Narrowboat Private Sales Review- April 25th

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Today is a new type of post I want to try out! The private sale review post is born 🙂 I have no idea if this will catch on but it is something I have been wanting to do for a while. The idea here is to review some of the narrowboats for sale on the market right now and discuss some good and bad points in the listings!

The idea here is to try and educate people about some of the things to look out for when buying a narrowboat. Buying a narrowboat is a big purchase for many, and I don’t want people getting the short end of the stick. Hopefully, this will help.

I will also say up front that I am not an expert in buying narrowboats, I am just trying to pass on some of the knowledge I have built up being a narrowboat enthusiast. If you are an expert and have other comments to make on the listings shown, please feel free to comment below. I want this to be a community based effort!

Finally, I have decided to use Ebay for the source of listings purely because this is the quickest and easiest way to get hold of large amounts of private sale style listings. I am in no way recommending Ebay as the best place to buy your narrowboat 🙂

If you want to check out any of the listings yourself over at Ebay, simply click on the image of the boat in question.

So, with all that out of the way, lets crack on…

Narrowboat 1: 70ft Traditional Stern Peter Nicholls Narrowboat

Good Points About this Listing

Wealth of Information– The seller is offering up a full page of detailed information about the boat in the listing. For me this is always a good sign about an open and honest buyer. All important points have been openly stated.

Recently Blacked– This is always a good thing to see when buying a narrowboat! Will give you a couple of years not to worry about blacking.

Survey Welcome– Along with all that open and honest information is the invitation to have a survey done if needed. I always feel cautious if a buyer tries to discourage surveys, it makes me think they have something to hide. Not in this case.

Well Made Interior– Of course it’s impossible to get a true feeling for a narrowboats interior from pictures, but it seems that this one has a really well fitted out interior. For a boat this old, it still looks modern to me, with light wood paneling tastefully done.

Bad Points About this Listing

Price– This narrowboat is a 70 foot narrowboat built in 1996. Yes, it does a have a new engine, and it does seem to have a good interior. However, almost £70k seems a little rich for me. Looking around at listings on other websites, it seems the going rate for such a boat is more in the £55-60k range. To be fair, the Ebay listing does give you the option to make an offer.

A Little Scruffy on the Exterior– Nothing too major, but their is some scruffy exterior paintwork on the exterior of this narrowboat.

Is it Worth a Bid?

I think if you can negotiate slightly on the price, this could be an excellent purchase for someone. It feels from the listing that she has been a well looked after and maintained narrowboat. The amount of detail the owner has gone into on the listing itself gives me good vibes about how they would look after their boat.

Narrowboat 2: Narrowboat 48ft traditional

Good Points About this Listing

It Has A Cool Engine– I like narrowboats with traditional engines, and this one doesn’t dissapoint. A Lister with an engine room, none the less.

Bad Points About this Listing

Lack of Detail– This listing is the total opposite of the first one. It has the most minimal details ever! It doesn’t say the exact year the boat was built or who it was built by. Everything is listed out with the most basic details and the tagline ‘phone me if you have questions.’ At least they did give the option to call, suggesting they are not hiding anything 🙂

Expensive– Having done a search for similar age and length boats on other narrowboat listing sites, it would seem a price of closer to £20k would be more in line, especially when you look at the condition of the boat.

Basic Interior– Although this is not a project boat or anything, the interior looks pretty basic and dated. This is another reason I would think this boat should be priced a bit more keenly. I suppose that the narrowboat market is hot right now so people are trying their luck 🙂

Not Blacked or Surveyed Recently– It is good that the owner is honest enough to tell us that the boat was last blacked and surveyed in 2016. However, for a boat ‘built in the 80s’ I dread to think what might have happened to the hull in the 4-5 years since then. This alone makes this boat a big no no for me.

Is it Worth a Bid?

This boat is only for the experienced buyers. You would have to view the boat extensively and hopefully get a survey done to give you an idea of what shape this boat is in. I personally wouldn’t buy this boat without the ability to take it out of the water and check the hull. Especially at the price they are asking.

And when you see a listing with so little detail it either means the owner is hiding something or is inexperienced with boats….or just lazy 🙂 You would have to go and talk to the owner and work this out for yourself 🙂

Narrowboat 3: 30 FT STEEL NARROWBOAT

Good Points About This Listing

Details– The owner of this boat has set up the listing with a good amount of details about the background of the boat and its current state. This is usually a good sign, as it shows an open and honest buyer.

Surveys Welcome– Whenever a seller says that surveys can be arranged it gives you the feeling that they have nothing to hide and are confident in the condition of their boat.

Good Exterior– The exterior (including the hull) seem to have been recently painted and look pretty good.

Bad Points About This Listing

Expensive– For a project boat of this age and length, the price seems a little high. I have found other similar boats that are not projects boats that are slightly cheaper, so you should certainly bargain if you are interested in buying this narrrowboat. It seems a theme of eBay to have high prices, maybe the sellers are expecting a lot of haggling to go on!

Interior Condition– The interior of this boat does really tell you it is a project boat. Most people would simply want to rip it out and start again.

Damp Talk– dampness and narrowboats don’t mix, so it really scares me when the owner talks about (in the product listing) that there was water that leaked into the boat at one point.

Easy Project?– the seller has labelled this project boat as an ‘easy project’, something I wholeheartedly disagree with 🙂 Never underestimate the time and effort it will take to get a narrowboat like this back to a good liveable condition. I have seen way too many people get stuck with project boats because they thought it would be an ‘easy project.’

Is It Worth a Bid?

If you are good at DIY and know what it takes to get a boat like this back to good working order, this could be a good purchase. The owner seems open and honest and is OK with surveys being done. I would try to get the price closer to £10k though, maybe even a little under.

Narrowboat 4: Narrow boat 45ft

Good Points About This Listing

Tidy Interior– This boat does seem to have a decent-looking interior. I say looking, as you never know what might be lurking behind the surface 🙂

Bad Points About This Listing

Price– The seller here keeps mentioning that this boat should be worth £30k after everything is fixed up, but they list the boat for £21k. I think the estimation for the fixed up boat is correct, but I would want to buy the boat a bit cheaper considering the issues it has.

Engine needs Work– The owner talks about the engine needing fixing or replacing, which would be a pretty big job in itself.

Last Surveyed in 2016– This was not mentioned in the listing, but one of the images shows a survey from 2016 (you can see that a timestamp from the image is 2016 anyway). It would appear that this boat has been sitting in a marina this time around other boats. Believe it or not, this is when steel narrowboats can be prone to corrosion, so I would be worried what the boat’s hull looks like now. Especially as there is no mention of blacking on the listing.

No Details in Listing– There is one paragraph on the boat, but very little details are given. You can glean some info from the photos in the listing, but it would be nice for the owner to give a bit more history and details on the boat. Especially as they are asking £21k.

Look at the condition of the Roof– sometimes you have to look at the condition of the boat to get an insight into how lovingly this boat was cared for. In this case, there is a picture of the top of the boat and it looks like it hasn’t been cleaned for quite a while. There is peeling paint and the whole thing looks pretty scruffy. This makes me think that this owner probably wasn’t the most caring owner.

Is It Worth a Bid?

Personally, I would steer well clear of this boat. I see quite a few boats like this on eBay, where on the surface it looks like a nice enough boat, but you feel like there could be so many problems laying under the surface. As the boat hasn’t been surveyed for quite a while and we have no idea is she was blacked regularly. I have a feeling the hull could have issues. Only buy this boat if you are experienced and can go and view the boat in person. The owner doesn’t mention anything about allowing surveys, but the response they give to this request could be telling 🙂

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