Negative Boat Buying Experience

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blair's picture
Joined: 2/7/12
Posts: 250
Negative Boat Buying Experience

Anyone ever have one?
I just gave broker final check, and once check clears, I should take delivery within the next few days.
I have been dreaming about this moment for a long time, and I really should be excited, but I am not.
I almost don't even care if I get this boat or not.
I have found this boat buying process to be one of the most unpleasant experiences that I have ever had.
Does it get better after ownership?

Blair White
2004 C36 MKII # 2169 "Dash"
Pacific Beach, CA

Capt. Sam's picture
Capt. Sam
Joined: 2/22/10
Posts: 321

Blair, So sorry that its been a bad experience for you. I've been through it only twice now. The first one was an older 36 ft Pearson that was clean but as the survey progressed and the problems revealed themselves, I fell out of love. After reading the detailed report, I took the option to collect my deposit, pay the surveyor and the haul out charge and move on. Out about a thousand, I still breathed a sigh of relief.
But my purchase of my Catalina 36 was very different. I had a good broker who is a friend, a good surveyor and the owner and his friend that helped us take the boat out for sea trial were all cordial. The boat had only minor issues and The negotiations got a little testy over some of the details but it all worked out amicably and I was happy to get the boat. If you haven't closed on the deal yet, you should still be able to opt out. If you have closed, I hope you are just having a little buyer's remorse that goes away when you're out having a beautiful sail.
Boat ownership is a mixed blessing for sure. I hope you feel differently soon.

Best of luck and we're all here to help.

Capt. Sam Murphy
1994 Catalina 36, Hull 1327
Shoal draft, two cabin model.
Panama City, Florida

stu jackson c34's picture
stu jackson c34
Joined: 12/3/08
Posts: 1270


Congratulations. You'll love your new boat.

Consider buying a house. Is it much different? Lots of little steps make up the entire experience.

From your multiple earlier posts, it seems like you've already learned a lot.

With a boat, it never ends. :)

We look forward to your continuing contributions to this site.

Stu Jackson, C34IA Secretary, C34 #224, 1986, SR/FK, M25 engine, Rocna 10 (22#)

baysailor2000's picture
Joined: 5/16/10
Posts: 218

Yes - the process of buying a boat may not be fun, but you will soon forget when you gather memories of all the trips you took with photos to remind you. You may have to invest some more in her after you discover minor items that must be done to improve its performance and look. Then you will have separation anxiety when you have to leave her at the dock and go home. Do not stop now... and delete the word "Future" from your signature.

Haro Bayandorian, 1999 C36 MKII, Sail La Vie #1787, M35B,
Coyote Point, San Mateo, CA.

caprice 1050
Joined: 7/1/07
Posts: 345

Caprice is my 17th boat over the last 61 years including my first 15 foot rowboat that I bought with my paper route money. Each time I had the same feeling which lasted about the ten minutes or until I went sailing. Then the pride of ownership takes over and I start looking around and thinking about what I should add to the boat, change color, new electronics, more sails. etc.

When leaving the boat tied up at the marina and walking away from the dock every boat owner stops and looks back and thinks, "Man am I Lucky to have a boat like this." My sailboat is moored at my dock behind my house so every morning when I get up it's the first thing I look at and the last thing before I go into the bedroom at night.

__/)__/)__/)__Capt Mike__/)__/)__/)__
Punta Gorda Florida
1990 Std WK M35 Hull #1050

Steve Frost's picture
Steve Frost
Joined: 12/14/07
Posts: 788


It will get better, a twinge of buyers remorse is not uncommon.

I have felt this in the past as well and deal with it in my occupation on a regular basis. I work in the aircraft maintenance business and find myself in the middle of sales surveys. Aircraft like boats often involve a lot of emotion in the purchase as the aquisition is more often driven by passion than need.

It is often a bad position for our shop as the seller wants a big bag of money, the buyer wants a shinney near perfect vessel and the person doing the inspection is a bad guy with the seller if he finds too many problems. For this reason many shops will not complete pre-purchase surveys, they can become far more involved than normal inspection and maintenance due to the conflicting expectations of the two parties in the transaction.

Brokers put them selves in this position and over time can become calloused to the sensitive nature of these transactions. A good broker will be able to put the deal together with enough empathy to minimize the buyers remorse and just leave the joy of the new toy and maybe a lot of not so joyous monthly payments.

Cepheus dream
C36 MK I # 825
MK I Tech Editor No Mas

bboggs's picture
Joined: 6/22/08
Posts: 144

[QUOTE=blair;14085]Anyone ever have one?
I just gave broker final check, and once check clears, I should take delivery within the next few days.
I have been dreaming about this moment for a long time, and I really should be excited, but I am not.
I almost don't even care if I get this boat or not.
I have found this boat buying process to be one of the most unpleasant experiences that I have ever had.
Does it get better after ownership?[/QUOTE]

There aren't too many really good boat brokers out there from what I've seen. I also think its a bit natural to have a touch of buyers remorse when you make a big purchase like a boat.

I do think it will get better, but only if you are the type that will let it. If you are the type to dwell on past negative experinces it could well cloud your entire ownership experience.

