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Old 18-07-2020, 10:00   #1
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Selling Your Boat, To Broker or Not?

Hey folks,
My wife and I are considering selling our boat, as we won't be able to use it for the next 12 months, were going to upgrade in 18-24 months, and it's apparently a good market to sell. So we figured, now is a good time. I've never sold a boat, this is our first boat and we love it very much.

I was wondering at which price point does it make sense to sell with a broker, versus selling by myself? Also, what are terms with a seller's broker that I should watch out for, or insist on? The market for our boat shows a price point between 60k$ and 80k$.
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Old 18-07-2020, 11:50   #2
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Re: Selling Your Boat, To Broker or Not?

Have met more crooked brokers than honest ones. Most just toss the listing in the MLS style listing for boats, add it their web site and go back to their internet solitaire.
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Old 18-07-2020, 12:01   #3
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Re: Selling Your Boat, To Broker or Not?

I've used brokers and sold on my own. Certainly, below about $40,000 the broker commission is too low for them to spend much time on it.


There are many articles re. selling on your own. I few thoughts:
* Fix-up and clean-up. Really. No one wants a dirty boat and for every one thing that needs fixed, most buyers will assume there are 5 things they did not see.
* Blog or similar. Take your junk off the boat, prep it like a model home, and take good pics. Then spend a few hours making a good blog post.
* There are free listing sites that are pretty good. I got a lot of calls.
* Use a closing service if more than you are comfortable doing cash. They will handle the escrow and title searches for a small fraction of broker fees. Well worth it if survey and all that is involved.



https://www.practical-sailor.com/sai...thout-a-broker
https://www.practical-sailor.com/blo...-a-boat-broker
https://www.practical-sailor.com/sai...-a-boat-broker
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Old 18-07-2020, 20:24   #4
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Re: Selling Your Boat, To Broker or Not?

Advise from a former broker.

Depends.

If you have the time and inclination to deal with buyers and want to save the 10% commission then I say give it go. Some buyers might need a bit of finesse and the ability to close a deal so keep that in mind.

When you list your boat for sale you will absolutely be contacted by scammers trying to trick you into losing your money by a variety of schemes so be prepared to wade through a good bit of BS. The current favorite scams involve counterfeit cashiers and bank checks.

It might take you longer to sell the boat as brokers have a lot of exposure due to the multi listing they access.

And yes there are some crooked and lazy brokers out there but anyone that claims most brokers are like that have clearly been hanging out with the wrong crowd. Do your due diligence and qualify the broker and company before you list if you decide to go that way. Also be aware that you can list two ways.

1. Exclusive or central listing. This gives the for sale listing to one broker/company. The boat is still listed in the multi listings and can be sold by any broker but the listing broker is guaranteed to get a part of the commission. This type of listing should include a guarantee of additional advertising and attention compared to the open listing.

2. Open or non-exclusive listing. This allows you to give any number of brokers the for sale listing. Since other brokers have the listing you will probably not get the same advertising and attention an exclusive listing would get BUT every broker that has the listing if he/she sells the boat will get the full commission and not have to split with another broker.

You can also negotiate to allow sale by owner without commission if you find your own buyer but handle that carefully. Some buyers will find you through the broker and then try to go direct to cut out the commission. Not only is this dishonest it is illegal and most brokerage houses will come after you if they find out.
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Old 18-07-2020, 20:58   #5
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Re: Selling Your Boat, To Broker or Not?

Have just gone through the process, looked after selling my very good friends boat for him.
Closed a week ago.
What a major P in the A.
If I ever have to sell my boat I would prefer to take her offshore and scuttle her.
80% of the folks you have to deal with are just the F-ing pits! And dont get me started on the Low balling dogs.
We did not use a broker, preferred to accept a lower price to help move the boat than give it to a broker.
Sailboat listings was the best site, had LOADS of inquiries from that.
22,ooo views from the for sale section on Cruisers forum. Yep, 22,000
Thats the only two places I would bother advertising.
Be prepared to answer a great many inquiries from couch dreamers.
So , depends on how much you will pay not to deal with that. Well, that and a broker. UGH.
Good luck, your gonna need it either way.
This for the OP, not interested in arguing or dealing with the trolls
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Old 18-07-2020, 23:27   #6
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Re: Selling Your Boat, To Broker or Not?

