Originally Posted by F-One
Are you using a boat broker? Do you have a contract? I have not been in that kind of situation with a boat but believe it is handled like buying a house with a mortgage.
I will heartily second the boat broker recommendation for any boat over 16'.
In other words, you hire a boat broker to represent you as the buyer
. Broker will perform a bow-to-stern inspection for seaworthiness, arrange for a floating test run with owner operating the vessel (insist on this), handling paperwork - submitting your bid, checking titles, etc etc.
I sold a 34' Pearson sailboat and used a broker. The 10% commission was well worth it. No headaches.
Here's some info for you for CA laws, as an example.
Google "licensed boat brokers your state
" for the applicable laws in your area.