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Old 12-08-2011, 06:02   #1
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Should We Have a Broker Represent Us ?

My wife and I over the next year would like to buy a blue water cruiser and she'll hopefully be the boat that we keep until we can't sail anymore. So, the purchase of the boat is going to be a big deal for us as well as finacially. Our plan is to live aboard in the warmer months and then buy a small condo near the boat for over the winter. Anyways, what do others think about having a broker represent us? Did having a broker take some of the stress off of a purchase or did it just make things more complicated? Can anybody recomend someone in the new england area that they have worked with that knows blue water cruisers? I think in the current market that you can get a great deal on some of these boats and I don't really see that changing over the next couple of years.

Thank you,

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Old 12-08-2011, 07:01   #2
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Re: Should We Have a Broker Represent Us?

I would research enough to not need a broker.

If its that important to you why not become an expert yourself? You'll know more and save more money.


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Old 12-08-2011, 07:17   #3
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Re: Should We Have a Broker Represent Us?

Check out my thread. Note that there are escrow services similar to real estate title companies. They can protect your funds while the deal is going through. BOB
Buying Without a Broker
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:20   #4
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Re: Should We Have a Broker Represent Us?

It depends on whether you are going to deal with an owner directly, or whether you are going to be looking at broker listed boats.

Either way you need to educate yourself!

If looking at broker listed boats in my thinking there isn't any reason not to use a broker to look at boats.
jobless, houseless, clueless, living on a boat and cruising around somewhere
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:36   #5
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Re: Should We Have a Broker Represent Us ?

You don't need a broker taking a cut...... If the dollar figures involved are outside of your comfort level have an attorney handle the transaction of the sale. Most will do it for a flat or hourly fee...

Develop a good relationship now with a great surveyor and arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can.
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:51   #6
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Re: Should We Have a Broker Represent Us?

It's pretty easy for a broker to be "worth it" to a buyer since the seller pays for your broker. "Free" is a pretty low bar. Just remember that your broker is a business putting food on his family's table. There's only so many hours he can spend per client looking for their "perfect" boat. The incentive system favors those who sell as many boats as quickly as possible. You have to be the one to say no.

Since there are many more powerboats than sailboats (about 10 to 1), it's hard to find a broker who really knows sailboats. When considering a broker, ask for a list of sailboats transactions they've had in the last two years.

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Old 12-08-2011, 08:27   #7
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Re: Should We Have a Broker Represent Us ?

Brokers just add stress.
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Old 12-08-2011, 08:34   #8
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Re: Should We Have a Broker Represent Us ?

And they can also reduce worry about the "details" that you may overlook if you try it on your own.
- - My rule of thumb is that if the boat is inexpensive enough that you don't have to worry about losing your money, you don't need a broker.
- - If the boat is expensive enough that a significant amount of your money, which you can't afford to lose, is involved then a good broker, who you have chosen and is working for you, can earn is keep by protecting you and your money. The trick is to find that "good" broker which is a matter of referrals and research.
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:50   #9
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Re: Should We Have a Broker Represent Us ?

If you are looking for a boat for less than $50K then look in the for sale by owner sites such as boattrader. But 95% of the boats listed for more than $50K are listed with a broker. And the seller pays his fee.

So, if you budget is more than $50K, develop a relationship with a broker. There are good and bad just like auto mechanics, doctors, etc. Find a good one. Then do your own research on Yachtworld, the brokers only MLS database. Once you find a boat that you like, and want to see, ask your broker to arrange it. Even if it is out of town.

He will be able to get more real information from the listing broker than you would be able to if you just caledl him up. Then work with your broker to close the deal.

Be aware that some brokers want to keep the listing for themselves and not co broker with the buyers broker. If that is the case, discuss it with your broker and maybe you want to go it alone for that one boat.

In general, brokers keep you out of trouble, can help define what you want, take care of details that you may overlook and importantly get paid by the seller. It is similar to real estate. But boat brokers are somewhere in the professionalism spectrum between real estate agents and used car salesmen. Find a good one.

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Old 12-08-2011, 11:57   #10
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Re: Should We Have a Broker Represent Us ?

We used a broker in our last search for a boat and I was very pleased with the result. We armed ourselves with as much knowledge as was possible in a 2-3 year period and then picked a broker.

