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Old 07-05-2011, 11:18   #31
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Re: Buying a Boat: Lack of Response

I have bought and sold several boats over the last 15 years or so and am really trying to understand what the broker brings to the party. Having used a broker on about half of the deals, I have always done better doing the deal myself. Right now a good friend has had to put up with a broker 1000 miles from where the boat is lying trying to dictate the terms of the sale while the owner is willing to put the deal together. When asked about shaving a few % off the commision because he had done absolutely nothing, the brokers response is, 'forget it... I have to eat too, you know'. Brokers are their own worst enemy. It is behavior like this that gives boat brokers a bad name. I hope this generates a few responses from brokers because there must be another side to the story that I'm not getting. Comments like the one from Auspicious about Michele Martinage are really helpful to remote buyers and brokers like her should be recognized. Capt Phil
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Old 08-05-2011, 02:57   #32
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Re: Buying a Boat: Lack of Response

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Originally Posted by Auspicious View Post
The tire-kickers make life rough for all buyers.
If anyone is serious about selling then tyre-kickers are just something that have to be expected, whether you be selling for $1k or a $Million. If your pre-screening is too harsh you will chase off serious buyers who assess you as simply too much aggro to do business with.

Fair enuf that as Vendors I would want a Punter to send me a chunk of cash up front before he even gets into a position to decide whether to buy so I have him by the short & curlies come a Survey - But the numpty buyers market (A HP form and a bucket of dreams ) has kinda collapsed at the moment, so holding out for one of those may take a while.........

If 90% are tyre-kickers (rather than simply folk who decided against) then probably need to re-evaluate your approach or the vessel .....but otherwise just have to swallow it as part of the process of getting serious amounts of cash in your pocket. For some that is where a Broker comes into his own - albeit any Broker who starts asking for deposits before I can fully assess the vessel is whistling in the wind , and has screened the vessel / them out as far as I am concerned - but I understand that certain Markets have been built around nonsense like that
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Old 08-05-2011, 04:29   #33
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pirate Re: Buying a Boat - Lack of Response

At the moment I'm involved in a find/buy/deliver job for a Pt friend...
I've contacted brokers in Spain/Uk and France... so far I've had a 25% response to queries about Inventory/Last survey etc...
The guys got the money in his hand and wants a fast buy...
but the dudes in the offices cannot be bothered...
so basically sellers are paying these guys 8 - 12% of the price for doing sweet FA....
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Old 08-05-2011, 04:59   #34
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Re: Buying a Boat - Lack of Response

The system of selling through a broker is setup without regard for the human condition (being lazy). Many operate with minimum effort for maximum income. I am in the market for a cat 40' or less and have found something interesting (pricewise) lying in Greece. But represented by a worldwide operating brokerage (also very active in the charter business) I responded to the yachtworld listing. Being located on the Eastcoast (US) I explained my interest and principle willingness to travel but wanted a couple details answered first. After quite a while I got an email from their us office, lecturing me about having to see the boat in person, inability to say anything about any boat or any condition etc. It seems they have some saved email response they use in these cases all the time. I should have not responded but I did and tried again to explain that thousand of miles of Air travel would be involved to follow their recommendations, just to take a peek. The broker than asked which boat I am replying to. He is getting hits through YW all the time but was not looking up (YW number) which boat a prospect is referring to.
Needless to say, I never got any more info and now 2 month later the boat is listed "under contract".
The system allows the broker a wait and see approach and while they should have all the time to actively WORK it seems they just waiting for the ideal buyer coming through the door, cash in his hand.

I sold my previous boat last fall an decided to go without a broker. I created a nice website, answered all questions the "tirekickers" had and did put myself in their shoes.Needless to say I was successful, didn't had to inflate the price and created a deal where both parties were happy at the end.

Last weekend I visited a local brokerage and had a friend with me who never saw the inside of any boat. She was so turned off and couldn't understand why I wanted to live on something like a 40' cat. Why? All the boats were in conditions I wouldn't allow any buyer to take a look. Some effort to present the boats uncluttered and clean should have been made to have a fleet of presentable boats. I know, that is not typical and I tried to explain to my friend, these were not good examples of good cruising vessels. I felt for the boat owners being represented this way.

