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Old 13-04-2019, 08:08   #1
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Buying and selling a sailboat

Two years ago I bought a 2001 Catalina 36. I am the third owner, she is a Great Lakes boat stored in doors in winter. The 36 is a great boat. Well built and designed. Safe, stable and comfortable. She is also a bit of a dog with a SA/D of 14.97. She may well be my last boat. I have her for sale but if no one buys I will take it as an omen and keep her. She is well maintained and I put about 8k into her over the winter. For me she is a known quantity and will be a good boat for the limited time I have left to sail. I am about three years away from retirement. This post is not an ad, it is about selling my last boat.
My old boat was a 1984 Freedom 32. Her strong point was her builder Tillot Pearson. I bought her in 1996 and sold her in 2006. My original plan was to keep for a few years and move on. She was well maintained and stored indoors. I kept very well maintained. I put a fair price on her to sell. It was a very, very frustrating experience. I had several offers all low. When we had settled on a price and a survey was done it was as if no offer had been made. The buyers were obnoxious. I thanked a couple for their offers and told them to buy another boat. The boat was paid off and money for me is not a big issue. I did sell her but again the negotiations were obnoxious and I finally said this is the price agreed to you can away or not. I will NEVER be in that situation again. It was interesting to see how obnoxious people can be to drive a “bargain”. As a seller I am uninterested. I have told the broker the price of my boat is the price and I will not accept a dollar less. A new to me boat would be nice but you never really know all the issues. Thanks for listening.
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Old 13-04-2019, 08:22   #2
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Re: Buying and selling a sailboat

I find the brokers are the obnoxious ones. They want you to bend over backwards for them to earn their 10%. I have a beautiful 1982 2nd owner Cape Dory 30C. It has a new Beta engine, repaired deck, new interior cushions, rewired electrical, solar, refrigeration and much more. The "tire kickers" come by and you explain all the systems and they move on to compare other boats. I'm sick and tired of the would be buyers and obnoxious brokers. I own my slip and the cost of keeping the boat is only $4000.00/year. Let the would be buyers purchase a crappy boat and have them invest a lot of money on a boat that will never sell for what they have invested.
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Old 13-04-2019, 08:47   #3
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Re: Buying and selling a sailboat

I take it you guys don’t work in retail...
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Old 13-04-2019, 08:58   #4
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Re: Buying and selling a sailboat

You are correct.
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Old 13-04-2019, 09:13   #5
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Re: Buying and selling a sailboat

I am retired and work at a marina. Value received for value paid.
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Old 13-04-2019, 09:24   #6
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Re: Buying and selling a sailboat

I have accepted offers on a boat and being the lowest I will go have stated in my acceptance that "it's the bottom price and no negotiation from inspection or survey results will be entertained." That may help to keep the "negotiate after survey crowd" from wasting their money on survey.
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Old 13-04-2019, 10:40   #7
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Re: Buying and selling a sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
I have accepted offers on a boat and being the lowest I will go have stated in my acceptance that "it's the bottom price and no negotiation from inspection or survey results will be entertained." That may help to keep the "negotiate after survey crowd" from wasting their money on survey.
This is precisely the established practice in the majority of small airplane sales in the US where the $$$ involved is routinely as much, or more, than the average boat sale, and where no broker/middleman is typically involved. If one does not incorporate this verbiage in the sales agreement then they are inviting future negotiations/drama/etc.

All told, it serves only the purpose of the broker to exclude this language. More precisely, it's in the interest of the broker to get the transaction occurring, get things moving, build inertia and emotional tension in all parties with the only remedy being 11th hour compromise where the middleman gets his 100% cut and the seller walks away sore. Incorporate the above language or expect 11th hour drama.

Unless you're pressed for time/money skip the middleman. Lay out your bottom line and condition of sale from minute 1 of any sales discussion with any potential buyer. Start the sales conversation with a reference to tire-kickers...serious buyers hate tire-kickers too...so it's ordinarily a good ice-breaker.
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Old 13-04-2019, 11:07   #8
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Re: Buying and selling a sailboat

I agree with the OP. Many "buyers" are rude. They act like the seller is their servant or employee. They act shocked/surprised/disgusted that a 40 year old boat has some wear and tear.

When I view a boat, I appreciate the time and effort the owner has given me. I know how much work goes into cleaning and prepping the boat to show. I always treat the owner with respect and kindness. They are letting me on their boat. I consider that a big deal.

So it comes as no surprise that sometimes, after viewing a decent boat, the owner has offered me a better deal, unsolicited. I've even had boats offered to me for free after viewing, because the seller cares about the boat more than about the money.

I once went to see a Paceship 29 asking $6000. The seller (and his wife) saw the excitement on the faces of my young kids. He changed the price to $100 (unsolicited), and we sailed it home.

Another time I was selling my boat (different boat). A buyer said she was very interested, and drove 2 hours for a viewing. I spent hours cleaning the boat, moving all my personal gear off the boat, and making the boat look great. Turned out to be an ex-girlfriend from 25 years previous who wanted to see me...had no interest in the boat. Was very uncomfortable, especially since I had my teenage daughter with me, explaining who this weird (stalker) lady was, and why she was on our boat.

Another time, a guy walking the docks said he saw my FOR SALE sign on the bow, and asked if his kid could use the bathroom on my boat. I directed him to the shore heads very close by.

