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Old 10-09-2015, 09:28   #16
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Re: How Hard Is It To Sell Your Own Boat?

All good advice above. I just sold my boat through a great broker, knowledgeable, avoided pitfalls I didn't see coming. Brought serious, pre-screened buyers to look at the boat. No sea trial without a refundable deposit. I made up a cheat sheet/flyer with all the selling positives, and extras the boat had, left a stack on the boat. No broker can keep all the details of their entire inventory in their head.

Some things worth considering: will the broker put the boat at his dock at a slippage discount? Savings there (took over a year to sell). Will the broker pay for advertising? $$. Will s/he provide a cleaning service at their price? $

You could offer broker cooperation, but you'd still be paying 50% of the brokerage fee, and laying out money for all the other issues.

The only no-broker sale I know of was one friend to friend, who knew the boat, and who was willing to accept the 'where is, as is" conditions of the sale.

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Old 10-09-2015, 09:33   #17
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Re: How Hard Is It To Sell Your Own Boat?

Elak, thanks for showing your website for selling Rhea. That was a gorgeous boat and you did her 'righteous' by presenting her in such a way. I wish all boat sellers could prepare and sale like this. I also wish I won the mega lottery, and that I was 6'4", 240 lbs, and looked like Tebow. Nonetheless...that people is how to do it.

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Old 10-09-2015, 09:45   #18
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Re: How Hard Is It To Sell Your Own Boat?

It's not that hard to sell your own boat. Like most things, it just takes time, and some effort. If you don't have these things, or would rather spend your time doing something else, then a broker can be a good thing.

My experience on the lower end of the market is that brokers are mostly a hinderance. Since they are paid on commission that can't really afford to spend the necessary time to sell a boat. This means they tend to be uninformed about the boat, are hard to get clear answers from, and can be less-than-enthusiastic about arranging a showing. I don't really blame brokers for this. The fact is, it takes about the same amount of time/effort to sell a $30k boat as it does to sell a $300k boat. If my commission is 10%, which one am I going to focus on? This is why I think it's better for lower-end boats to be sold by owners.
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Old 10-09-2015, 09:46   #19
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Re: How Hard Is It To Sell Your Own Boat?

Originally Posted by wunderluster View Post
I am a broker so of course I'm biased on this topic in addition to being dishonest, a consummate liar, thief, etc, etc. according to many on this forum.

However, I always tell my potential clients it is best to sell the their boats themselves if they can. Most don't want the hassle of setting up showings for people who never show, can't possibly afford the boat if they do show, or want the seller to finance. Those who are brave enough to try usually call me after several months and ask me to help them find a buyer. I have never closed a sell and had the seller indicate my services weren't appreciated.

There are many areas a broker can be of service. Of course there are bad apples. Believe me, there are sellers and buyers I wish I never had met!

Sorry the rant.


It's a fair rant. My personal opinion is most people who try to sell their own high valued property, whether it's boats or homes etc. are usually too emotionally involved. There is a certain detachment that many times needs to be achieved that can often only be had with a third party. As a buyer I am never as comfortable with the owner right there as I am talking one on one with a broker who I can be as brutally honest with as the need may be. FSBO's do work sometimes. My bet is the extra hassle, aggravation, and the sometimes heated exchanges, is well worth the brokers fee. As Mama always said, "Let the people that know what they are doing do it"

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Old 10-09-2015, 09:47   #20
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Re: How Hard Is It To Sell Your Own Boat?

We have just purchased our 10th catamaran. 4 we purchased from brokers and 6 directly through the owner. All 9 catamarans that we have sold have been by owner. It is work but worthwhile work I believe. I agree, to be in an area where your type boat is popular makes a huge difference. Much easier to sell a multihull in southern Florida than Texas, trust me. If you don't live close to the boat I would get a broker. If you are to busy or don't like dealing with people and a lot of questions then get a broker. If you don't believe in what you're selling is a good product then get a broker. If you're boat is in such bad shape or really dirty and your embarrassed showing it get a broker. Otherwise, selling your own boat can be both rewarding and enjoyable, and sometimes you end up making really good friends with the buyers. It is also a positive aspect for the buyer as they have a great source of information through the seller.

