We believe that sales of re-possessed vessels along with the level of inventory of available boats will increase throughout 2018 and beyond. One person's financial misfortune can create opportunities for a prepared buyer. Here are a few things to consider.
- Most repo boats are sold as is, where is, with no warranty provided. Sometimes sellers will make sure the engines are running at the time of inspection but there are no guarantees after that. This may mean that you will be breaking out your towing membership card on the day of possession.
- Repo boats come in all grades of quality from pristine yachts to undesirable wrecks. Pictures rarely tell the true story as they can be older or sistership photos. If you live a long way from the boat we recommend hiring a marine surveyor to do a walk through before getting on that jet plane.
- Once the deal is sealed, most sellers want the vessel out of their hair immediately. That means arrangements for a haul out or a marina for berthing should be made in advance to avoid fees and delays.
- The selling prices usually reflect 85% of NADA or BUC valuations. Further discounts are expected to compensate for lack of history. Remember, most repo vessels have not had proper maintenance or upkeep which can add to the expense once the new owner starts playing "catch up".
- If you are considering an inspected vessel, be sure the paperwork is available. Do not expect the Coast Guard agencies to provide you with stability tests, certificates of inspection or other documentation. If the proper paperwork is not in order, you may have to spend a lot of time, money and sweat before you earn your first passenger dollar.
- Not all repos are consensual transactions. Unhappy owners about to lose their boat have been known to chain prop shafts to pilings, rip out electronics or other vital systems before re-possession. Collateral repairs can add up into the thousands of dollars. Be prepared for that.
- Hire a good marine surveyor. This is your best bet to avoid a good deal becoming a horrible nightmare. The small cost that a surveyor charges will sometimes save thousands over the long haul.
- Bid low but don't be unreasonable. You can expect resistance from sellers when they see the "lowball" offer.
- Playing the repo game takes time. Expect delays in weeks rather than days when waiting for an answer on a bid. If you can't get the boat you want right away, keep looking. Make it fun even though it can be challenging. Do your homework and you just might find a very nice boat at a great price. Good luck.