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Leemc

2nd viewing this week- one bit advice

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Hi all,

Going for 2nd viewing this week on a second hand narrowboat. If all appears well , we will probably make an offer.

if you had to offer one bit of advice for things to check/ ask, what would it be?

We will survey further down the line.

cheers in advance

:)

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Just now, Leemc said:

Hi all,

Going for 2nd viewing this week on a second hand narrowboat. If all appears well , we will probably make an offer.

if you had to offer one bit of advice for things to check/ ask, what would it be?

We will survey further down the line.

cheers in advance

:)

My advice is that if its priced correctly I doubt you will get chance for a survey " further down the line " Good boats sell almost immediately. I sold one for a friend within five days of apollo duck advert in december, no messing, one visit job done. Just saying like so bear that in mind.  ?

  • Greenie 1

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Just now, mrsmelly said:

My advice is that if its priced correctly I doubt you will get chance for a survey " further down the line " Good boats sell almost immediately. I sold one for a friend within five days of apollo duck advert in december, no messing, one visit job done. Just saying like so bear that in mind.  ?

Yep, my advice is go tomorrow not thursday or friday.

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2nd viewing look at the boat closely - something you may have not done at the first viewing.

Look closely in the engine bay for water/oil/smell diesel(leak). Look at batery bank - is there any corrosion due to gassing? Start the engine (dont ask this before you go- so its cold).

Internally, look for window leaks, damp smell in cupboards, rotten wood, inspect bilge if you can find an access point. Test electrics- 12v anyway, check inventory matches whats on the broker list, check solid fuel stove closely for cracks and broken cement, look for woodwork not matching original and work out or ask for a reason why. Look at the external paintwork, how soon is it going to need work, decent full paint job £8-12k.

 

 

Edited by matty40s

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Folks get seduced by the cosmetics and forget / ignore the fact that canal boats is / are a cottage industry, thus there are huge  difference in the quality of how the boat is fitted out in the places that you can't see.

Items such as sloppy engine bay management, cable (electric and remote control runs) poor kitchen layout, angled chimneys.

There are no absolutes. Be critical - does the loo look comfortable, will you bang you knees to sit on the pan. Can you stand in the shower - that sort of issue would indicate t me that whoever did the fit out didn't understand boats.

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Most things on a boat can be fixed even if they are quite major, engine problems and other problems with machinery and equipment and there are very few boats that don't have problems sooner or later with something, its just the way it is.  There are a couple though that are difficult, obviously the hull underwater as problems there are important but also the insulation. Have a good sniff for damp in the dark airless corners and look for stains under the gunwhales, its damned hard to put that right and personally I would like to see sprayfoam insulation. Don't reject a boat on a bit of damp but if there s a lot then you have to think about it. Older boats used loft insulation and polystyrene and that is seldom so effective as foam.

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My advice would be:

1.  Arrive at the boat rested. Don't drive a long way and pitch straight in.  My judgement is always poorer when I've travelled.

2. Take a camera.  Take lots of pictures. Why? I'm not sure, but I always come to regret it when I don't.

Otherwise as above.

  • Greenie 1

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Use your nose. Dampness can easily and quickly be smelt. When you first enter sniff.  Open cupboards and sniff. If a boat smells damp, it is.  Now finding the source, not so quick and easy

There should also be no smell of gas, combustion, or decomposition, toilet odour.. Cat or dog smell removal  may require everything up to full replacement of all soft furnishings. Fine if you intended to anywhere. Just imagine could you live with any of the smells when you you wake up after a cold night with minimum ventilation to keep the warmth in.

Look closely at any stove flues and their surrounds for flue gas leakage, and excessive heating. Problems here could be fatal.