I think broker with the right mindset would be able to be successful and I am sure they're out there. But there is a huge number of opportunistic individuals out there just waiting for the" next one" please.

To all the brokers and private sellers alike:
get of your behind and do your work. dont wait for the next sucker who is just handing over his money. These times are over and whoever is out there, with $$$ in the pocket will not just hand it over.
The next tirekicker might be a real buyer. So please treat him as such. What else are you busy with?
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Old 08-05-2011, 06:25   #35
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Re: Buying a Boat - Lack of Response

There are some very sensible and informative replies to this thread, so I will only add one thing.
Rou-Coo mentions right at the beginning he might be buying “in the next year or so.” If I was selling my boat, (or anything for that matter), the first thing I would want to know is whether the buyer has any money. If the reply was, in a year or so, I wouldn’t bother much with that buyer because he isn’t one.
Rou-Coo therefore has a problem of his own, whether to tell the sellers up-front he won’t be ready for a year or so, or to pretend to be a serious buyer now.
There is no harm in considering the type of boat he might eventually buy, but I think it's a bit unfair to create expectations with sellers when he's not anywhere near ready to buy.
I realized this disparity when I bought my boat, so I always mentioned that I was a cash buyer with my first inquiry - that got the results I can tell you.
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Old 08-05-2011, 09:27   #36
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Re: Buying a Boat - Lack of Response

Glad you had a good outcome, JollyRoger. Many buyers are frustrated by the 'lazy broker' syndrome. I have found that if you are a buyer getting the run arond from a broker, get in touch with the owner and let them know that the broker isn't doing their job from a buyers perspective. I've done that a couple of times with some success. Many brokers want to keep the buyer at arms length or further from the seller they represent but that is easy to get around if you want to by doing a simple ownership search. Most if not all, marine contracts secure the broker his or commission up to 6 month after the contract expires and sellers should be aware of this and try and negotiate a shorter claw-back clause or replace it with the broker having to prove that it was through their effort that a sale was secured after the contract expired. That is one of the main reasons I don't deal with brokers. In my experience they are basically lazy, even dishonest, want something for very little effort and have not served either the buyer or seller well. This is only from my personal experience and I'm sure there are some decent brokers out there like the one Auspicious was referring to earlier in the thread. Have not heard any brokers speak up to defend their 'work product' yet which was the main reason for my posts... Capt Phil
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Old 08-05-2011, 10:15   #37
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Re: Buying a Boat: Lack of Response

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
What I can never understand is... the folks with 250K to spend will bitch about travelling to buy..
Yet folks like me with 30K or less will happily travel... is this a case of the mind being more open than the wallet...
OR IS IT A CASE OF THE LESS YOU HAVE THE LESS YOU CARE....
Go figure
No kidding.
We wrote a check for $125,000.00 and no ID was required.
Write a check for $1.25 at Walmart and you need 3 pieces of ID!

A good line to add to a prospective seller would be that you not only have cash in hand,
but you would race another buyer to the bank if necessary.
That's what we had to do.
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:09   #38
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Re: Buying a Boat - Lack of Response

This perpetual Yacht Broker question has been beaten to death on this and other forums, and in the end it comes down to individual experiences and situations, so you can’t generalize.
I also assure everyone that boat buying and selling is not the only business where there are also some pretty stupid pillocks, in both camps. The real estate market is as depressed as boats, if not more so, but that doesn’t seem to enliven some brokers or private sellers, and hopeful lookers are equally difficult to qualify. I could write a book about some of the performances we experience in our Florida real estate brokerage, and how our own attitude has been remodeled due to the changing market.
The only thing which will improve the performance of both, and the participants therein, is a significant improvement in this stagnant economy—by which I mean for the man in the street—and until that happens we are all doomed to endure fools in both buyers and sellers.
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:16   #39
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Re: Buying a Boat - Lack of Response

