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Old 08-03-2018, 06:33   #1
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Sellerís Broker and Agency Relationships


I am in the process of purchasing my first boat and having been a real estate broker in several US states over a ten year period I canít help but compare and contrast the apparent differences between buying a house and buying a boat although the amount of money at stake is equally substantial.

While dual agency obviously exists in real estate as well, there are some rather clear advantages to having a buyerís agent with ONLY your interests in mind, yet this practice appears to be rare in the boat industry, at least from the limited google research Iíve done.

I see one major reason why this could be; geographic location. In real estate, I can hire a local agent with intimate knowledge of the area and the properties for sale within it. That agent could tour the property, conduct a comparative market analysis based on itís location, condition, and features, and effectively advise me throughout the negotiation procedures. With boats, however, the search is world wide. My agent would likely never personally see the vessel and be severely lacking in knowledge of local procedures and issues that could affect the sale.

Do 99% of boat buyers simply contact the agent representing each boat they may be interested in and hope they will act as an honest broker with both parties interests in mind? If they do anything other than sell me on the boat I contacted them about, arenít they doing their seller a disservice AND losing a commission as they will probably not be representing me (the buyer) or the seller in the eventual transaction?

To make this even more difficult, boat brokers seem to have a higher degree of anonymity than real estate brokers. I havenít found the equivalent where I can simply search a brokerís name and get a plethora of reviews and stories of exactly how agent X went out of their way to make it a smooth transaction or how agent Y became impossible to reach and lied every step of the way to steer them toward a purchase that wasnít in their best interest.

So whatís the answer? Do I go with the sellerís agent, and where do I go to ensure they are likely to keep my interests in mind? If I want a buyerís agent, do I get one in each geographic area or should brokerís be familiar enough with the global market to assist me anywhere my dream boat may be waiting?
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Old 08-03-2018, 07:46   #2
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Boat: JBW club 420, MFG Bandit, Snark
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Re: Sellerís Broker and Agency Relationships

I, too, would want my representative to be familiar with the location I was buying in, just like in real estate. That knowledge could save you money on things like yard work and commissioning, delivery, sales taxes and such.

I haven't ever engaged a broker to be my representative, but I don't buy expensive boats. When my purchase price goes beyond a certain number, perhaps in the future, I would absolutely want my own broker on my side.

Just like in real estate, don't sign an "exclusive right to represent" contract with a single buyer's broker so that you can shop around easier.

I'm just getting into real estate, I now notice lots of ads that would land an agent in hot water with the state board and maybe even civil court. Some consistently breach confidentiality. Last I searched the word "health" on yachtworld there were hundreds of ads saying the owner's health forces the sale. A big no-no in real estate advertising.
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