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Old    JKW (watersun)      Join Date: Jun 2009       02-03-2010, 10:42 PM Reply   
I am currently looking at purchasing a boat where I would have to fly to go see it and then either tow it back or have it shipped back to me. I have emailed the guy a couple times and he has sent me pics, etc. and it seems legit, but some of it still seems too good to be true to an extent. I am just really worried about getting screwed over and flying out there and then there's no boat, etc.

The guy I've emailed said he would like some type of payment using a 3rd party so he knows I'm serious about buying the boat because he would have to fly into town to meet me where the boat is as well. He said one guy has already screwed him over and he flew in to show him the boat and the guy wasn't approved for a loan.

Anyways, is there any reliable 3rd party payment option out there where I can send the money to showing I'm serious about buying the boat and then can release the money once I've seen it, etc.? Thanks for any help.
Old    Bruce Wiggers (bruce_w)      Join Date: Feb 2010       02-03-2010, 11:01 PM Reply   
I'm in the same boat (little pun there) wondering how to pay for a boat that is financed. Bank will release the title to the owner about a week after I pay for it. Can't get my head around how this will work. In your case maybe the guy can post it on Ebay on a "buy it now" and then you give him the deposit through Pay Pal. That's my 2 cents worth.
Old    Aaron Ware (99_slaunch)      Join Date: Oct 2005       02-04-2010, 5:31 AM Reply   
Bruce you can go to the bank with the owner and pay it off/buy it and they should be able to send the title to you or provide you with a bill of sale.
Old    Baitkiller (baitkiller)      Join Date: Jan 2010       02-04-2010, 5:38 AM Reply   
I have never used this myself but have heard good results from other boaters. If you are in the market for boat or towing insurance anyway it may a good option.

http://www.boatus.com/boatloans/service/
Old    Pat O (pwo)      Join Date: Oct 2009       02-04-2010, 6:30 AM Reply   
For Bruce, like Aaron said you could do it directly at the bank where he has the loan which would probably be the 'safest'. They should be able to handle most things right there. If that's not possible (for example, the bank financing the loan is not local to him) you can still work directly through that bank. This was the case recently when I went through the same thing.

Get his loan information, at the very least his bank and give them a call and ask about the process (after making sure they're real if it's an unknown); they will help you out. What we did was:

He was eating some of his loan, so my payment wouldn't have been enough to pay off the loan. I got his bank information and talked to them about the process. I also got loan information directly from him to verify things such as his payoff balance, account number, etc.

I had a cashiers check for my payment made out to his bank, with his loan# written in the comments (per their request). I gave him the check serial# and who it was from, so he could look up the bank and then call and verify the check's validity. He did the same for his portion of the loan and I verified his check.

His bank had also requested a signed letter from him directing them to send title/loan release info directly to me.

At a local bank (just for the notary, but I also traveled to actually see the boat first) we went through the transfer process (certificates of origin, bills of sale, etc) and ensured everything required was put in the mail from there directly to his loan bank. A week or two later I had gotten the info from them.

Also verify ahead of time what you will need in your state for title/registration as there are lot of differences.

I'm not sure about a third party just for the 'good faith' deposit. You might call your bank and ask. If you're making just the one trip and plan on having the money available, you might also be able to just make the cashiers check and let him verify (if paying cash) or somehow verify your loan information.
Old    Shawndoggy (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       02-04-2010, 9:58 AM Reply   
To the OP, how does the seller expect to sell his boat if he won't show it? I don't think you should have to pay admission in order to get to see it. That's just silly. Or scammy.

To Bruce and Pat... I just went through the same thing, where the seller owed the bank. Unlike Pat, though, I was a dumbass and didn't verify the balance beforehand. I was smart enough to get my cashier's check made payable to the seller's lender directly, with reference to the loan number.

See, the seller seemed like a good guy and he told me he owed about $4K more than he was selling to me for, so I took his word for it.

Six weeks later I still didn't have title. That's when I did what I should have done in the first place and called the seller's bank to see wtf was going on. Low and behold, he was delinquent on the loan and still owed $12K!

After pooping my pants and kicking my own ass, I went off of the seller. Seller explained he'd been negotiating with another department to do a short sale (something he'd conveniently neglected to tell me beforehand). Thankfully that did turn out to be true, and he did come up with the additional cash and I did end up getting the title. But not without a whole lot of unnecessary stress.

