The Boat Buying Saga Part 2: October-January
Names have been changed to protect the innocent….meaning me.
Blog 2 October-January
After 5 months of trying to see the boat and negotiating a price, we now had a deal on “Anghinga”. The time was perfect, it was now October and the low season was on us. If we got the boat that month we would have plenty of time to get it ready for busy season. The first person I called was our friend and lawyer, Gabriel. Now, Luciano and his wife Gabriella are probably the coolest people you will ever meet, literally. It will be a steaming hot day and all the expat moms are melting in the their sundresses and Tevas while they wait for their kids after school. And in that pool of flat hair and sweat, will be Luciano and Gabriella, with jeans on and high heels looking as though they just stepped out of the shower and are ready to pose for Vanity Fair, they radiate cool.
So, he was the obvious choice, when it came to choosing a lawyer to complete this transaction. I asked Luciano to write the contract for us. After a few emails with Juan Jose, Luciano tells me “Either these guys are pretending to be stupid, or they are really stupid, either way, something is strange about this boat.” When Luciano asked him for copies of the books, he sent pictures of the front of the binders and nothing else. And it turns out, Juan Jose was not the actual owner of the boat, but a company was and the head of that company were three Italians.
I told Juan Jose that our lawyer was having a hard time writing up a legal agreement because he could not determine who the owner of the boat was. “Why do you even need a lawyer?”, asked Juan Jose, “just give me the money and I’ll give you the boat, done deal.” Now, in Costa Rica you need a lawyer for everything, including buying a car, so this was a big red flag that should have made me turn away immediately. But, we had no other options, there were no other boats for sale in Costa Rica and we felt that if we stuck with it, we could not only get Anhinga, but get her at a good price.
So, Luciano gave me a very clear list of the documentation he needed to prepare for the sale. He assured me that all this was standard. I assumed that since Juan Jose’s email address was “todo negocio”, (All Business) he would be able to get the documents we needed to close on the boat. So, we moved forward with the sale. One key document was from taxation to make sure the taxes were up to date. Juan Jose assured me that all taxes had been paid and were up to date.
I called Juan Jose to schedule the inspection. He was very irritated that we wanted to do an inspection, because in his opinion we had already seen the boat. I explained, that just like a house, its customary to do a full inspection, including a hull survey. I also told him we would not buy the boat without an inspection, so he agreed to it. “However,” he said, “I don’t know if the Marina will let you do a survey, cause they are not letting anyone on the boat until we pay the $8,000 that we own them for our docking fee.” He then tried to convince me to pay the marina and then do the inspection. “What if I don’t end up buying the boat after the inspection (that we are paying for)?” I asked. “Well, of course, I’ll give you back your money, you have to trust me.”
I would trust him as much as I would trust a wooden nickle. So, I said no deal. I tried to negotiate with the marina, letting them know that their only chance of getting their money was if we bought the boat, they said “no way, not with this boat, we don’t even know who owns this boat.” Apparently the boat had been parked there without the proper paperwork or any payment. They would haul it out and “repo – it”, but it was too big for the hauler. So, its was just sitting there growing barnacles and fading away.
We came to a stand still. I told Juan Jose, without an inspection, I would pay him half of our agreed price and we could close in 2 weeks. He told me he had other buyers, who were going to pay full asking price. I wished him luck and said goodbye and started my online shopping again for another boat.
The Saga Continues…….