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EnglishRose

Going to view a narrowboat - advice?

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So, we are going to view a narrowboat which is for sale at a marina.

 

I know information from the advert such as when it was last blacked, painted, serviced and how long the BSC is valid from and to. I have rung up (they were pretty useless and didn't know if it had any overplating and had to ring the owner and get back to me (it apparently hasn't) and they wouldn't give me any survey details over the phone or by email but we can look at the survey in person.

 

Although I have some questions to ask when we go to view, can anyone give me some advice on things I should be looking out for/asking? We are taking some friends with us that are ex-narrowboat owners that lived on one for 2 years so they can also give us some advice as well.

 

The last survey was done in 2014 so I don't know how helpful that will be to look at.

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20 minutes ago, EnglishRose said:

The last survey was done in 2014 so I don't know how helpful that will be to look at.

 

I'd say no help whatsoever, so much can change in five years.

 

Ask (or look) to find out stuff like what sort of toilet, watch the engine being started (easily or not), look for smoke when cold, ask for a quick cruise and if all seems ok then pay for your own 'out of water' survey and condition report.

 

 

(Just to get discussion started, seeing as no-one else has answered.)

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

I'd say no help whatsoever, so much can change in five years.

 

Ask (or look) to find out stuff like what sort of toilet, watch the engine being started (easily or not), look for smoke when cold, ask for a quick cruise and if all seems ok then pay for your own 'out of water' survey and condition report.

 

 

(Just to get discussion started, seeing as no-one else has answered.)

 

 

Thanks that's really helpful. Silly question but if we are happy with what we see, do we offer a price subject to a survey (and do they expect a deposit at this stage) or just get a survey done and then make an offer...

 

I don't know if it's in the water currently or not as the pictures were of it out of the water and it's just been blacked.

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Sales will slow down a little now the cruising season is coming to an end, poor weather, darker evenings and stoppages on infrastructure means you may be able to a good deal on the purchase price.

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2 minutes ago, Karen Lea Rainey said:

Sales will slow down a little now the cruising season is coming to an end, poor weather, darker evenings and stoppages on infrastructure means you may be able to a good deal on the purchase price.

That's what we are hoping. Our only issue is we need to get any boat - if we find one to our EoG mooring (just had acceptance letter today) on the Llangollen and Hurleston lock is shut from 4 November until 27 March next year so if we don't find one before then the likelihood is we will then be stuck until next April when priced pick up, unless we find one which doesn't need to go through Hurleston which doesn't exactly seem promising and narrows down our options significantly.

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25 minutes ago, EnglishRose said:

Thanks that's really helpful. Silly question but if we are happy with what we see, do we offer a price subject to a survey (and do they expect a deposit at this stage) or just get a survey done and then make an offer...

 

 

Yes, make an offer subject to survey. They will prolly expect you to buy it at full price if survey comes in good, but deduct cost of any expensive repairs identified.

 

 

 

27 minutes ago, EnglishRose said:

I don't know if it's in the water currently or not as the pictures were of it out of the water and it's just been blacked.

 

Quite possibly still on the bank. Longport have a decent area of hard standing they keep boats for sale on.

 

 

 

 

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41 minutes ago, EnglishRose said:

That's what we are hoping. Our only issue is we need to get any boat - if we find one to our EoG mooring (just had acceptance letter today) on the Llangollen and Hurleston lock is shut from 4 November until 27 March next year so if we don't find one before then the likelihood is we will then be stuck until next April when priced pick up, unless we find one which doesn't need to go through Hurleston which doesn't exactly seem promising and narrows down our options significantly.

You find a good time to buy is around Febuary/March, as a lot of boaters tend to put their boats on brokerage November with a high asking price. Brokers tend to give 3 month free moorings and normally there will be a few months license and insurance on the boat so the seller has nothing to loose, after 3 month and little interest the price tends to drop and lower offers are considered, as the owner does not want to start paying moorings, license and insurance as the Broker will not cover these and these have to be on the boat. Most brokers realise that it is difficult to move a boat at this time so may throw in a few months free moorings with the sale to butter it up or give you discounted moorings for a few months. So don't think you have to buy a boat quickly because of Winter stoppages.

Edited by PD1964
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If you like the boat put in an offer subject to survey.

 

If it is rejected, you can always up your offer, or the seller may come back with a price he will accept.

