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Old 06-13-2014, 12:57 PM   #1
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is a broker really on "your side"

There are at least 2 ways to buy a brokered boat:
  1. locate the boat you want, and use the seller's broker
  2. find your own broker before you start making offers
The "theory" to #2 is that your broker is your buddy and looks out for your best interests, where-as the seller's broker will be mostly looking out for the seller's interests.

Ha anyone ever been really glad they had their own broker at buying time?
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Old 06-13-2014, 01:07 PM   #2
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I had no problems with either of my larger boats I purchased after looking over the vessels carefully I made an offer contingent on the vessel passing survey and sea trial, I used the sellers broker. It work out well for me. Let me edit I did hire my own fuel and tank polishing cleaning company and a Perkins certified mechanic to prep the engines and give me a report on the engines before sea trial odd yes but it worked out for the best in the end.
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Old 06-13-2014, 01:21 PM   #3
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Greetings,
We used a buyer's broker (a TF member no less) for our current boat. BEST decision ever. Not only for negotiating but he/she knew enough about boats to give yet another opinion.
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Old 06-13-2014, 01:24 PM   #4
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I think it is really all about how comfortable the buyer is in negotiating directly with the seller or seller's broker. I prefer to avoid a third party who simply clogs up communications. Same thing when buying a home. I generally prefer to work directly with the seller's broker. I do not think that a "buyer's broker" really works for the buyer, though they may sometimes identify vessels/homes not listed on YW or MLS. Most times, they are simply another selling agent intending to split the commission.
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Old 06-13-2014, 01:49 PM   #5
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Look I ended up with a 1976 Gulfstar with Perkins 4.154m's and a Westerbeeke 4.4kw AC and 50 amp DC output in great condition for $17k. I had been watching the boat for a bit over 2 years it started out with an asking price of $30k I offered $17k and it was accepted with my conditions. I hired my own surveyor, diesel mechanic and tank and fuel service.
Is that a pretty good deal? Only time will tell the generator is only 6 years old the engines are original with less than 2,000 hours on them and they were maintained and not rattle can maintained.
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Old 06-13-2014, 01:49 PM   #6
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Here's our broker (s) story. We had been looking at boats with a broker that found one that we wanted, so we presented an offer. After a few go-a-rounds, we were 10K apart and that was it for us. Melisa (our broker), suggested to all parties (seller, his broker, herself and us), that we split the 10K to get the deal done. The boat had been on the market for 2 years. Everyone agreed except the sellers broker. So for 2.5K he was going to tank a $150K deal. We ended up spitting the 10K 3 ways and the seller trashed the broker. I hope the sellers broker thought it was worth it.
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Old 06-13-2014, 01:51 PM   #7
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I'm totally in agreement with RTF's endorsement. We used a buyer's broker last year and he was excellent. He was very helpful in refining our requirements, encouraging when the prospects looked dismal, and extremely helpful on the negotiating/closing administrivia. Plus saved us about $10K on BC sales tax.

His comment at the time was that over 50% of his sales were co-brokered.
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Old 06-13-2014, 01:57 PM   #8
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I had a broker three years prior to buying our current boat. I trust his ability to find a prospective boat which meets our criteria. But I like to believe that I can think and reason as well as the next guy. Therefore, I put most of my bet on my SURVEYORS (both boat and engine) I picked along with my own experience and common sense. If we let a broker guide the process too much, the door is open to greed, which we are trying to avoid.
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:48 PM   #9
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I have a different take on that entire field, real estate salespeople included. I was in the mortgage industry for a number of years and every time I had to deal with a realtor, things went bad. A few deals fell out due to the lies or greed but I did have a few smooth sailing loans. The interesting thing was all the mortgage brokers I worked for had anything good ever to say about realtors. It could be a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

I know there are realtors here on TF and I'm sure you are the cream of the crop, why? You are boaters also.

When I bought my boat the broker was a friend and worked for me. No issues at all. If I buy another boat, I'll find a broker that knows the boat and use him. Not the particular boat, the make and model.

