BY CHARLES FORT
After years of cruising and racing their sailboat, Debbie Schaeffer and her husband, Carl, decided it was time to trade it in for the
speed, comfort, and entertaining space
of a powerboat. Debbie, who for years
has provided BoatU.S. members with
sound boat-buying advice and helps with
resolution in disputes with the industry,
suddenly found herself on the other
side of the equation. Even though she
has extensive knowledge of the buying
process and quick and easy access to the
BoatU.S. technical staff, she still learned a
few things that helped her – and can help
you when it’s time to go boat shopping.
The Schaeffers’ boat-buying criteria:
Their new 26- to 30-foot sterndrive
powerboat must be clean, have low engine
hours, a camper top, and air conditioning
for sticky Washington, D.C., summers,
and be priced at less than $30K.
Make a realistic offer.
After locating a suitable boat, Debbie
and Carl made an
offer of $24,900
on a super-
clean boat that
The boat listed
for $29,900, and
fer would be forthcoming. But there
was another offer already on the boat.
Even after raising theirs, they lost it
“Either there weren’t any other offers
when we submitted our offer, or the agent
just didn’t tell us,” says Debbie. “Up until
we put in our first offer, nothing seemed
to be flying off the shelves. After we lost
that boat, other good, clean boats were
being listed as ‘sale pending’ with regu-larity. For quite a while, boat sales had
been slow, so I didn’t think we would
have to worry about much competition.
We lost a great boat over a few hundred
dollars. So bid realistically, or you may
buys a boat
Our long-time Consumer
navigates buying a boat and
learns firsthand about the
challenges that she helps
members with every day
Debbie and Carl
2002 Sea Ray.
make the purchase
a smooth process.