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If fitted, check water heating (e.g. eberspacher/webasto) and try running them for a while; while running, look for any leaks in central heating, radiators, valves etc.  These can be systems which have been out of action or unused for a significant amount of time, so may have deteriorated, particularly if there is another source of heating.  A survey may just report the existence of a heater/rads etc but may not be based on anything other than 'visual inspection'.   Our experience (which others have confirmed) was of water heaters  and CH which looked OK but which in fact given up the ghost some time before due to internal corrosion, fans fused solid, etc etc. and these made for expensive repairs or replacements soon after moving aboard.

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21 minutes ago, Patrick_C said:

If fitted, check water heating (e.g. eberspacher/webasto) and try running them for a while; while running, look for any leaks in central heating, radiators, valves etc.  These can be systems which have been out of action or unused for a significant amount of time, so may have deteriorated, particularly if there is another source of heating.  A survey may just report the existence of a heater/rads etc but may not be based on anything other than 'visual inspection'.   Our experience (which others have confirmed) was of water heaters  and CH which looked OK but which in fact given up the ghost some time before due to internal corrosion, fans fused solid, etc etc. and these made for expensive repairs or replacements soon after moving aboard.

great post

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Surely top of the has to be asking for any previous paperwork/licence etc to mitigate some of the risk of buying a stolen or HP boat??

  • Greenie 1

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This all good advice.  Make sure you test all the installed appliances. Oven, hob, fridge, invertor, etc.  Not cheap to replace and yes my 12v fridge was knackered....

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Another one, which I wish I'd known at the time  ...

 

If there is DIY electrical work done and you can get a look at the wiring (not the obvious stuff like battery connections, I mean the 12v lighting circuits, pump wiring etc) see what the quality of the work is like.  Are proper crimps, bus bars and block connectors used rather than just twiddle joints wrapped in tape?  And watch for any domestic house cable especially solid core type (v. bad on boats).  If you find these, then you may have to assume that there is more of the same out of sight behind panels, in the ceiling and so on, and that's going to need excavating and redoing at some point. 

 

And ... get a 240V socket tester plug (£5 -10or so).  You stick these into the sockets and signal lights tell you if they are wired correctly, whether there are faults on the circuits and whether they are earthed.  Again, they'll give you a quick insight into how well the electrics that are out of sight might be done.  

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19 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

But you will need to have the sockets 'powered' (either by shoreline or inverter)

Yes indeed, but I would be wanting to see *all* systems powered up *every way* on any boat I was going to buy.  So 240V off a hookup and off inverter; 12V with charger connected and disconnected from hookup; batteries charging off hookup, alternator, solar panels etc etc

 

I've heard a few stories about sellers and in one case even a broker telling potential buyers that that there was some reason they couldn't test all the power systems on a boat. In one particular case this led to them (ill-advisedly) handing over cash for a boat which they were shown everything working on hookup which they were told couldn't be disconnected for some reason, only to find after the event that the alternator was cooked and the inverter/charger was faulty too.  I'm afraid that my view is, if you don't have evidence that all the components are working, assume they're banjaxed and expect to see that reflected in negotiations over price (see earlier post ^ on the subject of eberspachers!). 

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Thanks for all your advice. I took it all onboard and acted on it!

Think we are ready to proceed.

The boat had a full survey less than 3 years ago. Following that the hull was taken back to steel and treated with a 2 pack epoxy.

i really don't want to have another survey on the hull, scrapping off loads of patches to test, leaving us with lots of patches to re treat, when in reality everything should be in perfect order anyway. 

Am I mad or is it a sensible gamble?

cheers again.

  • Greenie 1

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If you really don't want to commission another survey you could ask the previous surveyor to transfer the survey in to your name for a fee. Also consider;-

 

Did that survey recommend the hull was re-treated and if so what repairs were recommended and were they done?

Are you confident that the blacking applied at that time is still soundly adhered to the hull?

Do you know enough about the seller to form a view they are reputable?

 

JP

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2 minutes ago, Captain Pegg said:

If you really don't want to commission another survey you could ask the previous surveyor to transfer the survey in to your name for a fee. Also consider;-

 

Did that survey recommend the hull was re-treated and if so what repairs were recommended and were they done?

