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Old 27-09-2008, 08:24   #1
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Brokers

Hello Mates,
I've been a member for awhile and enjoying the good discussions. I've reached a point in my life where a sabatical is do-able.

I've been sailing lakes in my trailerable for many years and have done live aboard classes along the Atlantic coast. My wife and I recently moved to Charleston and we are ready for a used cruiser.

The market is right for buyers but my concern is understanding how brokerages work. My wife has been in the Real Estate business for a very long time so I understand commissions, splits and representation. My question is; Are yacht brokerages run in a similar fashion. In real estate most brokers are more interested in locking you into listing your property than they are in taking out buyers to "kick tires." Are there Buyer's Agent/Brokers? Do the Brokers split their fees?

Thanks for your help and for the great entertainment!
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Old 27-09-2008, 08:42   #2
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Brokers are interested in selling boats since they don't make a dime until they do. They split commissions with the listing house if they sell a listing from another brokerage. Find one broker and stay with him if you are comfortable that he is working for you and understand a what you want. Brokers encounter lots of tire kickers but don't usually ignore them. Todays tire kicker is tomorrows buyer. I have had people that I showed boats to for a year or more and they eventually bought something. There are many similarities to real estate. BTW, I highly recommend Bill Welch at Ashley Yacht Sales if you are in the Charleston area.
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Old 27-09-2008, 10:08   #3
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I also recommend Stan Dabney at Offshore Atlantic Yachts - worked very hard for me.
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Old 27-09-2008, 11:27   #4
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I second the Stan Dabney vote! As opposed to real estate, my experience is that a good broker works more for you than the seller.... unless it's a boat he listed. There are a lot of good boats out there not through a broker also.
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Old 27-09-2008, 12:25   #5
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Yes... find a broker who is in your corner and grows to understand your needs. The worst mistake is to directly contact listing agents on the ads you see... for then they own you and are also working for the seller. I've had some soul-baring protestations that they can actually do this effectively, and in some cases there's no real option, but in general, having your own is a good thing. (Although, as pointed out above, the buyer's agent also needs the sale to go through in order to make money, since the normal scenario is a co-bro unless you contacted the seller's agent first.)

The best solution, unfortunately not very well implemented in the current climate, is to hire a consultant who doesn't care at all whether you buy a boat... but will come share expertise when you've found one of interest. Sort of a pre-survey, if you will. This doesn't replace the buyer's agent since you still need that, but it might give you a more accurate assessment of the beast and help wade through the BS, if you know what I mean...

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Old 27-09-2008, 13:40   #6
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Now here is a question for you. Lets say, I see a boat forsale in a magazine or the web and it's listed with a broker. That broker is working with the seller and if I start talking to them, well this does NOT seem to be in my best interest. So do I find a broker first that would work for me and have them make the contact of the boats I want to look at?
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Old 27-09-2008, 14:03   #7
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Find a local broker, give him the details of what type of boat and price parameters you have in mind and any boats in magazines or the internet you find, have him set up a showing and let him do the work. That is some of the reason why you use a broker.
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Old 27-09-2008, 16:03   #8
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I also recommend Stan Dabney at Offshore Atlantic Yachts - worked very hard for me.

I second the Stan Dabney vote! As opposed to real estate, my experience is that a good broker works more for you than the seller.... unless it's a boat he listed. There are a lot of good boats out there not through a broker also.


