Why Use a Broker to Help You Buy a Boat
work like real estate agents. They are agents whom people consult to find and purchase a boat, and whom people hire to list, represent, and sell boats for them. Traditionally, the seller pays the commissions that a yacht broker earns - not the buyer, yet brokers have a duty to both buyer and seller in every transaction.
represent new boat lines. They often will use a used boat via advertisement to attract a buyer to their showroom. A sales person working for a new boat dealer does not have to be licensed or bonded to sell a new boat, it is up to the individual to become licensed. Dealers often discourage their sales staff not to be licensed as the applicant becomes attached to the dealers license and may then be held liable. (Sailing Machines is fully licensed and bonded).
Brokers often specialize in boat types, sizes and regions, so choose a broker who already represents boats similar to what you are interested. Why use a broker that specializes in 25' open fishing when you are interested in 40' sail
For the record; sailingmachines.com specializes in Trawlers, LRC's and Sailing Yachts in the 30' 90' range.
The Brokers Role for the Buyer
Most pre-owned boats advertised are either a "central agency listing" of a yacht broker, or a trade-in from a new boat dealer. If you are viewing a broker listing or a trade-in, the listing broker or dealer is likely to know the vessel inside and out. They have been selected by the owner/seller to exclusively represent this vessel and all inquiries must go through this yacht broker or boat dealer. If you are not already working with a yacht broker, and if you find a boat in an MLS of interest, you may contact the listing broker directly. However a more rewarding option might be to select a yacht broker of your own, and consult with that broker about all of your boats of interest, and let that broker represent you in your inquiries and transactions.
The Initial Inquiry - A professional broker will listen closely to your wants and needs and will help you determine if the boat you are calling on is right boat for you at the best value. They can objectively tell you about the condition of the vessel before you decide whether or not to spend your time to look at the boat. They will help you determine if there are similar boats on (and off) the market, the history of the yacht, how long it has been on the market, and the motivation of the seller. Anyone can look up asking prices on boats, but it takes a professional broker to have an intimate knowledge of current market conditions, a familiarity of similar boats, and information on recent sale prices and time on the market through www.soldboats.com, an industry resource not available to the public.
Getting a Boat Loan and Marine Insurance - You may want to pre-qualify for a boat loan before you shop. That will give you some extra leverage and breathing room when you're negotiating prices. A Broker should be able to provide a list of Marine Lenders that specialize in boat loans Do not apply for a loan from your bank as they may advertize they want your business but in I have never seen one actually come thru. Do not waste your valuable time. Would you go to a podiatrist for a head injury?
Making an Offer on a Pre-Owned Boat - A professional broker can help their buyer decide on a realistic offer that increases the chances of buying a pre-owned boat for a fair and reasonable price, and with the necessary elements to protect your interests. Your broker prepares an Offer to Purchase for your signature. It should spell out the terms of the sale including obligations that you and the seller have agreed to, and when these obligations will be fulfilled. You also make a good-faith deposit on the boat, 10% usually placed in escrow, and subject to sea trial and survey.
Paperwork - Professional brokers and dealers are familiar with all the paper work requirements for their country, state or province, from the initial Offer to Purchase and Bill of Sale to licensing and registration; or documentation and titling, to paying tax and other fees, as well as certificates of ownership, security agreements, and other documents needed to complete a sale. For example, twenty three forms are needed at a closing of a brokerage boat in Florida (27 for foreign flagged vessels). Professionals will understand maritime and admiralty liens for the type of vessels they represent, as well as agency contracts, listing agreements, closing statements, deposit requirements and escrowed accounts to safeguard funds.
Sea Trial and Survey - The buyer of a pre-owned vessel will usually request a sea trial and the services of a marine surveyor. Buyers pay for the surveys and for hauling the boat out of the water for inspection. Your yacht broker will usually attend the sea trial and marine survey with you, and help you determine how to properly address the nearly inevitable yacht survey issues and put the problems in context. They can help estimate time and cost of correcting, and where to obtain accurate quotes for items that are unfamiliar. Your lender and insurance carrier will usually require a copy of the survey.
The Art of Negotiating The Deal - The broker can use his position as a middleman to keep the negotiations between buyer and seller moving to a successful conclusion.
Safeguard Funds - A professional broker will use an escrow account for clients' funds, and ensure that at closing, any existing loan or other encumbrances is paid off. This safeguard is of critical importance to the buyer and seller, and can be a potentially serious hazard in a private transaction not involving a broker.
After the Sale - Your broker and dealer can help you find moorage and yacht maintenance and repair specialists or facilities. They can refer you to classes on sailing; boat handling and seamanship, their experience in local waters can help you chart a course for great day, weekend or longer trips. They can connect you with boat clubs, races and rendezvous sponsored by builders and dealerships. Plus, you've got a new boating friend for life.