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MajorJones

Budget for a second-hand boat and some questions

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Hello fellow narrowboaters!

 

I would like to apologise in advance if the question I'm about to ask has been asked previously (I've tried to use search but could not find anything relevant) or if it's inappropriate/boring. I'm new to this forum - was reading it for quite a while previously, but never registered.

 

Anyway, back to our situation and questions. After years of hiring NBs for occasional cruising, we have finally decided to buy a NB (mostly because we want to move from a hire fleet that's usually just OK to a NB that feels like your home away from home and can fit our requirements). We plan to use NB for cruising (something like at least half of the summer and few weeks in spring and a few weeks in autumn) for a family of two adults and two kids. Before making a move on buying a new build with a hybrid system, we have decided to buy a second-hand boat first (to give ourselves a full tasting session of a similar size/layout) for a few years.

 

What we are after is a semi-trad 57ft full reverse / mid reverse layout (saloon is at the stern, followed by the galley / galley at the stern).
 
Question #1 - if we set a budget of 50k to 60k is it a healthy one? What "quality"/age/condition of a boat can we expect in that price range? Will it require additional work straight away, or is it something that we can happily use for several years? I know "mileage may vary" - I'm after a general understanding of the situation. 

Question #2 -  I've checked a dozen of websites and most of the boats they have are either sold, under offer or priced either too low or too high. What is the best approach for the search process in our case?

 

p.s. Sorry for starting my forum life from such a lengthy post!

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Go to a boat brokerage - like at Buckby bottom lock.

 

See what they have for sale that you like.

 

It has to be something you like - no point in buying what you dont like even if its cheap / in your price range.

 

Some things can be fixed - knackered engine, poor paint & decor.  Some are more difficult - wrong length, wrong internal layout, no pump out tank.

 

And report back.

 

 

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I am in almost the exact same position as you although I'm aspiring to purchase a liveaboard rather than something for the weekends.  I have a budget of 40-45K and by the looks of things that is cutting it pretty fine in terms of getting something I can call my full time home.

 

Some of best advice to your questions will likely come from an unlikely source which is an NB bokerage. My partner and I went to view 6 different boats at 2 marinas and got some particularly good insights. First of which is the sticker price is just that. Some boat owners (or so I'm told) name their price without any real evaluation of the worth of their vessel. Brokerages may advise them on a more realistic price if the boat has not sold for a number of weeks and are more likely to back your offer as the buyer when communicating your offer to the seller.

 

If you get a broker who has a passion for boats, they will more than likely give you their personal opinion on it and well as the price. Especially if it is one vessel in a series of viewings.

 

So maybe aim high for boats that are above your budget but have been sitting unsold for number of weeks/months there may be a reason why.

 

Thats my 2 cents as an absolute novice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, MajorJones said:

 

Question #2 -  I've checked a dozen of websites and most of the boats they have are either sold, under offer or priced either too low or too high. What is the best approach for the search process in our case?

 

Does that include apolloduck.com? Probably the biggest online selection of boats you will find.

 

You can filter your search by price if you want to exclude those above or below your budget.

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1 hour ago, MajorJones said:

 

 
Question #1 - if we set a budget 

Question #2 -  I've checked a dozen of websites and most of the boats they have are either sold, under offer or priced either too low or too high. What is the best approach for the search process in our case?

 

1. Budget should get you a decent 10 ish year old boat which will be in fairly good order.

2. You are entering the part of the market (reverse layout/£50k) where everyone else is after the same few boats. You need to sign up with quite a few brokers, get to know them and be persistent in reminding them what you are after, try to get advance notice before they appear on the website. Have a deposit ready.

If and when you do view one, dont walk away and give it a few days to think about it, it wont be there any more. If it feels right, stick your money down (and then arrange a survey).

Edited by matty40s
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Hi there. Having bought our first second-hand boat 2 months ago I would have thought your budget is spot on. If you look on Apollo Duck there are dozens of boats in your price range. As well as visiting brokers we shortlisted all suitable boats, enquired about them and went to view around 15. Some were private sales and some at brokerage. Once you've found a boat you like be prepared to pounce - well priced, decent boats are selling quickly at the moment. Getting your own survey done is important, especially for a first boat. Don't be afraid to share prospective boats on here for constructive feedback. All boats need regular maintenance (blacking, servicing etc) but I would expect your budget to buy you a good used boat that you can enjoy immediately and get many years use out of. Good luck. 

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1 hour ago, MajorJones said:


 
Question #1 - if we set a budget of 50k to 60k is it a healthy one? What "quality"/age/condition of a boat can we expect in that price range? Will it require additional work straight away, or is it something that we can happily use for several years? I know "mileage may vary" - I'm after a general understanding of the situation. 

