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Old 28-11-2011, 13:10   #1
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US Culture - How to Make an Offer ?

Later this week I'm flying over to Florida to find a sailboat. I will have a rental car for a couple of weeks to explore all places where boats are for sale

I have found 3-4 boats I will look at, and hopefully find some more to look at.

When shall I make an offer? I want to know how much the vendor is willing to let it go for without having made a real offer.

If I find the boat I want to buy. Shall I make an offer on spot when I have seen the boat...or shall I wait some days? How do I get it as cheap asp?

How do I make an offer without offending the vendor?
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Old 28-11-2011, 13:20   #2
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Re: US Culture - How to Make an Offer ?

I think by "Vendor", you mean broker. Understand that the broker only wants his "cut" from the deal. You'll find out right away that you are his best friend and not the boat's owner. One time I was ready to offer $5000 less than asking price but before I could the broker suggested $9000 less and the owner took it. So somehow the broker had that inside information.
You can tell him that you are looking at 4 other boats and of course you want the best deal. Trust me, he'll give you the bottom line. Remember...you cannot offend the broker. Often times they are cut from the same cloth as a used car salesman.
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Old 28-11-2011, 13:26   #3
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Re: US Culture - How to Make an Offer ?

US culture does not get into haggling as much as other cultures, but it's still done. Make a personal assessment on what you are willing to pay for it compaired to other simular boats. In todays slow markets you may be hard pressed to offend a seller.
Usually an offer 10-15% below asking price will likely be countered by a single offer to sell 5-7% below asking price or somewhere in the middle of both prices... Today an offer 20%-30% below asking price may be accepted on the spot depending how long the boat has been for sale.

Another consideration is how new is the boat? And what is the price range? The seller may not have much "wiggle room" due to an existing loan on the boat.

Right now I would not be insulted at a -15% offer on my boat. Much below that and I may not be able to take it, but unless you offered half or less I would not be insulted.
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Old 28-11-2011, 13:35   #4
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Re: US Culture - How to Make an Offer ?

by vendor I mean seller of the boat (most are private/between individuals)...not found so many sold thru brokers
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Old 28-11-2011, 13:42   #5
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Re: US Culture - How to Make an Offer ?

I'm looking at pretty inexpensive boats (around 30-45k). Have found one around 35k but I hope I can get it for around 25k (not more than 30k depending on the condition of the boat...later this week will tell me). The boat needs new mainsail, new deck paint, need some equipment/gear etc.
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Old 28-11-2011, 14:04   #6
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Re: US Culture - How to Make an Offer ?

First off, make sure the seller is ready to sell. Don't waste your time if the seller is convinced their boat will get their asking price. Once you know the seller is ready to off their boat, then look at the defects, or the things that will take away from the price, old motor, no/old electronics, bad decks. Then put a price to fix them. Then subtract that price from their asking price and make it so that will be the same as your low offer. And be friendly, it's their boat you want to buy, the boat has a name and the seller is attatched to her.

Next understand everyone is not going to get what they want, if it's a good negotiation you and the seller should leave a little unhappy and very relieved your ordeal is over.

Plus understanding your situation and theirs is helpfull, do they need to sell, do you need to buy. If you are going down on a shopping spree and staying in hotels every night, you will need somewhere to live (the boat), the seller will know this. If the seller is doing a home reno, and they are over leveraged, you should try to find this out, or derive this from conversation.

Brokers just want to earn a living, so they may or may not help. Talking directly to the seller is the best method if possible.

Offer low, My wife made me, and the counter was below what I was going to offer on recent negotiation.

Boats will cost money after you buy it, the seller know this better than you.

Being lucky helps too.
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Old 28-11-2011, 14:04   #7
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Re: US Culture - How to Make an Offer ?

Andreas,

I am assuming that you will want to have a survey done on the boat. Usually, the way it works is that you would make an initial offer based on what you believe the boat is worth along with a deposit of some percentage of the boat's value. There may be some back and forth between you and the seller to agree on that price, but once you have agreed there should be a survey. After the survey, you can re-negotiate the price to include the cost of any repairs or upgrades that you were not aware of prior to the survey.

I think Capn Bill is right about people not being easy to offend in the current climate. My parents just got a fantastic deal on large powerboat. They made an offer that I would have been embarrassed to submit, but the seller accepted it. He's not happy about it, but he did agree. There are MANY boats available right now. I would not worry too much about offending a seller. As a boat owner and future seller, it hurts me to say that, but we are definitely in a buyer's market for the foreseeable future.

Good luck!
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Old 28-11-2011, 14:39   #8
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Re: US Culture - How to Make an Offer ?

