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Charles_Graham

Buying a boat

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Hello all, im in the process of buying and renovating a boat.

 

Just wondering what the standard is in terms of handing over money along the way.

 

There is a lot of work to be done to the boat, and items to be purchased and installed which we have agreed by email in a summary of tasks.

 

But how much money should I transfer, all of it? 50%

 

Do I agree markers to get to?

 

Graham

 

 

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Exciting times for you.

 

There's been much discussion on similar topics in these pages in the past. Are you buying from a broker or a private individual? If the latter, how do you know that he owns the boat?

 

Not sure what you mean by "markers" - could you elucidate, please?

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Do you mean you are buying a boat from someone or a yard and then paying them to do the work? Have you agreed a price for the completed boat? If not then it is a bit open ended as any degree of re fit can add up to a lot because of unknown issues along the way. If  it was me I think I would try to pay for the boat as it is now and then a couple of payments along the way but it depends on so many things. Be careful it doesn't turn into a money pit.

  • Greenie 2

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Yes thanks Athy, Bee, it's an individual boat builder. we agreed a total price for complete work, I just feel a bit uncomfortable handing most or all money over, til completion. Yet he needs money for parts along the way, which I can understand.

 

but all will work out in sure.

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31 minutes ago, Charles_Graham said:

Yes thanks Athy, Bee, it's an individual boat builder. we agreed a total price for complete work, I just feel a bit uncomfortable handing most or all money over, til completion. Yet he needs money for parts along the way, which I can understand.

 

but all will work out in sure.

Be VERY careful I have personaly known people lose all their money doing this. There are many supposed boatbuilders out there over my years of living aboard that have gone bust and taken everybodies money with them. Is the boat at your mooring or on theirs for instance? Off the peg boats are usualy built and sold complete but doing it in stage payments for a bespoke fit out you must be on your guard. It usualy works out and I suppose its a well known builder with a proven, verifiable track record? Hope all goes well.

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I'm in the same boat (ish), or will be when the time comes to hand the money over. Having built 2 houses from scratch, I suspect the rule of the jungle is the same across many (if not all) industries: Don't pay for anything in advance. Pay staged payments of course but your contractor should be secure enough to sustain short financial hits whilst completing the 'stage' and then ask for payment. It shows they are in a healthy state, I would suggest. Now life isn't always this simple, is it?  There is another way (around it), two in fact:

IF......you have to pay in advance to fulfill your dream, then pay via credit card or via Escrow.

Why CC: because effectively you are paying for the product through a reputable 3rd party (the bank) and if the wheel comes off, you simply claim it all back from the bank (this has happened twice to my house windows and a fitted kitchen - both companies went bust before delivery and after I had paid for them!). It is a simple process and 100% effective as you simply send your complaint to the ombudsman and they deal with the bank not the absent supplier.

Why Escrow: the money sits in a reliable and independent holding account and can only be transferred to the supplier as and when the work has been agreed and approved.

 

IF your supplier cannot commit to any of these: staged payment/CC's/Escrow....then you definitely have the wrong supplier and I for one would not touch them with a barge pole!!!

 

 

 

  • Greenie 2

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Cheers fellas, yes I think sometimes this all works out of course, and plenty of guys out there are trustworthy.

 

ive been paying bank transfer, and we are about 1/2 ways through. 

Fly Navy, is this as traceable as credit card?

 

 

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Problem in English law is proving ownership as this will transfer on delivery in common law. Unless there is a contract which states that ownership of the boat and work on the part built boat is transferred against each of the stage payments then you are in trouble if the business goes into administration. 

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33 minutes ago, Charles_Graham said:

Cheers fellas, yes I think sometimes this all works out of course, and plenty of guys out there are trustworthy.

 

ive been paying bank transfer, and we are about 1/2 ways through. 

Fly Navy, is this as traceable as credit card?

 

 

It might be traceable but unlike a credit card 'guarantee' you have 'lost your money' as soon as you have transferred it.

A credit card has a refund guarantee if you don't get what you have paid for.

Just now, PaulD said:

Problem in English law is proving ownership as this will transfer on delivery in common law. Unless there is a contract which states that ownership of the boat and work on the part built boat is transferred against each of the stage payments then you are in trouble if the business goes into administration. 

That is probably reported as happening on this forum, about once per year on average - heartbreaking for the buyer who loses everything, particularly when the company starts up the following week under a new name and more buyers get 'caught a year or two later'.

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The builder I chose was neither particularly well known nor that reputable - but they did only ask for £2k down. I don't think I would have rested for a moment giving over say 1/2 the total payment at the outset.

