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Old 08-09-2015, 03:13 PM   #1
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Boat buyin' blues

As some of you may recall, we joined Trawler Forum to bask in the collective warmth of all your knowledge and experience to assist us in our quest to purchase a Trawler and do "The Loop".

I have thoroughly read "Boat Search 101" and have done the steps that have narrowed down our search to a Trawler in the 36- to 42-foot range and preferably an aft-cabin. We now have run-aground on a problem I have not seen addressed here: How to get someone (Owner or Broker) to actually show you their boat which they have actually advertised for sale?

We are located in eastern Washington State and our current search area is Portland, OR and all of the Seattle, WA - Puget Sound area. This is a relatively small area with a LOT of boats allegedly for sale.

We will find a boat that we wish to visit, and either call or E-mail (their preference) to make an appointment. Of the seven boats we have (to date) made appointments to see, only three (two Owners and one Broker) have actually shown up. The rest? (Brokers)- were no-shows. One would not even answer his phone. One guy gave us a littany of excuses as to why he could not show us the boat - "Saturday is not good for me" (O.K. - What would be good? ) - "well, we're working on it now" - (O.K. - why is it still listed on Yachtworld for sale? ).

I guess my questions (finally) are - is there some kind of ceremony we must go through to get a showing? Do we have to make an offer first? Is there so many boat-buyers now that they are not interested in showing? Do they just hate to think of actually selling it?

This is getting VERY frustrating for both of us as we must invest in a 200- to 300-mile one-way trip to make these appointments and keep coming home disappointed.

Dave
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Old 08-09-2015, 03:23 PM   #2
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Maybe it would make sense for you to use a buyers agent / broker. They share the commission with the listing broker and take care of a lot of the hassles. Sort of like a realtor when you're buying a house.

Ted
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Old 08-09-2015, 03:42 PM   #3
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Dave-way too often yours is a common complaint that pops up on the forum. It certainly does not say much for the brokerage industry. That said, Ted's idea is a good one and one offered here many times. I am in the Seattle area but don't really have any suggestions for a buyer's broker. But we have many members from the PNW and I am sure a recommendation will be forthcoming. I might also suggest contacting Peter, our insurance guru (Pau Hana) as I am sure he has a lot of contacts in the brokerage community. He may be able to suggest someone. It sure can make life easier when you are travelling. a buyer's broker should be able to help with selection and possibly get several boats scheduled for a single visit.

Good luck!
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Old 08-09-2015, 03:57 PM   #4
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Mr. Ted / Mr. THD, That is exactly what we intend to do after we find "The Boat". While the Portland - Seattle are is relatively compact it is still a large area and the idea of sending a Broker hither and yon while we make up our minds would be unfair in my opinion. We are ( at least were ), willing to do the initial legwork and then use a Buyer's Broker to get it for us. We have already talked to one in Tacoma who is willing.

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Old 08-09-2015, 04:02 PM   #5
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Dave-way too often yours is a common complaint that pops up on the forum. It certainly does not say much for the brokerage industry. That said, Ted's idea is a good one and one offered here many times. I am in the Seattle area but don't really have any suggestions for a buyer's broker. But we have many members from the PNW and I am sure a recommendation will be forthcoming. I might also suggest contacting Peter, our insurance guru (Pau Hana) as I am sure he has a lot of contacts in the brokerage community. He may be able to suggest someone. It sure can make life easier when you are travelling. a buyer's broker should be able to help with selection and possibly get several boats scheduled for a single visit.

Good luck!


We just did the same thing the past 3 months. We sold our Bayliner 3288 and shopped and purchased a new to us boat in the same area you are looking. Before I listed our boat, I asked around the marina we are in (Olympia, WA) for a good, hard working, honest broker. We, like you, have a 100 mile drive to get to Olympia where our boat is at. A couple of names came up over and over. We picked John Bolender at Capital City Yacht Sales after talking at length with John. He sold our boat quickly (in weeks) for the upper market value. And then spent at least a day or two a week showing us boats from Portland to Anacortes. Not all the co-brokers were honest about there listing to John ahead of time. But he got us on boats with no problem at the time/day we had available to look. I would recommend him with no reservations.

