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Old 16-03-2016, 09:46   #1
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Buying boat long distance through Broker

Hi,
I'm in the process of considering the purchase of a boat that is advertised through a broker. This is my first experience dealing with a broker. My previous boats I've purchased directly from the owners.

I'm very interested in the boat, but it is thousands of miles away. I want to be pretty sure it's a candidate before making an offer, paying to travel, and engaging a surveyor.

The broker has told me that there was a survey done last year, but has so far declined to provide a copy to me. His explanation is that he didn't want me calling the surveyor and asking questions about it.

I encouraged him to redact the surveyor contact info and send it, but so far he has not done so.

I also asked for some additional photos. The broker has indicated that the photos were taken, but that it's very confusing/difficult for the owner and broker to figure out how to email them to me.

The broker also claims ignorance on many of the questions I've asked. Things like "does the boat have blisters or a history of blisters or any blister treatment". Many of my written questions have gone unanswered. The broker seems to just ignore the question. I get the impression the broker does not want to write any of his answers down.

Is this normal behavior from a broker, or should I be listening to the little alarm bells that are starting to go off?

I'm thinking about asking to speak directly with the owner. Would that be a legitimate request?

The boat is in the neighborhood of 50K if that makes any difference.
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Old 16-03-2016, 15:21   #2
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Re: Buying boat long distance through Broker

Maybe I've asked the question poorly.

What is the role of the listing broker? Is it reasonable to expect them to provide info above/beyond the advertisement on the condition/equipment on a boat long distance, or should I be trying to round up a 3rd party at the boat location to do stuff like take additional photos, etc?

I'm getting the impression from this broker that I'm asking for too much & wondering if my expectations are out of whack.
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Old 16-03-2016, 15:39   #3
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Re: Buying boat long distance through Broker

broker= used car salesman. RUN>>>>>AWAY!!!!!
get looking at something closer to you.
and good luck with your used car salesman. he will try to show you boats outside your budget because he wants a larger commission.
oh yes and boats he cannot sell..... enjoy searching- hope you do not lose your assssssssss..


role of broker--sell you boat yielding greatest commission.

if you have option on a close by boat without broker--- run To it.
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Old 16-03-2016, 15:44   #4
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Re: Buying boat long distance through Broker

I would not say it's "normal". But often they are not good at, or refuse, to talk about details much. This does not sound like a good broker though.
If I was serious I would ask the broker to go to the boat, call me and walk around while I ask him questions. Even that is not foolproof. I once did this, and I asked questions like : "walking around the deck, does the gel coat look shiny? dull? or down right "powdery"? he told me it looked real good. When I flew out there the gel was so powdery your hand would get white from rubbing it.
I once made up a sheet for an offer that included a statement like "has the boat ever had blister repair?" It cause a lot of grief for the broker!
One nice thing when you look at a boat is you may be able to see a registration card with the owners name on it etc. A quick I phone photo of that and you can track him down to ask real questions. I've often found owners to be too helpful for their own good! They like to talk about their boat...
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Old 16-03-2016, 16:28   #5
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Re: Buying boat long distance through Broker

You are getting the broker run around. You might eventually get answers from the guy or gal, but you will never be able to trust the answers. If the boat seems like it is for you, you can tell them once you have answers to a short list of specifics, you will make an offer. If you can then negotiate a price yoi are happy with its time to go to see the boat. If it passes that test, time for a survey. ThATS what I did. Always be ready to walk away.
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Old 16-03-2016, 16:54   #6
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Re: Buying boat long distance through Broker

Yes I did tell them I was ready to make an offer & just was waiting for answers. Didn't really help.

I plan a survey and rig inspection on whatever I buy. I'm struggling a little with how to get enough info to decide if it's worth paying for the plane flight and inspections.

I am looking locally as well, but very few boats on the market here right now.

Sounds like maybe I'm going to need some specific strategies to deal with brokers. I like the idea of making them answer questions while at the boat.

I've talked to a couple of owners from craigslist ads, and could hardly keep them from talking--very different dynamic.
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Old 16-03-2016, 17:59   #7
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Re: Buying boat long distance through Broker

Quote:
Originally Posted by musher View Post
What is the role of the listing broker? .
The broker is the agent of the seller not the buyer. Just like a house. And they use the same camera too... that's the camera where the house looks like Donald Trumps mansion but turns out to be a dog box.

The Latin "Caveat Emptor" means 'buyer beware'. It means you must do the due diligence yourself. If you don't you will end up with a dog box. In this case a floating dog box.


