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Old 23-09-2014, 21:01   #1
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Recommended sailboat broker in Bay Area?

Hello!
I'm going to be embarking on a year long sailing trip starting in December of this year and I'm looking for recommendations for any good sailboat brokers near San Francisco. Although I actually live in Austin, TX which would be quite a commute for walkthroughs, my crewmate for this adventure lives in SF and will be around to help with the search.

For those interested, I'm 30 yrs old, I've been a lake sailor for the last 20 years, I've been ocean cruising since 2010 and I'm finally quitting my job to liveaboard for all of 2015. I'm ideally looking for a 39 to 44 ft monohull with 3 cabins as I have a number of friends who are planning on joining me for various lengths of time and I think we'll need the space. Anywho, let me know if anyone has recommendations as that's the sailor way of getting things done. Thanks!

Lars
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Old 23-09-2014, 21:15   #2
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Re: Recommended sailboat broker in Bay Area?

Download the latest issue of Latitude 38 - The West's Leading Sailing and Marine Magazine magazine, lots of ads for brokers.
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Old 24-09-2014, 08:09   #3
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Re: Recommended sailboat broker in Bay Area?

Try Torben. He has a lot of current cruising experience, both Atlantic and Pacific.
Torben Bentsen | Passage YachtsPassage Yachts
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Old 24-09-2014, 12:06   #4
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Re: Recommended sailboat broker in Bay Area?

I have personal experience with both Max Heller, and Ray Neglay of Seacraft Yacht Sales ( Seacraft Yacht Sales both new and brokerage ) in Seattle. Two separate purchases and I can recommend them as honest, helpful and very knowledgeable. Though they are not if San Francisco, I am, and it has never been an issue.
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Old 24-09-2014, 18:11   #5
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Re: Recommended sailboat broker in Bay Area?

Thanks for the replies so far! I've reached out to Torben and I'm waiting for a response.

muttskie,
I was under the impression that you would ideally want a broker who operated in a particular area as he would be familiar with the boats. Is this not the case?

Lars
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Old 24-09-2014, 18:31   #6
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Re: Recommended sailboat broker in Bay Area?

I can recommend Charlotte Schmidt in Ventura. Although her office is not in the Bay Area, she and her people can handle all of CA, and they are very experienced and knowledgeable.
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Old 24-09-2014, 23:39   #7
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Re: Recommended sailboat broker in Bay Area?

Quote:
Originally Posted by heylaerz View Post
Thanks for the replies so far! I've reached out to Torben and I'm waiting for a response.

muttskie,
I was under the impression that you would ideally want a broker who operated in a particular area as he would be familiar with the boats. Is this not the case?

Lars
Hello Lars,

I guess if you only want to consider boats, and brokers, located in specific area, then that might apply. That would, of course, limit the inventory available for your consideration. That may, or may, not be an important issue.

In my case, I was more interested in finding a good example of a specific boat, or type of boat. To reduce the risk of dealing with an unknown, or less than ideal, listing broker, I would be inclined to call a broker that I had had a very positive experience with, and ask him to inquire, on my behalf, about any interesting prospect I might have heard about, and/or I would explain my wants and needs expecting him to look for other possible candidates. Even if he isn't the listing broker for a boat, he acts, then, as your representative with the listing broker. This is not uncommon, but of course, means commissions on a sale are split, so a listing broker might want to avoid having a buyer's broker involved. But most professionals accept the concept as a normal part of doing business.

It doesn't cost you, as the buyer, anything. The net effect is the splitting of the sales commission between the two brokers. If you use the listing agent only, he gets the full commission. Not uncommon, but not the only way to approach a purchase.

I don't doubt you could find excellent brokers in the bay area, also. I was responding to your request for broker recommendations. These two guys are the type of guys one would recommend, if asked.

Good luck. I hope you follow up and post your experiences. This type of information is very valuable to this community. Many who don't post read, and learn, from what is posted on this forum.

