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Old 22-07-2013, 19:56   #1
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Purchasing a Boat Without a Broker in California

This will be my first boat purchase. I'm planning on doing a full survey and sea trial but what do I need to worry about when not using a broker. The boat is a Hans Christian and it will be under $100,000 in the state of California. I am a California resident. I'm not against brokers but I found a boat that I like and he's not using a broker.

Any advice would be great!
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Old 22-07-2013, 20:15   #2
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Re: Purchasing a boat without a broker in California

I've purchased five smaller boats, but am in the middle of my first major purchase... without a broker. After you collect all the advice and standard forms you need, I suggest you do some role playing, then write an outline of the transaction and discuss with the seller to be sure you two see it the same way.

My seller did not realize that most offers in this area are written so that the buyer can walk away after the survey for any reason, no matter how minor. He also had an unrealistic expectation for timelines to line up the survey. You need to think of all the details, such as when possession actually transfers, how to keep insurance in force during the transaction, which documents must be notarized in your state, etc.

If I could restart the process, I would try to find a broker that would handle the transaction -- certainly not at the level of a full commission, but just the transaction, handling the payment, etc.

Good luck.
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Old 22-07-2013, 20:29   #3
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Re: Purchasing a boat without a broker in California

We've bought and sold quite a few boats without a broker. Sometimes a documentation company will handle the exchange of funds and paperwork. But if not it helps if the buyer opens an account at the same bank as the seller. It turns into an easy process then, transfer the money from the buyers account to the sellers as your notarizing the paper work with the banker.
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Old 22-07-2013, 20:40   #4
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Re: Purchasing a boat without a broker in California

There are marine escrow companies that wiil do everything for you.
https://www.google.com/webhp?source=...w=1092&bih=514

and cali

https://www.dmv.ca.gov/boatsinfo/boattransfer.htm
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Old 23-07-2013, 08:05   #5
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Re: Purchasing a boat without a broker in California

i do not use brokers, as i refuse to pay top dollar for a boat that still needs repairs and modificatons. i also do not always use a surveyor. i also do not use comprehensive insurance nor bank loans.

ihave bought and sold many boats--since 1990, an dnever once used a broker in mypurchases.

the only time i used a broker was in the attempted sale of my ericson in 2008-2010. as the asking price was under 30k, he decided the lack of commission was worthy of not trying to sell it. there ere zero bits or nibbles in the tenure of my ericson with brokers.
is mebbe on market for someone who is a rabid ericson fan and will pay what i ask for it.
and so it will probably go to the po of this boat as payment in full for the mortgage i have for this formosa. not too bad a deal, but ..coulda been sweeter if i coulda got enough to haul out this boat.... but it aint gonna be as planned..as usual!!! freedom in june 2014!! is when i sign her over and satisfy my mortgage.

broker?? what benefit would i have for use of one in purchasing -- brokered boats ar usually more than private sales..except for my late friends ct 54---asking is less than i expected from a yacht broker

ericson has some good features that will make next owner happy, if that soul wishes to cruise her....and few negative features....sayeth my caretaker....
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Old 23-07-2013, 20:41   #6
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If its state registered, and seller delivers a pink slip then you can know there is no recorded lien. If its USCG then you need to do a title search and probably need a marine documentation company to handle it and the transfer. Look in The Log for adverts.
A well known documentation company screwed up my transaction, though. File sat on their desk for two months. USCG is slow. Need to get right on it.
An engine survey requires a professional. I recommend a mechanic expert in that engine, not a surveyor. Maybe you can do the survey yourself but only if you really know what you are doing. Every surveyor i ever used, missed a critical problem leading to big bills later
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Old 23-07-2013, 21:06   #7
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Re: Purchasing a boat without a broker in California

Buyers brokers provide three benefits/services, if you find a good one: they handle all the paper work and basically hand you a packet when you are done which includes title, registration, blah blah blah. They can help you in negotiations as they have access to a database of past sales that allow you to make a fair offer at market value, and most important of all, if they are familiar with the make/model of boat you are buying, they can spot things during the pre-purchase inspection and survey that the surveyor will not.

Given your circumstance, if I were in your position I would find someone who knows Hans Christians inside and out and have them inspect the boat during the survey. Surveyors have a pretty defined role; test everything and give you a report on the condition of the vessel and its systems. They will miss stuff for the simple fact that their time on the boat is limited and it's not really their job to diagnose issues or make extended recommendations on repairs.

Every type of boat has its specific issues and requirements. Having someone there who knows the model of boat you are buying, as an owner and sailor, will provide huge advantages, not only in the post-survey price negotiations, but in educating you about the boat and the operation of its systems and what modifications/repairs you should consider that might fall outside of the surveyor's report.

When I bought my Valiant, I had a buyer's broker who was arguably one of the most knowledgeable people around about them. He saved me 30% off the purchase price when the smoke cleared. If you don't have a broker like him, find a substitute.

Of course, if you're buying a boat through private sale, be prepared for a seller who thinks their boat is worth more than it is and won't budge on price. If you run into one of those, walk away. There are lots of good boats out there.
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Old 23-07-2013, 21:53   #8
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Although I did purchase thought a broker I used Donna Jenkins Documentation Service in San Diego even though i am in Long Beach. Where are you and the boat in California?
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Old 23-07-2013, 23:42   #9
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Re: Purchasing a boat without a broker in California

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Although I did purchase thought a broker I used Donna Jenkins Documentation Service in San Diego even though i am in Long Beach. Where are you and the boat in California?
I used a documentation service also since my boat was owned by a nutty French-Canadian who had not finished the paperwork when he bought it 6 months earlier from an estate. It was a mess. It was on the hard at a Brokerage but since I was the buyer, I did not have anything to do with his commision.
There's nothing wrong with having a broker if you are buying. Well...as long as he's not purposly trying to sell you only his listings.
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Old 24-07-2013, 06:11   #10
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Re: Purchasing a boat without a broker in California

dona jenkins is the documentation servie in san diego and is excellent.
her company searches liens and makes sure the boat is lien free. ecellent service. have yet to meet a buyers broker in sd...
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Old 24-07-2013, 21:09   #11
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How does buyers broker get paid? Do they split commission with sellers broker if they have one? If not, does buyer have to kick another 5-10%?
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Old 24-07-2013, 21:15   #12
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Re: Purchasing a boat without a broker in California

split
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Old 24-07-2013, 21:48   #13
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Spoke with a yacht business owner in San Diego last week and he mentioned in a transaction in California, one party usually covers broker commissions @10% and the other party picks up the sales tax bill of 10%. I.e seller pays commissions of 10% and buyer pays sales tax of 10%. I know everything is negotiable but is this how transactions typically go?
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Old 24-07-2013, 22:01   #14
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Re: Purchasing a boat without a broker in California

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Originally Posted by Sailing Cowboy View Post
Spoke with a yacht business owner in San Diego last week and he mentioned in a transaction in California, one party usually covers broker commissions @10% and the other party picks up the sales tax bill of 10%. I.e seller pays commissions of 10% and buyer pays sales tax of 10%. I know everything is negotiable but is this how transactions typically go?
Cowboy, take off your jacket and check to see whether Mr. Yacht Business Owner pinned a target to your back.
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Old 24-07-2013, 22:09   #15
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Assuming by your in depth answer that the seller picks up the sales tax and broker commissions. Wow 20% hit off the sales proceeds. Works for a buyer. Hate to be a seller.
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