Closing on a Sailboat (Documents Included)

Published on 08/04/2021 by Charles Gendron

Closing on a sailboat requires the right know-how and the use of proper legal documents to conduct a sale.

The following are the steps needed in order to close (the sale) on a sailboat. Note: The guide below is solely for education purposes and is not legal advice. All documents are to be used at your own discretion. If you have questions or concerns, seek the help of a legal professional.

1. Complete a Purchase and Sale Agreement

A purchase and sale agreement is drafted by the seller and given to the buyer to complete. You will want to sign a purchase and sale if the buyer intends to have the sailboat surveyed and/or a sea trail. The agreement protects the seller if damages occur during either event. A vessel purchase and sale allows two parties, both buyer and seller, to agree on the following:

  • State the purchase price, deposit amount, closing and acceptance date.
  • Accept a deposit from the buyer which as a result marks the transaction as "pending". By putting a deposit on the sailboat, other potential buyers will not be allowed to make an offer, protecting the initial offer by the buyer.

2. Allow Buyer to Survey the Vessel

One thing to know, as a seller, is that a buyer can wiggle out of a 'purchase and sale agreement' very easily if they find something they don't like during the survey. Therefore, just because a buyer puts money down on a deposit and signs a purchase and sale agreement, the deal is far from being a done deal. No used sailboat is perfect. So if a buyer gets cold feet for whatever reason, they can use the survey report to back out of the sale.

That being said, most buyers will want a survey. The buyer is responsible for the cost of hiring a surveyor and carrying out the survey. Most surveyors charge $20 dollars per foot, which isn't cheap if the boat exceeds 30 feet in length.

However, agreements can be edited. If the buyer and seller agree to go through with the transaction as "as-is", the buyer will not be able to back out of the deal was the agreement is signed.

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