Bill
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Old 27-09-2014, 14:15   #8
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Re: Recommended sailboat broker in Bay Area?

Thanks for the background on the process, Bill! This is my first time buying a sailboat and I certainly appreciate the advice. I've reached out to a few brokers that were recommended here to see what boats they pull initially before I settle on one. From your advice above then, I'm guessing that it's advisable to avoid working directly with the selling agent as they are obviously motivated to sell the boat in order to get a larger share of the commission. The main scenario is where I reach out to a broker to be my buying agent and they say that they have the perfect boat that they are representing.

As for documenting the trip and sharing the experiences with those here on the forum, that is most definitely part of the plan. My work doesn't yet know about this grand adventure but I'm working on a blog that I'll be using to share my experiences throughout the year aboard. I absolutely can't wait.

Lars
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Old 28-09-2014, 00:36   #9
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Re: Recommended sailboat broker in Bay Area?

I had some poor service from a guy named Bill Hackle in the bay area. I don't know who he works for now because he went through two brokerages by the time I bought the boat he was listing. And by the time I gave up on trying to get the original paperwork and brochure from him, he didn't produce them months after, he was already at a new brokerage.

Just my opinion, I wouldn't recommend him to anyone.
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Old 28-09-2014, 00:57   #10
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Re: Recommended sailboat broker in Bay Area?

John Kouny - excellent broker, very knowledgeable and a man of impeccable character
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Old 29-09-2014, 08:28   #11
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Re: Recommended sailboat broker in Bay Area?

go find Allison lehman at Richmond yacht club she sails and actaully knows whats she doing
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Old 29-09-2014, 19:20   #12
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Re: Recommended sailboat broker in Bay Area?

Thanks for the other recommendations! I've reached out to the first three so far and everyone has surprisingly been very slow to get back to me. At this point I've only heard from one of them and it's been a few days. (aaaand he keeps trying to push a boat that they represent that's a stretch for my budget and doesn't have the number of cabins I specified that I'm looking for...)

I'll send messages to John and Allison tonight. Thanks a ton everybody!
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Old 30-09-2014, 00:31   #13
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Re: Recommended sailboat broker in Bay Area?

Ahoy, Lars,
Yes, one of the expected behaviors of most brokers is for them to encourage you to consider their own listings. It's to be somewhat expected, but the better ones won't push it if the client doesn't seem warm to the idea. You just have to make it clear that a particular boat, or boats, don't fit your needs.
Because you are not focused in on a specific model and/or builder, it is going to be a bit of challenge for any broker or salesperson to find a good match for you. It will mean quite an investment in time, by whomever you connect with, to learn your situation, desires, experience, budget, goals, etc., etc.
I'm sure you can imagine how a broker will initially approach it. They will, of course, indicate that they have the perfect boat for you right at their docks!
Your job, as a purchaser, is to educate them as to your needs and wants. Then they will either (1) get with the program and help you find a boat that is right for you, or (2) show by their actions that they are not with the program, or aren't willing to spend the time and effort to find a boat that suits you.
Unfortunately, this discovery process takes a little time. Hopefully, one of the recommended brokers, in the above posts, will be a good match for you. But there is no shortcut ( other than having fabulous luck in choosing one ). You will need to do the work of talking with a few candidates and deciding who seems to be a good fit. Best of luck.
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Old 30-09-2014, 07:05   #14
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Re: Recommended sailboat broker in Bay Area?

What do you want from a broker? Since you asked about SF brokers, you probably want someone who can give you better insight into boats that you've already found online that are in the SF area. There's not much sense in relying on a broker to search Yachtworld.com for you. Use the broker for the additional info you want and to help negotiate and close a deal. With all the online info available directly to you, you don't need a broker to hand hold you. Another place where a broker comes in handy is getting comps of similar boats to help you come up with an offer price.
There's no money in hand holding a potential client for 6 months who doesn't know what they want or isn't ready to purchase.
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