Don't "gamble" what you can't afford to lose. Never put yourself in a vulnerable position.

I did end up with what I wanted (plus a few things I didn't want!), and on time. 

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If you're halfway through you're already committed to it, which seems to make your original question a little late. It's not clear whether this is a new shell being fitted out or an older boat... You use the term renovate but state it's a boat builder you're dealing with.

If it's possible, it would be good to get the ownership title of the boat in your name and then the work at each stage signed over to you so that it becomes part of the boat. This way, should the builder go under during the build, you should hopefully still have the boat, rather than it being an asset of the company. It would still be a lot of hassle and you'd probably lose out to a degree, but better than losing everything. 

Have you searched this forum, and the Internet in general, to see if this builder has previous form? 

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You need a WRITTEN contract or statement from the builder confirming that the part-built boat (and any unfitted equipment purchased specifically for it e.g. the engine) is your property and not the boatbuilder's. If the builder should go bust you will need this to persuade the administrator or liquidator that they cannot resell the boat to pay off some of the builder's debts. Even so, one affected customer had to turn up at the yard with a crane and lowloader to avoid the loss of his boat.

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In order of safety (for the buyer!)

1. Pay in stages and after the stage has been completed to your satisfaction (ideally iaw a written contract) .

2. Credit Card (money back guarantee is only valid if the supplier is a britisdh based company)(Debit cards don't normally attract such safeguards).

3. Escrow.

 

Dodgy:

1. Pay by cheque.

2.Pay by Bankers draft.

3. BACS.

4. Cash.

 

 

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Forgive this post if I am wrong,,,,,BUT......

 

You sound too trusting and a little naive about the deal.

 

Be very careful that you actually legally own and get what you pay for.

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If you are able to get the boat and parts transferred to your name at each stage make sure all serial numbers are documented on the transfer. We had a case where a builder was moving one engine around various boats to obtain stage payments ------------- then went bust.

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Why don't you just be more open and name the builder, then people will let you know if they have had any dealings with him in regards to buying a boat or re-fit work, or is that too simple.

Edited by PD1964
  • Greenie 2

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On 16/02/2019 at 11:24, mrsmelly said:

Be VERY careful I have personaly known people lose all their money doing this. There are many supposed boatbuilders out there over my years of living aboard that have gone bust and taken everybodies money with them. Is the boat at your mooring or on theirs for instance? Off the peg boats are usualy built and sold complete but doing it in stage payments for a bespoke fit out you must be on your guard. It usualy works out and I suppose its a well known builder with a proven, verifiable track record? Hope all goes well.

I had a friend who put up all the money for his boat that was going to be a Crick show, no boat and no money. the builder just didnt if you know what I mean, so not only has he not got a boat he hasnt got any money

On 16/02/2019 at 17:39, David Mack said:

You need a WRITTEN contract or statement from the builder confirming that the part-built boat (and any unfitted equipment purchased specifically for it e.g. the engine) is your property and not the boatbuilder's. If the builder should go bust you will need this to persuade the administrator or liquidator that they cannot resell the boat to pay off some of the builder's debts. Even so, one affected customer had to turn up at the yard with a crane and lowloader to avoid the loss of his boat.

And even that is not a lot of help if Beta still own that engine

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Anyone who is a professional and does good business be it quality of work or paying their bills would never ask you to pay up front for work they are going to do. If you bought the boat from them, they would have the money from that. My advice in anything like this is to keep the two things separate. Purchasing the boat and having the work done, two different things. 

A lot of "boat builders/repairers" want top money for a wreck they will fix up "with you" paying as they go. Just don't do it. Survey the boat if you are not competent, get a true value of how it stands as is because this is what you are getting.

A good business will be able to afford the repairs either by themselves or by a business overdraft (they will get 30 days to pay on materials if they don't have bad history). They have your boat in their possession and to move it you would need a crane and they can simple refuse access so it can't be taken until the bill is settled, so no excuse of running off without paying if they want money up front.

Always get a written quote for the work upfront and a day the work is to be finished. Give them some leeway, but anything over a week you want to put in penalties (£20 per day). I have seen these "boat builders/repairers" working in others yards (avoid these ones) and have seen the boat owner being left paying the storage for months longer than quoted because they under quoted you and have gone off to make some desperately needed money, leaving you with bills to pay because the boat is yours.