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Old 16-03-2016, 18:17   #8
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Re: Buying boat long distance through Broker

Find a New Broker and get a plane ticket and go look at it your self. My broker was good and did his job but I would never trust one. Also, do your homework and find a good surveyor. I thought I did and he missed some basic stuff like hoses. Also, make sure you add the cost for travel, hotels, rental cars and the cost to get it home. I spent 10k to get it home, NY to Fl. But I got a great deal
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Old 16-03-2016, 18:25   #9
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Re: Buying boat long distance through Broker

If you gave the broker time to answer concrete questions (like the blister repairs) and he does not come back with concrete answers, I'd walk. I'd also try to trace the boat's owner via its name and the USCG database (if documented) and write the owner to tell him he has a lousy broker.

IF your heart is set on that boat, however, you have two choices: (1) go look at it yourself, or (2) hire a buyer's broker. Call another brokerage in the area and engage a broker to represent you. The listing agency will hate that, as it cuts their commission by 50%. Instead of getting 100% to split two ways (brokerage house; agent), it is split 4 ways (each brokerage house; each agent). Won't cost you any more as the seller pays the commission. If you engage a buyer broker, that broker by law has to represent your interests.
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Old 16-03-2016, 18:26   #10
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Re: Buying boat long distance through Broker

Brokers are salespersons. Some know what they are selling some are just selling.

I would not buy a boat unseen. I understand you have a reason to do so.

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Old 16-03-2016, 18:37   #11
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Re: Buying boat long distance through Broker

Get your own broker for sure. If your dealing with the buyers broker and he isn't bending over backwards to collect a full commission then it is for sure two things (1) He is a crappy broker (2) Red flag on the boat or a bad owner.

My issue was a assh_le owner, BUT, my broker did his job better than the listing broker and I got a great deal.
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Old 16-03-2016, 19:59   #12
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Re: Buying boat long distance through Broker

You could ask on this forum for someone knowledgeable to go look at it for you and take pictures. Obviously a huge favor to ask, but plenty of people love looking at boats. You do risk that person buying it out from under you, someone else buying while you are arranging all this, or your volunteer blabbing to a friend who buys it. And you owe the volunteer a present of some sort (probably but not neccesarily a bottle of booze).

Otherwise, I would just go look. This is pretty normal broker bad behavior, and frankly I haven't found owners to be much more help until you are actually looking at the boat.
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Old 16-03-2016, 20:00   #13
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Re: Buying boat long distance through Broker

I'd say pass or find your own broker to be a go between. I bought a boat in the same situation you are in; used the seller's broker to get the deal done. He was responsive, called me several times to discuss issues, even went back to the seller and told him to fix some issues as well as helping out with a few of the more troublesome issues involved in being 1400 miles away. And after all that I still only rate the experience as a 7 on scale of 1 to 10.

If you can't even get good info out of him then you are already steering towards the unhappy side of things. My understanding is if you engage your own broker then they have to share the fees, so this guy should be trying to keep you both happy...

Good luck!
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Old 16-03-2016, 21:23   #14
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Re: Buying boat long distance through Broker

Look, I am sure everyone has got their own opinion on this topic but for what is worth, I am also in the market actively looking for a boat to buy. It didn't take me long to learn that if a boat is listed with a broker, I just don't even bother. These folks are really useless to me as a buyer and a nuisance to put up with. They don't answer the questions you actually asked for, reply with one liners if at all and right out lie about the condition of the boat. So why bother?

On top of all that the seller has to pay his fee so he probably has less room to negotiate. So I would actually argue it is in the end you who is paying for that broker's fee.

Find yourself a boat being sold directly by its owner and who loves his boat so much he is willing to talk hours about it. That tells you he really cares and probably took great care of his baby.

Note to sellers: you are doing yourself a disservice by engaging a broker. I know you are missing out on potential buyers.. And I doubt it is just me :-)
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Old 17-03-2016, 08:25   #15
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Re: Buying boat long distance through Broker

As a Broker for a long time, and previously a sailbaot owner and delivery captain with over 100,000 miles offshore under my belt, I would tell you that the Broker you are dealing with is totally incompetent and ill-equipped to be doing the job he should be doing. Before becoming a Broker, I too had apprehensions about "brokers" ... after getting involved in it I quickly found out that the old real estate adage "buyers are liars and sellers are worse" held true in a lot of cases. I also joke that when I moved to Florida they issued me a blue blazer with a kevlar back.
Bottom line is that every industry has its bad guys. The best thing you can do is go around them, don't do business with them, but if you must, be alert for red flags. In Florida, Brokers must get a license and be bonded.... this doesn't stop all the bad actors, so watch for brokers who join the florida Yacht Brokers Association or get their certified professional Yacht broker Certification. This is an indication that they are concerned with doing things right and are looking at a career, not an odd job.
If you were my client and that broker was acting like that I'd tell you to find another boat, or, offer them $20,000 subject only to a yes/no after survey.
Good luck with your search............
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