I'm driven to write this as we again wrestle with the absence of paperwork for a catamaran we are selling....this is the third time in a month that we have been involved in the sale of a boat that was sold privately last time. On the one hand, that's good because it means we are getting more business and sellers realise that in a recession a good broker can help to sell their boat but on the other hand it is frustrating because the usual rigour shown by a broker in dealing with the ownership and VAT paperwork was absent!
Without correction, what this means in real terms is that the seller will now have to find the money to pay for the VAT from the sales fee or loose the sale.
In two of these cases we have been fortunate because we sold both of these catamarans in previous years and we still have on file the VAT and ownership paperwork that related to them - even though the current owner hadn't !! In both of these cases we rescued the sale for the seller and managed to give the buyer the correct paperwork for the future.
In the third case we have managed to find evidence of the registration covering the critical period but we are still struggling to prove the boat was built before 1985 (to comply with the terms for VAT exemption).
All of these issues could have been avoided if the paperwork for the boat had been retained and valued by prior owners. If these boats had been produced after the 1st June 1998 then RCD certification would also need to be proven by the seller.
For buyers this is also a reminder that you need to make sure you have a clear idea of the paperwork needed and that you make sure this is present before you take delivery of your new (to you) boat . If you have any lack of clarity about this then you should NOT consider buying privately and instead always buy through a registered and approved BMF broker.....and evenif there is a mistake you will at least be covered by their professional indemnity insurance!!
Summary - don't buy privately unless you are sure you know what paperwork is required and it's all present and correct, otherwise you may not be able to sell in the future!!
Mark Jarvis MSc