Talking price is the toughest part of the deal. Both for the seller and the buyer. It's sensitive, touchy and we are not brought up to haggle. However, as this part of dealmaking is universal across products here are some tips.
1/ Don't show emotions. I can't tell you how many times my SO has said, "This is it. Dan! We are buying THIS
house" - your power fades immediately.
2/ Don't badmouth the product - You antagonize the seller. Everyone knows it's a used XXX so pointing out scrapes and scratches is not useful. Putting down the wife's Fuscia Salon
decor is confrontational and maybe insulting. On the contrary - Make it personal - My kids
will love this boat. She will be in good hands, I plan to upgade X, Y and Z. The seller has ties and always wants to see the boat go to a "good home." Don't foget, though, significant findings from a boat survey
are fair game
3/ Be prepared to walk away from some deals if your target price is not reached. As you said there are a lot of boats out there. No problem to have multiple low ball offers out there.
4/ Information is power. Try to understand how long the boat has been on the market, Is the seller "distressed" - Don't ask directly but "are you buying a bigger boat?" will get replies like, "No, I'm giving up the boat." or "Yes I am upgrading." which are indicators - "Is the slip going to be available?" is another leading question.
5/ Cash is king - If the seller knows that you have cash ready and won't have to delay the process by going through boat loan approvals etc, you are in a better position. If you are financing
through home equity or are pre-approved, that is still better than a guy with 10% available and no financing
arranged. I have bought lot's of stuff, even though second in line because I had cash in hand.
Then be honest - "You know, I love this boat but it's above my price range. I don't want to insult you but I am only really able to pay XXX? I know this isn't near your price point but keep my offer and call me if you think it will work."
Often that sets the tone for negotiations. Bottom line is, pick your lowball price, your "I'm happy price" and you "Do not exceed price" for each transaction.
We got 25% off the original asking price on our boat. I think this is a good figure and was our "I'm happy" figure. Our initial offer was about 60% of the asking price and the owner almost fell out of his chair, but he didn't walk away. It was even tougher because the boat was not even on the market yet and the owner wasn't even sure he was going to sell it the day we first met. I showed up at the first meeting with a cash downpayment and a draft
Don't rip off but don't feel too bad taking "advantage" of a surviving spouse. My Dad was approached by the widow of a deceased friend to buy their airplane. My dad already had 3 airplanes and declined. 3 months later she was back unable to successfully sell it. Again he declined. 3 more months she came back and complained the the airplane was wasting away, the tie down fees
were a burden and would he please take it. He told her it was not a great deal for her but he would buy it. My dad bought the plane for $12,000 bucks, sold it to me for $12,000 and 3 years (and about 400 flight hours) later I sold it for $23,500.
The point is the widow was happy to unburden herself.