Are you confident that the blacking applied at that time is still soundly adhered to the hull?

Do you know enough about the seller to form a view they are reputable?

 

JP

Would you buy a car on the basis of a mechanics report from 3 years ago? In my view a survey report loses its validity within weeks, never mind 3 years. If you don't want to spend the money you will have to fall back on your own impressions so it depends on how confident you are on your own judgement.

 

Howard

 

 

 

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Survey. That's difficult. Is it more than 15 years old? I would like to see it out of the water. Is it painted underneath the baseplate? . An unpainted lump of steel can rust horribly sat in a canal. Some  boats were never painted underneath as it is hard and dirty work. Some people will rightly point out that they know of much younger boats being quite pitted. 3 years from being painted is not a long time but 4 or 5 years, in my opinion, is, Any chance of getting it out of the water?  high pressure washed then if all is well slapping on a couple of coats of epoxy. Sorry not to have any real answers but its all a question of judgement (s)

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27 minutes ago, Leemc said:

Thanks for all your advice. I took it all onboard and acted on it!

Think we are ready to proceed.

The boat had a full survey less than 3 years ago. Following that the hull was taken back to steel and treated with a 2 pack epoxy.

i really don't want to have another survey on the hull, scrapping off loads of patches to test, leaving us with lots of patches to re treat, when in reality everything should be in perfect order anyway. 

Am I mad or is it a sensible gamble?

cheers again.

If you like the boat, put in an offer. Do it!

It it is over 10 years old (I think you said it was) then make that subject to survery IF the seller will let you. If not, then just buy it if it is the boat you want. If you can do it subject to survey and this is via a broker then the survey is likely to throw up at least £1000 of repairs needed which you then get off the sale price thus paying for your new survey. This will however take 4 weeks to accomplish. If you want the boat sooner then forget the survey. You'll end up needing £1K plus to do all the rectification work you find anyway that the survey wont spot.

Our survey threw up £2K's worth of faults and we got £2k off. It cost less than  £1K to fix so it paid for the survey but we lost 6 weeks.

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Thanks again, so much good sense. Completely happy with seller and history etc and they're completely ok for no rush transaction with survey. 

The recent survey is being sent to me electronically tomorrow so will post gist of that later.

thanks again

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33 minutes ago, howardang said:

Would you buy a car on the basis of a mechanics report from 3 years ago? In my view a survey report loses its validity within weeks, never mind 3 years. If you don't want to spend the money you will have to fall back on your own impressions so it depends on how confident you are on your own judgement.

 

Howard

 

 

 

I've never bought a second hand car. Do you get a mechanics report??

 

I didn't commission my own hull survey when I bought my boat but the circumstances of my particular sale gave me reason to be comfortable not doing so. I wouldn't recommend that any else doesn't commission their own but there are ways of evaluating the risk if you don't.

 

A detailed survey report holds validity for as long as the conditions don't change. I see you are in East Yorkshire so maybe you regularly travel over the Humber Bridge or over the Selby or Goole rail swing bridges. How often do you think they are subject to detailed examination?

 

They will be subject to is a periodical (measured in years) detailed examination and structural assessment supplemented by regular (perhaps annual) visual inspection. The key is that the detailed examination and assessment is undertaken by a suitably qualified person and the visual inspection confirms that the situation described in the detailed work has not changed and therefore the full examination still remains valid.

 

Hence the approach I suggested in the event the OP chooses not to commission a survey is firstly to establish that the last survey is reliable and the surveyor is reputable. That's the reason for asking them if they are willing to transfer the survey in to the buyers name. Then establish that the hull is physically as described and has been subject to any recommended work.

 

Every single one of us puts our faith in someone else's ability to assure the built environment based on three year old surveys every time we venture outside.

 

JP

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