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Old 11-02-2011, 12:00   #1
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How to Buy a Boat

I have been searching yachtworld for some time, and responded a few times, but it seems brokers don't like email much. Or maybe me mentioning I live overseas scare them away.

So what's best to do, keep messaging brokers, or is it better to find some middleman that can arrange everything for me? If I need one, anyone can recommend someone in Florida?
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Old 11-02-2011, 14:04   #2
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You can enlist your own broker to act as an intermediary for you. He will be motivated by his share in the sales commission. Where in Florida - David Walters in Fort Lauderdale may be a good choice. It also depends on the size of the sail. many brokers have little interest in sales of less than 150-200k.
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Old 11-02-2011, 14:58   #3
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It also depends on the size of the sail. many brokers have little interest in sales of less than 150-200k.
I am glad that they can be so discriminatory in their choice of customers.

It is my experience that in similar industries such as real estate, those who do not change with the times wither away.

The strategy of limiting dealing with clients depending on the size of their pocket books works in an up or thriving market.

I have had the same problems getting brokers to get back to me; all it means to me is that when I go down to the areas they operate in, if I have contacted them, and they did not get back with real information on a timely basis, they will not be on my list of those I want to talk to in person.

They have their selling strategy, I have my buying strategy. Recognize I may be not only a one time buyer, but your choice to be discriminatory.
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Old 11-02-2011, 15:14   #4
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Androehw, I can't comment on your exact situation but I can only offer my own experience. I am negotiating for a boat in the far east at the moment. It has been a six month process. I need a boat in the location where it is offered and unfortunately there is very little choice. After the first three months of monitoring the price I flew out to have the boat surveyed and did a pre survey of my own. I had some information that allowed me to start the process and am now in the final stages of making my purchase. I think it is necessary to show a more specific interest in the purchase you wish to make and would have to do that in person, making a deposit and conducting a survey. You have to be ready to look specifically at a boat and make contact with the owner and broker, otherwise, you may be considered as just another tire kicker who can type a message. I wish I were looking for a boat in Florida because I would pick a dozen boats in my budget and start haggling. Come to think of it, I wish I could be looking for a boat in Trinidad. I'll make my report later when I can release my details.
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Old 11-02-2011, 15:18   #5
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Yachtworld is a great resource but I wouldn't use it to further investigate boats via brokers. Take the information you find with a grain of salt and study it as it is. Look for owners associations as they know why you might want to really own one. If you desire a particular boat then see if you can find more than one in the same vicinity else expect to spend a lot more.

You really need to check boats out in person. Work geographic areas with that in mind. If you couldn't go to California to look at a boat you shouldn't be looking to buy one there. If you work geographic areas you could really go to and see several boats in person you'll learn more. The whole going to look at a boat in person is invaluable. Long distance boat buying carries a huge premium. The added costs are not to be discounted. It costs a whole lot to travel more than a day away to purchase a boat. It isn't just one trip!

The odds of someone from far away actually buying a boat are slim from a broker point of view. When I sold my last boat I didn't consider far away offers. I turned a better one down.

You need a better strategy. Never make an offer on a boat you don't want to buy and never deal with brokers except in person. It shows you mean business. Never make an offer on a boat you never actually saw in person. If you combine those basics you'll buy a boat easier. It may be possible to go another way it isn't high percentage. Brokers are unimpressed with your strategy because they want your money. You exhibit a low percentage sales potential. That will leave you dealing with the really hungry brokers. The basic rule of brokers is 80% of boat sales are by 20% of brokers. The other 80% of brokers are just not that good. If you expect a lot from brokers you need to find the 20% that really sell most of the boats.
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Old 11-02-2011, 15:59   #6
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Pblais, all you say is probably good advise, however, I have contacted brokers on specific boats, and asked specific questions that are easily answered.

I was disappointed to learn that in most cases the broker has not even seen the boat, so is not in a position to answer the question. If it is a general question common to that particular model, one would think that the experienced broker would either have the information or be able to obtain it readily.

The information I requested was not something a broker would need to but a lot of effort in, if he knew the particular boat of models.

Lack of getting back to me (you will never hear from me again) or not responding specifically, ensures you will not sell to me when I come down to your area. If you don't know, that is OK, but I would hope you could make an effort to find out.

There is one broker who has actually replied to me with information, and when I get to his area in Florida, I will visit him. I thought at least to this point there maybe some professionalism on his part.
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Old 11-02-2011, 16:12   #7
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Thanks for the reactions so far.

To clarify my situation a little. I live in the Netherlands, and plan to start cruising in the next half year, and want to start somewhere tropical. If I have to fly 10 hours to check out a few boats, I think the best choice would be Florida, according to the internet there are there 3 or 4 boats in my price catagory. Because of the distance it's somewhat difficult to deal with sellers in person, and I kind of hope I can buy a boat over the internet, or at least make most of the arrangements in advance.

I am looking at cheap multi-hulls of around $50k. My first choice is the gemini, lots of very dedicated and happy owners. Or if I start my trip in Europe, the only option is a Prout. With this price limitation, I cannot be too picky, and I expect that the boat will need some extra work while and/or before cruising.

