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Old 01-07-2022, 03:42 PM   #1
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Question about Brokers

I'm looking for a trawler, but new to boat buying so I hope this isn't a stupid question, and that this is the appropriate forum for this question...

I see that brokers are not permitted to post here, but are most (or any) of the boats posted here for sale represented by a broker?

How does it work if I'm working with a buyer's broker? I'm guessing that if a boat is listed here, the seller isn't interested in paying a broker... so is my broker just out of luck on a commission?

Thanks!
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Old 01-07-2022, 04:10 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard. If you are looking here at a boat I would not involve the broker, depending on your agreement with the broker. Or you may have to pay the brokers fee.
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Old 01-07-2022, 04:15 PM   #3
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I was a yacht broker in Annapolis for the better part of a year. I sold about a dozen boats during that period. I also bought and sold 6-8 boats of my own through brokers during my cruising years. So, the following comes from that perspective.

Virtually all listings posted here are for sale by owner. That is a different part of the market from broker listed boats. So if you are interested in one of these boats, contact the owner.

AFAIK there are no or very few true buyer's brokers who are paid directly by the buyer.

Almost all brokerage listings have a 10% commission specified in the listing agreement paid by the seller and part of the purchase price. Almost all listing brokers but not all, will split that 50/50 with another broker who brings a buyer to the table.

I would pursue any boats listed here directly with the seller. But that is generally a small part of the market. Most boats in the $100k+ range are listed with a broker.

So, find a broker who is willing to work with you for their 5% cut. Go to brokerage houses in your area and interview them. There are good and bad brokers, so if you find one you like start working with them to find you a boat. You won't have to sign a "buyers broker agreement" but you do need to work with them exclusively if you really want them to work for you and find you the right boat.

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Old 01-07-2022, 04:35 PM   #4
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Thanks, David. Your summary of the way brokers work is about what I expected - similar to the real estate market.
Normally I don't like dealing with brokers (I avoid them, for real estate) but since I'm new to trawlers I may try to work with a buyer's broker for my first purchase. But I don't want to exclude some of the listings I'm seeing here. I'm probably looking for something in the 35'-40', $50K-$100K range.
I'll keep your points in mind.
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Old 01-07-2022, 04:46 PM   #5
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In the $50-100k range check out boattrader.com, mostly a FSBO web site but some brokers list there as well. This is unlike Yachtworld which only contains brokerage listings.

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Old 01-07-2022, 04:48 PM   #6
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One of the advantages a buyer's broker brings is a sales agreement that you are familiar with. Your Buyer's broker should have already gone through his buy sell agreement with you. This way when you find the boat you want, you write up the offer with paperwork that you already know and has the appropriate outs that make you comfortable. With the market as hot as it is I would not be surprised if the selling brokers are only willing to split commission on a 70-30 basis. This is another conversation you should have with your broker, will he bring you boats that wont split commission or split 70-30. Will he bring you boat that are FSBO. are you willing to compensate him for this. If he is a good buyer's broker he has already had this conversation with you. If he has not, bring it up. His other job is to know boats and to not let you make an offer on a boat that obliviously wont pass survey.
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Old 01-08-2022, 12:21 PM   #7
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Beware of brokers. I bought my GB in Marco Island Fl. (hint) As this dirt bag was handing me the keys and stepping off the boat, he turned and asked if I wanted to buy the boarding steps on the dock for $100 (which belonged to the PO) from him. He said the PO sold them to him.
I told him to F%#! &%!

The steps sat there for the entire month I had the slip and I left them. I wanted to take them or push them off the dock, but someone might have hit them.
What would you have done?
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Old 01-08-2022, 01:19 PM   #8
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Nothing wrong with using a broker but in the price range you're in I agree with others you may be able to find the boat on your own. If you do venture out on your own I would recommend you still have the boat surveyed by a professional before you make the purchase. You do not want a $75K boat to end up costing you $175K in the end. A concern using a broker in this price range is they may focus less on you and more on the other buyers looking for $1M boats where the broker makes more money for the same level of effort. I have sold all my trawlers with a broker and while the 10% commission hurts, it did make the process and paperwork easier. This being said my last sale with a new broker who sold a well-known line of trawlers (not Nordhavn) turned out to be interesting towards the end and I had to engage to keep things right for all parties. You just never know so protect yourself.

