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Old 08-22-2013, 03:49 PM   #1
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Any advice on talking to a broker?

I've done a ton of research and am finally going to look at the boat I want on Saturday. Asking price is the highest on the market, but it is a clean 1997 Mainship 34 MY, with diesels. List is 80K. Does anyone have any advice on what to / what not to do / say? What kind of percentages can you take off the list price without insulting? I've never bought something like this and want to make sure I'm getting the best deal, however, not be insulting and come out of this with two things - a boat at a good price and a good experience. Any help would be appreciated!
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Old 08-22-2013, 03:58 PM   #2
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Sounds like it may be too late, but having a buyer's broker can really be helpful. He could walk you through all of those things you are asking about. And best of all, he doesn't cost you anything, the seller pays broker fees. He splits commission with the selling broker, which won't make the selling broker happy, but who cares? You are the buyer, get someone on your side.
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Old 08-22-2013, 04:27 PM   #3
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Before making an offer, you need to have the boat appraised/surveyed and contingent on banking, insurance, moorage, whatever. Ask the broker for basic information that you can take to the bank/insurance and start looking for moorage. Bank/finance usually have a preferred survey list. Do no use on the brokers/sellers, get your own.

Remember the broker is representing the SELLER! Buyer beware!

After seeing the boat let us know you thoughts and next steps. The first thing I would do is talk to a bank/finance to see what value the boat and what they are willing to lend, and insurance to see what they will insure for. Both are great resources for information.
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Old 08-22-2013, 05:00 PM   #4
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Before making an offer, you need to have the boat appraised/surveyed and contingent on banking, insurance, moorage, whatever. Ask the broker for basic information that you can take to the bank/insurance and start looking for moorage. Bank/finance usually have a preferred survey list. Do no use on the brokers/sellers, get your own.

Remember the broker is representing the SELLER! Buyer beware!
Curious, are most boat sellers willing to have their boat surveyed without a offer (and deposit) in hand? I thought you made the offer contingent on a survey?
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Old 08-22-2013, 05:27 PM   #5
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Curious, are most boat sellers willing to have their boat surveyed without a offer (and deposit) in hand? I thought you made the offer contingent on a survey?
I have never heard of having a survey before the offer. The idea usually is, I like the boat, it looks to be in reasonably good condition for my intended purposes, and if we can come to some financial agreement I will pay for haulout, a survey and a sea trial. Only on acceptance after all of the above have you removed the conditions on the offer and proceed with the sale.

Knot Now, don't worry about someone's feelings and over pay for a boat. You have to make a sound judgement whether the value is there. Why is priced at the high end? Has it been repowered or other extensive work that adds that much extra value? I low ball everything and work my way up. You may get a pleasant surprise if someone is motivated enough. Otherwise you have to be prepared to walk away. There are lots of good boats out there at reasonable prices.
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Old 08-22-2013, 07:37 PM   #6
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Knot Now,


I think you may be taking the wrong approach. Find the average selling price for similar boats and make him an offer based on that. It will be low, but its a starting point. Most likely a counter offer will be made. Buyers are still hard to come by, so don't be afraid.
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Old 08-22-2013, 07:44 PM   #7
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...you have to be prepared to walk away. There are lots of good boats out there at reasonable prices.
Absolutely right

Knot Now, never be afraid to say not now. Falling in love with a boat before you own it isn't a good idea, I missed a couple potentially real good boats that we just couldn't come to terms on. If it doesn't add up to a deal you feel completely satisfied with walk away. I'd get a broker you trust to represent your interests unless 80K represents lost pocket change.

Good luck in your quest.
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Old 08-22-2013, 08:08 PM   #8
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Old 08-22-2013, 09:12 PM   #9
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If I was going to use a "buyers broker", it would be someone I paid, not someone getting a cut of the selling brokers commission.
As a buyer, you can approach the purchase how you like. It`s your money.
There are usually 2 prices for a boat. The provisional one agreed before survey, and the final one after survey to allow for faults disclosed. They can be the same but that would be rare. Occasionally a seller refuses to negotiate a "second" price.
I guess the aim of the first offer is to be just "in the range" for the type and condition of the boat. Low enough to negotiate well, not so low the seller closes the door.
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Old 08-23-2013, 12:52 AM   #10
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Knot Now,
You need to have a broker. All of your questions/concerns are the things us brokers are supposed to handle for you. It is rare but not impossible to find a broker that can represent both sides. As others have said we cost you nothing.
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Old 08-23-2013, 03:10 AM   #11
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If a buyer engages a broker without paying him, I understand any payment comes from the seller, via the seller`s broker, only on a sale being made.
To me that`s a conflicted position for the buyers broker,which affects the buyer. It may work in practice, but a seller paying a buyer`s adviser is a strange concept. It sounds more like a conjunction sale. Here, usually, only the seller has a broker (unless its a FSBO). If a buyer wants advice, he gets it independently, and he pays for it.
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Old 08-23-2013, 07:18 AM   #12
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If a buyer engages a broker without paying him, I understand any payment comes from the seller, via the seller`s broker, only on a sale being made.
To me that`s a conflicted position for the buyers broker,which affects the buyer. It may work in practice, but a seller paying a buyer`s adviser is a strange concept. It sounds more like a conjunction sale. Here, usually, only the seller has a broker (unless its a FSBO). If a buyer wants advice, he gets it independently, and he pays for it.