Of course brokers are more interested to sell a $500k vessel than a $50k, but still, with a brokers fee of 10% it's still 5000 dollars just for a single email reply. They wouldn't even have to type anything, just send the complete photo collection and other info other potential buyers would want to see. It almost sounds like there is a business opportunity here, a brokerage specializing in cheap boats.

What I don't entirely get, is how it works for brokers. Is the brokerage fee splitted between the buying and selling broker, or do I have to pay another fee to the broker I am using to buy a boat? And since everyone is getting a percentage of what I would pay, is there anyone willing to negotiate a better price, or should I start with a first bid.
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Old 11-02-2011, 16:16   #8
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many brokers have little interest in sales of less than 150-200k.
Not necessarily. Many people in the marine industry also live the boating/cruising lifestyle. It's been my (unfortunate) experience that some of them bring the "island time" attitude back to work with them. Not good business practice in my opinion.
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Old 11-02-2011, 16:16   #9
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If brokers don't want to correspond by email, what are they doing advertising on the internet?! For them to expect you to make lots of long distance phone calls just to make an enquiry is unfair and lazy on their part, take your money somewhere else.

I don't know about the US market but I've found the same thing here in Europe as well. Don't be put off, if they can't be bothered then theyve done you a favour. For every bad lazy one, there will be more good ones out their that would actualy appreciate your business.

When I bought my present boat I had actually already seen it advertised with another broker. I emailed them twice and got nothing but ended up seeing her with another broker and the deal was done. Shortly afterwards I phoned the other broker and took great pleasure in telling them so!

What I have learnt since then is there are two types of brokers,

1, Old School. Still think the days when buyers were queing round the block and they can set whatever price they want will come back.

2, Those that have adapted to the new market and realise the glory days are over, actualy willing to do some work to get a good deal done.

Give it a year or so and hopefully there won't be many of the Old School left, then maybe us buyers and sellers can recieve the service that we deserve.
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Old 11-02-2011, 16:23   #10
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Before you go shooting of to Florida have a look through some of the brokers in this on-line sailing magazine for the Caribbean... most are used to oversea's buyers.. its how they earn their crust. I don't know if there's any cat's in your range or not but it may be worth a look,,,
All At Sea - The Caribbean's Waterfront Magazine

As regards commision... thats paid buy the seller... the broker deducts his fee from the purchase price.. the deposit will most likely be the value of his commission
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Old 11-02-2011, 16:35   #11
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At some point you need to accept you can only buy what is for sale. You can buy a boat or seek to change the world but don't complain because you can't do both at the same time. Poor sales people don't sell many boats. You should already know that before you start.

Doing business in person still has the centuries time tested advantage. It also forces you to deal with your limits of finding a boat you really might purchase. You have to make many compromises along the way and there isn't a limit to compromise but may be limits on you. You want a boat that works for your purpose that you also like. No broker knows you or what you like. Given that is the only criteria that actually matters don't blame the broker. Brokers can be of assitance or not. You are not getting married. They are for telling funny stories about at anchorage on your boat!

To buy a boat requires you learn the skills of looking at boats. Asking about boats takes far too long to master. Computing the perfect boat takes a lifetime. If you just want to talk about boats you are already here and have far more resources available than any place else. We have 1,000's of members that have nothing better to do from time to time. It can be a diversion.

If you want to purchase a boat you need to go where they are. Being well prepared is always a good idea. You can learn from many sources and it might not be easy. Where did you get the idea is is supposed to be easy just because you have money to spend?

I don't consider broker information all that critical initially. They may help close the deal at best but they could mess it up too. Since you don't have a deal yet you should remain focused an what matters most - you. What you really need, what you can afford, and what you want to do are the critical issues. Brokers can't know any of that.
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Old 11-02-2011, 16:52   #12
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Quote:
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At some point you need to accept you can only buy what is for sale. You can buy a boat or seek to change the world but don't complain because you can't do both at the same time. Poor sales people don't sell many boats. You should already know that before you start.

Doing business in person still has the centuries time tested advantage. It also forces you to deal with your limits of finding a boat you really might purchase. You have to make many compromises along the way and there isn't a limit to compromise but may be limits on you. You want a boat that works for your purpose that you also like. No broker knows you or what you like. Given that is the only criteria that actually matters don't blame the broker. Brokers can be of assitance or not. You are not getting married. They are for telling funny stories about at anchorage on your boat!

To buy a boat requires you learn the skills of looking at boats. Asking about boats takes far too long to master. Computing the perfect boat takes a lifetime. If you just want to talk about boats you are already here and have far more resources available than any place else. We have 1,000's of members that have nothing better to do from time to time. It can be a diversion.

If you want to purchase a boat you need to go where they are. Being well prepared is always a good idea. You can learn from many sources and it might not be easy. Where did you get the idea is is supposed to be easy just because you have money to spend?