I hate to do this, but... I wouldn't recommend Stan Dabney at all. He totally wasted 8 months of our time. The short list is I met him at the Miami sail three years ago and after talking to him for over two hours at the show the promises flowed. Told him we were ready to buy. After waiting a month for him to get back to us, I called him. Claimed he had a hard drive crash and lost all our contact info, didn't know a hard drive crash wiped out all the written contact info I gave him at the show but oh well. He was all apologetic and promised us we'd get together in about a week to show us boats. Another three weeks and no Stan, I called again, more apologies and promises of a great time finding us boat. Another four weeks pass and, yep No Stan. I'm a really easy to get along wth guy and I really had my eyes on a 40+ Valiant but I tried a little firmer call. "Gee Stan, when were we going to have this good time you promised looking for a boat?" Even more apologies and a promise that come this friday he would take my wife and I out to look at some boats. Great says I, come by the house first an we'll take our car, too busy Tellie. So we rendevous in a McDonalds parking lot off 17th St. So we follwed him and he took us to see three boats. Great Stan, but none of them are Valiants. By this time the wife thinks I'm out of my mind for inviting him to dinner to talk about seeing some Valiants, perhaps a few of the ones he had in his big picture book of Valiants he showed us at the boat show. Nope, got to get home he says, but leaves us with yep more promises of a good time and viewing some Valiants probably next week. Three weeks later without my wife knowing ( because she knows where I keep my guns) I call looking for Good Time Stan at Atlantic. May I ask who's calling? Tellie. Hey Stan there's a Tellie looking for you. ....a moments pause.....uh sorry sir but Mr. Dabneys in the VIs can I take message? Yes, would you please tell him I'd really, really, really, really, really, really, like to buy a boat, no really and could he please call me? Another month passes and well the story never seems to change, no Stan. By shear coinky dink I run into Charles Kanter and now I own a Catamaran instead of a Valiant, the wife likes the Cat a whole lot better. Some day I'll go back to a smaller mono probably a Valiant, but there will never be a day I go back to Atlantic.
Not too often I complain about anybody, but this time I coundn't let it pass.
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Old 27-09-2008, 20:23   #9
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Quote:
My question is; Are yacht brokerages run in a similar fashion. In real estate most brokers are more interested in locking you into listing your property than they are in taking out buyers to "kick tires." Are there Buyer's Agent/Brokers? Do the Brokers split their fees?

Good broker make a deal happen just like real estate agents do. The same numbers apply - 80% of all boats sold are concluded by only 20% of the brokers. That means just like Realtors most brokers are not eating regularly from commissions. If you understand real estate then the same rules apply here. You don't have to be that good to be better than most.

If things go well a broker helps the deal close at every possible chance!

1. Never write an offer on a boat without doing your homework.

2. Never let a broker tell you what to offer. You need to do the homework.

3. Never let a broker "negotiate" for you - they can't. You need to do the homework.

4. Never hire a broker to find you a boat. Not even if they split the fee (they do). Two brokers means the deal will go bad. One good broker can do it all. It's not that hard.

5. You don't need your own broker to buy one unless you don't care what it costs. Some people don't.

6. It's not that hard to tell if a broker is being helpful. You either want to make an offer or you do not. If you don't know then don't be asking the broker if you should (see rule 1).

7. Not all boats listed are actually for sale. It's true. Many boats are listed that are not for sale. My neighbor across the street has a broker listing his 40 Mainship. They needed it to make the listings look better. You can't buy that boat at a reasonable price. The broker is a Mainship distributor. Do you see the point?

8. Most people looking for boats are not actually going to buy one. If you look like one of those people don't expect much. It's not that you don't deserve it but the 80 / 20 rule applies here for a reason. The good brokers have time to help.

9. The bad brokers think they can sell anything. You can tell because they act that way. You probably will walk away.
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Old 27-09-2008, 20:59   #10
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Well, Paul maybe I have been off the boat too long but from your post I really can't tell whether you are advocating using a broker or advising not too.
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Old 27-09-2008, 21:16   #11
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I'm on the fence with this one as well. I've been researching and doing my homework for years now. I've come across some excellent brokers that really do care and you can tell that they are just genuinely nice people that love boats. Then I've come across some brokers that it seemed that you were constantly annoying them with boat matters or questions or anything related to boats. They just seemed pissed off that they actually had to talk to people and actually do a job of selling a boat.

Luckily, I have tons of family all over this globe that are actually not that far from the manufacturers of the short listed boats I want. I'm just thinking about getting the boat straight from the factory and skipping over the middle man as much as possible. Most of these factories have their own "in house" brokers that will do the deal for you without the huge commision, etc..