The other party you need on your side is the surveyor. I found one who knew GB's inside and out.
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:49 PM   #10
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I think a knowledgeable buyer has little need for a buyer's broker. But a novice buyer, it can be super helpful. The trick is picking a good one. They are out there, and some I trust, work with often, and consider friends. Would recommend one without reservation. But others, below useless.

As I understand it, the two brokers end up splitting the commission, so total commission is the same with one or two. So no harm in bringing your own to the table. Not real familiar with the nitty gritty details, though.
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Old 06-13-2014, 03:26 PM   #11
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Depends on how much shopping you are going to do, how exactly you know what you are going to buy and how far afield the search. A good buyer's broker (like anything else you need to do research and get recommendations) was indispensible to us in the search for our Hatteras. We were looking for boats across most of the eastern United States. I actually had three, and I told them that, each had a geography, I bought them nice meals when we went looking at boats. The winner really earned his cut of the fee not just in finding the right boat, but in advising us (he really knew these boats) and solving a lot of the transaction issues that arose. The good ones know that they are dependent on repeat business and referrals.
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Old 06-13-2014, 04:16 PM   #12
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I have bought and sold 8-10 boats during my boating life, all with brokers. And for a short while I worked as a broker myself.

I have done it both ways. In all cases I looked on Yachtworld and found the boats I was interested in. If I were doing it myself I called and always asked to talk to the listing broker. That is the guy who knows more about the boat than anyone who might have been "up" at the moment. If I were working with a "buyers broker" I would ask him to do it.

Some people think that a broker can talk to another broker and get the real scoop. This probably does happen, but not enough to make it worth while IMO. I have been lied to as a broker just like I have been lied to as a buyer.

In at least one of the times I used a buyers broker, he was definitely worth his weight (and of course it wasn't costing me anything, but more on that later) and saved me hassle by finding a good local surveyor (that he knew from his brokers association work) to first check the boat out before an offer was made. I have also returned the favor for him by checking out local boats for his buyers.

Broker commission is typically 10% for boats that the majority of us are looking at. Brokers typically split it 50/50. Some think that dealing directly with the selling broker will give them more leverage and the selling broker will cut his commission. In my experience this happens in maybe one out of 20 deals and when it does it is no more than a pct or two.

And like always there are good, bad and ugly brokers that make all of the above mostly BS.

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Old 06-13-2014, 05:01 PM   #13
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Brokers facilitate the process and this is good. Make no mistake about it, Brokers are for themselves and help a buyer and seller make a deal that benefits the broker.
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Old 06-13-2014, 05:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
is a broker really on "your side"
No.
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Old 06-13-2014, 05:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seattleboatguy View Post
The "theory" to #2 is that your broker is your buddy and looks out for your best interests, where-as the seller's broker will be mostly looking out for the seller's interests.

Ha anyone ever been really glad they had their own broker at buying time?
First, I would disagree with that theory. Unless you have a relationship of some kind before the process, then the broker is not your buddy and he is not looking out for your nor the seller's best interests.

We have had our own broker on 2 of the 4 boats we purchased. On the 3rd we used the sellers broker, and on the 4th we didn't use a broker, just the credit union.

In my opinion, using a broker makes the process much easier -- their ultimate goal is to sell boats, so it is logical that a good broker is involved in many transactions. So (s)he knows the procedure, and can make the process smooth. When closing on a boat with a broker, it's simply a meetup somewhere (on the boat, office, Starbucks), and 10 minutes of signatures. Working directly with the credit union took multiple phone calls, 3 trips to the office, and a trip to the Department of Licensing.

I also like having my own broker, and will do so most of the time because I get to choose the person I want to work with. If I just ask for the listing broker, I get the luck of the draw. And they are usually very happy to take on the role, especially if they are your selling agent.

