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Old 07-07-2017, 19:19   #1
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To contact, or not to contact?

I recently found a boat that me and my partner both like. We decided to look into it further together, and we are proceeding with surveys etc. We are obtaining information from the seller through the broker, however tonight while researching the boats model, I found a sales advertisement on a web forum written by the seller a month or two ago.

My initial excitement tells me to email the owner and ask all my questions (i.e. how long has he owned it, where'd he get it from, etc etc etc), but my cautious side tells me that this might be seen as an aggressive move to circumvent the broker - which isn't my intention at all.

While a survey is going to tell me what I need to know, there's no substitute for gaining boat history directly from the owner.

Would you suggest contacting the owner, or wait until after the transaction is complete?
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Old 07-07-2017, 19:22   #2
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Re: To contact, or not to contact?

By all means, in fact you might ask if he would be willing to meet you on the boat soon to answer some questions. Once I had to sell a boat to a prospective buyer who the broker wasn't able to finalize the deal with.
Owners love to talk about their boats, and they often talk too much! Which is a good thing for you.
I used to search for registration paper on boats I was interested in to get the owner's name.
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Old 07-07-2017, 19:26   #3
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Re: To contact, or not to contact?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
By all means, in fact you might ask if he would be willing to meet you on the boat soon to answer some questions. Once I had to sell a boat to a prospective buyer who the broker wasn't able to finalize the deal with.
Owners love to talk about their boats, and they often talk too much! Which is a good thing for you.
I used to search for registration paper on boats I was interested in to get the owner's name.

Well, its about 8 hours away, so we are doing as much as we can from here, before we actually go see her and take her for a sea trial.

ETA: I do the same with registration numbers, but unfortunately the state its registered in doesn't provide online records. When it comes to researching things, I probably fall into the "stalker" category. LOL
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Old 07-07-2017, 19:42   #4
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Re: To contact, or not to contact?

Yes; Try to speak with the seller directly.
Ask him if he would like to tell you about his boat before you go to see it, so you can get your lady more interested in buying it without having to convince her later and that would make the sale easier for all.
Be nice, lots of compliments and explain that the broker may not know as much as he, the owner and if he was in your position as a buyer, he would be as interested as you now are to know more.
Say that you are the one to make the decision to buy his boat or to buy another and the more he interests you with upgrades, repairs, places he has visited, etc., the more eager to buy it you would be!. Also, that you have the money to buy it, which means that you have either the cash or have been qualified for the loan.
Remember he wants to sell it and you want to buy it; makes no sense not to talk to each other.
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Old 07-07-2017, 20:41   #5
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Re: To contact, or not to contact?

IT WORKED!!!

I had a reply inside of 45 minutes, and the communication highway was opened!

Thanks y'all.
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Old 08-07-2017, 08:58   #6
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Re: To contact, or not to contact?

Remember this, 8 hours away is a lot closer under sail than on land, and 520 miles away on land is journey at sea. I would contact the owner.
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Old 08-07-2017, 09:45   #7
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Re: To contact, or not to contact?

Most brokers are honest hard working folks who's word you can take to the bank! Unfortunately there are those who's primary interest is their pocket book and to hell with ethics! Investigate your broker first, make sure there are no malpractice suits against them, and their past customers were satisfied.
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Old 08-07-2017, 11:04   #8
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Re: To contact, or not to contact?

I am convinced that brokers screw up more deals than they facilitate.
Definitely communicate directly with the vendor. Any uncommunicative vendor is
likely hiding something.
Sorry brokers. But you just have one goal....Commissions.
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Old 08-07-2017, 11:12   #9
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Re: To contact, or not to contact?

I've also searched USCG Documentation. Sometime you can find the current owner and the previous owner. The PO has always been most informative and in most cases has nothing to hide.
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Old 08-07-2017, 12:41   #10
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Re: To contact, or not to contact?

Contact anybody and everybody that might know something before you put down any money, do you homework before not after the deal.
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Old 08-07-2017, 13:37   #11
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Re: To contact, or not to contact?

Quote:
Originally Posted by taxwizz View Post
I am convinced that brokers screw up more deals than they facilitate.
Definitely communicate directly with the vendor. Any uncommunicative vendor is
likely hiding something.
Sorry brokers. But you just have one goal....Commissions.
Well I used to be a broker and I'll have to disagree. I knew a few outright liars and worse but the overwhelming majority were honest boaters whose goat was to make sure the customer got the right boat.

What you're saying is no different than someone saying that CPAs or tax accountants or whatever have only one goal, getting a share of their clients' money.
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Old 08-07-2017, 14:13   #12
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Re: To contact, or not to contact?

Skip-
I've met honest brokers, and honest mechanics (sometimes competent, too) and good and bad apples in pretty much every kind of barrel.
Still, I went to look at a boat some years ago, and after getting a ride out to it (eh, someone forgot to mention it was "docked" between pilings, not at the dock) found about 3 inches of water above the cabin sole. I rashly turned on the manual pump switch and (dingy gone) told the alleged broker about that later. "Gee, really?"
Really, I'd say half of the alleged brokers never even step foot onto a boat. The less they knew, the less they can be accused of. The good ones? You know, like a really good fresh croissant, you just can't find them very often.
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Old 08-07-2017, 14:35   #13
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Re: To contact, or not to contact?

Your money is on the line. Call and talk and ask many questions. Better to ask forgiveness than to ask for permission.
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Old 08-07-2017, 15:26   #14
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Re: To contact, or not to contact?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Skip-
I've met honest brokers, and honest mechanics (sometimes competent, too) and good and bad apples in pretty much every kind of barrel.
Still, I went to look at a boat some years ago, and after getting a ride out to it (eh, someone forgot to mention it was "docked" between pilings, not at the dock) found about 3 inches of water above the cabin sole. I rashly turned on the manual pump switch and (dingy gone) told the alleged broker about that later. "Gee, really?
Really, I'd say half of the alleged brokers never even step foot onto a boat. The less they knew, the less they can be accused of. The good ones? You know, like a really good fresh croissant, you just can't find them very often.
I would be first in line to agree that there are plenty of dishonest, lazy or stupid brokers. I had a boss at one firm in Ft Lauderdale that threatened to fire me because I wouldn't lie to potential customers to close a deal. The only reason he didn't fire me was because I sold more boats than anyone else in the office.

It was well known locally that a very well known, expensive, high end surveying company was a "sellers" surveyor. They wouldn't hide any serious structural problems or glaring issues with a boat but you could count on the most positive report that could be concocted from the survey.

When I started shopping for a boat a few years ago I was open to FSBO, broker or whatever. Found one interesting boat listed by a broker in Annapolis but when I called someone had just signed a contract on it. So I told the broker if you find something similar I'm a buyer. My criteria: #1 must be center cockpit, cutter preferred but sloop acceptable, moderate draft/modified fin keel with skeg hung rudder. +/- 40'. So a week later he calls with an aft cockpit, full keel ketch to offer me. At least he got the length right.

Bottom line, having seen the industry from the inside my experience was the percentage of dishonest or otherwise completely disreputable brokers is about the same as the percentage of dishonest or disreputable cruisers. Never had a theft in the Caribbean but had a dinghy stolen in Ft Lauderdale, stereo at a marina in Palm Beach and all my electronics in Miami. I still think most cruisers are honest and decent but maybe I'm a Pollyanna.

PS, I know at least two places in my little town to get fresh baked croissants.
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Old 08-07-2017, 15:52   #15
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Re: To contact, or not to contact?

Oh and back to the question from the OP, sure contact the seller but I would give the broker heads up and assure him/her that the call was strictly for information with no intention of buying direct.
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