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Hi all. As you may see from my profile, I have been on this site for some years and previously lived aboard a boat for 6 years.

Now....we are planning to buy another narrowboat to use for 4 week 'stints'.

Although I have had experience of this, my past two boats have been purchased from a broker. I now have 'my eye' on a boat on Ebay.

The owners claim to have carried out a great deal of works on this and they seem knowledgeable about it. I have no reason to doubt that they are genuine, however I could well hand over £34k to 2 people who may simply have borrowed a boat for a few weeks.. (hopefully not)

My question is...what advice do you have for me on this transaction to protect myself the best possible way. (I do not mean survey etc.)....I mean...what is there in the way of checking or contract that will put my mind at ease..?.

I guess that I should know the answer to this by now....but I'm asking for any ideas...as I don't.

Thanks all !

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Paper trail. That is all there is. If there is a receipt for build or a sale some years back that would be reasonable. Has it been in the same marina for years? Do the neighbouyrs know the vendors? Do the marina staff have any info?  Any contract should declare that the craft is free from liabilities when sold but I don't think that there is something similar to an HPI clearance check for boats (others will know better).

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Buying anything secondhand off E-Bay is swimming in shark infested waters!   

You need the receipt for when the vendor bought it,bills or receipts for work done or parts fitted,and a written and signed statement that the boat is free of finance and debt.

Be careful,and don't accept excuses for no paperwork.

Be prepared to walk away if things don't add up.

[Here speaks a man who has bought more than his share of  "Lemons"]

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30 minutes ago, Furness said:

Buying anything secondhand off E-Bay is swimming in shark infested waters!   

You need the receipt for when the vendor bought it,bills or receipts for work done or parts fitted,and a written and signed statement that the boat is free of finance and debt.

Be careful,and don't accept excuses for no paperwork.

Be prepared to walk away if things don't add up.

[Here speaks a man who has bought more than his share of  "Lemons"]

Slightly harsh re ebay ads but fully agree that you must be able to see paperwork that stacks up. £500 GRP project would be fine without but when handing over £34k, everything has to tally. Having bought and sold a few boats on ebay, it can work well as a marketplace for genuine sellers and buyers. A month long ad on there for a NB will get over 10k views, a few hundred watchers and plenty of leads, far more than Apollo Duck. And they're not all dreamers as the OP here is proving 

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2 hours ago, BilgePump said:

Paper trail. That is all there is. If there is a receipt for build or a sale some years back that would be reasonable. Has it been in the same marina for years? Do the neighbouyrs know the vendors? Do the marina staff have any info?  Any contract should declare that the craft is free from liabilities when sold but I don't think that there is something similar to an HPI clearance check for boats (others will know better).

 

I disagree. Get ID of the seller, in particular address verification. Go to their supposed house and see if they answer the door. Then do a LR check to see if they own it.

Then at least you know were to find them if they stitched you up, and that they have an asset to go after should you need to sure them for any reason.

Finding the seller really doers own the house they claim as their address gives one a lot of confidence when handing over £34k.

  • Greenie 1

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Okay, not all there is, but a start before you look at their passport and find out that they are Mr Mitty from Neverland. Completing part of the transaction at a home address, verifiable by LR would give a greater degree of confidence, granted. But, what of the CCer who only has a courtesy mailbox on land and wants to trade their boat? What about someone like me? I've lived in my home for a decade but I don't own it. Council bills, yes, but LR, sorry. The sum in question is far more than I have ever paid for a boat so I can only think that a belt, braces, wellies and sowester approach to verifying everything about the seller and the boat would be advisable.

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2 hours ago, Bobbybass said:

Hi all. As you may see from my profile, I have been on this site for some years and previously lived aboard a boat for 6 years.

Now....we are planning to buy another narrowboat to use for 4 week 'stints'.

Although I have had experience of this, my past two boats have been purchased from a broker. I now have 'my eye' on a boat on Ebay.

The owners claim to have carried out a great deal of works on this and they seem knowledgeable about it. I have no reason to doubt that they are genuine, however I could well hand over £34k to 2 people who may simply have borrowed a boat for a few weeks.. (hopefully not)

My question is...what advice do you have for me on this transaction to protect myself the best possible way. (I do not mean survey etc.)....I mean...what is there in the way of checking or contract that will put my mind at ease..?.

I guess that I should know the answer to this by now....but I'm asking for any ideas...as I don't.

Thanks all !

You are right to be cautious however as suggested papertrail and canal and river trust records etc. I personally have never bought a boat via a broker and have never been scammed, of course that doesn't mean it can't happen but if you keep your wits about you you should be ok. If you have records of the transaction and you know who the people are it is again unlikely to be a scam, I am assuming you don't literally mean cash you mean bank transfer this at least gives you proof of purchase and some proof of ownership. Consider asking them to prove ownership eg insurance details length of time at marina etc. If the people are genuine they will have a track record that goes back to the day they bought it themselves. Good luck and happy boating.