We acted like we knew nothing to see if they would try to take advantage of our ignorance but found them to be very ethical and very helpful. Also, we were looking on the east coast and lived in Ohio, so they were great to pre-qualify boats and narrow the search before we had to travel.

They had a network of broker relationships across the country and used that to get pictures and information on boats that we saw online. Several times they alerted us to the fact that a boat had been damaged in a storm or accident...very helpful. They worked very well with the other brokers and always told us up front if the listing was theirs, so that there was no misunderstanding.

They also have access to the sold boat listings that we could not get ourselves, and they were able to get quotes on repairs from several sources for pricing issues on the boats (which we checked against our own sources). This helped us to narrow our choice and negotiate a price.

Our experience was excellent and we would use that broker again any time. Don't get me wrong...their job is to "sell" you a boat, so you need to keep that in mind through the process; but I think that if you find the right broker they can help you quite a bit. I agree with djmarchand that it is much like real estate agents.

If you would like the name of the people we dealt with just send me a PM.
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Old 12-08-2011, 13:16   #11

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Re: Should We Have a Broker Represent Us ?

Dave, "New England" runs from the Canadian border down to CT or NJ depending on who you insult. Ergh, ask. You might want to look for a broker in a more specific location, like Newport or Stamford or Wetchester.

No matter who pays for one, that money comes out of the sale price of the boat so you will be paying for one but you don't have much choice if the seller has contracted to use one. A "buyer's broker" is fairly uncommon. If you CAN find a good buyer's broker, in theory they earn their cut.

More important, find a surveyor who really knows their stuff. And an engine mechanic.
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Old 12-08-2011, 18:45   #12
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Re: Should We Have a Broker Represent Us ?

I agree with offline and hellosailor. Get a good surveyor that knows his stuff on the boat. The survey will include the market and replacement values for the vessel based on its age and condition. The survey should also be very thorough with detailed descriptions, a findings and recommendations section, and plenty of pictures. Good luck! I have sailed the Carbbean quite a bit in my own catamaran and loved it!
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Old 13-08-2011, 11:48   #13
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Re: Should We Have a Broker Represent Us ?

first we are full time cruisers and are working on our 5th year out - we currently are sitting cartagena colombia
we would definately recommed using a broker -- we bought our first and only boat using a broker who was an ex cruiser -- ted knew his stuff - had been there done that and talked me out of a lot of expensive stuff that i would not need - and he was right - he tired to sell me a smaller boat, 35' and then when i was ready to leave to upgrade - but i said no and went thru my age, boat deprecation and resale and boat price inflation and he agreed with my think and then worked very hard to find me the right boat - he included the admiral in all his think and spent time talking with her on what she wanted - we were boat very novice but did a ton of reading -
ted took his time to show us the sturctural differences of various boats and with our reading began to understand a lot more of what we were seeing - also the upkeep of various age boats vs newer boats
we ended up purchasing a new jeanneau ds40 and no he did not push us that way - as he presented a few different options to us - and the admiral had a lot to say in the decision
he also helped us get bank financing, insurance ect -
his name is ted novakowski - his office is in westbrook ct and he owns sound yachts
his web site is
NO WE GET NOTHING out of this
ted did right by us and we still talk with him a lot - he turned out to be a good friend

just our opinion
chuck patty and svsoulmates
cartagena colombia
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Old 13-08-2011, 12:17   #14
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Re: Should We Have a Broker Represent Us ?

Good advice from chuckr... while not a fan of brokers, it seems to have worked out well for them. Remember that the price of the boat you will buy through a broker will be comparable to ones that have the selling brokerage already included and therefore will include an amount that represents much of the selling brokerage fee. Private buyers should be prepared to discount a comparable vessel by that amount. Sellers who try and recoup the costs of added equipment, particularly electronics, usually find they end up discounting their costs significantly.
If you are new to the boat buying/selling game, it would probably be a good investment to locate a competent broker to represent you. The broker may split the commission with the selling broker and while the seller pays the commission, they will try and cover that additional cost in the selling price.
I suggest doing your homework on similarly equipped boats to ensure you pay a competitive price. It is a buyers market at the moment in many areas so you are looking at a good time to aquire a boat.
Recommendations from satisfied clients are a pretty good guide when selecting a broker to represent you... good luck, Capt Phil

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