Gee, Jolly', and all this time I thought the real estate brokers in Florida were a model for the rest of the country to follow! What a depressing bit of news! Cheers, Capt Phil
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Old 08-05-2011, 13:24   #40
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Re: Buying a Boat - Lack of Response

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Originally Posted by Jolly Roger View Post
This perpetual Yacht Broker question has been beaten to death on this and other forums, and in the end it comes down to individual experiences and situations, so you can’t generalize.
I also assure everyone that boat buying and selling is not the only business where there are also some pretty stupid pillocks, in both camps. The real estate market is as depressed as boats, if not more so, but that doesn’t seem to enliven some brokers or private sellers, and hopeful lookers are equally difficult to qualify. I could write a book about some of the performances we experience in our Florida real estate brokerage, and how our own attitude has been remodeled due to the changing market.
The only thing which will improve the performance of both, and the participants therein, is a significant improvement in this stagnant economy—by which I mean for the man in the street—and until that happens we are all doomed to endure fools in both buyers and sellers.

But it's the brokers JOB to endure the foolish buyers. As a buyer we have the luxury to walk away from a foolish seller. To blame any potential customer on your own (not saying you personally, just brokers/agents in general) lack of motivation to sell your product, doesn't seem very rational to me.

I'm currently working in real estate (inspections and management) and I work closely the with agents at times. It's quite obvious that when somebody calls and says they are interested in looking at a few houses, the agents jump to their feet and does everything humanly possibly to convince those people they need to BUY THIS HOUSE. There is no form of "qualifying" a potential customer. Every single person that shows interest is fair game. Buyers come in all shapes and sizes and anybody who's ever sold anything should know that quite well.

That is not the response we (as buyers) are getting from sailboat brokers in general.

I did encounter one or two helpful brokers, one in particular on Lake Erie. Unfortunately I can't remember his name... but otherwise the large majority of both brokers and private sellers were quite strangely reluctant to do anything in the way of 'selling' their boats. They put the entire burden on the buyer, which is utterly backwards, if you ask me.

If people don't want to actively SELL their boat, they shouldn't have it up for sale. If brokers don't want to do their job, they shouldn't be getting paid (or hired). The Buyers are not to blame for any of this.

The reality is that foolish buyers are exactly what agents/brokers WANT. This latest generation of boat buyers are far more educated than before. We spend years studying online deciding exactly what we want in a boat and watching the market to know exactly what it should be worth to us. An educated buyer is a salesman's worst nightmare, it's no wonder these guys don't want to deal with people anymore. They are much better off waiting for the once-a-year ignorant rich guy to come along and pluck up a random $200k boat instead of doing all that "work" of showing $20k boats to 100 different people if maybe 1 or 2 of them MIGHT be interested...etc. So yeah, it makes sense that these agents are becoming jaded and angry with their position as they watch themselves become obsoleted by websites and a new global Private market... Their services just aren't needed as much anymore but they are knowingly taking boats into brokerage that they will never TRY to sell... it doesn't make any sense.

The solution is to stop using brokers. There are plenty of private sellers to sift through the weirdness and find a good boat...and as a seller (that better be prepared to answer emails and phone calls) there are plenty of great private listing sites out there that get just as much traffic as yachtworld.... Eventually, if some brokers ever decide they want to start making money again, they will have to get off their rumps and actually do some work.
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Old 08-05-2011, 13:35   #41
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Re: Buying a Boat - Lack of Response

Well said, callmecrazy! I'm still hoping a broker will sign on and give us their side of the story... Capt Phil
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Old 08-05-2011, 15:45   #42
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Re: Buying a Boat - Lack of Response