 

If the boat has been on brokerage a while, put in a low offer, say 25% less than asking price. If it has only just gone onto brokerage you will have less room to manoeuvre, so perhaps offer 10% less as an opening offer.

 

Good luck.

 

 

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This topic has vered away from "what should I look for "  to "when is a good time to buy".

 

People tend to look at the layout, rather than the quality of the same. If the interior is all white it's possibly a 'whited sepulchre' hiding all manner if evils...

Aagin nobody looks at the hidden / not often viewed parts which can indicate -

  • bad installation
  • bodged electrics
  • ditto plumbing
  • Poor design / layout of engine / gas / electrics / w.h.y

If the engine bay is rusty with cables / pipes in a tangle - then use that as a guide to whatever else may be wrong.

 

If you were buying a car - would you ignore a tatty interior - I suspect not. It's the same with boats...

 

 

Edited by OldGoat

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1 minute ago, OldGoat said:

This topic has vered away from "what should I look for "  to "when is a good time to buy".

 

People tend to look at the layout, rather than the quality of the same. If the interior is all white it's possibly a 'whited sepulchre' hiding all manner if evils...

Aagin nobody looks at the hidden / not often viewed parts which can indicate -

bad installation

bodged electrics

ditto plumbing

Poor design / layout of engine / gas / electrics / w.h.y

If the engine bay is rusty with cables / pipes in a tangle - then use that as a guide to whatever else may be wrong.

 

If you were buying a car - would you ignore a tatty interior - I suspect not. It's the same with boats...

 

 

I'd read about looking at the hull, engine etc. The interior fit is not brilliant, dodgy decor inside each to their own but I've been advised no overplating (obv willl need a survey) and recently painted and blacked. Helpful comments re things you can't see. Taking my Uncle who is an electrician and my dad who is a retired mechanic and knows a fair bit about lister engines. I'll definitely report back how it goes.

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14 hours ago, EnglishRose said:

That's what we are hoping. Our only issue is we need to get any boat - if we find one to our EoG mooring (just had acceptance letter today) on the Llangollen and Hurleston lock is shut from 4 November until 27 March next year so if we don't find one before then the likelihood is we will then be stuck until next April when priced pick up, unless we find one which doesn't need to go through Hurleston which doesn't exactly seem promising and narrows down our options significantly.

 

45 minutes ago, OldGoat said:

This topic has vered away from "what should I look for "  to "when is a good time to buy".

 

People tend to look at the layout, rather than the quality of the same. If the interior is all white it's possibly a 'whited sepulchre' hiding all manner if evils...

Aagin nobody looks at the hidden / not often viewed parts which can indicate -

  • bad installation
  • bodged electrics
  • ditto plumbing
  • Poor design / layout of engine / gas / electrics / w.h.y

If the engine bay is rusty with cables / pipes in a tangle - then use that as a guide to whatever else may be wrong.

 

If you were buying a car - would you ignore a tatty interior - I suspect not. It's the same with boats...

 

 

That's because of what the OP said above "Our only issue is we need to get any boat" which gives the impression she is in a rush to buy and may not look at others and buy the first boat she sees in order to get to her moorings before stoppages, which is not best practice and could end in regret.

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Just now, PD1964 said:

 

That's because of what the OP said above "Our only issue is we need to get any boat" which gives the impression she is in a rush to buy and may not look at others and buy the first boat she sees in order to get to her moorings before stoppages, which is not best practice and could end in regret.

No I'm not rushing in to it but just conscious that it will cut down our options after November as we won't be able to get any narrowboat to us until likely beginning of April unless it's already in the area or paying mooring fees but I'd rather do that than make a bad decision!

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When we were looking a few months ago we looked specifically at:

 

The engine bay - if that's very wet/tatty/too rusty etc then we walked away as that gave us an indication of how the owner cares for the boat generally.

The quality of the fitout - avoid all ones done by the owners themselves - don't like MFI type fitouts...

Had the kitchen we liked - we've had walk-through so we insisted on U shaped

Are the front/back doors secure?  walked away from anything that had padlocks or just exposed wood

not too much rust generally....

 

 

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1 hour ago, EnglishRose said:

(obv willl need a survey)

 

Actually I'm not entirely convinced about that. If the boat happens to be out on the bank, which it might be, you and your small entourage will be able to see exactly the same hull as the surveyor. Unless you are planning on buying an expensive boat (and for various reasons I suspect you aren't), just take a close look at every inch of the hull and any dodgy-looking bits you see, give a good whack with the medium sized hammer you will have taken with you. If it all seems good and solid you probably won't go far wrong. 

