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Old 30-09-2010, 10:00   #1
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Broker Won't Call Me Back

I've been looking at boats here in CA for a couple months now, and I'm having a heck of a time communicating with brokers. I suppose it's the amount of money we're spending - we've been looking at boats advertised from the high teens to the mid-thirties. Anyway, in the latest (slightly atypical) saga I first left a message 3 weeks or so ago, then sort of forgot about it. A week ago, I sent them an email (from the horrendous form on their horrendous website), then went fishing for a few days. I get back and, surprise of all surprises, I have a message from them! Great, I'll go look at the boat! We're now on Day Four of me leaving messages (I have their listed number and what's supposedly the broker's cell) and nothing back.

I hate to walk away from a boat because the guy selling it can't operate a telephone, but I'm running out of ideas. I'm not kicking tires (what does one metaphorically kick when not really buying a boat anyway?), and I have cash in hand to buy a boat. What to do? Try to track down the owner? Give up? Pitch a tent on my skiff and pretend it's a big-boy boat?

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Old 30-09-2010, 10:23   #2
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I'm not kicking tires (what does one metaphorically kick when not really buying a boat anyway?)
Fenders?

Only advice I can give with my lack of experience (zero) buying a boat would be to keep trying and look for other boats.

Perhaps they will get back to your or perhaps you'll find a better boat being sold by someone that is reachable.
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Old 30-09-2010, 10:26   #3
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I'm going to guess you already know the answer, but for the sake of discussion, what did you tell them to begin with?
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Old 30-09-2010, 10:33   #4
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I'm going to guess you already know the answer, but for the sake of discussion, what did you tell them to begin with?
No, I really don't know the answer. If I did I'd be out buying a boat rather than posting my frustrations on the Internet in the hopes that someone has been in a similar situation and can offer some productive advice. I told them I was interested in the boat and would like to talk to them about it. Is there something else I should have told them?
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Old 30-09-2010, 10:39   #5
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With the name of the vessel, you can do a little investigating and locate the owner . . . it isn't hard, really, to get to the person who is most interested in selling (obviously, not the agent with the listing) and let him know you're interested. If the agent won't return that guy's calls, he should fire him and get a new agent - or sell it himself.

You'll always get the best deal if you handle a transaction directly with the seller. It isn't any harder than buying / selling a car, really, and much easier than real estate, though you can do the same thing with it . . . It just takes a little more work.

An agent who is too lazy and / or arrogant to do his job deserves to be held accountable.

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Old 30-09-2010, 10:57   #6
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No, that's all you need to say. If I were still in the business, I would certainly not be too busy to contact you. Had you given him a prolog about how you never pay retail, or something like that, he would be talking to other callers first.

However, I suspect he's out trying to make a living somewhere else, where they won't let him use the phone except on breaks!

There are other possibilities, including: the seller has gotten tired of waiting and has pulled the listing or given it to another broker, and this guy is trying to negotiate a share of the commission. Or there is a deal in negotiation, or personal issues.

Realize this: selling other people's boats is not a good way to live. Most people get into it for unrealistic reasons, thinking they will spend their days sailing and making friends with weathy customers. And they don't usually get into it without being pushed out of something more regular. Call him back, find the owner, or go somewhere else, but watch out; if his lips are moving.....
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Old 30-09-2010, 11:01   #7
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i donot use brokers.. i find my boats by walking docks and by cruising the waters. i found my formosa right next to my ericson.. when i tried to sell my ericson thru a broker, he didnt call me for months. i pulled the listing. he called me whille i was out cruising needing immediate access to the boat. boat wasnt even listed when he called.
no i dont use brokers. lookin craigs list, ebay, walk docks--you will find a worthy boat here in kali by doing that.
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Old 30-09-2010, 11:03   #8
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You don't have to use the listing broker. If you have a local broker you know, he can arrange to show you the boat and cost the other broker 1/2 of his commission. for the local broker its a deal as he has no listing expenses.
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Old 30-09-2010, 11:03   #9
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My two cents:
Boat Brokers work on a commission, they try to concentrate on sells that bring them more money. Quite often, a brocker must share the commission with one or more other brokers. In the current market, obtaining a loan for older small boats is very difficult.
Anything less than $60k say, is going to take the same amount of effort to complete the sale as a more expensive boat.
Also a frustrating number of boat brokers are either not qualified and/or car salesman who have become tired of standing.
The search for a boat is part of the adventure.
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Old 30-09-2010, 11:10   #10
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Originally Posted by TaoJones View Post
With the name of the vessel, you can do a little investigating and locate the owner . . . it isn't hard, really, to get to the person who is most interested in selling (obviously, not the agent with the listing) and let him know you're interested. If the agent won't return that guy's calls, he should fire him and get a new agent - or sell it himself.

