When I wrote about our survey for a new-to-us boat ending after only a couple hours because deal killers were found, I had several questions about what Dave and I would consider to be deal killers.
To us, deal killers are things that could turn the boat into a money pit. Just because something is a big ticket repair doesn’t make it a deal killer if the seller is willing to lower the price to make it work and you’re willing to delay use of the boat while the repair is made. To us, deal killers are:
- Anything structural or a critical system where the repair cost can’t be estimated with a fair degree of certainty, or where the worst case scenario price can’t be known. (For example, if there are engine issues, it might not be possible to know if it can be repaired and what the cost would be, but you could get an estimate for repowering.) If you don’t know the top end number, you can’t negotiate a fair price.
- Anything where the estimated cost and renegotiated deal would take you over budget — either if money or in time. Don’t overlook the time element — how long are you willing to be without the use of the boat? Just because you can make the money work out doesn’t necessarily mean you should take on a major project! And some boats and projects will take you over your budget even if you got the boat for free . . .
- Anything that you’re just not sure could be fixed properly, or where you’re told “we’re just not sure what’s causing that.” These, in particular, are the things to run from!
When we began looking at boats, we had decided that while we might be willing to take on a few small, well-defined projects to make an almost-perfect boat into the perfect one, we didn’t want any major projects. We don’t want to lose a year of cruising (or more), we don’t want to spend next winter in a boatyard and we don’t want to spend our time trying to manage a refit from 1500 miles away.
And we certainly didn’t want a boat where needed repairs couldn’t be estimated because “we can’t tell what has to be done until we tear it apart.” That sounded too much like a bottomless money pit to us.
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