Not sure your price range or what kind of boat you are looking for. We were at the bottom of the price range looking for a good condition, 40-44 ft Sundeck trawler. There are a lot of not so good boats on the market and a bunch the owners don't understand the market price there boat is worth. And like buying a house, there ar a lot that just won't fit your need once you get on it.

Good luck on your search.
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Old 08-09-2015, 04:03 PM   #6
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NYC, contact Peter Whiting with Northwest Yachts in Anacortes. He helped my wife and I in our search for our boat. I cannot recommend him enough. He is always quick to respond to emails or phone calls and assisted us with looking at boats from Portland to Bellingham. He had a funeral to attend one day in Seattle yet still rushed back to Anacortes to show us a boat that we had previously scheduled a showing for. My wife and I live just north of Boise and totally get the " it's getting VERY old" with the traveling. It took us almost a year before our boat "found us". Peter is rock solid and a great guy..."and the coffee is always on". Keep your chin up.

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Old 08-09-2015, 04:27 PM   #7
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I too highly recommend getting a buyer's broker. Nothing wrong with having one in Portland/Oregon, Seattle and say Anacortes... just tell them that's what you're doing and let the best one win. I did this on the east coast when shopping remotely, I bought each one a nice meal or two along the way. There may well be someone out there who would be happy to do the entire area, as a good one will know the other guys/gals in the other markets. If they know you are a serious and qualified buyer, it's a nice gig for them, less work than a listing. Get lots of references!
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Old 08-09-2015, 04:38 PM   #8
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Mr. S41,
Mr. Alan Powell / Ms. Sue Shaeffer at CapitalCity Yacht are the two who we talked to about being our Buyer's Broker. Seemingly fine helpful people. Actually seemed to want to sell their Client's boats. Which reminds me, are the owner's of these boats represented by these no-show Brokers aware that they are unlikely ever to sell their boat?

Dave
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Old 08-09-2015, 04:41 PM   #9
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Oops! I was incorrect about the Tacoma Broker, they are actually in Olympia.

Dave
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Old 08-09-2015, 05:04 PM   #10
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So it doesn't strike anyone as strange that one must find a broker to buy a boat also?

While I do see the value in a buyer's broker, I don't think it should be necessary.

Which makes me wonder why you are having such a hard time.

Could it be something about your online conversation that makes the seller think you are not serious?
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Old 08-09-2015, 05:21 PM   #11
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I think a lot of brokers that are no show or hard to get hold of to look at a particular boat fall into two or maybe 3 categories:
1/ There are some who are just plain too busy at their own dock to be bothered with a boat that is someplace else.
2/ There are some who just should not be in the business at all
3/ There are some who are sending you a message- I have shown this boat 60 times- I have presented the owner with 10 offers, some have gone to survey and after all the work involved the owner has screwed the deal up at the last moment every time, sometimes over as little as a thousand dollars. Some owners are not willing to budge no matter what the survey says. The long and the short of it is the broker is tired of wasting his time on this boat. But the broker can not very well come out and tell you that the owner is a ????? and you are wasting your time.

Just my thoughts unsupported by facts-
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Old 08-09-2015, 05:40 PM   #12
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Mr. Wxx3, We have been very upfront about our approach. We tell the Owner / Broker our purpose for looking, our Budget and our timeline. We tell him we will not need financing but will be doing a cash only sale. We tell him we are not just looking for a weekend boat ride. Because of that lack of success we have been less than forthright since. I just hate to play a guessing game with these guys and wish only to understand what, exactly, the process should entail since we have never done this before (other than our sailboat- which was a friend-to-friend sale).

Dave
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Old 08-09-2015, 05:59 PM   #13
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Dave, sometimes you can give to much information.

The call goes like this: Good afternoon. My name is Dave. I see you have an xyz boat listed on Yachtworld. My wife and I would like to take a look at it.

I wouldn't offer any information beyond that except for your phone number which they probably already have. If your going to use a buyers broker, do so from the start. Bad form (IMO) to mislead the selling broker into thinking he will handle both sides. Depending on how the selling broker perceives you over the phone he may not be taking you as a serious buyer. Using a buyers broker, it's their job to convince the seller's broker you're serious.