This is of course for new boats. When buying a used boat, you are basically stuck with a broker. But remember, you don't have to buy from them. But, they DO have to sell the boat. Just as stated before, do tons of research and homework on the boats and brokers.. Remember, it's your MONEY so you dictate the scenario!!
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Old 27-09-2008, 21:32   #12
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Originally Posted by shadow View Post
But remember, you don't have to buy from them. But, they DO have to sell the boat. Just as stated before, do tons of research and homework on the boats and brokers.. Remember, it's your MONEY so you dictate the scenario!!
True, but the catch is that in, say, a YW listing, if you innocently click to inquire about a boat of interest, then you are now owned by the listing broker. At best, you might be able to introduce a co-bro if they're feeling charitable; at worst, you are entirely subject to whatever information comes through the filter of that broker. On one that I got way too close to in Seattle a couple years back, the listing broker (who now owns his own firm) generated such a succession of "fiction" that in retrospect I am simply stunned... and it cost me about $3000 in independent surveys to disprove the line of BS that he used to lure me in. A good education, I suppose, but too close for comfort.

Once a boat is in contract, the broker is in it for 10% or so, and your direct contact with the seller is limited at best. In the case of my close call and others introduced by that fellow, there was a mythical guy from Alaska about to show up and pay cash, a statement that she was a great offshore voyager even though it turned out she had never actually been fully rigged, low headroom was actually good because in a seaway I can brace with my neck muscles and have both hands free, and an inaccessible stuffing box below the engine was no problem since I could simply haul-cut-service-weld-splash if service was ever necessary.

Eventually I gathered enough evidence, including a steel-literate surveyor who revealed the horrors of a ship foamed to the bilge, to run away and get my deposit back. The lessons served me well in the subsequent boatquest, but I am now very wary of brokers in general (and have learned a few to avoid entirely, although some are honest).

What is frustrating is that too many of them still don't realize this is a reputation-based economy.

Cheers,
Steve
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Old 27-09-2008, 23:49   #13
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I fully agree microship, that's why I've come to the realization that we need to purchase brand new. There have been way more bad stories then good with used boats and brokers. I just hate not only wasting time but also my money and gaining more stress for something that is supposed to bring me pleasure and a new lifestyle.

I also hate having little to no control over any situation or scenario and I'm the one pay for the privilege. I just can't stand greed or dishonesty and will be willing to pay more for a new boat then having to deal with "used car salesmen" in any transaction.
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Old 28-09-2008, 05:30   #14
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I also hate having little to no control over any situation or scenario and I'm the one pay for the privilege. I just can't stand greed or dishonesty and will be willing to pay more for a new boat then having to deal with "used car salesmen" in any transaction.
New boats are sold by boat brokers too. You sign a contract and the salesperson gets a commission. If you take the approach that the broker is like the cashier at the checkout counter in Walmart, you don't need to care how they get paid. Some are helpful and others less so.

The used car salesman used to be the folks that were not good enough to sell new cars. Even the car business eliminated most of those people other the past 10 years. There still are plenty left in the boat business just because 10% of a boat is a big number. You should not place your hopes and dreams on a broker. If you can find a good one then so much the better.

I've been lucky in that I have bought two boats and sold one and used only 2 brokers and both were very good. They both facilitated getting the contract worked out. With only 20% of the brokers being hard working that means there are not enough to go around but the good ones are selling 80% of the boats. That's why all boats are not for sale - because they can't be sold by an idiot.
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Old 28-09-2008, 08:07   #15
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Thank you for all the great feedback! Most of my questions were more than fully answered and I greatly appreciate the opinions and recommendations.
My take away is:
(Just like Real Estate)
1. Test the waters when selecting a broker.
2. Be sure the Broker knows my wants and desires.
3. Do my homework on the market.
4. Do not be overly patient with Brokers(easy one).
5. Communicate with those who have had the experience.
Pretty darn good for a "Meet and Greet".
With admiration,
John
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