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Old 10-09-2015, 09:50   #21
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Re: How Hard Is It To Sell Your Own Boat?

I was a licensed yacht salesman IN California in the 90's, and the cardinal rule was; the first time the seller and buyer meet should be at the closing. The buyer is looking for a deal, the seller is looking to get every penny they put into the boat back. A GOOD broker will represent their clients and negotiate in good faith. Steer the client away from a vessel not suited to clients' needs, do due diligence on the vessel so they know what they are selling, etc. So, the buyer needs to vet the broker as well as the surveyor. The seller need to vet the broker and surveyer. Check the reputations. A buyer and seller will be at cross purposes. Finally, boats on Ebay are listed by a seller who might be flipping it or have something to hide and don't want to share the proceeds. In other words; a pig in a poke. I was constantly being pressured by the broker to sell any boat to any buyer regardless to reduce inventory.When I went on my own, I could service buyers and sellers following my instincts,and did better at it. I STILL kept buyer and seller separate until the closing. Hope this helps your perspective.
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Old 10-09-2015, 09:56   #22
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Re: How Hard Is It To Sell Your Own Boat?

With 2yrs, go ahead and put it up for sale yourself. If there are multiple nationalities involved, it may be worth paying someone to do the paperwork.

If after 6-12months, you don't feel it's working out, you can always bring a broker in.
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Old 10-09-2015, 10:30   #23
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Re: How Hard Is It To Sell Your Own Boat?

My opinion-FWIW. I generally operate in the lower (under $25K end of the market in the northeast) so my comments might not apply. I generally buy a boat or two a year, fix and flip, part out, sail myself, whatever. I am really liking buying from sellers less and less because they are often unwilling to undertake the effort to market and prepare their boat for sale correctly-property owners are the same. Then they complain about tire kickers.

MY ADVICE: Get all your personal stuff off the boat. Clean her cleaner than ever was cleaned-maybe hire someone for half a day. Fix any little stuff that needs fixing and be prepared for big concessions for anything major that you didn't fix-it will slaughter the pricing and likelihood of a sale too.
Take a ton of really good clear pics covering all areas of the boat. Write a very detailed, complete description of the boat, put it on CL, Sailboatlistings, yachtworld etc.

The details will answer alot of questions, but people are lazy and they'll ask anyway- have the info right at hand. Also-screen them, ask what they are looking for, you will save alot of aggro by cutting it short-the good buyer will show through the never will act folks.

There are so many boats on the market for the amount of buyers available that boats that 10 years ago might have gone for 10-12K are almost given away and many others are actually given away-I've cut up two boats this year and boat chopping is becoming an industry of sorts because the gear is worth more than the boat.

Cheers and good luck.
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Old 10-09-2015, 11:42   #24
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Re: How Hard Is It To Sell Your Own Boat?

There are some really good brokers out there, Alexis De Boucaud comes to mind for one. But there are a lot that are not so good. This is one reason you can sell your own boat as buyers find it refreshing to be able to ask a question about the boat and receive a knowledgeable response. I usually ask a broker a few questions I know the answer to in order to see who I am dealing with. If they know the answer, great. If they don't know that can be ok. If they make up a wrong answer then I know to discount anything else that comes out of their mouths. I sold two catamarans by owner, one buyer brought in a broker after we made the deal because he needed the 90 day sales tax exemption in Florida (only a broker can supply this). The broker charged $4000 for this on a $300,000 plus sale. So we just raised our agreed on price by $4000 to cover the brokers involvement. The other sale was an $800,000 plus deal. I bought and sold a $100,000 plus powerboat with no broker on either transaction. I purchased two catamarans new direct from factory without a broker.
My last catamaran purchase was through a broker that I never met, he was in New York and the boat was in DR. First thing I asked was to be in direct contact with the owner which he obliged. After speaking with the owner I made an offer to the broker which the owner accepted. I then flew to DR and did my own survey finding several things the owner was unaware of like some broken strands on one shroud at the top of the mast etc... The owner and I then agreed to a 15k price reduction and informed the broker to change the paper work.
I think brokers can be an asset but I have found quite often that owners who turn over their boats to brokers somehow expect the broker to keep the boat in good show able condition which does not seem to be the case, at least in my experience. So if you keep the boat in tiptop condition it will stand out from all the neglected broker listed boats and you will be able to sell it yourself. But if you can't take care of it or show it find a broker that stands above the rest and they will do a good job as well.