We've hashed this out here many times before and it concludes similarly to the single versus twin engine debate. Some people swear a "buyer's broker" can be honest and impartial and some do not. You will have to make that judgement for yourself, but make damn sure you trust any broker you bring in as a "buyer's broker". Because of the concerns Bruce listed above, there is a large window for someone to exploit you for 5% of $150,000, so if you are planning on picking a stranger to fill that position, you are almost better off trusting the listing agent. Because if you listed to the "pro" voices for using two brokers, it seems like they are saying that no listing agent can be trusted. We all know that simply isn't true.

You may have already received several PM's from broker members here. You could certainly do far worse than to pick one of these guys to help you out, but like I said, you need to make sure you trust them 100% off the forum before signing up.

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Old 08-23-2013, 10:46 AM   #13
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Curious, are most boat sellers willing to have their boat surveyed without a offer (and deposit) in hand? I thought you made the offer contingent on a survey?
A survey does not have to be all at one time. there is the in water and our of water survey. The in water survey can also be broken down, hull, supper structure boat in general and separate engine. Then when you are satisfied and you want to make an offer then make an offer on contingency of out of water survey. However, I would still talk to marinas about slips, We bought the Eagle with no slip, an there where no slips available, had to moor on transient dock and very expensive. At least ask the bank for a list of surveyor recommended, and what they are willing to loan on the boat, as its a fairly common boat, and of course insurance before making an offer.

I would not give the broker the funds, but use a title company to hold the funds and handle the documentation/title. If you go through a bank/finance they will probable use a title company so ask them what title company they use. I have seen hundred of brokers come and go over the 16 years and many live month to month. Before you get a buyers broker involved ask the selling broker if he is willing to slit the fee. Some will not.

Go look at the boat to see if you are interested and if you are tell him you want to do an in water survey and see if he is willing to slit the commission. Oh, and there is a high chance he will tell you there is another buyer interest?
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Old 08-23-2013, 10:55 AM   #14
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We've had some experience with brokers, and they are certainly not all alike. As mentioned above, find one that you feel comfortable with and trust.

One of our challenges was that we were looking at boats in the US while we were located in Canada - so we spent extra dollars travelling to see boats in Florida and the up the Atlantic coast. Finding a broker we liked and trusted made the search/purchase of our trawler a lot easier.
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Old 08-24-2013, 11:52 PM   #15
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I have never let the asking price influence my offer. You make an offer and if it's too low, so what. Don't buy it. In actuality, If other than a totally ridiculous offer, they will come back with a counter offer. Stand your grounds once you have a price in mind. The worst that can happen is you have to find another boat.

Personally, I think a 'buyers broker' is a joke. he is just a broker. He is not representing you, he is in it for the commission. If he is a good broker, he will do whatever It takes to get both sides to come to a reasonable agreement and keep everyone happy. The listing broker will always be in a better position to do this.

I would never use a buyers broker. I think they would get in my way. I lived in south Tx when I bought my sailboat in Tampa Bay area in Fl. That was 1200 miles away. I wanted to deal with the listing broker and not have a go-between. He described the condition of the boat very accurately over the phone. . I asked if he thought that the seller would accept my offer of X dollars. I was not prepared to pay a dime more.
He called me back the next day and said the seller agreed. Now, realize that this man is 1200 miles away. I told him I would be there in 3 days and requested that the boat not be shown to anyone until I got there. The sale was contingent upon me looking at the boat, having it surveyed, documented and insured. How simple would this be if it had to go through a third party - the buyers broker? All the correspondence would have to be repeated back and forth with no misinterpretation.

Anyway,all was like he said and we put down a deposit and 3 weeks later, the boat was ours.
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Old 08-25-2013, 12:03 AM   #16
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Surveys:
I have had several surveys in the past. Everyone of them was both in and out of the water the same day.
The surveyors usually got there about 7am and hunted and pecked till about noon. Then he came along with me and the broker for the ride to the yard for a haul-out. Along the way the sail were hoisted, engine turned off, and the surveyor continued with the surveyor. This averaged about 1 to 1 1/2 hour ride. Did the haul-out and returned under full power while he was checking the engine, transmission and other things out.

It has always been an all day affair, except on the rejected ones. They only lasted about an hour except for one time - rejected in 12 minutes.
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