If you're in California, finding an honest broker through referral shouldn't be too hard. There are other parts of the country that seem to be infested with less scrupulous or lazy ones. But the West Coast is by and large OK. The largest complaint about brokers is that they don't return buyers calls. So you want one that hussels. Otherwise, go FSBO but you'll deal with all the dreamers, low ballers, and keel kickers. And worst of all you won't have the radar that brokers have developed to weed them out. You'll entertain protracted visits and conversations with the ones that don't consummate a deal. You'll think you have a real buyer and will dismiss others that come knocking thereafter while you're dealing with the BS'er whom you think is a real buyer. Take the above advice and make sure the boat is tidy and as clean as possible. And price it right/fairly. Sellers that price a vessel too high just make the buyers pass it over. Very few will come forward with an offer to just play along with an owner that is testing a high price. Buyers aren't dumb and they dictate the market....not sellers. Good luck.
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Old 19-07-2020, 05:15   #7
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Re: Selling Your Boat, To Broker or Not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allied39 View Post
Have just gone through the process, looked after selling my very good friends boat for him.
Closed a week ago.
What a major P in the A.
If I ever have to sell my boat I would prefer to take her offshore and scuttle her.
80% of the folks you have to deal with are just the F-ing pits! And dont get me started on the Low balling dogs.
We did not use a broker, preferred to accept a lower price to help move the boat than give it to a broker.
Sailboat listings was the best site, had LOADS of inquiries from that.
22,ooo views from the for sale section on Cruisers forum. Yep, 22,000
Thats the only two places I would bother advertising.
Be prepared to answer a great many inquiries from couch dreamers.
So , depends on how much you will pay not to deal with that. Well, that and a broker. UGH.
Good luck, your gonna need it either way.
This for the OP, not interested in arguing or dealing with the trolls
I think one of the most critical parts of the job when I was selling boats was qualifying the "buyers". Lots of people like to criticize the brokers but if they had ever been on the other side of the table they might see things in a different light.

I had one supposed buyer that came in once a year shopping. About the third visit I noticed that he wanted to look at a range of completely different boats on every trip. Started to question him more closely about exactly what it was he wanted to buy and he finally confessed that he really didn't plan to buy a boat, he just liked looking at them and set up showings every year when he was in FL on vacation. I suggested he might want to attend a boat show as a better option.
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Old 19-07-2020, 08:16   #8
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Re: Selling Your Boat, To Broker or Not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aybabtme View Post
............I was wondering at which price point does it make sense to sell with a broker, versus selling by myself? Also, what are terms with a seller's broker that I should watch out for, or insist on? The market for our boat shows a price point between 60k$ and 80k$.
I have sold 2 ski boats boats, dinghy and a sailboat myself priced $10,000 - $30,000. Above that price point I used a broker to powerboat and a sailboat for $80,000 - $130,000. The broker charged 10% of the selling price as a commission.
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Old 19-07-2020, 08:47   #9
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Re: Selling Your Boat, To Broker or Not?

Brokers are better experienced at handling time wasters and qualifying clients money wise - and ensuring that you get paid. Otherwise be prepared for a learning curve.
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Old 19-07-2020, 08:50   #10
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Re: Selling Your Boat, To Broker or Not?

Unless you really think it would be interesting - or even rewarding - to sell it yourself, I'd get a broker. The stories about scam artists and tire kickers are real.

The important thing to remember about brokers is they are a business and have a conflict of interest. While you want the highest price - they want to sell the boat using as few of their hours as possible. The fewer hours it takes to close a deal, the more boats they can sell in a year and the more profitable is their business.

How did you decide that the market price for your boat is $60k-$80k? If that was listings in Yachtworld then I'd reduce it 20%.

