Search and Research: Be honest with your broker about what you're looking for. "There are definitely some attractively priced boats out there, so your initial cost will be more attractive than in better times," says John Osetek, a broker for David Walters Yachts in Newport, Rhode Island (www.davidwaltersyachts.com). "That said, you still have to do the same due diligence in estimating the cost of the rehab. A consideration should be how much of the refurbishing you can do yourself and how much you are going to sub out." Good brokers will know trustworthy surveyors and mechanics to help you sort out what's needed.
Scoping the Project:** Decisions will also need to be made while the used yacht is in the yard. The key to controlling costs is to make decisions before the boat goes on the hard. "When you go to fix these boats up, you get a case of what's called the_ might as wells_," Oliver says. "They pull things apart and they find other issues. What you thought was going to be, let's say, $50,000 to redo the galley and put in stainless appliances and maybe some nicer countertops begins to take on a life of its own. Then you end up with 'Well you're in the yard and your electronics are kind of old, and you have some blisters on the bottom so ...' What was going to be $50,000 has now turned into $150,000."