I agree with Callmecrazy. It is indeed a broker’s job to endure prospects on behalf of his client. It is also his job to sift, as best he can, the tire kickers and yes, qualify a potential buyer, if only to save his own time and effort. The type of real estate agents Callmecrazy describes are clutching as straws, and give real salesmen a bad name. In this respect reticent yacht brokers are displaying a tad more professionalism in not grasping everyone who makes the slightest overture.
You most certainly can qualify a real estate prospect, or any other for that matter; one way is to simply ask them when they will be ready to buy, and how. I always ask this on first inquiry, and if the answer is, “in the next year or so,” (as it must be from Rou-Coo, assuming he is a honest man), then I tell them to come back in a year of so, when I will happily show them property which is for sale at that time. Of course, the great Joe Public buyer has been known to lie from time to time in his belief that he is entitled to look at and handle the goods, even though he has no prospect of buying. But when I meet such a person I have been known to drop them off at the nearest bus stop.
But then there is no justification for the broker/seller who fails to respond at all, as Rou-Coo and others have experienced. Such people are fools because they have no idea if the prospect can buy or not. But what is the point of showing Rou-Coo any boats at the moment, he cannot buy?
From my recent experience searching for my own boat, I suspect many yacht brokers are so fed-up with hopefuls they tend to assume everyone is a time waster. This is why I always mentioned at the outset that I had the funds to buy a particular boat I was inquiring about. Unfortunately Rou-Coo cannot claim this advantage. On the other hand I can’t remember ever being asked if I had the loot, by either a broker or private seller.
I have to disagree with Dave that pre-screening will chase off serious buyers—if a serious buyer is capable of buying he will rarely be upset by such questions, tactfully put, (the difference between a good salesman and an amateur), since it shows a professional stance.
I suspect good yacht salesmen are still selling boats, as are good real estate salesmen, because when the going gets tough......
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Old 08-05-2011, 16:05   #43
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Re: Buying a Boat - Lack of Response

What I don't understand is if the marine market is soft as it currently is, what is brokerage management doing to improve the level of professionalism and commitment to the client whether they be a buyer or a seller? I'm getting the feeling that laziness and sloppy followup is a structural problem in the marine retail industry and not much is being done to address that. If I owned a yacht brokerage business, I'd be asking my sales staff what they are doing today, this week, this month bring in clients or close deals. If these folks are professionals as they would have you believe, I would expect them to have at least an action plan to operate profitably in the type of market. Perhaps I expect too much... Capt Phil
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Old 08-05-2011, 16:28   #44
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Re: Buying a Boat - Lack of Response

"Last weekend I visited a local brokerage and had a friend with me who never saw the inside of any boat. She was so turned off and couldn't understand why I wanted to live on something like a 40' cat. Why? All the boats were in conditions I wouldn't allow any buyer to take a look. Some effort to present the boats uncluttered and clean should have been made to have a fleet of presentable boats. I know, that is not typical and I tried to explain to my friend, these were not good examples of good cruising vessels. I felt for the boat owners being represented this way."
I feel for the brokers trying to sell shodily prepared boats that they do not own. It is up to the owners to see to the boats condition and not up to the broker to clean and tidy up the boats they are selling on behalf of the owners. Are you suggesting that the brokers should spend their days or money cleaning boats.
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Old 08-05-2011, 16:31   #45
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Re: Buying a Boat - Lack of Response

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"Last weekend I visited a local brokerage and had a friend with me who never saw the inside of any boat. She was so turned off and couldn't understand why I wanted to live on something like a 40' cat. Why? All the boats were in conditions I wouldn't allow any buyer to take a look. Some effort to present the boats uncluttered and clean should have been made to have a fleet of presentable boats. I know, that is not typical and I tried to explain to my friend, these were not good examples of good cruising vessels. I felt for the boat owners being represented this way."
I feel for the brokers trying to sell shodily prepared boats that they do not own. It is up to the owners to see to the boats condition and not up to the broker to clean and tidy up the boats they are selling on behalf of the owners. Are you suggesting that the brokers should spend their days or money cleaning boats.

Thats what real estate companies do, and thats also what used car salesmen do... or at least they hire somebody to do the dirty work. So why are brokers putting all the responsibility not only on the buyer but also on the owner? what are they really getting paid for?
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