You'll always get the best deal if you handle a transaction directly with the seller. It isn't any harder than buying / selling a car, really, and much easier than real estate, though you can do the same thing with it . . . It just takes a little more work.

An agent who is too lazy and / or arrogant to do his job deserves to be held accountable.

TaoJones
Very true, but when listing with a broker, they demand that you sign an exculsive contract with them to guarantee at least a part of the commission.
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Old 30-09-2010, 11:24   #11
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I never give any sort of prologue when buying anything - if the seller wants to sell it and I end up wanting to buy it we'll work something out. I'm always open to creative solutions.

If the poor broker only gets a phone break every couple weeks or so, I'd think he'd be trying REALLY hard to sell me a boat!

I'm looking at boats for which I don't need a loan, not that that should be any business of the broker's. I've been open about my situation when I've looked at boats over my cash price range. (That is, I'm not interested unless it's a heck of a deal in some other way - freshly rebuilt, or comes with lots of gear or something.) The brokers that bother calling me back seem to understand this, and have for the most part been OK with showing me boats that I probably won't buy. In return, I try very hard not to waste their time - it takes me about 3 minutes to reject 99% of the boats in that category, and I'm seriously thinking about how I could swing the deal on the other 1%.

Walking docks would be great, but they mostly seem to be locked up in this wonderful state - and probably for good reason! I've been watching sources of owner-sales as well, but haven't found anything very interesting yet.

I'll see if I can track down an owner, and I'll give one of the brokers who was actually helpful (it's a small pool!) a call - I hadn't realized that they could insert themselves into the deal.
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Old 30-09-2010, 11:40   #12
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High teens to mid 30's........there isn't much of a commision there for the broker........he's probably just blowing you off.
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Old 30-09-2010, 11:45   #13
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I'll see if I can track down an owner, and I'll give one of the brokers who was actually helpful (it's a small pool!) a call - I hadn't realized that they could insert themselves into the deal.
Do you have the name of the vessel? Is it USCG documented? If so, it's simple to learn who's on the documentation record as the owner.

Buying a boat is exactly like buying a house, in this respect - you should have your own agent, representing your best interests, as the seller's agent is (theoretically) looking out for the seller's best interests. If you place yourself in the hands of the seller's agent and expect him / her to fairly represent both the seller and you equally . . . well, then you deserve what you get.

Bottom line is this - if you can eliminate the salesmen from the deal, you can save the seller 10% in commission regardless of how aggressively you negotiate the selling price beforehand. In other words, it gives you even more leverage and you should not be shy about using all the leverage you can muster.

Also, know this: Nothing feels better than acquiring a vessel at less than 50% of the asking price.

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Old 30-09-2010, 12:57   #14
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The brokerage firm I worked for some years ago had a minimum commision of $3K which eliminated many of the under $30K boats. The lower the price the less likely that the boat is listed in the brokerage market.

Having said that, not getting phone calls returned is inexcusable. My guess is that the listing has lapsed and the broker is too lazy to delete it from Yachtworld, or maybe he knows that it is way overpriced and is waiting for the seller to get serious about selling.

When I call a brokerage firm to ask about a specific boat that they have listed, I always ask to speak to the "listing broker". That is the person who signed the listing agreement with the seller and should know the boat best.

David
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Old 06-10-2010, 14:55   #15
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I have been having the same problem...I guess they dont want to bother with someone looking for a $30k boat. I have pretty much started looking for for sale by owner boats . I even had a broker take another offer on boat i had a contract on already.
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