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Old 10-08-2013, 09:01   #16
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Re: Brokers and False Advertising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
I spent about three years seriously looking before buying our current (hopefully last) boat. I learned:
  • To ignore all verbage like "turnkey, cruise-ready, sail-away-condition, ready to go, etc." Just skip right past it. It's meaningless bafflegab.
  • If a boat ad spends a lot of time on extraneous "upgrades" like chartplotters, sound systems, BBQs, etc then I immediately become suspicious. If they emphasis crap like new TVs then I run.
  • I would always ask very specific questions early on in probing process: "Are there ANY leaks through deck/ports/? Are there ANY soft spots on the deck? Is there any damage beyond cosmetic? Does all the equipment listed in the ad actually work? How has the boat been used in the last year? Has it been maintained, etc. Get as specific as you can about the import an issues.
  • Ask to see the most recent survey. Even if it's a few years old, it is worth seeing. If they balk, then walk.
  • I learned that all-too-often the broker had never even looked at the boat they were selling. They were relying on info provided by the seller, which was often incomplete, sketchy or just plain wrong. Ask the broker if they've shown the boat before, and if the ad is accurate.
  • Ask to communicate directly with the owner. Some brokers are understandably twitchy about this, so you have to establish trust. But in the end the broker doesn't know much about the boat. I want to talk to the owner.
None of this protected me from dud visits. I recall more than one boat where I feared for my life just walking on the decks -- and this after being told there were no soft spots. Enjoy the process, and tell people about dud brokers. If their business suffers, they may change.
Hi Mike,

All excellent advise. Like you say, won't guard against 100% of the wasted trips but will prevent a lot.

Only one exception I might take to your plan, recent surveys. The lack of a recent survey I would not necessarily take as a negative. If the same owner has had the boat for many years it might not have been surveyed since he or she bought the boat. Or the survey may be many years old with very limited value. Also, if a potential buyer has had a survey done but didn't buy the boat the seller is not entitled to a copy of the survey so again, may not have one to offer.
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Old 10-08-2013, 09:02   #17
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Re: Brokers and False Advertising

We just had (and still are dealing) with a similar experience.
Unfortunately, calling in a local surveyor is not always (if at all) a good idea. Usually (especially in small places) the surveyor is a friend or somehow acquainted with the broker, resulting in a not so true or complete survey.

I've met numerous brokers and surveyors during my years of sailing, buying and selling boats. I won't give a blanket opinion on surveyors but can definitely do so on brokers except for one specific who proved time and again his honesty.
Due to his nature, we eventually became friends though I have never had the opportunity to buy a boat from him.

I can't publish any exposing details of our ordeal but promise to do so once it's over.
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Old 10-08-2013, 09:05   #18
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Re: Brokers and False Advertising

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Originally Posted by minaret View Post
I saw a whole lot of this during the four years I spent shopping for my latest (and last) boat. I'd say its much higher than 10% that need some behind the shed treatment. More like 50% or more. I traveled through nine states and three different countries searching, and it was pretty universal. Lying is a brokers job description.
Posted this before but worth repeating. When shopping for my last boat I called a surveyor about a listing for a boat on my short list. That particular boat had just sold so the broker offered to contact me with any new listings.

I told him I was only interested in a center cockpit, preferably cutter rig but would consider a sloop. So he sent me a listing for an aft cockpit ketch.
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Old 10-08-2013, 09:14   #19
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Re: Brokers and False Advertising

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Only one exception I might take to your plan, recent surveys. The lack of a recent survey I would not necessarily take as a negative. If the same owner has had the boat for many years it might not have been surveyed since he or she bought the boat. Or the survey may be many years old with very limited value. Also, if a potential buyer has had a survey done but didn't buy the boat the seller is not entitled to a copy of the survey so again, may not have one to offer.
True Skip, I'd accept your nuanced advice on this. Sometimes surveys are not available. That's fine. A buyer's commissioned survey is theirs, not the seller's, so the selling broker may not have it. But if there is a survey, even if it is very old, I still want to see it. In that case it will act as a guide to gauge how well the boat has been maintained over time -- a key element when buying older boats (the only boats I can afford ).

