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Buying a used boat...Dealer vs. private party

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  • Buying a used boat...Dealer vs. private party

    Hello,

    First of all let me thank you for a great forum filled with such friendly, knowledgeable people.

    I am looking to buy my first boat. My budget is very limited. I am searching Craigslist and have found some interesting offers. I also came across two old boats being sold by a dealer.

    I realize anything I can afford will more than likely have problems. I also know that without the money for a survey I am buying at my own risk. What I do not know is the atmosphere surrounding boat dealers.

    If a used boat dealer says a floor is solid is that the same as a used car person saying it was only driven by a little old lady to church on the weekends? Would you trust a dealer more than a private party sale? How much can you haggle with a dealer vs. a private sale?

    Any help would be appreciated. I only live 2 blocks from Lake Saint Clair and if I don't get on the water this year for some fishing and some fun I just might go crazy!

    Thanks again!


  • #2
    Re: Buying a used boat...Dealer vs. private party

    Welcome to iboats jsonnebe, best boating site on the net

    If a dealer told me that a used boats deck is solid I would still follow due diligence and thoroughly inspect it prior to purchase. The same applies if buying from a private party in my opinion.

    Are you looking for aluminum or 'glass? I keep an eye on the michigan listings myself since I'm looking for a kicker bracket and a used Minn Kota bow-mount.

    Plenty of nice old rigs available. I lucked out on my 16' SS last November($1000 w/ trailer and 80hp Merc) and I'm very happy with the purchase, so I'm sure you will find a good deal out there somewhere.
    sigpic
    '79 16' Starcraft SuperSport
    12' AeroCraft '55 Johnson 5.5hp
    Starcraft brochures thread

    Comment



    • #3
      Re: Buying a used boat...Dealer vs. private party

      I think your best bang for the buck would be private, reason why is the dealer has a margin to meet, and due to the economy there are people trying to flip thier toys to pay the bills, as was said, keep your eyes on CL.
      home is where we drop anchor

      Comment



      • #4
        Re: Buying a used boat...Dealer vs. private party

        remember this always...a dealer sells boats to make money...he doesnt do it to clean out his garage or make his wife happy...or to be friends.

        that said he is in buisness and has some legal responsibility that a private sale might not.

        other wise...I think the best deal you can find...will be a private sale..

        either because the economy is bad and the owner cant afgford it or needs cash to pay other bills.

        or he needs to get rid of somethign that doesnt want in his life any more.

        the absolute best deals are found my knowledgable boat people and bought from people who just want the boat gone...and care about little else...

        they might not know the value or they dont even care..

        some boats went away to teh back yard because of a non running status...

        other went away running perfect, but for what ever reason , stopped getting used.

        if you are not mechainically inclined and or a REAL outboard motor newbie... a dealer could save you in the long run... with some kind of warranty...

        and his reputaton( if he has a good one)

        if you can read a little and have time and patience....

        you could check out any future boat with the IBoats forums...

        there are stickys to help the used boat buyer..

        good luck

        bob

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        • #5
          Re: Buying a used boat...Dealer vs. private party

          some used dealers will give you a short warranty--just enough for a trial period. They also might know more about the boat amd its repair history, and be able to fix those "as is" things you are otherwise willing to accept. That dealer might also be a good resource for future repairs especially if you giv ehim some business up front--tune up, water pump replacement, carbsm, etc. or buy equipment (life preservers, etc) from him.
          A liar is a liar whether a dealer or a private seller. Likewise a person who doesn't know what he's talking about. I believe in gut feeling about the seller as an important criterion.
          A man of constant boat tinkering.

          Comment



          • #6
            Re: Buying a used boat...Dealer vs. private party

            Never been impressed by a used car or boat dealer. Although they want to make sales, they are not motivated like a private seller who just wants the thing gone. Believe boat consignment sales commissions are usually 10 %. Also, dont know how much you want to spend, dealer is required to charge full sales tax. Private sales are taxed a bit different. I always give a few receipts reflecting the true sale price, ( whatever the buyer want to declare ). If its real low, I put on the receipt things like, as is, buyer aware of hole in boat or rod sticking out of motor. How many time can they tax a boat anyway? FRED

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            • #7
              Re: Buying a used boat...Dealer vs. private party

              In order of preference...

              Best... Private sale from known person

              private sale from unknown or sale from known dealer (tie)

              sale from unknown dealer

              worst... consignment from unknown dealer

              If the dealer has a warantee, then they go to the top of the list both trust and cost wise.

              I found my boat by driving around a lake in the area (Newago, Michigan area, in my case) - private individual. My previous boat was purchased on consignment thru a dealer who was selling it for a guy who bought a boat from him. Bad mistake, compounded by my ignorance. The only thing going for it was the price ($1000). I survived a year with it and then passed it off on someone else. My strongest recomendation is to check it over very carefully. As a minimum, see it run, check the lower unit, inspect the hull very carefully. Better yet, try it on the water, especially if it is a fiberglass boat. See why the individual is selling it. Make sure it makes sense. Get a friend to look it over. Do not fall in love with a boat just to get something bought.

