinois (I'm in upstate NY) and had a nearby friend of a friend offer to look at it, I even had called a local boat surveyor to get a set of local eyes on it that way too. Maybe it was a scam or they just didn't want to deal with long distance.

I have my list of default questions ready (tweaked for each specific boat) and so sometimes I feel like I scare ppl off like that. but i think that's good. maybe some sellers are just stupid.

Thanks again everyone.

Nick

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I bought my boat long distance as well. As another payment option, I set up an ING checking account, which is free. You're limited to $5K transfer a day to another checking account, but I was able to make a few transfers to my seller and neither of us had to mess with the banks.

I had the seller drop the boat off at the local Malibu dealer and then I called them and paid with my credit card to have them inspect the boat. A few things popped up and I had the seller fix them - well most of them. I honestly thought a few more things were getting addressed than what actually had been addressed once I took delivery. My fault for not asking for more pictures. But, the few lingering things were minor and once I got the boat, it was basically just as the seller and dealer described. I used Uship to arrange shipping, and that went fairly well also.

Some of the best advice on here is to find another Crew member here to go take a look for you. Most of us would be more than willing to do so. Also, have the seller sends lots and lots of pics, and perhaps a video walk around of the boat. Good luck!

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Ask for lots of pictures including close ups of high wear area's vinyl, carpet swim deck, engine etc. be clear with the seller that you will walk away if the boat is not as described when u arrive so please don't waste your time candy coating the condition. Ask for his service provider and speak with them about boat conditio, problems, etc. And nothing is better than an unbiased set of eye's to look it over for you if you can set that up.

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I bought my boat long distance as well. As another payment option, I set up an ING checking account, which is free. You're limited to $5K transfer a day to another checking account, but I was able to make a few transfers to my seller and neither of us had to mess with the banks.

I had the seller drop the boat off at the local Malibu dealer and then I called them and paid with my credit card to have them inspect the boat. A few things popped up and I had the seller fix them - well most of them. I honestly thought a few more things were getting addressed than what actually had been addressed once I took delivery. My fault for not asking for more pictures. But, the few lingering things were minor and once I got the boat, it was basically just as the seller and dealer described. I used Uship to arrange shipping, and that went fairly well also.

Some of the best advice on here is to find another Crew member here to go take a look for you. Most of us would be more than willing to do so. Also, have the seller sends lots and lots of pics, and perhaps a video walk around of the boat. Good luck!

That's a great idea, drop the boat off at the dealer, and have them inspect it.

I bought my boat in Florida on ebay, when I am in Michigan.

A couple days before the auction ended, I called the guy, and talked to him a couple times, probably twice for 20 mins each time. In the passing conversation he mentioed which dealers he had the boat serviced at. Two since one no longer sold malibus. I called both dealerships, and they both knew the boat very well as the guy took it to the dealer every 50 hours, and had them do whatever they recomended. Everything from oil changes, to replacement trailer stickers :)

With that I felt comfortable, and bid, and got it at my price. Drove down and saw it in person and was very pleased.

Edited by Indyxc
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never wire them money . get a dealer to be the middle man pay them that way you know what u are getting pay them to look at the boat inspect it . they can get the title and handle all the paper work

the guys here can help u get this done and tell u good dealers to go to it may cost a bit more$ but it done right .

then you can get the boat shipped uship.com get it insured before shipping this is the way i sold my last boat to a guy in new york

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