Next time I'd ask for the following before buying a boat where the seller owes money:

1. Get a copy of the last loan statement.
2. Call the bank with the seller and verify the loan balance and payoff procedure.
3. Get a notarized bill of sale from the seller with the hull number, trailer serial, etc.
4. When showing up to do the deal, bring a pre-addressed fedex envelope into which you put your bank check, seller puts his bank check (NOT a personal check -- probably should verify funds on this too, to be safe), seller puts letter directing title to be released to buyer and authorizing communication directly with buyer.
5. The two of you walk into Kinkos and hand over the fedex envelope.
Old    Peter_C (peter_c)      Join Date: Sep 2001       02-04-2010, 10:05 AM Reply   
If the seller is asking you for some type of 3rd party payment, it sounds legit. Just make sure it is your 3rd party holder not one in Nigeria.

When ever I make a larger purchase off the internet the first thing I do is talk to the person on the phone. Have you tried that yet?
Old    Stanfield (stanfield)      Join Date: Mar 2004       02-04-2010, 10:16 AM Reply   
I've sold a few boats and an Rv that the "bank owned." One to a guy in Mexico of all places. No matter how much leg work you do, there is still a level of trust that will be involved. There is simply no way around it. Like Peter said, some conversations over the phone are a good place to start. If you get a weird gut feeling listen to it.

The guy that bought one of mine down in Mexico, seemed fishy from the get go and I could've been more helpful with him. I think the language barrier played a huge part in that. He drove up 20+ hours with the money and then my bank was the one slowing up the process saying it would take 3 days to clear the funds. After meeting with him though, I knew it was legit and let him take the boat home before the funds technically cleared.

Pat O has the process down. You'll pay his bank directly, just make sure he has his portion to cover any negative equity that might be there.
Old    Gig Harbor Supra (lavinder)      Join Date: Mar 2008       02-04-2010, 2:51 PM Reply   
Any escrow company will do it, for a fee.
Old    Bill K (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       02-04-2010, 3:20 PM Reply   
Escrow company, just like a house deal.

And have a local rider from WW go look for you before you make the trip. Might cost you a case of beer but just getting some impartial eyes on the boat will do a lot for your peace of mind.
Old    Jeremy (koolmoe)      Join Date: Feb 2010       02-05-2010, 12:38 AM Reply   
any general attorney can act as an escrow agent for a couple hundred bucks. You can draft up a purchase and sale agreement like you would for a house, specify a deposit and sale amount and any contingencies (inspection and demo) and then give everything including the deposit check to the escrow agent. From there, they have the legal obligation to follow the terms of the contract.

Pretty straightforward and easy to do for big ticket items.
Old    Bruce Wiggers (bruce_w)      Join Date: Feb 2010       02-05-2010, 8:07 AM Reply   
Thanks for all the wise suggestions. Since I live in Canada, I cant just drop in and check out a guys boat. I think that getting an impartial opinion from a WW member would be an excellent idea. I agree that I wouldn't even give a seller the time of day if I couldn't talk to him directly, far too many scammers out there.

It amazes me to see that there are a fair number of boats out there that are selling for less than what is owed to the bank! No wonder the banks are in such trouble.
Now it's time to make some decisions and turn that "dream" into reality.
(By the way, I'm hoping to find something around 30k that is a V drive, can handle some chop that can suddenly blow in on a big lake (Shuswap B.C.), can be as old as 5 years and has low hours). Being a cautious first time buyer, I appreciate any leads or information. Thanks!
Old    Tre (tre)      Join Date: Jul 2002       02-05-2010, 8:35 AM Reply   
The seller had to fly somewhere to meet a buyer and the buyer was unable to get a loan. So what? When you are selling a boat this stuff happens sometimes. You should not have to give him money to see his boat. If he really insists on acting like a diva, you could show him some sort of bank pre-approval letter. That is as far as I would go. There are tons of boats for sale a few buyers. If he wants to sell his boat, he needs to be reasonable. If he will not be reasonable, find another boat.

What are you looking for. I bet people here could help you find the exact boat you want. We can find one closer to your home AND you would no longer need to deal with a seller who is too busy to bother with you.

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