There are some good people out there, but you will meet all the bad ones first as they are the ones trying too hard for the business, the good businesses are too busy to come chasing you. Always get a minimum of 3 quotes (off site companies will come to you to quote and you just move the boat to them, so don't feel obliged to have it done where it is) and if the work is substantial, ask your surveyor to come and check the work done before paying, most surveyors will do this for free or for a very small fee because they highlighted the problem and its their responsibility that it is done correctly to sign off for insurance.

 

Be sensible and treat it like any big purchase and always remember they will empty your wallet if they can. Walk away if you start questioning yourself, a good businessman will not push.

 

  • Greenie 1

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2 minutes ago, Charles_Graham said:

Is there a 'Proof of ownership' I can request for the boat.?

Nope

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On ‎17‎/‎02‎/‎2019 at 02:33, Boater Sam said:

Forgive this post if I am wrong,,,,,BUT......

 

You sound too trusting and a little naive about the deal.

 

Be very careful that you actually legally own and get what you pay for.

I couldn't agree more...…………

 

It is very worrying when there is so much history to boat buyers losing shed loads of money that buyers don't heed the obvious warnings but we do seem to live in a world where advice freely given is rarely heeded and those asking the questions seem to know best??

 

If the boatyard can't afford to cashflow building you a "normal" boat be VERY careful - I would walk away.

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6 minutes ago, Charles_Graham said:

Is there a 'Proof of ownership' I can request for the boat.?

Have you paid for the boat?

 

When buying a boat you will do a bill of sale with the seller and you want the old bill of sales before that one which will have the sellers name on it and the previous owner. History and provenance is important. 

 

If they have no history for the boat or proof of ownership, its up to you to gamble with your money. Most times there is no problems, but I went to look at a boat before Xmas in Ely and it was very cheap (£3500). I turned it down because he had no documents/price and his story was all over the place and he didn't know the boat that it has certain things fitted. After Xmas it was on eBay for £10k and in the description he says he owned it for 3 years. Big jump in price, he looked a bit rough and for all I know he could of been renting it or knew the owner was away.

 

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28 minutes ago, Charles_Graham said:

Is there a 'Proof of ownership' I can request for the boat.?

Not normally.

There is the SSR (Small Ships Register) which is administered by the Government, but few narrowboats will be registered. You may well find GRP cruisers registered under SSR Part 3 (many are).

 

SSR Part 1 is a legal 'Proof of Ownership' supported by the Government, and can be used for various purposes (including raising a mortgage etc etc)

 

https://www.gov.uk/register-a-boat/the-uk-ship-register

 

When buying you can only ask the owner for 'history' - have they got letters (in their name & address) from C&RT with licence reminders, or from an insurance company, or a mooring provider ?

Do they have any evidence of bills / invoices / receipts for work done ?

Do they have the original builders Bill-Of-Sale (sales receipt) and VAT paid HMRC certificate ?

Do they have the owners RCD manual and RCD approval paperwork ?

 

All of the above SHOULD be transferred with the sale of a 2nd hand boat 

If any of the above is 'not available' then dig deeper into their ownership.

 

Have you seen proof of their name and address (driving licence etc) ?

 

I have mentioned this (a time or two) previously but when I bought my last boat the VAT certificate and the RCD documentation was 'missing' so I reduced my offer by £80,000.

The offer was accepted.

For a 'pittance' I was able to obtain copies of the missing documentation from Customs & Excise and the manufacturer, which immediately increased the value of my boat by £80,000.

 

It depends on how risk averse you are as to what level of 'proof of ownership' you will accept.

Edited by Alan de Enfield

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13 minutes ago, vivelo said:

Have you paid for the boat?

 

When buying a boat you will do a bill of sale with the seller and you want the old bill of sales before that one which will have the sellers name on it and the previous owner. History and provenance is important. 

 

If they have no history for the boat or proof of ownership, its up to you to gamble with your money. Most times there is no problems, but I went to look at a boat before Xmas in Ely and it was very cheap (£3500). I turned it down because he had no documents/price and his story was all over the place and he didn't know the boat that it has certain things fitted. After Xmas it was on eBay for £10k and in the description he says he owned it for 3 years. Big jump in price, he looked a bit rough and for all I know he could of been renting it or knew the owner was away.

 

Thanks Vivelo, who draws up the bill of sale and what kind of document s it?

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26 minutes ago, Charles_Graham said:

Is there a 'Proof of ownership' I can request for the boat.?

Who is this builder/sales person/boat yard you are dealing with? Tell us this and maybe someone will be able to help. A lot of seller's or fixer uppers get the boats for nothing or very little if they have been left in a yard. They may have too clear back rent or the yard owner just wants it gone as its a liability. There are plenty of wrecks in yards just waiting for someone to throw money at it.

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