M/V Soul Mates
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Boat Buyers & Sellers Responsibility

We have purchased, traded in, and sold only a few boats. If you have never, but have purchased a residence, there are many parallels with the emotions and stress. Knowing what to expect helps!


  • Deposit with Written Agreement (Check or Wire Transfer)
  • Haul Out Fees
  • Insurance
  • Engine & Marine Survey
  • Final Payment Amount (Check, Loan or Wire Transfer)
  • Maritime Title Fees
  • State Registration
  • State Sales Tax


  • Accessibility for Showing(s), Survey(s) & Sea Trial
  • Clean & Equitable Ownership/Title
  • Maintenance Fees until Settlement
  • Pay Broker/Salesperson Commission
  • Provide Buyer(s) with Bill of Sale
  • Sea Trial Fuel Costs

Good to Know

  • As the prospective Buyer a verbal offer normally initiates negotiations. Anticipate a counteroffer.
  • As the prospective Buyer once the verbal offer has been accepted, you should follow up with a written agreement in the interest of both parties.
  • Purchase Agreement at minimum should include: Names & Contact Info, Purchase Price (& Deposit Amount), Hull ID#, Description, Make & Model, Settlement Date & Location, Exclusions & Inclusions and Default Terms.
  • Once both parties have signed the purchase Agreement it is an executable contract.
  • Any changes to be applied to the purchase Agreement should be made in writing (Addendum) and signed off by both parties (Buyers & Sellers). Examples subject to change include: Purchase Price, Settlement Date & Location, Exclusions & Inclusions and Survey Date & Location. This best ensures both parties are fully aware of any changes.
  • Based on your Survey you may either proceed accordingly with the purchase or negotiate on repairs or purchase price based on findings. Either party may accept or reject the requests.
  • Post the Survey should any repairs or purchase price not be agreed upon be sure to get a Termination/Release to void the agreement. 
  • A good surveyor will provide a verbal recap at the end of the day along with any red flags. Will also request your attention throughout the survey. 
  • A good salesperson does not put their profitable commission gain before your expense.
  • Regardless as to what the industry “norm” “may” or “not be“. If it’s listed as a requirement (contingency) in the Purchase Agreement and both parties (Buyers & Sellers) have accepted those Terms, then it must be provided.
  • Brokers tend to market the vessel as available until post the survey and agreed upon terms as a result.
  • Not all brokers hold a certificate or license. Varies by state requirements.
  • Variations may apply between a documented vs titled vessel and state requirements.
  • Select east coast states: Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina and Virginia cap the sales tax.
  • Select states impose a property tax.
  • Not all yacht agents and brokers are equally created.
  • Post settlement it is your possession so make sure you have made marina arrangements accordingly.
  • Trade in values tends to be less than if you were to independently sell your vessel.
  • Across the USA only 3 states appear to require Yacht Salespersons to be Licensed Agents.
  • Across the USA Yacht Brokers are an unregulated industry. 
  • Your deposit should be placed in an Escrow Account when using a Broker.
  • Vessels imported into the USA are subject to Import & Federal Duty fees.
  • Sellers are to disclose known, latent and material defects.


  • Before you become too emotionally or financially invested do consider loan prequalifications.
  • Mark your calendars with pertinent deadlines and time sensitive matters.
  • Whether the Buyer or Seller know your rights and state purchase requirements.
  • Whether you have owned a vessel in the past or not, inquire with an insurance agent what requirements or restrictions may be imposed before you commence with appointment showings.
  • Be your own advocate. Remember this is your wallet and not the Salesperson(s). Don’t allow for Broker or Salespersons opinions to hijack your needs and requests.
  • Everything should be documented! Think of communication source (call, email, vmx, or text), date/time, who, what, when, topic, and outcome.
  • Always be conscientious that this is a formal business transaction. Don’t let emotional or personal relationships alter your decision. A friendship between the Salespersons or Sellers should not be a perquisite or requirement.
  • Carefully, review maintenance logs. Further inquire on date gaps. If none are available try to get any defects or unknown issues in writing.
  • If you’re considering a marina, investigate availability and rate options.
  • Depending on your intended years of use consider a vessel with some resale value, much like vehicles they tend to depreciate in value.
  • Don’t skip the opportunity to be onboard the vessel during the survey. Utilize this time to ask questions, listen to sounds, review maintenance logs, review manuals, take measurements and take additional photos.
  • Before you book your flights or hotel for your showing appointment, ask the salesperson for a live video chat onboard to best ensure you’re not wasting your time or funds. 
  • Interview and choose to work with an agent whether it’s a short or long term sales cycle.
  • On private transactions scammers tend to use counterfeit checks and money orders.
  • Not all warranties may be transferable. 
  • Unless you’re a trained surveyor, don’t try to save a few dollars by bypassing the survey.
  • Inclusions should list any warranties along with any electronic passwords.
  • Be sure a print out of the vessel’s listing is included with the agreement and signature requirements as this best ensures no changes are made once accepted.
  • If you’re considering hiring a licensed Captain make sure their skills are to your needs whether they’re considered a delivery or training Captain. 
  • Remember the fine line between the Sellers and prospective Buyers whether emotionally, transactionally, and/or invested interest.

Our Personal Recommendations

  • Avoid working with a dual agent, one who represents both parties (Buyers & Sellers) in the same transaction.
  • In most cases, the survey findings will not all be addressed as a contingency to the purchase but do keep it readily available post the transaction as a to do list.
  • Remember, the acquisition is between the Buyers and Sellers. The salesperson is simply the bridge between both parties.
Hi, Iā€™m Janet

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