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S&S Swan General - Pay for survey?
29 August 2013 - 10:21
Join Date: 01 July 2013
Posts: 7

Pay for survey?

I am looking at a specific boat that I consider buying. There is no survey report. The broker tells me that it would cost about 900 – 1000 EUR to get a survey. But who should pay? The seller/owner or me?

If I pay the money it would be well spend but only if I buy the boat. (I would then have a good report on the status and what I should get fixed). But what if I spend the money; the survey shows that a certain amount of money is required for a specific repair/maintenance job; the seller is not interested to reduce the price equally on the boat. Then I would have to walk away empty handed but with 1000 EUR. less in my pocket.

What is the ‘normal’ way to handle this issue?

Thank you very much in anticipation

29 August 2013 - 10:49
Join Date: 21 September 2010
Posts: 53

It is normally the responsibility of the buyer. You might be able to negotiate with the vendor to split the cost. You might also be able to sell the report to the vendor should you decide not to proceed. It is better you commission a report that is independent of the vendor - it is in your interest to receive the best "unbiased" advice.
Best regards
Swan 411 Baron

29 August 2013 - 20:43
Join Date: 25 April 2011
Posts: 36

Assuming you are buying in England the normal procedure is to agree a price for the boat subject to survey and sea trial. That is then incorporated into an Agreement signed by both parties. You could also incorporate a provision that if you have to withdraw because of a really bad survey then the seller reimburses you the cost of the survey. If you use a RYA sale agreement it contains provisions that any defects the surveyor finds or become apparent on the sea trial will be put right at the seller's expense. There are also other provisions. If you are a member of the RYA you can get a copy of the agreement online. If there is a broker he should prepare a standard agreement produced by one of the professional bodies

Good luck

Tom Barth



30 August 2013 - 16:53
Join Date: 15 April 2011
Posts: 393

I agree with all of the excellent advice in this thread. 

I will add that how you value a survey may be a function of the cost of the boat and your own skillset and willingness to make repairs on the boat.  In the cases of larger boats that I have purchased, I paid for two surveys and did the third one, on my current 43, myself.  I did this for two main reasons:  the cost of the boat was extremely low and I was interested in buying a "project" that my sons and I could work on together. 

I don't believe that I have the knowledge of a good surveyer but I have enough to know what I was looking for.  In the end, I made mistakes but I pretty much got the boat I expected to get.  It helped that the seller was an honest and honorable man.  

My biggest error was estimation of the time spent on each project combined with an assumption that some of the projects would not be "worst case;" so far, they all are.

Having said that, I am not sure that a surveyer would have found anything that I did not.

Good luck!  I hope you get exactly what you're looking for and that you continue to post on this excellent forum!

Fair Winds,

Chris Mabel's Casse Tete  43/003

31 August 2013 - 13:52
Join Date: 01 July 2013
Posts: 7


Thank you very much for your advise and comments!

I feel more confident on this matter now.


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