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Old 21-02-2008, 14:22   #1
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Boat Purchase Negotiation Question

It seems to me there is a huge supply of sailboats of almost all sizes and types for sale -- especially in the monohull category.

And, it seems to me that for many of them the asking prices are high considering the large number for sale.

My question is, and I know this is too general a question, but "what % of the asking price do you think is the best starting point for making an offer?"

Also, is there a place/website where one can see at what prices boats have actually sold???
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Old 21-02-2008, 14:28   #2
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There is no correct answer to this question. Every deal is dependent on the unique circumstances of that deal. And the circumstances vary widely.
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Old 21-02-2008, 14:28   #3
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Go to Yachtworld.com to get a pricing guide. Buying a boat is like buying a car. Do your homework, and make an offer. They can't take you out, and shoot you for the offer, so don't be afraid to go low. All they can do is say NO!

Boat Prices, Values, Evaluations and Used Boat Price Guides - BUCValu

This is a good guide also. I never used the site, so you have to open it, and look around. Best wishes in the search....BEEN THERE DONE THAT.....LOLOLOLOL
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Old 21-02-2008, 14:43   #4
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This is how you prepare yourself for buying a specific yacht:

1. Spend the day in the bilges simulating the ergonomics of sanding and painting them, replacing the toilet, replacing the starter motor, unplugging the holding tank.

2. Then factor that every free moment will be spent worrying about this new acquisition.

3. Go home; take a long cold shower while tearing up dollar bills….Then……

4. Call the broker and tell him what this boat’s value is to you!

Best of luck!
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Old 21-02-2008, 15:12   #5
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There really is no internet info available to the general public with which you can determine actual selling price, i.e., value, of a boat type. Yachtworld, et.al. only list asking prices. Once you decide on a type boat you want, find a broker you can trust. Brokers will have access to data on selling rpice, time on the market, etc... and gladly share that info with you if they feel you are a potential customer. Obviously, selling prices vary with condition as well as a myriad of other issues but that's the best place to start to get a feel for what a boat is worth.
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Old 21-02-2008, 16:25   #6
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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 sales agrement.

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.
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Old 21-02-2008, 17:35   #7
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Having just been looking for a boat for the last year I can say that many but not all of the boats on the market are over valued. However I suspect that many of the owners are marking up anywhere between 10 and 20% by default on allow some wriggle room.

Don't go into negotiations assuming this though. Checkout the blue book price like you would a car and look at different boats to get an idea what condition boats of similar age and price are posted at.

Some boats I looked at (these all being the lower end of the cruising market) were possibly only worth 60% of their asking price but there was also at least one boat we felt was wrong for us but probably worth more money that it was listed at (indeed someone grabbed it and put it back on the market at a higher price).

As Vasco states there is no guide here - you're going to have to play it by ear. Worst that can happen is you'll be laughed at

P.s. We ended up on at 85% the asking price having offered about 80%. I still feel good about this final price a week later.
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Old 21-02-2008, 17:44   #8
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Lots of good info.

Thanks much!!

Dan, maybe I should fly you back to the States to negotiate for me!!! -- you sound very smooth and diplomatic -- my first tendency is usually to be to frank and direct.

Thanks too to all that share the % of asking your starting and final prices were.
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Old 21-02-2008, 18:19   #9
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When most sellers list their boat for sale, they are "READY" to get out. No one is going to be thrilled about getting less for their boat then they feel that it's worth. On the other hand, a cash seller may motivate a seller to sell at up to 50% of the listing price. You just never know if you don't ask.

When I sold Kanani, that is exactly what happened. I had it listed at a certain price, a guy came down to the boat and offered me 50% of what I had it listed for and I took it. I was out of a home that day. It was a bitter sweet moment but we were ready........that's the bottom line.
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Old 21-02-2008, 19:03   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kanani View Post
When most sellers list their boat for sale, they are "READY" to get out. No one is going to be thrilled about getting less for their boat then they feel that it's worth. On the other hand, a cash seller may motivate a seller to sell at up to 50% of the listing price. You just never know if you don't ask.

