If you’re ready to sell your boat or yacht, a key decision you’ll need to make is whether to sell it yourself or through a yacht broker. Fundamentally, if you sell the boat yourself, you won’t need to pay a broker’s commission, but without assistance, it will often take you longer to sell the boat and you may have to settle for a lower price. Generally, sellers work with brokers more often when the boats are newer, larger, and/or more expensive, but there are many other reasons to list boats of all sizes and conditions with a broker.
Here at YachtWorld, listing with a broker is required for your boat to be shown for sale on our site, so we’d like to describe what the broker does to help you understand why using a broker is often the best way to sell your boat. We’ll also discuss how you can find the right broker to sell your boat.
Why use a yacht broker?
Selling a boat is similar to a real estate transaction—it’s usually too complex and involves too much value to risk doing it on your own. Yacht brokers work hard to facilitate the sale of their listings and to protect and promote the interest of their clients, just as a real estate agent will do when you sell your house.
Some countries (and US states like California and Florida) require licensing of their yacht sales professionals. Most brokers in the US and Canada prefer to sign a “Central Agency Listing” with the owner/seller, which is similar to a multiple listing in real estate transactions. Essentially, this means your broker will manage all of the communications and information flow about the listing between you, other brokers, and potential buyers.
Along with the most obvious job of managing the communication and information flow, working with a broker provides a number of significant advantages. Brokers have a network of clients and may have a number of buyers in mind right from the start. They know the market well, especially in their specialized segment of it, and they have a solid understanding of how to properly price a boat or yacht.
Another advantage is that working with a broker gets you on the pages of YachtWorld. YachtWorld is the largest online photo and video database of new and used power and sailboats for sale, with well over 100,000 listings. And YachtWorld advertising services are only available to eligible yacht brokerage firms and dealerships who represent multiple boats for sale on behalf of owners/sellers. We do not offer our services directly to individual owners/sellers.
What will it cost to use a yacht broker?
Yacht brokers charge a commission when the vessel is sold, and the commission amount will be set in writing when the seller signs a listing agreement with the broker. If another broker brings a buyer to the table through a co-brokerage arrangement, the total commission will normally be shared between the brokers; it should not raise the commission. Many brokers work co-operatively with one another on a co-brokerage basis.
How do you find the right broker?
Choosing the right broker is an important step in selling your boat. Brokers often specialize in boat types, sizes, and geographic regions, so it’s usually best to choose a broker who already represents boats similar to yours, and who operates his or her business close to where your boat is located. Here are some ways to make sure you find the right broker to sell your boat:
- Interview several by phone, email, and in person
- View the presentation of their other listings on YachtWorld, and ask yourself: do those listings look like something I would be proud to show to potential buyers?
- Send the broker an email. Do they respond quickly?
- Call the brokerage. Is your call answered promptly?
If you’ve searched for a broker and still aren’t sure who would best represent you, you can list your boat to find a broker. Only brokers will be able to see the listing, and the ones who feel they are a good fit for you and your boat can reach out to you directly.
For more detail, read Find the Right Yacht Broker.
What will a broker do for the seller?
Yacht brokers can make a sale go more smoothly right from the very beginning of the process. Here are some of the ways a broker will help you sell your boat:
- Determine a fair asking price – To ensure a timely sale, it is essential to ask a fair price. A broker can help establish fair-market value for the boat through access to actual sold boat data in www.soldboats.com, as reported by YachtWorld brokerage firms. Soldboats.com is not available to the public.
- Prepare an advertising strategy – The broker will outline a plan of how a boat is to be advertised in the most appropriate media. For example, the best means to promote a 27′ Catalina is vastly different than the strategy for a 63′ Sunseeker. The broker’s objective is to devise a strategy that has the best chance of reaching the most interested and qualified audience for your boat.
- Prepare the listing for the public – The broker will prepare the listing for distribution in various electronic and print media, for print and email distribution to clients and other brokers, and for distribution to prospects at boat shows, open houses, and walk-in inquiries. Sellers who have listed their boat for sale with a YachtWorld broker will see their listing advertised on YachtWorld, on the website of the YachtWorld broker, and in other partner sites selected by the broker.
- Prepare the listing for the broker-to-broker Multiple Listing Service – When you list your boat with a YachtWorld broker, your broker may also prepare the listing for co-brokerage using the private BoatWizard MLS. YachtWorld has over 2000 member brokerage firms, with 3000 offices and 5,000 individual yacht brokers and salespeople, all of who have password access to this MLS system.
- E-broker – YachtWorld members have multiple tools and services to help them promote your boat listing to buyers and other brokers.
- Follow YachtWorld Member Policies – YachtWorld member brokers are bound by our member policies. For example, members agree to only advertise boats for which they have a current signed listing agreement from the owner of the boat. While listing agreements vary, they should contain the same elements you would expect to find in any legal agreement. Our members agree not to accept an advertising fee to promote their listings on YachtWorld. Members agree to only identify a boat as a “Central or Exclusive Listing” if it complies with the YachtWorld definition of a central or exclusive listing. All advertised boats must be accurately represented and identified.
- Prepare the boat – The broker will advise you of any improvements that should be made to make your boat competitive in today’s market, identify possible problems and solutions, and help organize upgrades and repairs. The broker may help locate easy-access moorings or storage for the duration of the listing.
- Provide professional know-how – Professional brokers will understand the principals of the brokerage profession—things like certificates of ownership, security agreements, bills of sale, and other documents needed to register and transfer titles to boats. They will understand maritime and admiralty liens for the type of vessels they represent, as well as mortgaging and transferring title to documented vessels. They will understand agency contracts, listing agreements, closing statements, deposit requirements, and escrowed accounts to safeguard funds.
- Assist with the sea trial and survey – The buyer 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 and help you determine how any discovered deficiencies should be addressed in the purchase negotiations. For more about surveys, read 10 Things You Need to Know About a Marine Survey.
- Employ the art of negotiation – The broker can use his position as a middleman to keep the negotiating between buyer and seller moving toward a successful conclusion.
Yacht brokers bring a lot to the sales process, which is why we recommend using one to sell your boat. For more information about brokers, read these articles:
- How to Make Your Boat Easier to Sell: 5 Expert Tips
- Buying or Selling a Used Boat? Accessories Matter.
- Yacht Brokers versus Boat Dealers: What’s the Difference?
- Choosing the Best Brokers for Mega Yachts, Super Yachts, and Luxury Yachts
- Yachts Brokers Want to Sell: Finding the Buyer’s Market
- The CPYB Designation: What Does it Mean?
- Finances of Buying from a Yacht Broker: Commissions, Escrow Accounts, Taxes, and More