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Old 10-09-2015, 11:53   #25
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Re: How Hard Is It To Sell Your Own Boat?

Originally Posted by mainesail View Post
Write a very detailed, complete description of the boat, put it on CL, Sailboatlistings, yachtworld etc.
Actually, only a broker can put a boat on YachtWorld which is another plus for using one.
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Old 10-09-2015, 12:43   #26
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Re: How Hard Is It To Sell Your Own Boat?

We were in the same boat miss. A new French cat, Aussie rego in the med. 10% is a ridiculous figure for brokers. Why would they need to make $50K to sell a virtually new boat that doesn't even need surveying. It's likely it would sell via email. Any inspections will simply show a new boat with a few extras etc. real estate agents charge around 2% for a similar service. I did speak to a few brokers in Europe but none were negotiable on their fees, although the broker we bought it from originally offered to list it for free so long as we ordered our next cat from him. We sold privately and the savings of no brokerage fee gave us more leeway for a win/win deal for buyer and seller and no pressure on our next purchase. Paperwork was easy, mostly by email. You can advertise it on some web pages in Australia as well as here on CF. Your customer is likely to be non European, probably American, Australian, kiwi, that would like to get a newish boat at a reduced price that has no VAT paid. They will either want to cruise the med or have it shipped or sail it home. I think you bought when the Aussie dollar was a bit stronger so there should be some margin there to not take too big a hit. With the USD/EUD rate it's likely a good deal for Americans wanting a new ready to sail Catana as well.
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Old 10-09-2015, 14:32   #27
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Re: How Hard Is It To Sell Your Own Boat?

Originally Posted by The Miss View Post
How hard is it to sell your own boat?

We have a Catana 42 and although we aren't ready to sell just yet we have an end plan to sell before we have to go back to work early 2017. Miss Catana[/url]
You can always try it by yourself for a while to see how it goes. Today, you can even list it on Ebay, and you may just get lucky. Also, if you make it known that you are willing to pay a seller's broker for a consummated deal, it may help. The most it would cost you is 5% and maybe less. I doubt that a listing broker pays a seller's broker a 50/50 split. And if you find selling it by yourself is too much work or you are not getting serious calls, then you can hire a broker to sell it for you.

With that said, I have a background in Real Estate both as a Realtor and as a Builder/Client. Any time I had a hard working Agent that brought me business I was more than happy to pay the commission. I think a lot depends on your asking price - what you realistically think you can get. Anything up to a $150,000 I would definitely use a broker. Over that, I think I would want to negotiate with a broker first, to see if you can come to a figure or % you both can live with.

Hope this helps.
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Old 10-09-2015, 14:48   #28
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Re: How Hard Is It To Sell Your Own Boat?

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Old 10-09-2015, 15:13   #29
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Re: How Hard Is It To Sell Your Own Boat?

I'm 67 and bought and sold boats all my life. In my opinion, a broker is the best way to sell and the broker always got enough additional money for me to pay his commission. But the real advantage is not having to show the boat to people that can't afford it. You get a lot of dreamers that can't get financing, make unreasonable offers, or want you to accept a trade as a down payment. Somehow, the brokers are good at filtering out most of the unproductive showings.
I bought this boat from a BC Canadian brokerage that was the best boat buying experience of my life.
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Old 10-09-2015, 15:14   #30
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Re: How Hard Is It To Sell Your Own Boat?

I have done both and would sell again myself simply to save money and or place my boat at a lesser price than through a broker.If the boat is close,you do not work and have the time it is easy.
However looking at it from another perspective would you prefer to buy a boat from the owner or a broker for me owner by a long shot.

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