Enjoy searching through classified boats for sale adverts in the hunt for their next boat purchase? Buying privately does bring a host of advantages

Many people enjoy searching through classified boats for sale adverts in the hunt for their next boat purchase, and buying privately does bring a host of advantages. Not only can it give both the buyer and seller a better deal, because there are no brokerage fees to pay, it also allows you to deal with the owner directly. You’ll be able to ask about the boat or equipment and, if you establish a good relationship with the seller, it may open up the door for you to ask questions after the purchase.

What are the concerns when buying a private boat?
When buying a boat privately, it is your responsibility to ensure the seller legally owns the boat. You will need to organise your own survey. It’s your responsibility to find out about the history of the boat and to understand any potential problems with the vessel. You’ll have to organise the paperwork yourself too, including any sales agreement contracts.

When buying anything from a private seller, you need to be especially aware of fraud. Click here to read more about how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud when buying a boat.

Some people prefer to buy a boat through a broker because they want support with the boat buying process.

Contacting a private boat seller
Your first interaction with the seller is important. If you get it right, you will be able to sidestep the most common problems associated with private boat sales.

The first thing you need to check is whether the boat is genuinely for sale. If it is, you should check that it’s accessible, clarify which equipment will be sold with the boat and find out if you can view it. A few preliminary questions will give you a sense of whether the seller is serious about selling their boat and if you’d like to view it.

Don’t forget to ask why the boat is being sold, as this may offer a helpful insight into the possible condition of the boat and give you an idea if the owner has taken care of the vessel.

You must check that the boat isn’t stolen. These two websites will help you to check this: www.stolenboats.org.uk and www.boatman.com/stolen.htm

Don’t forget the paperwork
When you buy from a boat broker, they will prepare and collate the necessary paperwork for you. When buying a private boat, you need to do this for yourself. You will be responsible for making sure you have a copy of paperwork such as VAT documentation, proof of ownership, registration documents, receipts for service and repairs and invoice and receipts for the purchase. It’s essential to have all the paperwork, not only for your records, but because you’ll need to pass this over if you sell your boat on.

There is help available; you can get a sales agreement template from the BMF, for example. The RYA is a great resource, offering guidance and paperwork templates to members on their website.

Click here to buy Yachting Monthly’s article on private yacht purchase, which outlines the pros and cons of buying a boat privately in more detail.

Disclaimer: The content above has been published for information purposes only. Whilst every effort has been made to provide accurate and up-to-date information, we strongly recommend that you consult the RYA or the BMF if you have specific questions or concerns about buying a boat.