I would expect you to be able to get a turnkey boat in that price range, although it’s entirely possible that the one that flicks your switch may need some work.

1 hour ago, MajorJones said:

Question #2 -  I've checked a dozen of websites and most of the boats they have are either sold, under offer or priced either too low or too high. What is the best approach for the search process in our case?

If the ones you like the look of, and think the price is right, are sold, you have a pretty good idea of what you can get, and what the market is doing.

 

You now need to make it so that you get to know about every boat coming into the market as soon as it is put on the market.

 

I don’t know if there is a facility to make this easy, like there is with the housing web sites, or whether you have to check every web site every day to see + someone else will know. Register with every broker within reach, and hope they let you know as soon as they are asked to sell a suitable boat - doesn’t always work.

 

In order to make life a bit easier, it could be worth going to look at those that don’t quite fit your price criteria, but are available - and offer whatever you think is right. You have nothing to lose other than time with this strategy.

 

It would also be worth looking at some of the boats where the price is “too low”.

 

We bought a boat that looked bad in the advert, with a price that was “too low”. We added it to as the first of a number of boats we were seeing one day, and bought it without looking at any of the others on the list.

 

The advert was crap, and the boat was fine. It was”too cheap” because the broker had told the seller he would get loads more for it and, after a long time on the market, he got fed up with the broker and dropped it to a “first to see will buy” price.

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35 minutes ago, Richard10002 said:

 

 

2 hours ago, MajorJones said:

What we are after is a semi-trad 57ft full reverse / mid reverse layout (saloon is at the stern, followed by the galley / galley at the stern).

Be as flexible as possible: we were looking for a similar boat but wanted a cruiser stern. We looked at, and nearly offered on, a semi-trad. You might find a boat that ticks 9/10 boxes and decide that's enough. In our case we compromised on the condition of the paintwork. Our boat needs repainting but everything else suited us so we bought it. Good luck and hope you find your boat. 

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2 hours ago, jake_crew said:

Go to a boat brokerage - like at Buckby bottom lock.

Thank you very much for your reply. Are there any good, well-known, major boat brokers you might recommend?

 

2 hours ago, OTL said:

I have a budget of 40-45K....First of which is the sticker price is just that. Some boat owners (or so I'm told) name their price without any real evaluation of the worth of their vessel.

That's a very interesting comment, thank you. I'm always trying to compare used NB market to user cars market (where no one will try to sell a car for a double of price), but apparently it's just not that. In order to understand the magnitude of that situation  - with the budget of 40-45K what was advised to you by a broker? 50? 55? 60? 70?

 

2 hours ago, David Mack said:

 

Does that include apolloduck.com? Probably the biggest online selection of boats you will find.

Yes, I've used them as well, but it seems that brokers websites are just more up-to-date.

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2 hours ago, matty40s said:

1. Budget should get you a decent 10 ish year old boat which will be in fairly good order.

2. You are entering the part of the market (reverse layout/£50k) where everyone else is after the same few boats. You need to sign up with quite a few brokers, get to know them and be persistent in reminding them what you are after, try to get advance notice before they appear on the website. Have a deposit ready.

If and when you do view one, dont walk away and give it a few days to think about it, it wont be there any more. If it feels right, stick your money down (and then arrange a survey).

Thank you very much! I've just tried to verify my view of the market, to understand that I'm not trying to find something that doesn't exist and is always 'under offer'.

 

2 hours ago, MrsM said:

Some were private sales and some at brokerage.

Good luck. 

Is there any known difference between buying boat private vs brokerage?

Thank you!!!

 

1 hour ago, Richard10002 said:

If the ones you like the look of, and think the price is right, are sold, you have a pretty good idea of what you can get, and what the market is doing.

Thank you for all your comments! 
And in regard to that one above - I'm quite new to the market, so I struggle to understand if there is a boat that I like on a website, but it's marked as 'sold' does it mean I'm simply late or it was sold year ago and brokerage keeps it for the 'volume' of listings.

1 hour ago, MrsM said:

 

Be as flexible as possible: we were looking for a similar boat but wanted a cruiser stern. We looked at, and nearly offered on, a semi-trad. You might find a boat that ticks 9/10 boxes and decide that's enough. In our case we compromised on the condition of the paintwork. Our boat needs repainting but everything else suited us so we bought it. Good luck and hope you find your boat. 