              Check Craigslist. In the local paper, we also have cheap item adds (under $1000 price).

              TerryMSU

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              • #8
                Re: Buying a used boat...Dealer vs. private party

                If the price was right, I would buy from a reputable dealer before anyone else. They have a reputation to uphold, and, in today's Internet world, a reputation can be tarnished easily and by anyone with a few well placed reviews. If the boat is not as advertised, you also have a solvent party you can find and go after. I would still get the boat surveyed by a third party though before putting any meaningful amount of money into any used boat.

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                • #9
                  Re: Buying a used boat...Dealer vs. private party

                  When I asked about testing the motor/drive on a used boat, the dealer
                  salesman told me they would start up the motor for a couple seconds just
                  to show that it starts, and that was all. They won't guarantee the motor and
                  drive unit beyond that because guys take the boats out and push them
                  beyond what they should.

                  So, I have bought used from private owners, all the same.

                  As far as the floor goes, a floor can be good, but if you get 250 pounds
                  jumping up and down on it, well, shows how a test can become abusive.

                  I guess the same concept applies to a new owner taking a boat out and
                  running it too hard for too long. Maybe the dealers are right.

                  Ain't no perfection anywhere, except for when cruising in the boat.
                  Good luck!
                  sigpic

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                  • #10
                    Re: Buying a used boat...Dealer vs. private party

                    I think you can get the "best" deal from a private party. But you have to know what you are looking at. NEVER "trust" what is being said about the boat. Look at it for your self. If you don't know that much about a boat then take a friend that does. Or take it to some shop and have it checked out. It might cost you a little $$$$ to do that but it just might save you some in the long run. And NEVER buy one without test driving it. Big mistake!!!! Well thats my $.02 for what it is worth.
                    sigpic "Spend a little money, save a lot of time"

                    Comment



                    • #11
                      Re: Buying a used boat...Dealer vs. private party

                      Originally posted by TerryMSU View Post
                      In order of preference...

                      Best... Private sale from known person

                      private sale from unknown or sale from known dealer (tie)

                      sale from unknown dealer

                      worst... consignment from unknown dealer
                      I have to disagree on this one. If you want to stay friends never buy a big ticket item from a friend.
                      Thats like wiping your butt before you go. You can do it, but it just don't make any sense.

                      Comment



                      • #12
                        Re: Buying a used boat...Dealer vs. private party

                        You have to give both a look. My first pontoon was private and turned out to be a bad deal. My second was through a dealer. The boat had damage and was an insurance deal. That dealer has been great to deal with for parts and even more so, information. Honesty and reputation is everything.
                        Ray

                        Never take instruction from a guy with missing fingers.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Buying a used boat...Dealer vs. private party

                          My take on this is that if you are buying new or close to new go with a dealer who will have to back up what he sells you. There just are not many private sellers who are selling there next to new boat for no reason.

                          If you are looking for something older the the best deals are allways those where there is some known issue that you can fix yourself. Not to be confused with people who claim that there problems are an easy fix but for some reason don't fix them themselves.

                          My boat had some starting issues but had good compression. After a new distributer, battery, points/condenser, and setting the timing and dwell it starts and runs like a champ. Now I have a nice 17' Chris craft for $1800 that runs well, and hits 50 MPH (well just once to see how fast it can go).

                          Of course we all know you will never find a "deal" at a dealer. They know what there stuff is worth.
                          Most people are going to do whatever they want. What I find entertaining is how people justify what they do!!

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                          • #14
                            Re: Buying a used boat...Dealer vs. private party

                            everything is dynamic.

                            a super large long time dealer maybe the only dealer for miles and he is doing great business because he is a perfect location, reguardless if he is a crook or not..

                            some people have more money than brains and you take a rich part of the country on the shorline and the rich just keep feeding a guy business not knowing what everyone else has gone through..

                            now days on the ct shore you would not believe what it would cost to open a new boat dealership on shore!!!! insane

                            so the guy that got the business from his dad and is a complete rip off artist is doing great!! because of no competition and location.


                            I also agree that buying a big ticket item from a friend is a big rish for the friendship..like borrowing money....dont so it.

                            I would walk away from any DEALER that has a used boat but wont let you test drive it....

                            plus a used late late model boat is a great deal...because if you think a car depreciates the minute you drive it off the lot, you know a boat is way worse!!!



                            bob

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                            • #15
                              Re: Buying a used boat...Dealer vs. private party

                              Thanks all for the great advice and discussion. Most seem to suggest a test drive. Dumb question: How do you test drive a boat in February in Michigan? If you wait till open water don't you run the risk of paying the spring prices everyone threatens in their ad...(if it don't sell now I will charge $500 more in spring...etc...)

                              What is a fair price for someone to inspect a boat under $1000 and where do you find such a service?

                              Comment

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