Hiring A Surveyor When Buying A Narrowboat

Hiring a surveyor when buying a narrowboat can enable you to receive professional, expert advice. Buying or selling a narrowboat can be both time consuming and very stressful. Most boats are sold on a ‘sold-as-seen’, ‘buyer-beware’ basis, so it’s important to be well prepared. A surveyor will check that the narrowboat is all as it should be and is safe.

If you’re the seller, be aware that it is good practice to hire a surveyor when buying a narrowboat, so don’t be surprised if the potential buyer wants the boat thoroughly checked over before making the purchase.

As the potential buyer, it is your responsibility to hire a surveyor. If possible, you’ll need to find a good narrowboat surveyor who is independent of the seller and/or the brokerage.

The aim of hiring a surveyor when buying a narrowboat is to obtain an independent expert assessment of the boat and to help the sale complete smoothly, limiting any nasty finds after completion.

Before Hiring A Surveyor

Remember that a surveyor can only report on what they can see. A wise move is to ask the surveyor to explain the different levels of survey they can carry out. The more thorough the survey, the more it will cost. Get the best narrowboat survey you can afford; in the long run it could help with negotiations and save you money. As an absolute minimum, you should get the hull of the narrowboat surveyed.

If you decide you would like to go ahead and purchase the narrowboat you’ll need to pay a deposit. Before you pay the deposit, you should agree with the seller that any deposit is paid on the agreement that the narrowboat will be checked over and approved by a qualified, independent narrowboat surveyor.

It’s important to be aware that everyone involved in the deal will be eager for the sale to go through: You (the buyer), the seller and/or the broker are all interested parties. If getting to see the narrowboat, requires you to do a lot of traveling, you may be tempted to accept the seller or their agent’s recommended surveyor. Take the following into consideration before employing a surveyor: The broker might refer clients to the surveyor every so often, and the seller might be a possible client for the surveyor when he or she buys their next boat. Conflicts of interest can exist so take extra care if the broker is adamant about you using a particular surveyor.

Fortunately, there is a clear process for hiring a surveyor when buying a narrowboat, which should give you a clear path forward. Every boat comes with a work list and it’s a surveyor’s job to define what’s on that list as objectively as possible. It’s not the surveyor’s role to tell the buyer whether or not to buy the narrowboat. Overemphasizing minor problems could mislead you just as much as ignoring them would. Experienced brokers know, too, that they don’t want to sell a narrowboat that has problems. They want you to be happy with the purchase because a happy owner is more likely to become a repeat customer. The narrowboat owner who is selling their boat is rarely surprised by survey findings – generally, they know their boat better than anyone.

Finally, if you think that pressuring the surveyor to overemphasize as many issues as possible will help drive down the purchase price, you might want to rethink that approach; the report written for the survey when buying your narrowboat will also be the one you send to your insurance company. It may prompt an expensive list of work that’s required before a policy will be issued. Most insurance companies will not insure a boat without a current survey.

There is a UK’s surveyor’s code of practice, which should give you additional confidence if you’re hiring a surveyor when buying a narrowboat: surveyors-code-of-practice-2019.pdf (ydsa.co.uk)

We hope that you have found this information on hiring a surveyor when buying a narrowboat helpful.

This is a marketing article from Assist Insurance Services, a UK based family run business with more than 41,000 leisure policyholders. Each of our policies provide comprehensive cover as standard, with plenty of optional extras to choose from. For more information about our insurance services, please call one of our boat insurance specialists on 01604 946 779. Alternatively choose your product of interest below to find out more:

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