Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Two Offers and Two Rejections

We are still thinking about Narrowboat Bob, ideal in so many ways but do we really want to spend 6.5k over our top budget? We are also a bit hazy on the finer details of this boat, as we viewed so many other boats on the same day. We know we felt really positive about her, but we can't recall exactly why she felt right.

Bob is a two hour drive away, and as we have no plans the next day we decide that we should do yet another road trip. There is one marina that we didn’t get to see on our last trip, so we figure we can call into see them too, and Michael checks to see if any other boats have been listed anywhere that might also fit our requirements. He finds one; it is another private sale, and another one that has been owned by the same people from new and used for continuous cruising. We arrange to see it at 9am the next morning.

When we arrive we spend over an hour chatting to the owners and looking over this beautiful boat, we'll call her C. The owners tell us it was their intention to live on this boat for the rest of their days, and that they have only changed their plans due to medical reasons. The love that they had shown the boat was clear, she was immaculate and clearly well loved. There are so many little details and they take such pride when taking about her.  The engine is so clean, and there are so many little details; this couple really have thought of everything. And there are records and photos going back to her purchase, with the original contract to get her built as well as owners manuals for every piece of equipment on board.  It is all looking really positive until we mention that we would need to get a survey done, they seem a bit taken aback and explain that it would be difficult to arrange and that they must to sell by the end of the month to complete on a house purchase. This boat is currently their home, and it is not convenient to get it pulled out of the water in the time frame available. They seem to reluctantly accept it, if we can arrange everything and it is not to far for them to travel.

When we leave I point the car in the direction of our next destination and Michael hits the phone to first find a marina that can accommodate the pull out, and then a surveyor that is free on the same day. Miraculously, after just 45 minutes of calling he has pulled it all together for four days time, it is an easy day's cruise for them, and we even confirm that there are no stoppages on that stretch of canal. So we offer the full asking price and pass on the details for the survey. We get a message back saying that they are currently grocery shopping and will contact us back this afternoon. All we can do is wait and hope.

We pass the time by viewing Bob again, and we remember why we liked her so much; she has more character than I previously gave her credit for, and, looking with more critical eye, we can see that she really would make a fine home. We take some more advice on the lack of central heating and conclude that, in the short-term, it is something we can live without, and can be installed at any stage in the future, for a not inconsiderable cost. The only drawback is the asking price, we don’t really feel comfortable spending quite that much.

Still no news about C, so we head off to the brokerage that we didn’t make it to on Saturday. This is a place we really wanted to visit. They make really good videos of each boat on their books and for the last six months we have watched every one they have released, it was a really good way of learning about the different types of boats available for sale while we were living in the States. When we arrive they are really welcoming and happy to chat and Michael spends a good five minutes bonding with the huge bear of a dog that is hanging around the office. Like many other places we have visited in the last week they also advise that they are low in stock and waiting for more boats to come in. There was one possibility, but on viewing she wasn’t as nice as Bob and she was 5k more.

Heading off again -- this time to meet some friends for dinner -- and trying not to stress too much about the call that hasn’t yet come. Then, finally, a call, and it wasn’t the news we were hoping for. They had received another offer for C that matched ours, however the other offer came from a couple that didn’t require a survey; we still had first refusal, but they now wouldn’t move the boat to the marina to get pulled out of the water. I felt sick. I really wanted this boat. The next hour was horrible, as we debated our options and went round in circles.  She was almost perfect and a such a good price, she had been priced to sell and really was a bargain. My instinct told me that it would be fine; they came across as a really genuine couple, their story stood up, there was evidence from the state of the boat that she was well looked after and in great condition. But what if there was a minor issue? How would we feel if we found out down the line that there was a problem, surely we could just fix it? Ok, we would have to spend a bit of extra money, but I felt if we took our time and sold this boat on, we could actually make some money. But, then, what if there was an issue that was catastrophic? Michael kept mentioning galvanic corrosion; this boat had been moored for the last two years next to other boats with mains hookups, so it was a possibility, it was really unlikely, but what if? We could buy her and get a survey done after the fact, but what if we pulled her out of the water and there was a 1mm section of hull? What if she sank on the way to get the survey? We could lose 40k overnight, and then what would we do?

I do believe that this couple were completely genuine, and that the boat would pass the survey with flying colours, but it would also be the perfect scenario for a con. At the end of the day we just couldn’t take the risk, and I know we did the right thing for us. The couple that bought her are braver than we are; I am sure it will work out perfectly for them, and despite the loss I feel I am happy for them. At the same time, it hurts; I wanted that boat and it hurts to lose out. It hurts to write about too, and it will until we find our boat and understand why C wasn’t the boat for us after all.

And so to the second rejection. We don’t want to rebound to Bob, she is a very different boat and so we sleep on it. We realise that the one thing holding us back from her is the cost; she is advertised at over 16k more than C, and we are just not comfortable spending so much. We decide to put in a cheeky offer, not so cheeky to be insulting, but cheeky enough that we are pretty sure it will be rejected. Its just it is all we are comfortable spending, knowing how much we would then have to spend on top of that to get her how we want her. And the offer is rejected. We draw a line under Bob and walk away.