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Old 02-05-2013, 17:58   #1
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Biggest lie told by a broker ?

What is the biggest lie or exaggeration you heard from a broker ?

I have been testing my lie detection skills with brokers over the last few weeks and am amazed at what they try to get away with. To start :-

- broker says a boat is 50 foot, but the builders plans say it is 33
- broker says a boat sleeps 5, but there is only one cabin with a child-sized v-birth.
- broker says a boat is aluminium, but in the pictures it is obviously steel
- broker tries to tell me size is the only thing that determines price, so his ugly, old, incomplete amatuer project boat is worth the same as a brand new professionally build luxury cruser/racer the same size.

I really hate how every broker says the boat is "priced to sell" when what they really mean is "only an idiot would pay that price". People joke about used car salesmen, but I do believe yacht brokers are worse. There must be some decent brokers out there, but they certainly are few and far between, and you need a good BS detector to avoid the bad ones.

Ok, I have had my rant for today. What is your worst experience with a broker ?

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Old 02-05-2013, 18:27   #2
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Re: Biggest lie told by a broker ?

Clearly you've been talking to the wrong brokers! All joking aside there are a some very bad brokers out there that make the rest of us look bad...

If I were shopping around for a yacht broker I would want to know a bit about his background in terms of sailing experience, types of yachts he is most familiar with, and if he worked in the yachting industry in some other capacity aside from yacht broker?

You would be AMAZED (or not) with how many yacht brokers that actually have no yachting background... I couldn't imagine trying to help someone find their next boat without knowing a single thing about boats... To me this is like using a financial planner who doesn't' have a finance degree...

As a yacht broker you are constantly qualifying your potential client by asking questions. As a buyer you should ask your yacht broker potential yacht broker some qualifying questions to see if he actually knows a thing or two about yachts... In the end you want to work with someone you feel comfortable with, and can trust.

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Old 02-05-2013, 18:53   #3
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Re: Biggest lie told by a broker ?

Yacht brokers may be OK, some of them, but until one returns a call, I will never know.

That being said, it is interesting dealing privately. Some lie, some don't know and some really don't want to sell. Had one owner's dad show me the boat, and when I inquired about a test sail, got a song and dance about liability and what if something broke, etc. etc. Dad was here, seller 1000 miles away.

Another, I arranged a test sail after he installed a rebuilt transmission. Date and time agreed on, I phoned the morning before and sent text message to confirm time, never heard back. Yet a third, who has a boat I actually am quiet interested in, and even though has advertised the boat since January (I have been following it), is making it difficult to actually get a rigger to take a look at it.

They all say they want to/need to sell but I wonder.

The one thing about the private ones is that they are thousands less than the ones listed at the brokers, and are willing to deal. I always wonder what branch the brokers pick those prices from.
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Old 02-05-2013, 18:56   #4
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Old 02-05-2013, 18:58   #5
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Re: Biggest lie told by a broker ?

biggest lie?

'let me recommend a good surveyor for you.'

when it comes to survey time, all brokers will nearly insist that you use 'their' surveyor. take their names down. then make sure you get someone else. too many surveyors depend on brokers' recommendations for their livelihood, so it's in their best interest to find very few problems with the boat and not kill the sale. my current boat was bought in st augustine. the broker recommended an 'excellent' local surveyor. i brought one over from tampa. he was pissed, to say the least.

most brokers i've dealt with are not intentionally overselling the boat; they simply don't know. many have just seen the listing but never actually seen the boat they're trying to sell you. i once drove for hours to see a boat that the broker told me was in sailaway condition. when we got there it was obvious he had never seen the boat. all the wiring was exposed/removed/being replaced. the rest of the boat was also months away from 'sailaway'. you'd be amazed at the number of brokers who don't know bow from stern. you'll get powerboat 'brokers' trying to sell sailboats, and the other way around too.

i'd start out by just talking to the broker about sailing in general, then moving on to his sailing 'stories' and continuing in this vein until you get a feeling about how much he really knows about sailing and sailboats. just for laughs, if you're in a marina, point out other sailboats and ask him what kind of boat it is. not a true test of sailboat knowledge, but it will give you an idea of how long he's been around boats.

you might want to arm yourself with some basic knowledge if you don't already have it. you can get that from just reading and looking. so when the broker tells you the boat has loran you can tell him the loran system was abandoned years ago and it's worthless. at least you'll get some respect from him.

you didn't say where you are. if you happen to be in central florida i've got the name of an actual really knowledgeable sailboat broker. i have no financial stake in him, but he's been a terrific source of sailboat and sailing knowledge, having spent years cruising the caribbean.
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Old 02-05-2013, 19:04   #6
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Re: Biggest lie told by a broker ?

