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Old 23-08-2017, 17:45   #1
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Boat broker etiquette - boat shopping

I've only ever bought private party previously so this broker thing is new to me. I just had an interesting experience in regards to a boat I'm setting up a viewing for in Seattle next month. This was a broker listed boat. I called on the boat and asked a few questions. The broker in turn asked me a lot of questions which I happily answered and then wanted to know if "I had a broker already?" He then tried to sell me on being my broker and stated: "if i'm bouncing between brokers he can't really help me". As I understood, he basically implied he wouldn't be willing to work with me at all / or even show me the boat if I didn't A: already have a broker or B: be willing to use him.


Am I basically abusing brokers in the way I am proceeding with shopping? I do understand that many folks feel more comfortable with a broker. To me they don't seem necessary at all. Like realtors, they seem like an unnecessary middle-man who takes a lot of money and doesn't do much. Great for the first timer, but not for me.


That being the case, maybe I'm missing something with brokers. Aren't they generally paid by the seller as a commission on the sale? Do they have any real incentive to NOT work with someone who doesn't have a broker? I mean, they get the same amount of commission. Or, do they actually get more / ie. don't have to split it with another broker? I guess I thought brokers were more of a "seller's agent" than a buyers agent. ie. i didn't think it worked like realtors at all where they were expected to split the commission? Why is it so wrong to shop on my own and how is this really any more difficult for a control freak like me who won't leave any decision at all up to a broker anyway?
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Old 23-08-2017, 18:32   #2
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Re: Boat broker etiquette - boat shopping

A broker ONLY gets paid when he or she is involved in the sale. What the broker is trying to do is get a commitment from you to work with them so that they have an opportunity to earn their living.
My question to you is, in whatever line of work you do or did in the past, how would you feel about a person who used your time and expertise with no intention of paying you for it?
When someone wants all the information from, and the expertise of, a broker and and is not prepared to make a commitment to that broker then that is essentially what they are doing.
Don't be surprised if they are less than enamoured with providing anything more than the most basic of service.
As someone who has spent 30 plus years self employed or on commission I really do have to laugh at some of the broker bashing that goes on by people that don't understand the value a good quality representative can bring.
Just my humble opinion
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Old 23-08-2017, 18:34   #3
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Re: Boat broker etiquette - boat shopping

I've been buying & selling boats a long time. Brokers make it easier, but cost. With a listing broker and a buyers broker, they split the commission. The listing broker would like to lock in half of that if he can find you a boat. It can be worth it if your time is in demand and you're traveling to look at boats.
A buyers broker needs to understand exactly what you want and what you'll pay, and search accordingly. If he can't save you time and unnecessary trips, forget it.
Without a buyers broker, the listing broker handles both sides. My experience is that in want of a sale, they work just as hard for the buyer as the seller. Along with a good surveyor to keep them honest.
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Old 23-08-2017, 18:39   #4
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Re: Boat broker etiquette - boat shopping

Some people keep describing the broker as "working for you", "working for the seller", etc...


The broker works for himself and his only motive is to get sales.
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Old 23-08-2017, 18:41   #5
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Re: Boat broker etiquette - boat shopping

Perhaps this chap is using this "commitment" to discriminate between serious buyers and tire kickers. If you come across even unintentionally as a tire kicker, many brokers are reluctant to spend much time helping you, and who could blame them? But if you present as a genuine buyer, any good broker should be willing to show you any boat he has listed. If he won't, the selling owner is getting screwed by poor representation.

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Old 23-08-2017, 18:57   #6
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Re: Boat broker etiquette - boat shopping

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Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
Some people keep describing the broker as "working for you", "working for the seller", etc...


The broker works for himself and his only motive is to get sales.
I beg to differ. A broker can not force a seller to sell or a buyer to buy. They must negotiate between both so that both the buyer and seller are comfortable with the agreement. It is not until this point that the broker earns anything

You are giving others way to much power if you think salespeople force you to do anything.
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Old 23-08-2017, 20:26   #7
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Re: Boat broker etiquette - boat shopping

Any broker can sell you any boat listed in the market. A good broker will get to know you, your boating needs and skills, budget, likes and dislikes. Based on that information a good broker will spend his or her time checking the boats listed for sale, eliminating the inappropriate, the dogs, the over priced and bring you a list of boats that best meet your requirements.

If you call multiple brokers to show you different boats you have removed any motivation for one broker to do the work to sort through all the options. At best the broker will show you what he/she has listed or close at hand.

Of course this all assumes you find a broker you like and trust and who is willing to do that work. Contrary to popular belief they do exist but at times may be hard to find. I spoke with 2-3 brokers when I was looking for my last boat and none were worth a call back.

And of course a broker wants to sell you a boat. That's how he/she pays the rent and feeds the family. But a good broker will also try to match a client with the right boat, not just push any deal that makes the biggest commission.
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Old 23-08-2017, 20:30   #8
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Re: Boat broker etiquette - boat shopping

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Perhaps this chap is using this "commitment" to discriminate between serious buyers and tire kickers. If you come across even unintentionally as a tire kicker, many brokers are reluctant to spend much time helping you, and who could blame them? But if you present as a genuine buyer, any good broker should be willing to show you any boat he has listed. If he won't, the selling owner is getting screwed by poor representation.

Jim


I believe we are all tire kickers until we find what we desire, pull out the cash and make the purchase. In my opinion, if you sell boats, cars or real estate, if you won't work with tire kickers you need to find a different vocation.
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Old 23-08-2017, 20:43   #9
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Re: Boat broker etiquette - boat shopping

I think there can be some advantages to shopping for boats listed through a seller's broker, mainly that they don't have a personal bias and know the protocols well. For example, while test sailing one boat, an ancient through hull broke while being inspected by the surveyor, requiring an emergency haul. The broker made it clear, this was the owner's responsibility. A broker ensures escrow is properly handled. I've also sold boats and on a couple of those sales found a broker to be well worth the commission since I wasn't living near the boat.