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Old 01-08-2022, 03:39 PM   #9
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Welcome aboard TF.
I agree with points made by DavidM and others.
One comment I would add is that if you are working with a buyers broker and find a boat listing you are interested in that is listed by a broker (almost always will have broker contact info and not the owner / seller) I would not make any contact or inquiry directly with the broker. It is best if your buyer broker makes the contact & asks any questions.
The reason if you make contact and later want to bring in a buyer broker thevsellers broker may claim he made the original contact with you and refuse to split a commission. That will cut out you buyer broker or you would need to pay him for his /her efforts on top of the full 10% selling broker is getting.
My brother is a broker and when I used him as a buyers broker (which I do recommend) I always had him make initial contact so he could establish his representation of me as a buyer. As mentioned a 50/50 split is common but havevseen it go 40/60 or even 60/40. Today's seller market may affect the willingness of brokers to cooperate if they feel they can complete a sale w/o any assistance. The longer a boat is on the market the more likely a co- broker deal is.
I also agree you need to discuss and reach an agreement with your buyers broker where you find the boat and may ask him to assist. Will he accept whatever % he can negotiate with a selling broker or will he take some nominal (reduced) fee where you identify the boat & seller?
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Old 01-08-2022, 03:58 PM   #10
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Wow, thanks for all the great advice. Let me add some specifics and see if I can get more!

I have plenty of experience owning/operating small runabouts on inland waters, but my experience with bigger stuff is limited to houseboats, and a week last summer when I bareboat chartered a 33' tug. I have been researching doing a Great Loop trip for some time, and its getting close to time to buy a boat. To complicate matters, I need to buy this boat 'long distance', as I am located on the West coast, and will need to buy the boat somewhere on the loop. So my interest in a buyer's broker is someone to be my advocate/guide in an area where I have little experience, and also someone who can get eyes on a boat to give an initial evaluation, without me having to spend thousands in travel costs to do so.

Given these particulars, any advice on how best to proceed?

(BTW, I'm sure many of you will tell me I'm in way over my head. And perhaps I am. But I think I can pull this off - although I'm new to cruising, I do have experience with engines, mechanical systems, electrical/electronic systems, navigation, etc. etc. I have been researching this for a couple years - there's tons I need to learn, but I didn't just wake up yesterday and decide I wanted to do this.
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Old 01-08-2022, 04:33 PM   #11
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OK that helps clarify situation. Some additional thoughts...
With loop as a goal the highest concentration of boats will likely be Gulf Coast (TX to FL) or anywhere in Fl. One approach might be to solicit inputs from TFers that have been in similar situation and could recommend a broker in those areas that helped w an initial inspection that they found helpful and trusted.
The difficulty you may have is that approach takes time and in today's market things move fast when multiple buyers are interested. Quick response may win the race / sale.
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Old 01-08-2022, 04:49 PM   #12
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"Somewhere on the Great Loop" is a huge area and no single broker would be able to cover that area "hands on". So select your buyers broker in Portland. He/she can screen boats and make contact with the broker that listed the boats you are interested.

Yes as Bacchus notes above, the first thing your buyers broker will do when contacting a listing broker is to identify you as their client and then negotiate the fee split, usually 50/50.

There are things that traditionally the listing broker does (obtain the listing, duh!) and the buyers broker does. Usually the listing broker will cover one showing and still live with the 50/50 split. Any more then he may ask for a modification to the 50/50 split.

I handled one sale as the buyers broker while I was based in Annapolis and the boat was in Punta Gorda, Fl. I never flew out there but i handled all of the seller's issues and earned my 5%. Well I should say that my brokerage earned 2-1/2% and I earned 2-1/2% personally. That is the way it works.

I used a buyers broker on several of my personal purchases and in one case he found a local surveyor that agreed to take a quick look and take pictures of problem areas all for a hundred bucks with expectations of doing the final survey. In this case he discovered that the owner's teenagers were using the boat as a party house and it was a mess, used condoms and all . That saved me a 2000 mile trip and perhaps the cost of a full survey.

Boat buying can and should be fun though.