I guess bad brokers can only stay in business if they make the occasional sale, so maybe that means there are a lot of stupid buyers out there ? Or maybe a lot of brokers are just doing it as a hobby ?

I do have some sympathy for brokers, who must have to spend a large amount of time dealing with time wasters to make a sale, but on the other hand, in their desperate efforts to make a sale they are misrepresenting the boats, and wasting my time. I guess it must also be hard to sell a boat when the owner has an inflated sense of value, and the broker knows it. A lot of time spent dealing with buyers and then having the owner reject reasonable offers.

So many boats out there that have been for sale for years, costing money to store, and deteriorating. So many buyers wasting time looking at boats. It all seems very inefficient, but I guess it was worse in the old days before the internet allowed you to compare hundreds of boats. But maybe before the internet brokers had to rely on their reputation, and now they can hide behind a website with pretty pictures ?
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Old 02-05-2013, 19:07   #7
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Re: Biggest lie told by a broker ?

when clients ask me about a surveyor, I tell them "its inappropriate for me to recommend, - here is a list of names of all the brokers working around here". In fact every broker I know in my part of the world has the same response.

If you get a response other than that - go elsewhere.

The issue about knowledge of boats is valid, I mean if I said to a broker I have a Nichol Tri to sell and his next question wasn't Lex or Hedley - I would go elsewhere. I stick to what I know, whilst I have some power boat knowledge its not enough and I refer enquiries on them to people with more expertise, similarly with mono sail boats, whilst I have owned and sailed many the reality is there are others who are better in that field than me.
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Old 02-05-2013, 19:26   #8
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Re: Biggest lie told by a broker ?

"It's a turn-key boat."
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Old 02-05-2013, 19:33   #9
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Re: Biggest lie told by a broker ?

Originally Posted by cfarrar View Post
"It's a turn-key boat."
Just take out the "n" and it's a tur-key boat.
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Old 02-05-2013, 19:36   #10
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Re: Biggest lie told by a broker ?

"That's not water damage - it's structurally sound".

"That's an easy fix." (Then why isn't it repaired?)
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Old 02-05-2013, 19:52   #11
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"A boat has never sunk because of blisters" Maybe not a lie, but when you hear that run!

I think my favorite broker experience was looking at the hull and deck of a boat for about 20 minutes while the broker was trying to unlock the companionway wondering why the combo wouldn't work. I was thinking that if that if the inside looked anything like the outside (pristine) I would buy the boat right then and there. He finally realized he was showing me the wrong boat, same model.

The broker who sold me my current boat was great. He was completely honest, disclosed problems and gave me some pretty accurate guidance on what certain improvements would cost.

My best advice to anyone looking for a boat is to buy Don Casey's book, Inspecting the Aging Sailboat. He walks you through how to do your own survey which is a great thing to do to determine if it is even worth spending the money on a real survey. Any boat owner without deep deep pockets should know what they are looking at anyway.
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Old 02-05-2013, 19:55   #12
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Old 02-05-2013, 19:58   #13
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Re: Biggest lie told by a broker ?

Well not a lie actually but..

The broker took the offer my friend put in on a boat, it was accepted by the bank (re-posessed sale)

We went to arrange the splash and found.

One anchor and chain missing.
12 ft Dink and 15Hp motor replaced with 10 ft dink and 5hp motor
Full fuel tanks were now empty
Expensive auto inflate life jacket/harnesses replaced with cheapos
Steiner binoculars replaced with Chinese cheapo
All tools gone
All sails except those rigged gone

Wrote to the bank to say we wanted to back out, they said no, we said the subject of sale had changed. They went ballistic, and broker went away in handcuffs, BUT he is back again and continuing the fine tradition.
Tight sheets to ya.
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Old 02-05-2013, 20:21   #14
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Re: Biggest lie told by a broker ?

Recently for me:
"Engine has 3400 hours" Hour meter shows 6000+. Then claims engine replaced but hour meter wasn't.

"Owner was just being pedantic" in reference to an $80000 repair that required removal of keel, engine and furnishings to implement.
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Old 02-05-2013, 20:37   #15
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Re: Biggest lie told by a broker ?

Surprising how many listings you see with nice photos, long detailed inventory, then at the bottom in fine print "boat was holed and sank during hurricane, photos taken prior to sinking, everything needs to be replaced".

If the boat is a wreck and nothing works, why not put that at the TOP of the listing and show CURRENT photos so buyers don't waste my time reading a long list of what was destroyed ?

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