Thank you for the insights! Yes, I understand I have to be open-minded. There are things that I simply don't see reasonable to change on a NB - i.e. I don't want to buy a trad layout to change it to reverse, in that case I'd rather go with a sailaway, but there are few things I don't see a problem to either change or adapt, like semi-trad/cruiser, or cassette/PO, or a PRM that can be replaced to my liking.

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7 minutes ago, MajorJones said:

Is there any known difference between buying boat private vs brokerage?

Thank you!!!

The main difference being you will (probably) get the same boat 10% less if you buy privately.

 

When I am selling boats I look how much a broker is going to take in commission and deduct that from the asking price, I end up with the same amount of money and the buyer saves the commission percentage and gets a 'bargain'.

 

You have no more security or guarantees buying from a broker, they are simply a 'marriage broker' introducing a seller to a buyer for a fee.

 

Do not fall into the thinking that it is 'safer' to buy from a broker, or that they are legally obliged to inform you of the boats faults - they are not.

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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16 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

 

You have no more security or guarantees buying from a broker, they are simply a 'marriage broker' introducing a seller to a buyer for a fee.

you get the security of your money going into an escrow account with a reputable broker.

Do not fall into the thinking that it is 'safer' to buy from a broker, or that they are legally obliged to inform you of the boats faults - they are not.

they are if they own the boat....several brokers now buy boats for cash and sell, you need to make sure you find out which brokers do this. They are legally bound to inform you if it is their property.

 

 

With your comment about boats being sold years ago and still visible, Rugby Boat Sales listings on the website of boats shows the oldest one Iolanthe...which I seem to recollect sold in May.

Edited by matty40s

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9 minutes ago, matty40s said:

 

With your comment about boats being sold years ago and still visible, Rugby Boat Sales listings on the website of boats shows the oldest one Iolanthe...which I seem to recollect sold in May.

 

I'm not sure what this refers to - I don't recall any post I made regarding 'boats sold years ago still being visible' - are you sure it was me ?

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Some brokers seem worse than others at updating their 'Sold' list, which I expect is a strategy to make them appear to have more boats than they do. I got rather fed up with a Nottingham broker for this reason! Quickly resolved by phoning them up, but nevertheless frustrating when you think they might have your perfect boat. An advantage of a private sale is that the transaction can be as quick as you want, assuming a quick survey can be organised. The owner is also possibly going to know more about their boat than a broker would. As you will have found from your searches of the forum and the comments above, there is no particular protection buying a boat from a broker unless they own the boat. Be sure to ask a broker to clarify whether they own the boat or are just acting on behalf of the owner.

Edited by MrsM

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Your profile says you are in Kent... I came to boating from Surrey.  I'm not sure where you are looking but don't discount boats that require a big trip up t'north... line a few up and have a look.  There are bargains to be had.

Edited by The Gravy Boater
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16 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

I'm not sure what this refers to - I don't recall any post I made regarding 'boats sold years ago still being visible' - are you sure it was me ?

I believe it's about my comment above about brokers are keeping old boats in their listings to get more inbound internet traffic.

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Just now, The Gravy Boater said:

Your profile says you are in Kent... I came to boating from Surrey.  I'm not sure where you are looking but don't discount boats that require a big trip up t'north... line a few up and have a look.  There are bargains to be had.

I obviously prefer to find something near Oxford Canal lol, but if there is a nice barm cake somewhere up north I would not think twice!

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Your budget is fine, it will get you a 10 year old average boat or an older boat from a quality builder. Dont forget to keep £5k in reserve for repairs which are pretty much inevitable with a boat.

 

If your experience of boats is mainly hire boats, then I recommend you get yourself down to Whilton Marine https://www.whiltonmarina.co.uk/ They have the widest selection of boats for sale and let you view them unaccompanied. Although they may not be the best place to buy from, it will enable you to see lots of boats and determine which features you like or dislike.

 

As others have said, be prepared to be flexible and to act quickly when you see the boat you fancy. Having a full survey by the surveyor of your choice, not necessarily one that the boatyard recommends is essential for a first time buyer. Ask on here for surveyor recommendations when you know where the boat you like is.

 

As well as layout and stern type, important considerations are insulation type (sprayfoam is best), engine and gearbox type, toilet type etc.

 

If you put the link to the boat you are interested in on CWDF, you will get lots of opinions based on experience about the boat.

 

Good luck with your boat hunting.

Edited by cuthound
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Thank you very much guys for all your answers - means a lot to me!