As a potential buyer, I want as much information about a boat as possible. There are no absolute rules in what should be provided, or when in the process it should be provided. But if I become aware of an old survey that is easily available (and I always asked), then I want to see it. If the broker balks, then it makes me suspicious.
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Old 10-08-2013, 10:03   #20
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Re: Brokers and False Advertising

At another time I have seen an add on yachtworld that showed ... somebody else's boat! No good. There was also a case of Bolivian dealers selling boats in Malta. The point was the boats did not exist.

Do not buy unseen.

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Old 10-08-2013, 10:17   #21
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Re: Brokers and False Advertising

Mike, your survey suggestion would not work in our case. The survey we had was good, but missed a few things. The boat that was surveyed in no way, shape or form compares to the boat we have now- after 4 years of nonstop refitting by a super anal, meticulous engineer who has a background in marine structures. The survey would be worthless in the case of our boat. Same with the boat of another, like minded perfectionist we know.

A more helpful tact would be to reach out to folks here on CF and see if anyone local can go take a cursory look at the boat for you. I've done this for others in the past, I am sure other CF members would be willing to if its close. I think pretty much all sailors like looking at boats.

No, we are not selling her. Plans for the boat include a Viking style funeral on her for my husband.
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Old 10-08-2013, 10:31   #22
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Re: Brokers and False Advertising

Like everything else, there are multiple sides to this situation. I've had seller tell me the engines were "just rebuilt", yet the oil is like tar and the only documentation is for minor repair work. And buyers that say they can afford "x" yet they have been late every bill they owe. They will spend a half a day looking a specific vessel then tell you they want something completely different. I currently have a 1987, 48', gas vessel for sale. The ads clearly state the age, size, and power. The HD video clearly shows the condition along with the more than 40 photos and yet I have had many prospects say at the end "I want something newer and diesel". A lot of folks look at boats solely for entertainment.
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Old 10-08-2013, 10:31   #23
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Re: Brokers and False Advertising

I guess we all have similar stories. I once travelled many hours to see a boat that was described by the broker on Yachtworld as "well maintained and economical boat with many systems cosmetics and upgrades" and "recently rebuilt engines". What I found was a boat that had been on fire, and the engine rebuild consisted of replacing all the hoses that had been burned off. The hull number had been ground off, which tells me that the insurance company considered the boat a write-off.

Only the owner was there for my inspection, and when I phoned the broker, he admitted that he had never seen the boat, and knew nothing about it. We eventually bought a different boat without using a broker. The seller was honest and accurately described the vessel, and we split what would have been a brokers fee.

During our boat search, we found it difficult to tell which brokers were liars, and which were truthful. I am sure that most brokers are honest, and do their best not to mislead a potential buyer. The problem is that the few bad apples give the rest a bad name.
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Old 10-08-2013, 10:50   #24
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Re: Brokers and False Advertising

Let's face it... the whole world of advertising is dishonest as hell. They imply things that arent true all the time. TV ads are just as bad as any. "Internet 19.95 a month!" the reality is, it's about $65-70 a month after they lease you equiptment and charge you for a phone line you dont need for anything but the internet. It's a pet peeve of mine for sure. Do we need TV ads to tell us what drugs we need? They seem to want to imply everyone has "restless leg syndrome" or how about "Low T?" Special vitamins for your eyes! yeah , right, they still havent even proven that normal vitamins have any effect on health....
I always assume a boat is much worse than advertised... as they usually are... Most brokers wouldnt know standing rigging from running rigging and cetainly have no idea the real condition of a boat they are selling....
I once flew to Florida from Wa state to look at a boat. Before I did, I had the broker go to the boat at his convenience and call me on the cell phone. I then asked him to walk around the boat and I asked questions like "How is the gel coat on the deck? Is it chalky and powdery, shiny? are there any areas where it is chipped of bubbling, flaking?" " how would you rate it on a scale of 1-10?"
He rated it above an 8 and shiny. When I got there it was powdery as heck, parts of the non skid were coming off!
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Old 10-08-2013, 11:00   #25
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Re: Brokers and False Advertising