 

OTOH if you are buying a £60k boat, then shelling out £500-£1,000 on docking it and having a survey may be good value. If it is out of the water already though, the lifting fees will not need to be paid. 

 

Another idea is get a 'hull only' survey. I had one done once on one of my boats for insurance purposes, and honestly all the bloke did was as I described above, and used his thickness testing machine in a few places which confirmed the steel was the same thickness as when new. This was a 27 year old boat. Most insurance companies expect a survey report every five years once a boat reaches 25 years of age, before they will issue comprehensive insurance. If you are happy with third party, then no need for the survey as the leading insurance company for TPI doesn't require it whatever the age of the boat. 

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3 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

Actually I'm not entirely convinced about that. If the boat happens to be out on the bank, which it might be, you and your small entourage will be able to see exactly the same hull as the surveyor. Unless you are planning on buying an expensive boat (and for various reasons I suspect you aren't), just take a close look at every inch of the hull and any dodgy-looking bits you see, give a good whack with the medium sized hammer you will have taken with you. If it all seems good and solid you probably won't go far wrong. 

 

OTOH if you are buying a £60k boat, then shelling out £500-£1,000 on docking it and having a survey may be good value. If it is out of the water already though, the lifting fees will not need to be paid. 

 

Another idea is get a 'hull only' survey. I had one done once on one of my boats for insurance purposes, and honestly all the bloke did was as I described above, and used his thickness testing machine in a few places which confirmed the steel was the same thickness as when new. This was a 27 year old boat. Most insurance companies expect a survey report every five years once a boat reaches 25 years of age, before they will issue comprehensive insurance. If you are happy with third party, then no need for the survey as the leading insurance company for TPI doesn't require it whatever the age of the boat. 

I was thinking a hull survey as a minimum really but yes the narrowboat is out of the water already as it was taken out when blacked (confirmed with them).

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Forgot to say, my 'hull only' survey on a 68ft boat cost £250, done while the boat was out for blacking, and that included a written survey report for the insurance company.

 

P.S. If you buy this boat, ask them who pays for it to be craned back into the water before making your offer!

 

 

 

Edited by Mike the Boilerman
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15 hours ago, EnglishRose said:

Our only issue is we need to get any boat

 

Don't tell the vendors that, and especially not the marina people.

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2 minutes ago, Machpoint005 said:

 

Don't tell the vendors that, and especially not the marina people.

Of course not, not going to buy something just for the sake of it. I probably worded my statement wrong on reflection. I just meant if we find any boat we actually want, we need to get it back before Hurleston closes not that we just want any boat and will rush in just to get anything!

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1 hour ago, EnglishRose said:

No I'm not rushing in to it but just conscious that it will cut down our options after November as we won't be able to get any narrowboat to us until likely beginning of April unless it's already in the area or paying mooring fees but I'd rather do that than make a bad decision!

As I said most brokers know the situation with stoppages also CaRT are very helpful if you just speak to them and explain the situation if you do get stuck. Just take your time and good luck.

Edited by PD1964

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If your mooring is without electricity then be aware that a proper Lister as often fitted to 'normal' boats - i.e. a SR2 or 3 is not going to be very good at charging batteries. Thus if you want any of today's 'essentials'  - Ebersplutter, fridge,  and heavens knows what else, then there are challenges in getting any decent charging capability. 

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7 minutes ago, OldGoat said:

If your mooring is without electricity then be aware that a proper Lister as often fitted to 'normal' boats - i.e. a SR2 or 3 is not going to be very good at charging batteries. Thus if you want any of today's 'essentials'  - Ebersplutter, fridge,  and heavens knows what else, then there are challenges in getting any decent charging capability. 

It's a Lister ST2

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58 minutes ago, EnglishRose said:

It's a Lister ST2

Air cooled, a bit noisy, very reliable and no hot water from it. Probably has a a instantanious gas water heater,  It very likely has a Lister LH150 hydraulic gearbox which is very good.

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1 hour ago, EnglishRose said:

It's a Lister ST2

I had a genset driven by an ST1. 3,000 rpm - incredibly noisy.

However, running a reasonable quality alternator shouldn't be impossible, so belay my previous comment.

(FWIW there was a thread on here a year or two back where the OP couldnt get a good enough alternator speed to charge their batteries - thus I thought it prudent to make a comment here)

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