 

I have slightly different (yet related) question to my original one (so I've decided to post it here rather than in a new post) -

 

There are boat builders that offer lined sailaway / lined sailaway with additions, like that one - http://lmbs.co.uk/narrowboat-pricelist-2/ - Tyler Willson semitrad 57" in "lined additions" goes for £52.5k, am I right to assume that from what they offer as a "lined additions" I'm only missing exterior painting and kitchen/furniture/internal doors (that I can do myself) so I'm looking at the ballpark of slighly over £60k (so same budget as before, but a brand new boat) - or am I terribly missing something?

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4 minutes ago, MajorJones said:

Thank you very much guys for all your answers - means a lot to me!

 

I have slightly different (yet related) question to my original one (so I've decided to post it here rather than in a new post) -

 

There are boat builders that offer lined sailaway / lined sailaway with additions, like that one - http://lmbs.co.uk/narrowboat-pricelist-2/ - Tyler Willson semitrad 57" in "lined additions" goes for £52.5k, am I right to assume that from what they offer as a "lined additions" I'm only missing exterior painting and kitchen/furniture/internal doors (that I can do myself) so I'm looking at the ballpark of slighly over £60k (so same budget as before, but a brand new boat) - or am I terribly missing something?

 

The boat will have no electrics or gas (just cables / pipes sticking out of the wall, no appliances, no heating, no stove, no decorative 'stuff' no cupboards, worktops, etc

 

Basically just a long thin steel tube with a wooden lining and an engine at the back.

 

Here is what you get :

 

 

What’s included in our Sailaway specification

 
  • New steel hull of customers choice
  • Steel spec of 10-6-4-4 or higher
  • New diesel engine fitted
  • Twin 12 volt alternators for charging
  • Engine starter battery fitted
  • Windows and/or port holes fitted
  • Rear doors & front doors
  • One set of side doors
  • Bilge pump fitted
 
  • Diesel tank
  • Gas bottle locker
  • Ballasted with concrete block
  • Floored with high quality plywood
  • Craned onto the water at the boatyard
  • Professional boat commission & handover
  • Turn the key sail away
  • Boat to comply to RCD 2013/53EU  from 3rd August 2017
  • Builder plate & CE marked
  • Boat owners manual
 
 
 
 

A Sailaway Insulated boat also includes

 
  • Roof & cabin sides battened
 
  • Spray foamed insulated applied
 
 
 
 

A Standard Lined boat also includes 

 
  • Spray insulation cut & trimmed
  • Lower battens fitted on sides
  • Full 12volt & 240volt wire tails to customers requirements
  • 12v main circuit board connected to wire tails
  • 12v domestic battery bank fitted (4 x 100ah battery’s)
  • 12v engine alternator connected to battery bank
  • 12v LED lights fitted (up to 20)
  • 12v horn and head light fitted
  • 12v voltage gauge  for domestic battery bank
  • 240v outside hook up point
  • 240v main circuit board connected to tails
  • Galvanic isolator fitted
  • 240v sockets fitted (up to 6)
 
  • Cabin fully lined in high quality ash veneered plywood
  • Trimmed with ash hardwood
  • Rear doors and hatch lined
  • Side doors lined
  • Front doors lined and glazed
  • 3 bulkheads fitted
  • Stainless steel water tank fitted
  • Roof vents and internal covers
  • Low level vent covers
  • Anodes fitted
  • Boat to comply with RCD 2013/53/EU
  • Annex IV declaration of conformity
  • Craft identification number issued
  • Owners manual
  • Builders plate and CE marked

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38 minutes ago, MajorJones said:

Tyler Willson semitrad 57" in "lined additions" goes for £52.5k, am I right to assume that from what they offer as a "lined additions" I'm only missing exterior painting and kitchen/furniture/internal doors (that I can do myself) so I'm looking at the ballpark of slighly over £60k.

 

Are you satisfied that you can buy all the materials and equipment (and tools if necessary) to fully fit out and equip the boat for less than £10k? Looking at the list above I don't see equipment like battery charger, inverter, cooker, fridge, toilet, stove (solid fuel, diesel or gas), calorifier, shower tray and enclosure etc. which will take up a significant chunk of your budget, then you need to add for timber for the remaining furniture, including kitchen units and worktops, all the miscellaneous screws, nails and other hardware needed, kitchen/bathroom tiles, paint/varnish for the interior and exterior, floorcoverings, mattresses, curtains and other soft furnishings. How are you going to paint the outside? Do you need to rent a covered paint dock? Are you going to pay to have the boat professionally signwritten?

Looks like a tall order to achieve that lot for less than £10k, even without placing any value on your own time, or the costs of licence, mooring and insurance while you are fitting out.

