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Old 05-19-2013, 09:52 PM   #1
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Buying a boat

Is it wise to use a buyers broker when buying my first trawler? What would be the pros and cons of doing the search myself? I am an experienced sailor but do not have much experience with all the systems on a trawler.

James
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:06 PM   #2
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James, I´m doing the same..looking for a trawler, with experience sailing, but nit in trawlers, any idea please share..thanks.
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:18 PM   #3
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Buying a boat

Thanks for the reply but we are going to need some of the experienced guys/gals to reply. I have been reading nearly every thread here and went to the Trawler Fest. Lotsa of good experience out there. Everyone is very helpful. I am ready to buy but am trying to do it on my own and/or get a broker to help.
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Old 05-19-2013, 10:48 PM   #4
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Having done the "buy it myself" route I would only do it again if we tripped and fell over our next boat. Find a good broker and let him or her do their job and find the boat for you.

For the amount of time, travel and aggravation arranging to meet with sellers forgedaboutit is my take. A good broker saves you both time and money in the long and short run.
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Old 05-19-2013, 11:14 PM   #5
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A broker can be a real asset to the buying process, but you have to select a good one.

Boats can be a lot like real estate--- the brokers often become aware of what's coming onto the market before the boat is formally listed. So they can often get a buyer in ahead of the pack.

This happened with our boat. Had we not used a buyers broker we never would have gotten the boat we did at the price we got it for. And this was all because our broker in Bellingham, WA got a call from another broker in Alameda, CA with whom he had a long working relationship. The Alameda broker was calling to say he had just been told to sell an older GB36 because the owner had just bought a new GB46 and didn't want to own two boats.

The Alameda broker was calling to ask if the broker in Bellingham knew anyone who might be interested in an older GB36? He faxxed up the boat's data sheet and about ten minutes later my wife and I showed up for a meeting with the Bellngham broker. The rest, as they say, is history. The boat never hit the listing sheets.

So that's one advantage.

Another is that if one is new to this type of boat and boating, a GOOD broker will know a hell of a lot more than you do about the pros and cons of the sorts of boats you might be interested in. So they can provide a lot of guidance with regards to what makes or models to steer clear of and what boats to focus on. Our broker did this too, steering us clear of the so-called Taiwan Trawler makes which while there are plenty of good ones to be found, there are a lot of bad ones and it takes time to sort them out. We didn't have or wanted to spend this kind of time.

Yet another advantage will be that a broker will have contacts--- as our broker did--- with other brokerages and individual brokers both in your area as well as other regions of the country.

In our case, we were able to buy a boat in California for thousands of dollars less than the exact same kind, age, and condition boat would have cost here in Washington (at the time). This is because GBs are always in very high demand in this area because of our cruising waters. At the time this was not the case in California, so the same boat could be had for a lot less money down there. We had the boat trucked to Washington and still came out several thousand dollars ahead. This was in 1998, I don't know what it's like today.

Were we to buy another boat--- and we might--- we will definitely use a broker, most likely the same one we used for our GB.

So based on our experience, my suggestion to a boat buyer, particularly one new to this type of boat or boating, is before you start shopping for a boat, start shopping for a broker. And put as much effort into it as you would shopping for a boat. Ask questions, get opinions from boat buyers who've used such-and-such a brokerage or so-and-so a broker. Interview the brokers and determine if they're honest and are truly interested in supporting your interests and needs or are just trying to make a buck. It requires being a good judge of character.

Now other people will probably answer here and tell you that brokers are worthless bastards who bring no value at all to the boat-buying process, and I don't dispute that some-- maybe many--- are like this. But I strongly believe that a broker can make all the difference in the success of your boat-buying experience BUT--- and I cannot stress this enough--- you HAVE to find that really good broker.

And no matter if you elect to use a broker or think you can select a boat on your own, make sure you have the boat and its engine(s) surveyed by surveyors who are really familiar with the make and model of boat you want to buy. As far as I'm concerned, shopping for good hull and engine surveyors is just as important as shopping for a broker and a boat.

