Boat Buying Blues: Finding and Buying Our Cabo Rico 38

We really loved a certain Cabo Rico 38 we had seen before we listed Independence. So, as soon as we sold Independence, we made a marketplace offer on her. Oh, how happy the sellers would be to finally sell a boat that had been listed for 9 months, especially since they already own their "new" boat! 

Yes, but. 

Welcome to buyer's despair. The sellers didn't want to negotiate the price.

Back to the drawing board....

There's approximately 1 trillion boats listed for sale. We're pretty difficult though and had narrowed our search to just Cabo Rico 38's. We didn't like the ones with new engines because the sellers had done shoddy jobs and we'd wind up paying the "new" engine price and then putting in a new-new engine the right way. In fact, seller interference with perfectly good boats is a huge problem for us buyers. We found a reason to reject all the boats listed. 

For instance, this boat featured "a new engine" and was ready "to take us around the world" for "just $89,000". It appeared to be in the process of sinking. 
Sail away condition! 
Matt posted to a Facebook owner's group, asking if anyone wanted to sell us their boat. I was against this tactic as surely a boat that was for sale would be publicly for sale, Facebook only exists for evil, and everyone wants too much money for their 30 yr old boats anyway. 

Remarkably, an owner contacted us and listed a very reasonable asking price. We drove to Virginia, saw the boat, and walked away with a handwritten listing. 
Hastings checking out the new boat. 
We consulted my very complicated spreadsheet and came up with a full price offer, which (thankfully!) was accepted. It was now Dec 19 and we scheduled the survey for after Christmas. Finding the surveyor was easy: we are lucky enough to have knowledgeable friends in the area. Thanks for the recommendation, Max! 

Survey day was remarkably pleasant. The weather was nice. The sea trial went well and we didn't break the boat or injure ourselves. We verbally accepted the boat and agreed to meet in 1 week to close the deal. The surveyor listed 5 items to fix (fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, electrical upgrades). 
Starboard side settee
Port Side Settee (and sea berth)
On Deck 
Survey Haul
Sea Trial!

Matt sitting on the starboard side quarter berth / guest room / battery compartment / nav station. Galley is to port.
We left our car in Virginia, rented a minivan, drove back to Florida, emptied our storage unit, and drove back to Virginia. (We drove about 4000 miles for this boat in all!) 

I had already gotten the title search from the Coast Guard (even though they were shut down). Matt sent the survey to our insurance agent and organized our insurance. I prepared all the purchase documents from our hotel room. We met the sellers at our bank, had the bill of sale notarized, and wired the funds. We then emailed the Coast Guard the Bill of Sale. I was a little intimidated to close the boat ourselves without a broker, documentation agent, or escrow service, but I saved $$$ and it was very straightforward. 

Closing day was 3 weeks after we had first seen the boat (only about 7 business days). Such an easy deal, and the only paid outside help was our surveyor. It was meant to be! 

Have you ever had an easy transaction? 

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  1. I love it when things are "meant to be". We had one such experience in 2005, when we sold our first sailboat (a monohull) for asking price without a broker within 5 weeks, to switch over to a truck camper and travel overland to Panama with our two dogs instead. Since then, I haven't had too many occasions of "meant to be" anymore.

    1. I always find that extreme good luck is often followed by extreme bad luck so maybe it's best just to have average luck!


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