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Old 08-09-2015, 06:19 PM   #14
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Ted, I do not believe we are misleading anyone. I tell the Owner / Broker exactly what we are doing. How could that be misleading? I also cannot use a Buyer's Broker as an intermediary with an Owner who has specified in his ad that he will have no truck with any Broker. And there are a lot of those guys. I'm starting to understand now why that is.

If we find a boat we want to make an offer on that happens to be a "no Brokers" Owner then I will want my Buyer's Broker to somehow help me complete the sale. There must be a way.

Dave
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Old 08-09-2015, 06:35 PM   #15
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Dave, it may have to do with your price range. My guess is they may get less interested below a certain price when they learn it is a split commission. Not saying this is the case, just offering up possibilities. I spent 8 years looking, the last 3 very seriously. Believe me, l understand your frustration. Hope for your success, so you can put this part of your new boat behind you.

Ted
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Old 08-09-2015, 06:35 PM   #16
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There is absolutely a way to compensate your broker for dealing with a FSBO! You pay them for the assistance that they render to you. Seller gets paid, you get the boat you want and the broker gets compensated for working on your behalf and making the sale happen. What's not to like?
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Old 08-09-2015, 09:00 PM   #17
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Dave, it may have to do with your price range. My guess is they may get less interested below a certain price when they learn it is a split commission. Not saying this is the case, just offering up possibilities. I spent 8 years looking, the last 3 very seriously. Believe me, l understand your frustration. Hope for your success, so you can put this part of your new boat behind you.

Ted
This may be true. I recently purchased a used trawler. My budget was up to $50,000. I contacted a few brokers that I was interested in using as a buyers broker. Most of them were only interested in selling me boats that they were selling. Some never returned phone calls or e-mails. I ended up buying without a buyers broker. There were even some boats that were for sale that the broker never returned phone calls or e-mails. There was a Mainship 34 for sale in Forked River NJ that I wanted to look at that I was very interested in. The broker never called back. It is still for sale. That owner needs a new broker. Like all professions there are good ones and bad ones. I bought my boat from a good broker.
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Old 08-09-2015, 09:05 PM   #18
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We used a buyer's broker in 1998 to find us the boat we still have in the PNW. It was a terrific experience, he even went with us (at his expense) to California to participate in our inspection, sea trial and survey that we had done to determine if we wanted to buy the boat or not.

We're not interested in spending a ton of time walking docks and looking at all sorts of boats, almost all of which aren't what we want. We determined exactly what we wanted and then Scott found it for us. Other than the trip to California, the whole process was simpler than buying a car.
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Old 08-09-2015, 09:41 PM   #19
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I would like to second the suggestion of a buyer's broker. We are currently under contract to buy another boat. We are using a buyer's broker for several good reasons.

When we purchased our other boat, it was a private sale. The number of problems we encountered could have been avoided by the use of a professional on our side. Lesson learned!

When we began considering another boat, I spoke to a broker I know about our desire to look into buying another boat. He has been very helpful on several fronts. The most important was getting the back story on boats that we thought we were interested in. Not surprisingly, brokers speak to each other with more openness than they use when answering cold calls.
Over the last year, he has shown us a number of boats and gotten us access to more boats. On several occasions I called brokers about boats they had listed. I always started the conversation by stating that I was working with a broker but had a simple question that didn't need to involve my broker. And I kept the conversation short out of respect for his time. Everyone I spoke to in these instances thanked me for being upfront about my broker.

In the case of the boat that we are buying, the selling broker has reached an agreement with my broker about fees. Everyone is happy and I know my interests are protected. The sale involves cross border transactions that require more knowledge than I have about the paperwork involved. I'm very happy with the work he has done and I think it's a fine idea.
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Old 08-09-2015, 11:10 PM   #20
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I`m with Wxx3 on this. We don`t have a buyers broker system here, and as their reward comes from the sellers broker( and therefore the seller) I wonder about independence and loyalty priority, especially as they only get paid if a sale happens. But it`s clear from posts here, and elsewhere, there are good decent buyers brokers around you`d want on your side.
I`d put the non responsive selling brokers down as poor operators. Surely a "I can`t make the appointment" phone call is a basic courtesy. If they can`t do that, you had a lucky early escape.
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