Another time, when selling my most recent boat, I had nice couple come and view the boat. They spent hours looking it over, inspecting every locker and fitting, then admit they had no money. What would you do in that situation? Well, that's exactly what I did, I took them out for an afternoon sail and we all had a great time. And I offered to drop the price in half.

The guy who eventually bought that boat was a young guy, college student with a trust fund. It was blowing a gale when we did the sea trial. He paid cash. The first time he left the dock on his own (perfectly calm day) he crashed the boat into the seawall of the marina.

Buying and selling a sailboat. Great thread.
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Old 13-04-2019, 11:11   #9
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Re: Buying and selling a sailboat

Ah the joys of selling. Yup, been there, got annoyed by that.

When I sold my previous boat I had to deal with a lot of tire kickers. It’s one of the reason people turn to brokers, and it’s why brokers get so jaded.

Actually, it wasn’t so much the honest tire-kickers that bugged me. The two types who I learned to dislike (other than the outright scammers) were the lazy ones, and the smart-@ss low ballers.

In the form case I was bemused by the number of people who would reach out with questions but who had clearly had put no effort into researching the type of boat in general, and my boat in particular. I got to the point of simply responding: “Read the sales ad.”

But the low-ballers were perhaps the most annoying. These were the folks who came in with attitude, thinking they knew more about my situation than they obviously did. These were often the rude and obnoxious people.

The whole after-survey renegotiations thing is also irksome (although I did not experience this). Too often I see buyers counselled here to use the survey as a tool to whittle the agreed-upon price down even more. This is perfectly legit if a survey turns up something new and unexpected, or something that was purposely hidden by the seller. But if it just confirms that the boat is used, or old, that the deficiencies stated really are deficiencies, then that should not be considered grounds for renegotiation.
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Old 13-04-2019, 11:57   #10
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Re: Buying and selling a sailboat

Many if not most of the obnoxious low baller type buyers shop with the assumption that all boats listed for sale are the result of a seller, who's desperate to sell. This is sometimes the case, and it can be expected that the boat they will probably end up with, will be a poorly maintained and fitted boat.

The buyers too often forget that a well-maintained boat most likely has an owner where money isn't so tight, and that the owner always has the option to hang onto the boat and continue enjoying it... leaving the obnoxious buyer to keep on looking and not enjoying much of anything....
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Old 13-04-2019, 11:57   #11
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Re: Buying and selling a sailboat

These are all good anecdotes.

From a buyers' perspective, it's very hard to find a boat in decent condition, and sellers are typically unrealistic as well.

I've looked at boats in pretty poor condition that demand "the going rate". Oh, just needs some TLC? Then give it! Or reduce the asking price!

You can't really tell much about a boat from the ad. You can tell a bit more from the photos. The best information is when an owner shows regular updates. At least then you can see that some maintenance is being done.

Prices are completely unrealistic. If your boat hasn't sold in a year, it's overpriced. Boats depreciate. Reduce the price and sell it! You're wasting your money paying for yearly maintenance, and will eventually reduce your price anyway. You'll also have to continue doing maintenance.

And lastly, if you added something three years ago, it's helpful to list that, but it ISN'T new! It only SEEMS like you bought it yesterday. You got the bottom painted three years ago? Helpful information, but needs another paint job now. New sails 10 years ago are no longer new. If I've got to replace something the first year after I buy the boat, I've got to take that into consideration.

Would be better if there were better records of sales prices out there, but clearly brokers know knowledge is power, so they don't really want to share it accurately. At 10%, brokers make a LOT of money on the transaction. What are they doing for all that money, really?
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Old 13-04-2019, 12:18   #12
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Re: Buying and selling a sailboat

I just bought a boat on west coast and in the process of selling my catalina34 which has had huge upgrades boat was listed privately a few weeks ago has a offer for full price conditional on a survey which I know will pass with aces Brokers have been bombarding me with offers of listing saying they could get 10 percent more just enough to cover their cost my response to them is nobody knows the boat better than the owner why would I use them sell private at a good price and your boat will sell sure I had a few idiots lowball me I just thanked them and said see ya
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Old 13-04-2019, 13:54   #13
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Re: Buying and selling a sailboat

Let me take the opportunity to ask a question, having bought a boat through a broker but never sold one. My boat is not CG documented, only has a Florida title which looks just like a vehicle title. Is transferring title any different than transferring a car or truck?
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Old 13-04-2019, 14:13   #14
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Re: Buying and selling a sailboat

I bought my Islander without a Survey, and no Sea Trial. The seller told me me his price, I told him what I had. We agreed to 25% less than his original price based on him, a marina owner, repairing and replacing hoses, filters, pump impellers and such and being paid for that work.

He seemed happy, I am very happy with the boat and the price, and his work on the repairs. I would call that a win win deal.
When I look for a bigger boat you can bet I'll go back to him first!

If you don't want to negotiate, simply put the word FIRM by the price.
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Old 13-04-2019, 14:34   #15
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Re: Buying and selling a sailboat

Transferring a boat title is like selling a car. Before the Catalina 36 I put offer on a Catalina 380. Liked the owner who was getting out of sailing at age 75 due to knee replacements. Gave him asking price but after the survey indicated problems with the after market bow thruster and the insurance company wouldn’t insure off the dock, I backed out. I prefer everyone happy and not the absolute lowest price.
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