I can tell you from our direct experience that having the right people on your side through the boat selection and buying decision makes what could be a scary, uncertain and perhaps frustrating process a hell of a lot of fun

It's still a big decision given the cost of a boat and, worse, the never-ending cost of ownership (which I hope you are taking into account), but having the right people working with you can remove a lot of the apprehension and help you maintain that "I'm doing the right thing" feeling.
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Old 05-19-2013, 11:16 PM   #6
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A good broker saves you both time and money in the long and short run.
Nothing says that you can't do both! That's what I have done and have covered a lot more ground than just one conducting the search. If he finds the boat, great! If I find the boat, he handles the paperwork. (Unless it's a private sale, ie: no broker) you're going to pay a commission anyway!
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:45 AM   #7
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Having spent most of last fall and winter looking for a boat (trawler type) I would heartily support the suggestions here of using a buyer's broker. After all, unless it's a private sale, you're going to pay the commission anyway.

As Marin says, shop around for a broker; find one that you can relate to and isn't looking to push you in any direction.

And try to find one before you start looking at boats if possible! For once you have looked at a boat, you are obligated to use the broker that showed it to you.

Using a buyer's broker does not commit you to only looking at/purchasing their listed vessels. My buyer's broker told me that most of his sales are not his listings - not that he didn't have quite a few.

As it happened, I found my boat newly listed on Yachtworld before my broker saw it, but my first contact was with my buyer's broker and he made the entire process very simple. (The seller's broker was also excellent, but you don't get to choose them.)

Enjoy the hunt!
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:49 AM   #8
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Is it wise to use a buyers broker when buying my first trawler? What would be the pros and cons of doing the search myself? I am an experienced sailor but do not have much experience with all the systems on a trawler.

James
Very wise.
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Old 05-20-2013, 09:07 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone. I sincerly appreciate your comments and advise. You have helped reaffirm what I was beginning to think and now definitely plan to follow the buyers broker path. Of course now the next question is, does anyone have any good suggestions for a 'good' broker. I probably need one in Florida.

Thanks again.
James
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Old 05-20-2013, 10:39 AM   #10
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I'll suggest you avoid the mail order brokers and find the best guy reasonably local to you that you can. Driving a couple hundred miles for one is totally reasonable but I prefer the personal touch you get only with a local.

Marin above gave great advice. Don't look for a boat until you've done your due diligence and found a good broker that YOU can communicate with and feel comfortable with. And then, stick with him is my advice.
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:15 PM   #11
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Tucker Fallon, a resident on this forum, has been highly recommended by other members, and he is Florida based.

Judging from the experiences of a friend of mine, you have to be very careful about selecting a broker in that market.
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:44 PM   #12
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other aspects of broker

Most accredited brokers will cooperate with each other and split commissions and as well they can access sold prices which you can't as a consumer. So yes a buyer's broker has merit but remember that both get paid to sell not to stop a sale.

The one thing I might add is to be sensitive to their time as that is what they are selling. You need to get some kind of a decent view of what you want the boat to be and why. You also need to be clear about the amount you want to spend. Armed with that, a broker knows if you are a live prospect or a waste of time.

Where you get super value from a broker is when he sees a vessel that is close to your profile but maybe a bit of a reach financially. He may be privy to the motivation of the seller and try for some creative deal making

Another thing a good broker will do is move you away from misconceptions about a brand or a configuration. For example Three years ago I would not look at anything with Detroit Diesels. Turns out that they would have been both good and economical for my use. As well he wanted me to check some Hatteras models when I had not specified that brand. Turns out he was right about construction and price but I liked the Bayliner configuration better.

Maybe next stop a Hatteras but probably a 42 Jefferson or Present or similar sundeck. Who knows? Surprising though, owners seldom complain about what they've got once they've got it, whatever it is
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Old 05-20-2013, 01:24 PM   #13
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Florida unselfish brokers I've been impressed by one way or another:

Daytona Beach, Bill Eve 386-451-3931
Stuart, Bill Harris 772-919-2012
Ft. Lauderdale, Tucker Fallon, reachable right here on the Forum

Talk to each about what kind of cruising you're going to do (or would like to), and they know what boats to talk about that would parallel your desires. Make your search a fun process. Use knowledgeable, easy-going and patient personalities. Always get a survey, and never use a seller's Broker for survey references. Get aboard anything that will give you diverse points of reference on the different styles, layouts and power choices of boats that appeal to your criteria.
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