So to be conservative, let's say the final sale price is $50k. That means the broker will get a commission of $5k that he is likely to have to give half to the buyer's broker. And he will have other expenses for office, advertising, etc. So let's say his net is $1500. And remember he gets paid nothing for his time on boats that don't sell. If he can sell your boat with 10 hours of work, that's $150/hr for his time. Nothing to sneeze at. If it takes 100 hours then it's $15/hr. He'd do better as a bartender.

So when you talk to a broker, realize he's doing that calculus. If your price expectations seem reasonable, the boat is in great shape, and a desirable brand then he's going to want the listing more and work harder to get a quick sale. But if you list it and it doesn't sell quickly, be ready for him to want to lower the price. If you say "No", he'll stop putting much time into it and when the brokerage agreement expires you'll switch brokers and try again.

Don't take it personally - it's business.
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Old 19-07-2020, 09:09   #11
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Re: Selling Your Boat, To Broker or Not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aybabtme View Post
Hey folks,
My wife and I are considering selling our boat, as we won't be able to use it for the next 12 months, were going to upgrade in 18-24 months, and it's apparently a good market to sell. So we figured, now is a good time. I've never sold a boat, this is our first boat and we love it very much.

I was wondering at which price point does it make sense to sell with a broker, versus selling by myself? Also, what are terms with a seller's broker that I should watch out for, or insist on? The market for our boat shows a price point between 60k$ and 80k$.
I think that this will greatly depend on how much time and patience you have. When's the last time you sold something on Craigslist? Lots of flakes out there that'll waste a lot of your time. Brokers usually earn their money.

You didn't mention exactly where in California you were. Down here in So Cal, slips for a 37' boat can be pretty expensive, making this even more motivation for a quick sale.
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Old 19-07-2020, 10:09   #12
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Re: Selling Your Boat, To Broker or Not?

I’d like to address the issue of yacht broker ethics first : over the years I’ve dealt with perhaps a half dozen brokers buying and selling. They’ve all been top notch in their dealings with me. Most recently was for the sale of a Tartan 37 that we started off at $52.5K, (which represented a depressing loss from what I had in it). There were a couple of folks who represented themselves as buyers, looked at the boat with the broker, then contacted me direct to tell me what an incompetent agency I was dealing with. My judgement was that it was the “buyer”, and not the broker, that had issues. Well, the boat did sell, and I’m not sure it would have w/o the services of an agent. Sales can be tough, especially for non-essential items like a boat.
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Old 19-07-2020, 11:55   #13
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Re: Selling Your Boat, To Broker or Not?

Recently posted a Leopard 44 for sale. The broker I originally contacted early on at the Moorings (where I bought my boat) never got back to me. Later on I posted it myself. Then I ran across my original email and noticed he never got back to me (I had shotgunned it out to several sales sites/brokers). He apologized and said he would like to list my boat for $339k. So that is $33,900.00 Commission. I asked what they do for that much money and and the answer, or lack of answer was not worth the cost. BUT, I have been a salesman all my life, so yeah I will take a $20k discount and be happy I saved the rest. What other boats sales sites do any of you recommend. See my current ad Here. Thx, Scott
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Old 20-07-2020, 00:12   #14
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Re: Selling Your Boat, To Broker or Not?

Alright, I have a lot on my plate these days, so giving 10% to someone to handle the leads makes sense to me. I've contacted a couple brokers and I guess I'll use some random method of selecting which one I go with? Any advices for San Francisco bay brokers?
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Old 20-07-2020, 03:41   #15
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Re: Selling Your Boat, To Broker or Not?

Another thing not mentioned to date is that a good broker will find you buyers who weren't looking for your boat. I have more than once bought a boat (including this one) that I wasn't originally looking at. The broker for another boat was helpful and smart and kept me up to date with new liatings he had coming up, and once he'd had feedback on a number of boats he was the one who suggested I look at this one and made the sale happen (partly by explaining the deal and the appropriate price to the seller). The seller wouldn't have sold it to me if it hadn't been listed with him.
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