We used as a bible for the choosing and buying of our boat the "The Inland Boat Owner's Book" by Graham Booth (3rd edition). Parts of it are often reprinted in "Waterways World". The book is clearly written and I have no reason to doubt any of the advice given. Our purchase followed the procedures outlined there with one difference. Normally, you put an offer in on a boat and pay a returnable deposit. You then commission a surveyor on your behalf. If, on the basis of the report, the boat needs work doing or is valued below the asking price you can either renegotiate the price or pull out of the sale, getting your deposit back, but waving goodbye to the surveyor's fee. In the case of "Lune Valley", the owners Valley Cruises could carry out any work needed at little cost to themselves so it would be a case of negotiating how much work we could get done within the purchase price.
The first step was to pay the broker a deposit to take the boat off the market. This seemed to work out at about 7%, probably the brokers commission as the balance was paid direct to the owner. I then found a surveyor happy to carry out a survey the next time the boat was not on hire. This cost £400 and was carried out on the 2nd October 2001. Although quite a few faults came to light, and there was some questions raised about compliance to the BSS, the bottom line was that in it's current condition the boat was worth within a £1000 of the asking price. We began negotiations:
One thing we should of had fixed, even if at our expense, was the leaky stern gland. This lead to problems later on which we could have avoided! The most important thing to sort out in the meantime was finding somewhere to moor. I had begun searching for as soon as we were seriously considering buying. We wanted a place not to far to travel from were we lived, but were not that keen on being moored where the shortest weekend break would involve many locks. As it turned out, I phoned Paul at Bugbrooke Marina at just the right time! CanalCraft brokers were leaving the basin at the end of the year and quite a few berths were going to be freed up. From there, Weedon or Stoke Bruerne would be lock free, comfortable weekend trips and it was less than an hours travelling from our home. I sent of a deposit as soon as we knew we would be buying Lune Valley.
With the deal done, we waited patiently for the end of the season so that we could take possession. I arranged some insurance. On the 9th November 2001 we arrived at Springwood Haven, sorted out numerous bits of paperwork, got a useful crash course in maintainence from engineer Kevin, untied Lune Valley (now with it's name overpainted) and set off on the first journey on what was now our boat..