I don't consider broker information all that critical initially. They may help close the deal at best but they could mess it up too. Since you don't have a deal yet you should remain focused an what matters most - you. What you really need, what you can afford, and what you want to do are the critical issues. Brokers can't know any of that.
Exquisitely erudite....
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Old 11-02-2011, 17:24   #13
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The problem isn't that I don't know what I want, I know what I want. The brokers I wrote, I only asked for more and better pictures of the boat I was interested in, preferable hi res. I thought that was the correct thing to do, before you make an initial offer.

Somewhere I read that brokers also might help finding a boat, because they have access to other boat databases. Maybe that's a lie, and I better spend a few thousand on travel expenses than on a broker of my own.
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Old 11-02-2011, 18:36   #14
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Somewhere I read that brokers also might help finding a boat, because they have access to other boat databases. Maybe that's a lie, and I better spend a few thousand on travel expenses than on a broker of my own.
Brokers have access to as much as you have and are less motivated. The one thing they have that you don't have is Yachtworld price history. You don't want to buy all the boats for sale - just one that fits!

I really think if you are on a budget you can get in trouble buying long distance especially on the lower end of the price spectrum. You line up a deal and then you arrive. There is the boat you bought and you know really nothing about it and have to do everything to it before you leave or pay triple later. You know no one so you pay double. You are far from home and on a budget and stuck in Florida. If you don't have much boat experience the thorny path is no place to learn.

The broker is paid by the seller with your money. It's where the money is after the sale. You only start paying fees after you own the boat. When you travel a long way to hopefully close a deal you lose the only advantage you have in the deal - the ability to walk away. It's how you should go into any deal. The ability to walk away means you are not a hostage and your judgment is not influenced by the negative aspects of your position.

Florida is loaded with cheap boats. Many left unattended for a good long time and loaded with problems waiting for you. If you don't have a lot of money, shopping close to home really is your best shot at getting a great boat for a good price. You'll need patience and that can save your life ten times over at sea.

You need to walk 20 km of dock and crawl around inside a few dozen boats. You need to know the best deal you can when you see it and know why because you know other boats you could buy that are not as good. The best deal means you have a few others that are real deals you would be happy with. You come with cash! A Dutchman from far away with cash in his hand is always a boat sellers best friend.

You need to stack the deck in your favor. Find a place you can come across to and expect to spend some time. Never make the calendar work against you! the basic rule of cruising requires that much. Do research before you leave knowing in 10 seconds of looking at the boat you'll walk away and never look back but learn invaluable lessons. You need to train your own eyes so you know what you are looking at and see beneath the dirt and find the crack.

If you don't buy a boat in the EU you can invest the time and leg work to look in the EU, talk to a few dozen people, and walk some docks. You'll meet many interesting people and learn things you never knew you didn't know. Those are the true valuable experience in your life. These are the things you need to bring with you when you go traveling to buy a boat. This exercise will be worth it and won't cost you as much a several round trip plane tickets and hotel bills to go with them. Making the money work on a budget means you practice cheap. You need all the money later! Learning how to sail well first is a good idea. When you invest in the sailor you save money on the boat. It's what you know and why! make the calendar get you totally prepared before you travel.

Lose the schedule as fast as you can - deadlines can kill you. You'll be ready when you know it. In the mean time you take it all in and have fun along the way. It's what you want if things go perfectly. Starting that way now means you are most of the way there. Suddenly, the purchase of the boat is but a detail.

Quote:
The problem isn't that I don't know what I want, I know what I want.
It's about knowing why so you can understand how, with certainty, clarity, and yet enough resilience to be wrong. What you want is exactly where you have to start.
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Old 11-02-2011, 19:13   #15
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To do what your thinking there are two ways... go through brokers and as PBlaise says... buy blind more or less or at the least with blinkers on..
Or... do what I've done 3 times... 1st was St Marten and a Choey Lee 36... lovely pictures, private seller on the net... got there with cash in hand and it was a load of crap. Rented a room over a bar in Phillipsburg then caught the bus to Palapa Docks every day and then did the rounds... Soggy Dollar, the Post/Mail/Computer service that was on the 1st floor in the building 100yds down the way... then Shrimpy's followed vy Lal's Bar, in those days opposite the airport... munch Samosa's and Chicken Tikka's washed down with Mount Gay and coke...
It took me a week of verbal advertising and I was approached by a few sellers... I finally settled on a French Oceanis 321 which had sailed across 18mths before for $25K.... 2 weeks later I was living on board waiting for the clearance Doc's to come back from France along with VAT confirmation... I had my boat.
Same in the US... started in NY and bought a boat in Oriental, NC... and so it goes.
But I look on it as an adventure that begins when I buy that first ticket to travel... thats my buzz... the travel... new faces new places..
Guess what I'm trying to say... forget this long distance stuff.... get on a plane with your cash ready to access and a place to start thats got a fair few boats of the type you want and go from there... Just remember its gonna cost you around $100/night plus food and travel...
What you'd be better of doing is checking the Cheap Deals later in the year to places in Florida to places where there's good groupings then book something like one of these....http://www.florida4less.co.uk/buildy...s=0%2C+0&r3i=0
Then cruise the marina's and docks working of your research and showing your face around.... you may think its pricey but hell... you find your boat you stay... you don't.. you had a fun holiday looking...
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