Good Luck, C36's are great boats so I hope your's quickly grows on you.

Bill Boggs
s/v Palmetto Moon
1991 C36, Hull 1128
Herrington Harbor South
Chesapeake Bay

pmeyers's picture
Joined: 9/26/10
Posts: 117

I'ven following your posts to see how things turned out in your purchase. I am sorry that you don't feel good about it right now, but hopefully that will change quickly. We had a really difficult time working with two brokers, our representative and the owner's. They were both so indifferent to the process and disorganized that they continually strung it out and made it painful. Our relief came when the boat became ours and everyone else was out of the picture. We didn't allow the broker experience to color our feelings about the boat. It's been great from that point forward. Congratulations; it sounds like you got a helluva boat.

Paul Meyers
1986 Catalina 36
Hull #615
Ventura, California

blair's picture
Joined: 2/7/12
Posts: 250

Thanks everyone.
No buyers remorse here.
It has just been a very unpleasant experience working with the broker.

Blair White
2004 C36 MKII # 2169 "Dash"
Pacific Beach, CA

ProfDruhot's picture
Joined: 2/8/09
Posts: 354

Blair, I am quite sure you will grow to love this boat. The admiral and I learned a valuable lesson when we purchased our bat a few years ago. The day after we took delivery I noticed two items were conspicuously missing from the boat. the first was the cockpit cushions and the second was the remote control for the autopilot. When I asked our broker about them the very first thing he said was [I]"Well Glenn, let's see if they were on the listing." [/I]Sure enough, when we took a look at the original listing neither item was on the list. Now, think of how petty it was that the PO kept the flimsy cockpit cushions. I guess it is just the principle of the matter. Both of those items were on the boat when we were looking at it. Oh well, ces't le vie, a lesson learned. On our next boat we will check for every single listed to ensure it is in fact coming with the boat.

Hope you enjoy your boat like all of us do Blair!

Glenn Druhot
Carpe Diem
New Bern, NC
35* 6' 10" N / 77* 2' 30" W
2001 C36, Hull #1965
Std Rig; Wing Keel; M35B

Laura's picture
Joined: 12/23/07
Posts: 150

Love my boat and broker (in that order of course!)

Laura Olsen
Commodore C36/375IA
S/V Miramar
hull 938 (MKI 1989, TR,WK, M25xp)
Edgemere, MD

Solla Sollew
Joined: 7/9/08
Posts: 73

I suppose I was lucky. I was a first time prospective boat owner but the salesman and broker were both patient and respectful in spite of my naivety.

At the time, boat was not in pristine condition but the transaction was quickly & professionally consummated and my C36 has truly become a second home to me & my family. I couldn’t be happier. Soon, you’ll feel the same too.

I recall, some seven years later, that right after I wrote my all my checks and signed all the papers, the broker, Ron, gave me some advice. He said, more/less, “Now that you own the boat, just use it.” It was good advice.

Use it!

It’s been more then a few years but they’re still in the industry so a belated thank you to Ron Creager & Tim Haapenen, of Sunny Coast Yachts, Channel Islands Harbor, Oxnard Ca.

Marc & Susan Garcia
"Solla Sollew" #1473, Mk.II
 San Buenaventura, Ca.

Nimue's picture
Joined: 6/23/09
Posts: 429

My experience, and I count a couple of brokers among my friends, is that most boat brokers are totally clueless about the boats they represent, especially with sailboats. Even some brokers who I think are pretty good sailors are often WAY out to lunch on fundamental stuff like whether a boat is cored/uncored, short/tall rig, deep/shoal keel, etc.

Sailboats are cheap, relatively. A 36' powerboat with the level of finish of my Catalina is probably worth 2-2.5x what my boat is worth. Most brokers IMHO perceive that it is not worth their time to put any effort in to selling boats below $100k.

Both of my boats (a Ranger 29 and a Catalina 36) have been bought privately without brokers, and I sold the Ranger on Craigslist also (and made money on it after 4 years!). When I was shopping for the Catalina, the first thing I did was enlist a buyer's broker on my own behalf. Any boat I looked at that was represented by a yacht broker, I just had MY broker contact the seller, rather than go direct. This meant I got to deal with a guy that I liked and trusted, and never had to get the BS runaround from the sellers broker. I don't know why anyone would deal with the brokerage game (that's what it is) without a broker working on their side. It doesn't cost any extra, the brokers split the commission in the same way as if you were buying a house.

I will admit that on the 36, the private deal ended up a bit stressful, as the financial transaction had to happen on a certain schedule, across a border, and the boat was 6 hours away by car, etc etc, and a good broker could have eased that pain.

Jason V
Vancouver, BC, Canada

dejavu's picture
Joined: 11/6/08
Posts: 433

I was very fortunate when I bought my current 36. The boat was well maintained by the PO and was in perfect condition. There was no personal property to argue about since the PO stripped EVERYTHING to put on his new C 42. The only major item was removing their watermaker. Buying through the local Catalina dealer helped since they had good people handy to take care of that. All in all, a great experience.


Deja Vu
1991 MK I # 1106
Marina del Rey, CA

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