For the boats that my company lists for sale I have a few "rules" and they are: I take all of the photos of the vessel. This allows me to spend time on it to "get to know it" as much as possible.
2. Lots of access to the vessel- this allows me to flip switches and generally asses the overall condition with out the seller looking over my shoulder.
3.I try to speak with the dock master and those slipped nearby. It's amazing what the neighbors know about your boat.
4. I try to find the last mechanic and detailer that worked on your boat and chat with them.
5. I try to get as many records as possible.
6. I have a "125" point check list that I go thru on most vessels and am willing to e-mail to qualified potentials.
7. I just look at the vessel; decks, bridge, available wiring, engine compartment ( I use mirrors to look underneath the engines)
8. I keep current on USCG recalls, continue education ( studying for ABYC Certification), keep professional certifications current (CPYB), and more.
9. I use the famous line showing a vessel "Are you going to believe me or what your eyes see?"
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Old 10-08-2013, 11:08   #26
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Re: Brokers and False Advertising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Let's face it... the whole world of advertising is dishonest as hell. They imply things that arent true all the time. TV ads are just as bad as any. "Internet 19.95 a month!" the reality is, it's about $65-70 a month after they lease you equiptment and charge you for a phone line you dont need for anything but the internet. It's a pet peeve of mine for sure. Do we need TV ads to tell us what drugs we need? They seem to want to imply everyone has "restless leg syndrome" or how about "Low T?" Special vitamins for your eyes! yeah , right, they still havent even proven that normal vitamins have any effect on health....
When I'm watchin' my TV
And that man comes on to tell me
How white my shirts can be
But he can't be a man 'cause he doesn't smoke
The same cigarettes as me

Thank you Mick!
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Old 10-08-2013, 11:11   #27
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Re: Brokers and False Advertising

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Originally Posted by aboatman View Post
A lot of folks look at boats solely for entertainment.
I once had a "customer" admit to me that looking at boats was part of his vacation and he had no intent or even ability to buy one.
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Old 10-08-2013, 11:18   #28
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Re: Brokers and False Advertising

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
When I'm watchin' my TV
And that man comes on to tell me
How white my shirts can be
But he can't be a man 'cause he doesn't smoke
The same cigarettes as me

Thank you Mick!
Right on!

Originally Posted by aboatman
A lot of folks look at boats solely for entertainment.

Yeah, I think this is where a lot of Brokers fail.... to my mind, anyone who is interested in "just looking at boats" is interested in boating, anyone who is interested in boating eventually buys a boat. A broker needs to "sell" that person the right boat. Many times I have been out looking at boats and a broker fails to take me seriously... and I'm not even sure I'm buying one, next thing I know I HAVE bought one! (in spite of the broker, or without him) Follow up, follow up, follow up... there's an art to selling.... but it's not hard at all. Heck, my experience is it's hard to even get a broker to call you back.
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Old 10-08-2013, 11:22   #29
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Re: Brokers and False Advertising

Quote:
Originally Posted by aboatman View Post
For the boats that my company lists for sale I have a few "rules" and they are: I take all of the photos of the vessel. This allows me to spend time on it to "get to know it" as much as possible.
2. Lots of access to the vessel- this allows me to flip switches and generally asses the overall condition with out the seller looking over my shoulder.
3.I try to speak with the dock master and those slipped nearby. It's amazing what the neighbors know about your boat.
4. I try to find the last mechanic and detailer that worked on your boat and chat with them.
5. I try to get as many records as possible.
6. I have a "125" point check list that I go thru on most vessels and am willing to e-mail to qualified potentials.
7. I just look at the vessel; decks, bridge, available wiring, engine compartment ( I use mirrors to look underneath the engines)
8. I keep current on USCG recalls, continue education ( studying for ABYC Certification), keep professional certifications current (CPYB), and more.
9. I use the famous line showing a vessel "Are you going to believe me or what your eyes see?"
This sounds like what a broker should do to earn his commission, and should be a model for others in this business. Too bad it does not seem to be...

I'm not in the market for a boat, but I bet that others on CF would be interested to know the name of your company.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 10-08-2013, 12:44   #30
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Re: Brokers and False Advertising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
True Skip, I'd accept your nuanced advice on this. Sometimes surveys are not available. That's fine. A buyer's commissioned survey is theirs, not the seller's, so the selling broker may not have it. But if there is a survey, even if it is very old, I still want to see it. In that case it will act as a guide to gauge how well the boat has been maintained over time -- a key element when buying older boats (the only boats I can afford ).

As a potential buyer, I want as much information about a boat as possible. There are no absolute rules in what should be provided, or when in the process it should be provided. But if I become aware of an old survey that is easily available (and I always asked), then I want to see it. If the broker balks, then it makes me suspicious.
Absolutely if the seller has a survey that he/she will not share without a really good reason I would be very suspicious.
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