Offer 25% less than asking if there is any work or equipment needed or out of date. You can always come up.
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Old 28-11-2011, 16:06   #9
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Re: US Culture - How to Make an Offer ?

FiBoats in the 30-45K range are all over the south Florida area. But you haven't mentioned length, any specific manufacturers you're interested in or specific wants that need to be included on the boat or what condtion you're willing to accept. You can buy a brand new boat for that money or a 40 year old piece of junk.
But it is a buyers market and many people in South Florida are suffering finacially, especially those that bought too many toys a few years back and seriously need to unload them. Like was said above, be gentle when dealing directly with an owner. I find beer diplomacy goes alot further than an "I'm not getting ripped off by anyone attitude" Instead of just offering a low ball bid, try saying "I only have so much money I can spend." Let them ask you how much that is then give them a number below what you're willing to pay.
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Old 28-11-2011, 16:28   #10
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Re: US Culture - How to Make an Offer ?

"Shall I make an offer on spot when I have seen the boat...or shall I wait some days? How do I get it as cheap asp? "
That's got nothing to do with US culture. Go into any bazzar anyplace in the world and you may get a better offer by walking away without making one. Or, someone else may buy the goods.
You have to decide what YOU want to pay, and whether you are willing to lose the boat by paying coy and cheap and waiting to make an offer, instead of forking out a deposit on the spot.
Then don't forget, you have 90 days after sale? to get the boat out of Florida or else you will also owe sales tax on the purchase, no matter where it is going. Make sure you are clear on what the paperwork will have to be, before you start shopping.
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Old 28-11-2011, 16:35   #11
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Re: US Culture - How to Make an Offer ?

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Then don't forget, you have 90 days after sale? to get the boat out of Florida or else you will also owe sales tax on the purchase, no matter where it is going. Make sure you are clear on what the paperwork will have to be, before you start shopping.
Does this include if:

A - the boat is registered in another jurisdiction (say Canada)?

B - the delivery is done outside of territorial waters?
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Old 28-11-2011, 17:26   #12
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All good advice.

Here is one not mentioned. When you look at the boat seriously, make an inventory of everything on the boat that can be removed and that you want. I have had a couple of friends recently get surprised when all the linens, cookery, handheld radios, life vests, spare sheets and ropes and basically anything that was not bolted down leave the boat.

This is more likely to happen if the current owner is trading up or trading down. They want and need all this gear they deem personal.

You need to specify everything. Most recently the owner pulled out the advertisement and said, "If it ain't listed here you don't get it." He was well within his rights but had things been specified on orepurchase inspection there woud have been no confusion later after the survay was paid for.
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Old 28-11-2011, 17:33   #13
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Re: US Culture - How to Make an Offer ?

back to the question of the USA boat-selling culture: there are two signs in the listings that will indicate whether the seller is willing to haggle over price. The initials "obo" stand for "or best offer," and indicate a willingness to be flexible. The word "firm," as in "$20,000 firm," indicates that the seller won't consider low offers.
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Old 28-11-2011, 19:34   #14
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Re: US Culture - How to Make an Offer ?

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Originally Posted by Bash View Post
back to the question of the USA boat-selling culture: there are two signs in the listings that will indicate whether the seller is willing to haggle over price. The initials "obo" stand for "or best offer," and indicate a willingness to be flexible. The word "firm," as in "$20,000 firm," indicates that the seller won't consider low offers.
It is my experience in buying 1000's of used vehicles that once you show up with the $$$, the "firm" aspect usually flies out of the window.

Why would not the same apply to boats, especially in this market?
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Old 28-11-2011, 20:18   #15
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Re: US Culture - How to Make an Offer ?

"Does this include if:
A - the boat is registered in another jurisdiction (say Canada)?"
Florida can tell you tht on their web site. If the boat is registered elsewhere--Florida still says "90 days then pay up!' AFAIK. On i the boat is registered outside of the US? It becomces more like "Boy, you do have a cruising permit for that boat, don't you? Or else, we'll have to seize it for illegal entry now."

B - the delivery is done outside of territorial waters? "
Same thing for an offshore delivery, you'd better make landfall elsewhere and keep it there for two weeks while hoping you re granted a cruising permit to reenter the US.

I'm not presenting any of this as dead fact--just warning you this is the kind of stuf to expect, and to make sure you DO get the exact, current, and specific dead facts before you start buying a boat.

Florida requires dinks and boat to both have regitration if they have motors. But a boat over 30 years old gets a mercy rate as an antique. You might very well want to either take a boat registration guy out to launch, or at least a broker, and pick their brains about paperwork suprises.

And yes, these will vary somewhat in EACH US STATE. Everything is negotiable--unless eomeone in shabby govenment cloths decides it is a bribe.
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