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39 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

The boat will have no electrics or gas (just cables / pipes sticking out of the wall, no appliances, no heating, no stove, no decorative 'stuff' no cupboards, worktops, etc

 

Basically just a long thin steel tube with a wooden lining and an engine at the back.

I'm trying to understand what's the difference between 'finished' boat and what LMBS is offering as lined+, so far I understand I'm missing:

- "kitchen" (galley, appliances)

- dinette, furniture

- webasto

- radiators

 

I don't want/need stove - it's a holiday boat for us, so I'd rather have more space and go dust free.

As for the gas - I've decided that if we go second-hand it will be a traditional engine+gas, but if we decide to take lined+ to finish it I'd go with the Hybrid Marine 10kw system (so no gas at all). 

 

Have I missed something still?

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22 hours ago, MajorJones said:

Hello fellow narrowboaters!

 

I would like to apologise in advance if the question I'm about to ask has been asked previously (I've tried to use search but could not find anything relevant) or if it's inappropriate/boring. I'm new to this forum - was reading it for quite a while previously, but never registered.

 

Anyway, back to our situation and questions. After years of hiring NBs for occasional cruising, we have finally decided to buy a NB (mostly because we want to move from a hire fleet that's usually just OK to a NB that feels like your home away from home and can fit our requirements). We plan to use NB for cruising (something like at least half of the summer and few weeks in spring and a few weeks in autumn) for a family of two adults and two kids. Before making a move on buying a new build with a hybrid system, we have decided to buy a second-hand boat first (to give ourselves a full tasting session of a similar size/layout) for a few years.

 

What we are after is a semi-trad 57ft full reverse / mid reverse layout (saloon is at the stern, followed by the galley / galley at the stern).
 
Question #1 - if we set a budget of 50k to 60k is it a healthy one? What "quality"/age/condition of a boat can we expect in that price range? Will it require additional work straight away, or is it something that we can happily use for several years? I know "mileage may vary" - I'm after a general understanding of the situation. 

Question #2 -  I've checked a dozen of websites and most of the boats they have are either sold, under offer or priced either too low or too high. What is the best approach for the search process in our case?

 

p.s. Sorry for starting my forum life from such a lengthy post!

Your budget should buy you a good 2nd hand boat although prices are quite keen just now as there seems to be raised demand given the times we live in. However, just like the house market there may be a deal to be done so do not be afraid to make an offer below asking price.

 

Speak to and go to a couple or more brokerages and see what they have to offer for what fits within your budget and wants.  Although do not be surprised to see a boat (it's worth keeping an open mind anyway) that does not tick all the boxes but you like anyway.

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34 minutes ago, David Mack said:

 

Are you satisfied that you can buy all the materials and equipment (and tools if necessary) to fully fit out and equip the boat for less than £10k? Looking at the list above I don't see equipment like battery charger, inverter, cooker, fridge, toilet, stove (solid fuel, diesel or gas), calorifier, shower tray and enclosure etc. which will take up a significant chunk of your budget, then you need to add for timber for the remaining furniture, including kitchen units and worktops, all the miscellaneous screws, nails and other hardware needed, kitchen/bathroom tiles, paint/varnish for the interior and exterior, floorcoverings, mattresses, curtains and other soft furnishings. How are you going to paint the outside? Do you need to rent a covered paint dock? Are you going to pay to have the boat professionally signwritten?

Looks like a tall order to achieve that lot for less than £10k, even without placing any value on your own time, or the costs of licence, mooring and insurance while you are fitting out.

In the lined+ the list above is incomplete (things like batteries, toilet, calorifer, shower tray, enclosure, tiles and tiling are included), but yes you are right - there are quite a few things missing even in lined+. I'm trying to understand what (in terms of the 'items') is the difference between second-hand and lined+ and if I can get myself a new boat for "roughly" the same budget as I have for the second-hand.

 

As for the painting - I'm going to go to one of the shops, not doing it myself (after all I want it to look stellar, and the boat painting is not the skill I have under my belt).

21 minutes ago, churchward said:

Your budget should buy you a good 2nd hand boat although prices are quite keen just now as there seems to be raised demand given the times we live in. However, just like the house market there may be a deal to be done so do not be afraid to make an offer below asking price.

 

Speak to and go to a couple or more brokerages and see what they have to offer for what fits within your budget and wants.  Although do not be surprised to see a boat (it's worth keeping an open mind anyway) that does not tick all the boxes but you like anyway.

Thank you for your advice! In terms of season - do you reckon autumn/beginning of winter is a good time to buy/sell? Do prices of the second-hand boats have seasonality?

Edited by MajorJones

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