These subjects are usually fun
Originally Posted by Boulter
I am in the same position as the OP. Not really a haggler at heart, but the scale of dollars we are potentially talking here, I think I need to give it a good shot. Here is my thinking so far.
Step one for me was to identify a number of different types of boats. A C&C
Landfall 39 was the first boat we set foot in that hit a few key things for us: massive headroom
to hold me (6'4") and relatives (taller!), and a cabin
layout that made sense for lots of friends and family
participation. That boat and another 6 months of reading and research
identified a number of boats that are similar: Whitby 42 and Brewer derivatives, CSY
44, Reliance 44, Spencer 1330 and others. I am not falling in love with any one boat design, but rather have identified a number of boats that get a passing grade of 50% (There are no boats for anyone that score higher than 70% I figure, that compromise thing).
Step two is now to somehow physically get on examples of these boats just to make sure of key things like the actual headroom
matches the "internet" headroom, and in general just confirm the theoretical ideas from my readings.
Step three has not yet been done. Make some lowball offers and be prepared to walk away. Might be best to not start with an offer on the favoured design. Do this 3 or 4 times and your reputation will start to preceed you. Brokers will know your offer is your offer, you don't fall in love with a particular boat, and the seller can then decide if they want to sell to you or not.
IMO step 1 is a very good approach
Step 2 is essential - apart from getting hands on experiance with specific boats and models, will soon get a heads up on the gap between internet
"good" and reality. Does that make you a "Time waster"? - no more than most Vendors / Brokers.
Step 3 - being able (and willing) to walk away is key (in any negotiation).
DOJ's suggested approach
In regards to offers only one "rule" applies....."do unto others before
they do unto you"
............if you don't understand that when buying
you will when selling!
Step 1 Google
up a boat
take description with a pinch of salt
(everything is a lie until proven otherwise).
contact the Broker (or Vendor) and ask for any additional details and enquire about having a look aboard.....also ask directly whether anything wrong with the boat / needs replacing or repair (can say that is not a deal breaker in itself, just don't want to waste anyone's time looking at something that is unsuitable - unless that is what you want!).
if Broker does not respond within 24 Hours, then save yourself aggro later and move on to someone else.
if Broker ok for a look aboard, then have a lookaboard! (take camera
and notebook for observations and queries to Google
up later on.....and compare listing details to the reality).
tell the Broker if definately not
interested due to condition or model not quite what you thought.
Check with the broker what the expected MO is on making an offer / arranging a seatrial / a survey haulout (some Brokers / Owners have weird
- save yourself time and effort by scratching 'em out early)......also try and wheedle out as much info as possible about the Vendor / his circumstances and how long the boat has been owned, including whether any finance or other debts on the boat.....especially if the boat looks like it has been let go a bit. A bit of a giveaway is when engine
last serviced / any other recent bills....how much the Berthing costs is also useful to know how much not selling is costing. Might also want to chat with any Marina Staff about whether bills are paid up to date.
on the money
front, play it casual
....don't even talk ballparks - just say are interested, but have a few things to mull over / research
as well as a few other boats to look at / have already seen......which is all true.
let 'em sweat for a few days / a week
Work out what the boat is worth to you - in comparison to other vessels that do the same job (not neccessarily the same model).
Halve that figure
Tell the Broker that you are considering
making an offer IRO $XXX (but don't make an actual offer) as you have done some initial costings / comparisons ........which you will firm up into a hard offer (subject to sea trial and survey) when you visit the vessel again - but you don't want to waste either his or your time doing a 2nd visit.
May also want to make clear that any offer will be on the basis that everything is good / acceptable, unless disclosed otherwise (remember that question you asked in Step 3? - this is the Owner's / Broker's final chance to fess up).....and that therefore as long as the Survey doesn't throw up anything important / above $500 then your offer will remain good (i.e the Survey will not
be used as a bargaining tool - you can of course change your mind on that, always enough scope!).....could also mention that you are aware that the boat is 5 / 10 / 15 / 20 years old and therefore so will be much of the equipment
- so not expecting factory fresh / everything to be good for 20 years.....that's all priced into the offer.
If the Broker / Owner gives a straight Foxtrot Oscar
without any counter "ballpark" offer then try and get some clue as to how far out you are or any other reasons for a refusal......the info is useful for future boats......would suggest leaving your ballpark on the table.
If the Broker / Owner makes a counter ballpark offer then the game
.....and then it's just a question of numbers (yours!) and how they stack against the competition (his!).
If the Broker / Owner is happy with your ballpark, kick yourself for not going lower!.....but console yourself that you have left yourself room to do that after a 2nd visit (you said IRO - not above!).
If the Broker says he won't present any
offer (whether firm or ballpark) without a cheque for 10% tell him to Foxtrot Oscar
Second visit to check details / obtain add info to further research any things that need or you want to upgrade or replace etc etc.
Make lots of good noises! but don't commit yourself to an offer figure just yet.....tell him the offer will be made once you have given the numbers a final crunch....and give him a timescale (within 1 week, hopefully a couple of days).
After a week, make the offer (subject to seatrial and survey etc).....and that offer good for a week.......at this point may be some negotiation - but how much of that is up to the person writing the cheque.
Sign the contract
. Or move on....maybe indicate that although the offer has been withdrawn, that Vendor wants to talk later then you will be willing to listen (if you have not already bought something else).
at that point I would consider
making a deposit (I appreciate that cultures differ on that side - for some giving 10% to a complete stranger is considered normal
.....for me a nominal deposit, a signed contract
and the Buyer paying for a haulout and survey is good enough to consider them as "serious". IME few people throw away $1k (plus?!) for fun - unless Alcohol and loose women are involved!).
In my book, the Broker / Vendor swapping a few e-mails and facilitating one visit to the boat before
a ballpark figure is proposed is NOT wasting anyone's time.
A second visit and a few more e-mails before a firm offer is made is just the cost of doing business - for both parties. A serious buyer is no more interested in wasting time than a serious Vendor.....if a boat is genuinely as described (warts and all) then it's all quick and painless - if Vendor is trying to play silly beggers by hiding info that will later be patently obvious then it can be a waste of time, but that is his
If Vendor wants a quick no effort sale - get the Broker to list it on E-bay, priced to reflect no pre or post sale inspection
until cash in the bank.....but on the otherhand if he does want more than pennies in the dollar the Vendor / Broker does
have to put some effort in - it's just how life / business is, especially with secondhand items.