When buying a boat you always want to be certain that the boat you think you are buying is the boat that you are actually buying. This doesn’t just mean having a professional glance over the boat, it also means knowing what red flags to look out for when scanning for sale ads and talking to sellers. Today we’re taking a look at five of the biggest red flags that you should be watching for.

Buying a Boat: 5 Red Flags to Watch Out For Before Buying

1. Inaccurate Pricing

When you find a boat that you are interested in, that boat will be advertised for a specific price OR you will be asked to make an offer.

If the boat is listed for a specific price and when you go to view the boat or finalize your purchase, the seller increases that price, this is a red flag.

If you make an offer on a boat and that offer is accepted, but when you go to finalize the purchase, the seller asks for more than the offer that was previously accepted, this is a red flag.

It is possible that a published advertisement has a misprint, but when you speak with a seller in-depth about the boat in question, they have the opportunity to correct this mistake. However, when you make an offer on a boat and the seller accepts that offer, they are obligated to be true to their word. Any seller who tries to increase their asking price after accepting your offer is unethical and deceptive. It’s worth noting that a seller who is willing to go back on their word is a seller who is likely to deceive you about other things as well.

2. Buying Sight Unseen

This is a common-sense tip, but you’d be surprised at how many sellers try to convince buyers that, for one reason or another, they need to sell quickly and they are unable to meet up for a viewing. This is often accompanied by an offer to knock down the price of the boat due to the “inconvenience” you have been caused. The discount offered on this “deal” is usually enough to make a buyer forget their common sense and to consider buying the vessel sight unseen.

This is a brazen scam and unfortunately, a number of people get taken advantage of in this way. You should NEVER make any significant purchase sight unseen, even if you’re promised a significant discount.

3. Not Using Your Own Surveyor

When it comes to buying your boat, you want to have the vessel looked over and surveyed properly, but if the seller tries to convince you that they have someone who can do the job, be wary. It’s not unusual for scammers to employ friends or family to pose as professionals. These friends then certify that the boat is in “ship shape” so that you feel comfortable buying from the seller. In actuality, this friend of the seller knows nothing about boats or they knowingly “certify” a vessel that’s in awful shape in order to get you to purchase it.

When considering purchasing a vessel, you should always have an independent surveyor or inspector look over the vessel before purchase. This way you can be sure that the certification a boat receives is a genuine certification from someone who is qualified to do the job and not someone who is in cahoots with a scammer!

4. Get a Surveyor Who Knows the Vessel You Want to Purchase

Not every surveyor is knowledgable about every type of boat or every model of boat. At Boat Hound we have a vast network of professional surveyors at our disposal for this very reason. We want to be sure that you get a professional opinion on a vessel you are interested in by someone who knows that vessel.

Why is it important to use a surveyor who knows that vessel? Because they know what to look for. They are familiar with the particular issues common to specific makes and models of vessel. For example, if a particular vessel is well known for having oil problems, the surveyor will know to specifically look for this when they view the vessel.

5. Boat Sellers Who Make it Difficult to View the Whole Vessel

When you commit to making any large purchase, you deserve to know exactly what you are getting for your money. You have every right to see and inspect every inch of any vessel that you are considering purchasing. Any seller who invites you to inspect the vessel but who makes it difficult to do that could be hiding something. Often, this is done by having items on the deck of the boat that is inconvenient to move. The seller is relying on you not to want to “inconvenience” them by asking them to move these items. Ask them! If the seller won’t move these items, move them yourself assuming that it’s safe to do so. Check to see if there is any damage to the vessel that was being covered up. If you don’t feel that it’s safe to move these items, walk away. There’s likely a good reason that the seller didn’t move these items and that they were reluctant to move them when asked.

Buying a Boat: 5 Red Flags to Watch Out For Before Buying

If you are looking for boat inspection and verification services to ensure that you get the exact boat that you’re looking for, Boat Hound can help. To arrange your inspection or verification, start by visiting our boat inspection services page and let our team of professionals take it from there.

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