When I sold Kanani, that is exactly what happened. I had it listed at a certain price, a guy came down to the boat and offered me 50% of what I had it listed for and I took it. I was out of a home that day. It was a bitter sweet moment but we were ready........that's the bottom line.
That was in *incredible* deal your buyer got, assuming you were asking somewhere near market value. Wow.

I feel like I got hosed both on selling my Gulfstar and on buying my Catalac now.

I sold the Gulfstar for what I had been listing it for on here (cheap, but a couple thousand more than I paid for her). I also only got a minimal amount off the asking price of the new cat.

I suspect though, it's because cats are so damn popular lately. There were hardly any on the market (in my range) that weren't delaminated heavily or structurally unsound in some way or another. Honestly, there were about half a dozen offers before mine, and a couple that came to look at the cat while it was in the slings for my survey. One offer that was rejected was a mere $1000 less than my offer. I hit the magic numbers for the seller and proceeded.

Funny part is, the selling price was exactly what I guessed it would be when I put down my 10% to get it off the market. In came in to the penny of what I thought it would, even though my initial shot across the bow was low.

How did I know so accurately? I knew what the boats were selling for, and then factored in the condition of the boat (unfortunately, excellent). This meant that I had to pay close to what the boat was worth (simply looking at hull values) in order to get the deal through.


Speaking directly to the question, every deal is different. Eat, breathe and sleep boats for a long time to get used to what the difference is betwen asking and selling for particuar models. Know what a model is worth - what the hull is worht, and then make sure you don't pay more than that. See what others are asking for the same model. Compare, compare, compare.


Your broker has a nifty little site associated with Yachtworld called soldboats.com You and I don't have access, only brokers do. This little treasure trove has every single boat sold by a broker in it. If you are listing a boat with a broker, you should demand to see what your sisterships are selling for before you proceed. If they won't share that info, move on to another broker.
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Old 21-02-2008, 19:08   #11
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Sean, thanks for the "soldboats" tip; that alone may be worth the cost of subscription to this forum!!!
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Old 21-02-2008, 19:16   #12
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That was in *incredible* deal your buyer got, assuming you were asking somewhere near market value. Wow.

I feel like I got hosed both on selling my Gulfstar and on buying my Catalac now.

I sold the Gulfstar for what I had been listing it for on here (cheap, but a couple thousand more than I paid for her). I also only got a minimal amount off the asking price of the new cat.
One of my motivations in selling to this guy was that he was ready to go cruising and Kanani is an ocean going boat that needed to be at sea (in my mind).

The sad part is, the guy left her in Mexico (after a hurricane) and she is still sitting on the hard to this day (to the best of my knowledge). Makes me sick every time that I think about it.
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Old 21-02-2008, 20:11   #13
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As others have mentioned, your broker, if you have one, has access to a bit more information on Yachtworld which can be used for comp pricing. Ours was very helpful and forthcoming with this information, but I expect that varies from broker to broker, since obviously the broker wants to sell it for as much as possible. Again, this is just another data point, and that's all.
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Old 21-02-2008, 22:05   #14
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Sean - I am sure you still feel the pinch on the Gstar after so much effort but don't feel bad about the cat. As you correctly point out, some things move faster than others.

Knowledge is power and the more jhomework you do the better deal you can make.

Lightfin - I am sure there are "buyers" brokers out there, just like houses but as they are also working on some sort of commision you have to be ultra wary of conflict of interest.

If you do find a buyer's agent, preferebly they work on a flat fee or on a per hour or day basis.
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Old 22-02-2008, 23:15   #15
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How about, if you are really interested, getting your own surveyor.

When a lot of $$$ are involved it can be a good negotiation point.

I've been involved in a couple of those deals in Ft Lauderdale (I am not a surveyor)
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