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23 minutes ago, LadyG said:

Which boat is it?

One like this gives you confidence, https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/58ft-Steel-Narrowboat/162886282417?hash=item25ecc76cb1:g:dgAAAOSwlv9adurF

others I ve seen on Ebay are obvious scammers.

I have seen adverts for boats for sale which have just been lifted adverts from when the boat was last sold with just the contact details changed, now don't take this the wrong way, but with the owner in your part of the world so unable to show people round.

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15 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

I disagree. Get ID of the seller, in particular address verification. Go to their supposed house and see if they answer the door. Then do a LR check to see if they own it.

Then at least you know were to find them if they stitched you up, and that they have an asset to go after should you need to sure them for any reason.

Finding the seller really doers own the house they claim as their address gives one a lot of confidence when handing over £34k.

There are so many exceptions to this though;  liveaboards, non-home owners, non-council tax payers etc.

16 minutes ago, Goliath said:

I recognise the marina.

It's Caen Hill. 

 

As it says in the description!

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My thoughts on the boat.  Woefully lacking in info in the description.  I'd guess its a late 80s boat judging by the style, condition and engine (Thornycroft BMC).  Not clear whether it's been replated or over plated.  If the former it's IMO worth about £25k at most.  If the latter £20k at the most.   Unless you're keen to have a mooring at Caen Hill I suppose.

Edited by Dave_P

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1 hour ago, Dave_P said:

There are so many exceptions to this though;  liveaboards, non-home owners, non-council tax payers etc.

 

Indeed, and for a nervous buyer scared of getting stitched up, theses sellers are higher risk than home owners.

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4 hours ago, Dave_P said:

Not clear whether it's been replated or over plated.

Quote from Ebay:- "Completely refurbished under the water line with a new 6mm base plate"

When someone says so little so nicely I'm always a bit more vigilant of what else they might not be saying. 

They might be very honest people, I don't know them, but that line jumped out at me as one of the first things I'd ask about & want to see paper work/ invoice/ receipt for.

That's my experience but I didn't get it from buying narrowboats so it may not be as relevant as I think in this case. :detective:

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1 hour ago, Tumshie said:

Quote from Ebay:- "Completely refurbished under the water line with a new 6mm base plate"

When someone says so little so nicely I'm always a bit more vigilant of what else they might not be saying. 

They might be very honest people, I don't know them, but that line jumped out at me as one of the first things I'd ask about & want to see paper work/ invoice/ receipt for.

That's my experience but I didn't get it from buying narrowboats so it may not be as relevant as I think in this case. :detective:

 

Me too. 6mm is unusually thin to use as a baseplate, especially if the old plate was cut out. 

My money is on it being welded on beneath the existing bseplate. The thin-ness being selected for weight reasons, to prevent the boat sitting too low in the water.

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14 hours ago, Tumshie said:

Quote from Ebay:- "Completely refurbished under the water line with a new 6mm base plate"

When someone says so little so nicely I'm always a bit more vigilant of what else they might not be saying. 

They might be very honest people, I don't know them, but that line jumped out at me as one of the first things I'd ask about & want to see paper work/ invoice/ receipt for.

That's my experience but I didn't get it from buying narrowboats so it may not be as relevant as I think in this case. :detective:

That bit looks specifically worded to give the impression it's be properly re-plated without actually saying so. If they've gone to the bother of putting on a whole new baseplate, why not do it properly and put something thicker on?

The more I think about it, the more I wouldn't go near this boat, especially at that price.

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This is very scary omg bring in 'BIN''

Boat Identification Register for inland water's..

Like a registration document.

Edited by brassedoff
Traceable in everyway/previous owner/new ownerz

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27 minutes ago, brassedoff said:

This is very scary omg bring in 'BIN''

Boat Identification Register for inland water's..

Like a registration document.

The boat should already have a registration number (plate) issue by the Navigation Authority, they will have all the records about who owned it etc, but there is no legal requirement for them to divulge the information to 'Fred who wants to buy it'.

 

There is always the Government run (with world wide acceptance) SSR (Small Ships Registration) where SSR part 1 tells you previous owners, if there is any mortgage on the boat etc & acts as legal proof of ownership .

SSR Part 3 is less formal just giving a worldwide accepted registration number and owners details but is not a legal proof of ownership.

 

The Inland Waterways population tends to be a little loathe to have too much official involvement in their way of life, and generally do not see the need for what you are looking for. SSR registration is seldom found on Steel Narrowboats, but is quite common for GRP Cruisers which have the capability to get onto 'big water'.

 

Here is the 'top-section' of my SSR certificate (personal details excluded)

image.png.5230ef049b43bcf8a477e9ac54781368.png

Edited by Alan de Enfield

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