That said, I've bought boats with no broker involved and would do so again. I also see little incentive for a buyer to hire a broker. These days you can get online and easily find most boats for sale listed by broker or private seller and not be committed to what your broker "finds" for you. In fact, the one time I paid a buyer's broker when I was looking for a very specific boat, every boat he brought to my attention, I was already aware of.
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Old 23-08-2017, 20:51   #10
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Re: Boat broker etiquette - boat shopping

Ask any broker and they will tell you that they have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince. The broker you spoke to was just trying to protect their time. He'd love it if you bought the boat directly from him as he'd get the full 10%, but he also knows if you're working with another broker his time is going to be protected. It's buyers just wandering around without any representation who end up being huge time sucks for brokers, in general.

The broker wants to get you into the boat you want as quickly as possible. Referrals make up 95% of a successful brokers business, so it is in their interest to have you sail away happy. That's one reason why they ask a lot of questions. Part of it is getting a good handle on your requirements and what you're looking for, and part of it is protecting their time and not getting involved with some tire kicker with unrealistic expectations.

If you're going to hook up with a buyer's broker, pick one with experience in the boat you're looking for and a good reputation and network. Don't just sign on with the first guy who asks if you've got a broker, that would be a serious mistake.
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Old 23-08-2017, 21:20   #11
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Re: Boat broker etiquette - boat shopping

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
With a listing broker and a buyers broker, they split the commission.
Makes sense. So it's pretty much just like in real-estate.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
If you come across even unintentionally as a tire kicker, many brokers are reluctant to spend much time helping you, and who could blame them?
Jim
Makes sense... and I've been frustrated by this already when I bought my last boat. Maybe I just give off that tire kicker vibe? Or, maybe it's just the industry and casual shoppers or dreamers are typical. After all, people who don't know me already hear: Moving a family aboard and think - ya right, pipe dream!


Quote:
Originally Posted by DRS View Post
How would you feel about a person who used your time and expertise with no intention of paying you for it?
Software engineer - it happens a lot!

I think the perception may have been I'm a waste of time, but in reality I'm ready to buy. So, not asking anyone to donate anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRS View Post
You are giving others way to much power if you think salespeople force you to do anything.
Agreed actually. But you used a key word "salespeople": This is honestly how I feel about brokers so far. They generally seem to know very little about the boats they are selling except what the seller gave them/ filled out in their listing. The opinions I've received from the conversations so far have been mostly way off base and a lot of "don't believe what you read on the interwebs" kind of talk. All these conversations started with the broker asking me questions. I have my opinions about which boat is right for our family, and yes lots of opinions based on reading - God forbid, internet forums!!!


Just seems like from experiences so far, selecting a buyers broker is going to do nothing but waste time for me. Unless I'm going to run into a lot of what happened today - brokers assuming I am the waste of time! In which case, maybe this time around with the largest boat purchase I've gone thru a broker will be worth it just to avoid the bad assumptions.
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Old 23-08-2017, 21:24   #12
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Re: Boat broker etiquette - boat shopping

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In fact, the one time I paid a buyer's broker when I was looking for a very specific boat, every boat he brought to my attention, I was already aware of.
LOL This is exactly what's been happening thus far with the 2 brokers who tried to bring up other boats during a showing!
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Old 23-08-2017, 21:33   #13
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Re: Boat broker etiquette - boat shopping

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Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
If you're going to hook up with a buyer's broker, pick one with experience in the boat you're looking for and a good reputation and network. Don't just sign on with the first guy who asks if you've got a broker, that would be a serious mistake.
Good advice...


I guess if I do end up with a broker, i'd like them to have some experience and knowledge in both boat restoration and off shore cruising given that we're a family looking for a safe, easy to short-hand cruiser that we can pay cash for. But, we also want to have some fun sailing - older performance cruisers have been a big attraction for us so far.


BTW: Your boat (Valiant 40) has been high on the list twice already! There's a few for sale right now in the pacific northwest. Going to see one in 3 weeks in Portland that supposedly is turn-key aside from of course "a few blisters!" haha! We'll see about the "few".
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Old 23-08-2017, 22:00   #14
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Re: Boat broker etiquette - boat shopping

This isn't really all that complicated. The listing broker doesn't want to (and shouldn't have to) show you the boat, educate you on it, answer all your questions, etc., and then have you bring in another broker to represent you on an offer. Then the selling broker splits the commission. He is still happy to sell the boat, but if you have a broker, that is who should invest their time and energy to show you the boat. If you commit that you will work with the listing broker if you make an offer on that boat, I'm sure he will happily show you the boat.

If you want anyone to research other boats to show you, they will want some sort of commitment that you will use them if you buy. Only a newbie broker will invest lots of time showing you boats without some indication that you will work through him. Not all brokers are worthwhile (like any other business) but a good one will save you time and money and earn his fees. The best ones, however, won't work with you if you aren't willing to work through him when you do pull the trigger on a boat.
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Old 24-08-2017, 06:10   #15
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Re: Boat broker etiquette - boat shopping

I've had mixed experiences with brokers. We have a close personal friend who is a broker and have bought 2 boats thru her. We have also lost out on a boat or 2 that another listing broker didn't really want to split the commission so didn't really prese the our offers properly to the seller. It's tough being a broker, driving all over spending countless hours on your own dime just to have one thing or another kill the sale, usually dishonest listing brokers.
We've never listed with a broker I prefer to sell our own boats.
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