As we're sure you're already aware, buying a yacht at any point in your lifetime is a weighty decision, which often involves a vast sum of money and ongoing costs to also consider.
Exactly what type of yacht you buy will be entirely dependant on your budget and, of course, what you intend to use it for.
Before you buy a yacht, we strongly recommend that you set a maximum budget of the amount you can afford to spend up to, before going to view it.
Also remember that if you're buying a used yacht, you should allow up to a further 50% of the cost again, to pay for potential repairs and a refit if needed.
Before going to view the yacht, ask how it was used, the condition it's in and if the seller has all the relevant paperwork. State that you would like to see all relevant documentation on your visit.
1) THOROUGHLY CHECK THE DOCUMENTATION
First thing's first, you don't want to buy a yacht from someone who doesn't have permission to sell it. Likewise you don't want to buy a yacht from anyone has who previous debt attributed to it.
Boats and Outboards
strongly recommends you check for the appropriate documentation before you even go and view the vessel. You may get emotionally attached otherwise and overlook important documents that are needed to complete a legitimate sale.
Prior to viewing the yacht, ask if the seller actually owns the boat and is therefore permitted to sell it in the first place. Ask for the VAT status and whether the boat has any outstanding debts, such as a mortgage, loans or interest still outstanding.
If the owner never registered their vessel, this can make things a little more difficult. If this is the case, you can still ask them for proof of ownership from when the boat was first built, up until today's date. You can also ask for evidence of all the mooring fees that should have been paid, repair receipts, insurance doc's and anything else that will indicate that no debts are attached.
If these documents are lost or cannot be found, this can really hold up the sale being completed and can sometimes mean that the sale can't go ahead at all.
The VAT status of a vessel is especially important as you may not be able to sell your boat in the future, this may seem a million years away right now but we assure you, that time will come.
2) VIEW THE YACHT
This may sound too obvious, but you'd be amazed of the stories we hear of buyers who never actually went to view their yacht and based their entire judgement on telephone calls and photos.
We would recommend going to physically view the boat at least twice, as your first visit can be overwhelming and exciting and you can easily miss things. Going away and thinking about it will also give you time to write down a list of questions or things to check for, that you perhaps didn't the first time around.
If you are limited by time or perhaps travelling distance, then be sure to view the yacht for as long as you need and ensure that you take a friend or two, especially if they too happen to own a yacht themselves.
3) CHECK FOR SIGNS OF DAMAGE
The level at which you can asses for damage and the working order of the yacht is of course dependant on your level of boating expertise, but everyone can check for the obvious.
Initially, you can easily assess the condition of the the gel coat, the wood work and the upholstery. Look closely at the control cables and ensure that the transmission and steering moves freely. Take a look closely at all of the hatches and if you see any water stains this may suggest that they're no longer water tight.
If you're spending a lot of money on a yacht and you're no expert, we'd strongly recommend spending a small initial amount of money on a professional surveyor, certified by NAMS or SAMS.
If you buy through a broker, you should make sure an indemnity is given as to the boats condition.
Lots of insurance companies will want to know the condition of the vessel and a surveyor will certainly help with this. Not to mention that a survey can also help with your final decision on the fair price you should pay for the yacht.
4) TAKE IT FOR A TEST SAIL
We strongly advise that you take the yacht in question for a test sail out on the water.
This is very common in the boating world, especially for bigger boats and yachts.
If the broker or owner is selling the boat for genuine reasons, they will understand this and you can use this time to assess that everything is working as it should. If the seller is reluctant to allow you a test sail, we would be very dubious as to why.
On the test drive, check that the steering is responsive and that all of the instruments are working as they should. If something seems wrong, don't be afraid to question it.
5) AGREE A LEGAL CONTRACT
If you've viewed the yacht, checked it thoroughly, perhaps had a survey and have ensured that you will be receiving all of the needed documentation, and you are still 100% confident about buying it, now is the time to make your offer.
Once you have settled upon a price, agree that you will write up an 'acceptance of vessel' contract, this doesn't have to be too formal but should include the agreed price and deposit, condition and any items and extras that will be included.
It goes without saying, don't go beyond the price you set yourself at the beginning and assess how much you may need to spend on repairs since you've viewed the yacht.
It's not required by law, but Boats and Outboards highly encourage that boat buyers get a receipt and contract from their sale, whether buying privately or through a broker.
This can be a life saver if there are any disagreements after the sale is complete.
5) SECURE THE DEAL WITH A DEPOSIT
So you've agreed that you are buying the yacht and it's time to go and sort out insurance and where you will be keeping it etc. Be sure that before you leave, you seal the deal by leaving a deposit for the boat.10% is the normal amount, but this can be negotiated by the buyer.
Make sure you ask for a receipt for this too. A deposit can often be a large sum of money and surprisingly, many believe they have secured a deal with only a verbal agreement.
6) CHECK YOU HAVE EVERYTHING ON COMPLETION
Once you've completed the sale, you should ensure that you get the bills of sale going back up to 5 years, if the boat was registered then you should get the certificate of registry, proof of the vessel's VAT status and proof of RCD compliance from the appropriate navigation authority.
Keep all of these documents safe as they're not always the easiest to replace!
7) GET THE MOST FROM YOUR NEW TOY AND ENJOY!
Once you've purchased your yacht, be sure to allow enough time to go out on it as much as you can and certainly don't be embarrassed to have some private tuition if you are a bit of an amateur, or join a yacht club.
Most importantly, it's time to name your new vessel! Once you've decided on a shiny new name, check out some vinyl graphic companies, such as boatnameguy.com, for a quality boat name design and professional service!
Enjoy your time spent on the water and be safe!