How To Buy A Yacht – Understanding The Process

You’ve thought about it for years… buying a boat of your own to explore your local waterways, take friends out, do the “Great Loop,” take on some coastal cruising, or maybe even sail around the world. Now that you’re ready to find the perfect boat for your dreams, where do you start?

Buying a Boat: The General Process

Every boat purchase is unique, but here’s how it usually works:

1) Identify your needs:

  • What are your boating goals? Local exploration? Coastal cruising building up to longer passages? The “Great Loop”?
  • Power or sail
  • Size range
  • Number of berths/heads
  • Budget
  • Your unique non-negotiables (cockpit enclosures, dual helms, draft restrictions, mast height descriptions, fuel consumption, galley location, etc.)
  • How far (geographically) are you willing to travel if we find the right boat in another location?
  • Timeframe to purchase a boat

2) Find the perfect broker for you! Every Yacht Broker is unique, with their own style and experience. We pride ourselves on a diverse group of brokers with differing backgrounds out on the water, whether it’s cruising, fishing, racing, or bluewater sailing. Meet our team here

3) As we begin searching, we’ll likely send some listings your way to review, looking for feedback in order to narrow down options. Explore our listings here

4) As you look at listings, and eventually boats, we’ll continue to narrow the search until we’ve found the perfect fit.

5) Based on the current market alongside sold boat comps., boat condition, and a few additional factors, your broker will help you make an offer on the boat. This is when things get exciting!

6) Once any negotiations are complete, buyer and seller agreeing on a purchase price, a contract will be completed by your broker. This contract (the Purchase and Sale Agreement) will define all terms including purchase price, the date by which you will accept or reject the boat, and the date you intend to close.

7) When the contract has been signed by buyer, seller, and broker (confirming receipt of the buyer’s deposit,) we’re ready to schedule a sea trial and survey. Your broker will assist in arranging these while coordinating with the selling broker, seller, surveyor of your choosing, captain, and boatyard.

8) Your Yacht Broker (functioning as your Buyer’s Representative) will attend the survey and sea trial with you or in your stead if need be. We’re there to assist as needed, whether that means helping during the sea trial, explaining things that the surveyor addresses, or anything else to make the day as smooth & enjoyable as possible.

9) Once you receive your survey report, you’ll have the opportunity to accept the boat as is, reject the boat, or re-negotiate if necessary. Your broker is experienced, and can advise no matter which you choose. Should you accept, we will begin the closing process. If you decide it just isn’t the right boat for you, your deposit is returned in full. If further negotiation is necessary, your broker will advise and handle any necessary paperwork to do so.

10) Now that you’ve found the right boat, surveyed it, and are ready to move forward, it’s time to close. Closings can range from simple to quite complicated, depending on a few factors. These factors can include, but certainly aren’t limited to insurance, financing, documentation, registration, and movement of closing funds. Ashley Yachts has been in the brokerage business for over 40 years, so we’ve seen most every scenario possible. Your broker will ensure that closing is done smoothly and correctly, avoiding the possibility of any future headaches.

11) Post-closing, you’ll have a few things to figure out! Our job isn’t over once the bills of sale are in your hands. If the boat is located afar, you’ll have to get her home. You may need help arranging work on your boat, finding a place to dock, and maybe even some local waterway knowledge. We’re here to help, whether it’s days, months, or even years after buying a boat, so give us a call!

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3 Lockwood Drive, Ste. 302B
Charleston, SC 29401