There are "rules of engagement" however, so make sure if you do have your own broker you don't go around calling brokerages about their listings. Send the link to your broker, and let him start the conversation. Neglecting to do so is a quick way to get both brokers upset.
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Old 06-13-2014, 06:23 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seattleboatguy View Post
There are at least 2 ways to buy a brokered boat:
  1. locate the boat you want, and use the seller's broker
  2. find your own broker before you start making offers
The "theory" to #2 is that your broker is your buddy and looks out for your best interests, where-as the seller's broker will be mostly looking out for the seller's interests.

Ha anyone ever been really glad they had their own broker at buying time?
I have purchased 5 boats--4 used and one new. I used my own broker on the used ones and on the new one bought it from the same guy. I would like to think we are friends, but it's business nontheless and I would say mutual trust and respect is the key. He has good judgment and experience and knows the market. I have found boats and then involved him and he has brought boats to my attention.
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Old 06-13-2014, 07:02 PM   #17
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You have to understand agency law concerning brokers. The agent's (broker) only legal responsibility is to his principal (the seller). He owes you as a purchaser absolutely nothing. There is virtually nothing he can do that you can legally hold him responsible for. The same is true in the real estate world. Conversely, when you hire a buyer's broker, his only legal responsibility is to you. He says and does only what you instruct him to do. If you go into any deal, especially the $$ value of many boat deals, relying on a seller's broker for anything that you (or your broker) cannot independently verify, you are facing a potential disappointment and potential future costs. You will have no recourse should that happen.

In short, a buyer's broker can be quite valuable and the ultimate cost of his knowledge/experience is borne by the seller, not you. Why not use one?

BTW-I am not and never have been a broker. But, as a lawyer, I have had more than a few conversations with potential clients that felt they were treated very poorly by sellers' brokers in their purchases.
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Old 06-13-2014, 07:54 PM   #18
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In my case the sellers broker turned out to be a decent guy. The sellers allowed me to re open a boat that had been on the hard for 3 to 4 years. If I hadn't spent the pre set up money be it the diesel mechanic servicing the engines and giving me a clean bill of health on them, the fuel and tank cleaning company. The sellers broker originally told me lets just start it at the dock and if the engines run it's a sale, I told him I was born at night but it wasn't last night. The elderly couple we bought the boat from really cared for the boat basically almost duplicating some of my mechanical work. However I felt I'd rather lose the 3 to 4k it cost me for all the work or get it off the asking price. Since my offer was so low I decided to just purchase it at my offer. When I offered the money I already knew I would hire the mechanic and the fuel and tank cleaning company it was money well spent. So I still ended up with a 35 Gulfstar for about $21k after my $17k offer. The work would have had to be done post sale and I couldn't see possibly damaging perfectly good motors because they sat so long and were not properly brought back to life.
I know this isn't the normal deal but we are not talking about a lot of money for a very sound trawler.
Bill
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Old 06-13-2014, 09:22 PM   #19
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Buyer`s brokers are rare here. Maybe it happens if time poor high end buyers retain someone to search for the right boat. Mostly buyers deal direct with the seller`s broker, or if no broker, the seller.
Occasionally a buyer might deal with/get to know a broker, who finds or knows a seller/broker with a boat, that would be a "conjunction" sale where the 2 brokers split commission. Or a broker might bring in a sub broker, and share commission.
The concept of a "buyers broker" who gets paid, by the seller, only if a deal gets up, reeks of "conflict of interest" to me.
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Old 06-13-2014, 11:12 PM   #20
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If you dont know much about boats you should probably hire a "buyers" broker to maybe help keep you from getting screwed. On the other hand, you can do your research on any particular boat and pretty much know what to look for and ask about. There are some basic things to look for in any make of boat and things to look for in any age of boats, especially older boats, say 1990 and older. GulfStars had deck rot, MarineTraders had leaky windows causing cabin rot and rusted tanks, Older Krogens have steel tanks that rust, Etc. You need to understand that ALL of these boats have these issues to some extent. The main thing is how they have been addressed. Ask what has been done and how, knowing full well what must be done and how. Some things are a deal breaker. Fuel tanks lead the list.
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