David
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Old 01-08-2022, 05:25 PM   #13
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ORBoater,
Like most things and professions, there are good, bad, and in between brokers!!! Dah.
Personally, I found that a lot of brokers are either lazy (want to do the very minimum possible (or even less)), or are not very knowledgeable, or really don't care much about their client's satisfaction. Based on this, your situation is a difficult one. If I were you, I would try to obtain recommendations for a good broker in your area from TF (local) members! However, with the "hot market", the potential issues and work involved in this type of "long distance" sale, and the relatively small commission involved (with this price range), you may have a difficult time finding a broker willing to "really" take this on (on) your behalf, doing a truly good job for you???
To be fair, I personally know a few very good brokers in my area, who I have worked with in the past and found them to be very good and professional. It was well worth being involved with them, so it is possible. However, my circumstances (at the time) were quite a bit different than yours, and the market was no where near as hot.
My other 2 cents worth is before closing, personally inspect (travel) and sea trial the boat, and hire a good (recommended) surveyor.
Good luck, as you face a few obstacles, but not impossible.
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Old 01-08-2022, 05:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ORBoater View Post
Thanks, David. Your summary of the way brokers work is about what I expected - similar to the real estate market.
Normally I don't like dealing with brokers (I avoid them, for real estate) but since I'm new to trawlers I may try to work with a buyer's broker for my first purchase. But I don't want to exclude some of the listings I'm seeing here. I'm probably looking for something in the 35'-40', $50K-$100K range.
I'll keep your points in mind.

https://www.curtisstokes.net/yacht-b...e-service.html

I have used Curtis in the past.
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Old 01-08-2022, 06:08 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ORBoater View Post
I'm looking for a trawler, but new to boat buying so I hope this isn't a stupid question, and that this is the appropriate forum for this question...

I see that brokers are not permitted to post here, but are most (or any) of the boats posted here for sale represented by a broker?

How does it work if I'm working with a buyer's broker? I'm guessing that if a boat is listed here, the seller isn't interested in paying a broker... so is my broker just out of luck on a commission?

Thanks!
https://www.curtisstokes.net/yacht-b...e-service.html
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Old 01-08-2022, 06:28 PM   #16
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I've been shopping boattrader pretty hard lately, and sending out the emails through the site without much response? Are the brokers really that busy selling huge money boats that me looking for a sub 50k one isn't worth emailing back?
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Old 01-08-2022, 10:12 PM   #17
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Also, keep in mind the expenses involved for any broker you wish to use who has to fly to see the boat, fly to the survey and fly to the delivery. All for the minimal amount of money involved in a 100K sale. Those expenses and Covid? Not me, baby. I’d never make any money.
You need to start looking at boats yourself. Ask a zillion questions and find a couple types and manufacturers you’d be happy with. Learn the process.
Go to shows, trawler fest and others.
You’ll learn enough to buy it on your own, and save some money also.
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Old 01-08-2022, 11:50 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Drummer79 View Post
I've been shopping boattrader pretty hard lately, and sending out the emails through the site without much response? Are the brokers really that busy selling huge money boats that me looking for a sub 50k one isn't worth emailing back?

My experience with yachtworld is that using the "Contact Broker" feature doesn't mean that the broker actually gets your contact info. I attempted to get more info on about 6 boats over a year period. None of the brokers contacted me back. I was able to DIRECTLY contact several of the brokers by researching who actually listed the boat, but using the yachtworld feature was a dead end.
The boat we ended up buying, I used the "contact broker" feature three THREE times, crickets. Researched who had actually listed the boat, called, left a voicemail with the broker, and he called me back in less than 2 hours. He said he'd never gotten any referrals from yachtworld. Once we had a contract on the boat, 4 or 5 people contacted me when I posted that we had the boat under contract, asking me how I had gotten through to anyone re/ the boat. I truly believe that yw is not forwarding the info the the brokers.

Takeaway: If you find a boat you may be interested in, find out who the actual listing broker is, and contact them directly. That's the only way I would do it, and the only way you can ensure that they are getting the message. Best of luck in you search!
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Old 01-09-2022, 12:15 AM   #19
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Boatsales.com.au in Australia is the marine equivalent of related site Carsales.com.au. Carsales charges advertisers for every enquiry via its site, so it has motivation to pass through, and it does. Some car dealers urge you to scroll to the very bottom of their advert where you can usually ID the dealer, doubtless to get inquiries direct and not get charged. I`m guessing Boatsales does the same. Maybe YW needs a profit motive to pass on enquiries.
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Old 01-09-2022, 02:07 AM   #20
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The broker we used in selling our last boat and buying our current boat said that YW was basically useless except that they control the vast majority of the market in terms of advertising. He said he pays a lot and doesnít usually get referrals. I called him directly and insisted he show us our current boat even though it wasnít really on the market at that time. In the end he listed our last boat, fo 5% commission, and sold it and sold our current boat to us. So it was a good deal for him.
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