You have just put a deposit down on a boat ... should you have a survey?
Yes is the answer, that is, unless you like to take a chance on something that is costing you a substantial sum of money and may have issues.
Do not be pressured by a Broker or Vendor to not have a survey - if this happens, ask yourself why!
Should you just choose any old surveyor, like, the one that can do it the soonest, or the one that does not charge much?
In our opinion, you should choose your surveyor well.
What do we mean by that?
Take time to ring round and talk to a few surveyors before making a decision. Ask them about their experience of the type of vessel you want them to survey - narrowboats are a unique type of craft, and some surveyors have little experience with this type of vessel. In our experience, purchasers that choose surveyors with little, or no knowledge of the type of vessel you want them to survey, tend to have a less than desirable outcome.
Ask them what they will look at during their survey and how they actually carry out the survey. Make sure that they are aware of your expectations from the survey – for example, if you have concerns about a particular area, then you should mention this to your chosen surveyor. If you would like to see the boat out of the water and attend the survey, then ask them. Do not be surprised however, if your surveyor is reluctant for you to attend – most would prefer you to leave them alone so that they can concentrate on the job in hand without interruptions. Many surveyors however, are happy for you to turn up towards the latter end of the survey to have a chat with them about any findings.
One thing you should be aware of is that there are no legal requirements for a surveyor to be qualified. In essence, most are, although their qualifications and experience will be vast, so talking to them will ensure you get to know them and what they can or cannot do.
Look for a surveyor that is a member of a reputable surveyors organisation, such as the Yacht Designers and Surveyors Association (YDSA) or International Institute Of Marine Surveyors (IIMS). There are other organisations too, and a good surveyor will be a member of one or more organisation.
Whilst some Brokers put a 2 week limit on completion of sale, at the end of the day, if the surveyor you wish to commission has a waiting list, then so be it, all parties will have to wait. If you are pressured in to rushing, you should ask yourself why.
Remember your surveyor is working for you and is paid by you.
So, what is the purpose of a survey?
Well it most definitely is not so that you can come back with a shopping list of works for the Vendor in order to get a reduction.
The purpose of a survey is to ascertain the condition of the vessel, hence it is called a Pre-purchase condition survey. This then informs you of the condition, allowing you to make an informed decision on what you are taking on or whether you would rather not proceed with the purchase.
Obviously, there are always things that crop up on survey that might require further negotiation and these are always taken account of.
How much should a survey cost?
Like almost everything in life, you get what you pay for in our experience, and every surveyor will have their own charge.
Expect to pay somewhere between £550 and £800 plus the cost of getting the vessel out of the water. If your chosen surveyor is offering a cheap price, you might have to ask yourself why.
Should you share the survey report with the Broker?
We always ask to see a copy of the full report if negotiations are required and in fact, when you pay your deposit with us, you are agreeing to these terms. This way we can see exactly what the surveyor has reported, as sometimes purchasers read a report in a different way to how it was intended to read. It can help us with any further negotiations with the Vendor, and it will certainly help us in pricing up works. However, as mentioned in a previous blog, please remember that a Vendor does not HAVE to negotiate or correct any works needed. As said above, the survey is for your information to see what works you may have to do going forwards in your boat ownership.