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Old 04-01-2017, 00:28   #16
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Re: Boat Buying - the art of the Bid

The single best negotiating tool you have is the ability to walk away from a boat. Kind of hard if you fall in love with a particular low volume model but assuming that's not the case....


Do look at comparable boat prices but don't hesitate to put out a low ball offer. It's a business deal first and foremost.


That said, don't be intentionally insulting. Couch the low offer with kind words and a "sort of offer". (ie: We love the boat. She's a real beauty and just what we're looking for but we've only budgeted $X to buy a boat. If we could get close to that we might be able to make something work.). This allows the buyer to counter offer or if it's way too low, thank you but decline. If they decline, you can always come back in a couple weeks and gush about how you like the boat and scrounged up some extra budget if they would consider it. But in the end DO NOT BE AFRAID TO WALK AWAY. There are lots of boats available.


Why be kind with your offers? We recently sold a boat. The buyer was basically a jerk over unimportant issues and took a generally nasty tone during the negotiations. As a result:
- I had planned on spending 1/2 a day going over the boat so the new owner knew where everything was and how it worked. Instead, got a couple of phone messages after the deal asking questions...ignored them as cash was in the bank and answering questions was not a contractual requirement.
- I had some misc gear in storage that was not listed in the advertisement but was going to throw in with the deal. That didn't happen.
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Old 04-01-2017, 04:57   #17
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Re: Boat Buying - the art of the Bid

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Originally Posted by Pelagic View Post
I have a different philosophy about bidding after doing a detailed survey.....

I make a reasonable offer based on what the yacht is worth to me

It is fixed and I do not negotiate.
Ditto for me, what it is worth to me is the offer. If you are reasonable, non-emotional and willing to walk the right deal for you will always come through.
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Old 04-01-2017, 08:43   #18
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Re: Boat Buying - the art of the Bid

Valhalla had some good advice, a negotiation doesn't have to be rude or aggressive on a personal basis. Most sellers will think over a reasonable offer and usually let you know where they,re really at.

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Old 04-01-2017, 09:16   #19
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Re: Boat Buying - the art of the Bid

Keep in mind that there are tons of poorly maintained and poorly looked after boats for sale and very few nice ones. Depending on your intended use you may not be getting a deal on your below market offer. If you are sailing locally then it doesn't take a lot to get a boat in shape for the typical weekend warrior and there are lots of boats that would qualify BUT if your intended use is for crossing oceans then buying a boat that "needs work" may not be wise. In this case because the costs are so high to fit and refit a boat for this use you are usually much better off paying more for the best boat available and spending a lot less money in the end. For this type of use there are very few bargins out there as a matter of fact you will often have to shop harder and further to even find one.
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Old 04-01-2017, 09:27   #20
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Re: Boat Buying - the art of the Bid

I took advice that I got here on this board some time ago and became an expert in the specific boat that I want to buy. What I found is that, after a certain age, they all need certain things replaced and work in a number of other areas.

For example, if I see that a boat past a certain age has not had its fuel tank replaced, I put that into my refit budget for that boat .. and so on down the list of items. If you look at enough boats of a certain type, you can tell what the list is for that boat.

But after considering this, it appears to me that only the boats that have been most assiduously maintained are anywhere close in value to their asking price. Some of these (the best maintained) are actually fairly priced or bargains.

Sorry I can't offer specific advice about making a bid - only that I've observed that the ones worth bidding on at all are the ones I'm least inclined to bid too aggressively on. I know I'm going to spend every dime of my budget. It's just a question to how and when.
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Old 04-01-2017, 09:38   #21
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Re: Boat Buying - the art of the Bid

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Originally Posted by kalbahnov View Post
I took advice that I got here on this board some time ago and became an expert in the specific boat that I want to buy. What I found is that, after a certain age, they all need certain things replaced and work in a number of other areas.

For example, if I see that a boat past a certain age has not had its fuel tank replaced, I put that into my refit budget for that boat .. and so on down the list of items. If you look at enough boats of a certain type, you can tell what the list is for that boat.

But after considering this, it appears to me that only the boats that have been most assiduously maintained are anywhere close in value to their asking price. Some of these (the best maintained) are actually fairly priced or bargains.

Sorry I can't offer specific advice about making a bid - only that I've observed that the ones worth bidding on at all are the ones I'm least inclined to bid too aggressively on. I know I'm going to spend every dime of my budget. It's just a question to how and when.
Good points your making as you learn more and more about specific boats. Your fuel tank replacement is a good example. Often the engine has to be pulled in order to get the old tank out and the new tank in. What is the same boat worth when the tank and engine has been replaced? I know if it's around 50 hp that by the time the tank and engine are done your going to be shy by around 25 large if it's a new tank and engine is ok thenmaybe only 6 or 7 if it's just the tank. Boats are damn expensive to fit and refit, I'd be looking to find a real nice one and not expect to steal it.
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Old 04-01-2017, 09:53   #22
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Treat it the way you would if privately buying a secondhand car.. as simple as that.
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Old 04-01-2017, 09:58   #23
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Re: Boat Buying - the art of the Bid

It has been discussed a lot under negotiating before, and it's hard to put into words, but here are a few things:
-Know the market, know what boats have been sitting a long time, what ones haven't.
-Sellers almost always start out higher than they can sell for. Not because they are necessarily trying to get more, but brokers tell them high numbers or the seller is sure his is the "best one out there" and hasn't come to the realization that he's going to lose a bunch of money ...yet.
-I think your 10-20% off is about right probably... but there are many that sell for a much deeper discount too.
-Popularity of the boat design is a factor. If it's a popular design and there aren't many out there for sale, 10% is probably best you are gong to get.
-If the boat has been sitting a long time, the more you are going to get off.
-My best efforts have been from knowing the market, on boats that have been listed for quite a while, and a big one; on boats that have competition.
-It helps to get to know the selling broker a bit. Find 2 similar or identical boats. Find one that is listed low that may be dirty, outdated equiptment etc. Use that boat to discount the nice one.
Sitting at the broker's, talk with him. Act like you cant decide between the two boats. Often the broker has no idea what the other boat actually is. I might start out this way: "I really cant decide, I like both these boats, the other one is 25% less money before negotiating,, but it's not as clean. That isn't worth $40k more $ to me though... DO you think this seller is ready to take a much lower offer? blah, blah, blah..."
You are setting him up. When you make an offer, make it with reasons (like I just noted) I might try an offer at 45% off listed price. The response will tell you a lot. If the seller comes down 5%, you aren't going to get a big discount. If the sell comes down 15-20% right from the get go you have a chance.
It's all very situation dependent though.
When I bought my catamaran, I had looked at it before leaving Florida to go home for the summer. At end of summer I negotiated and tentatively set up a purchase subject to looking at the boat again when I returned to Fl in a couple weeks. When I returned, there was another identical year model also for sale at the same broker. It was a far superior boat. Long story short I bought that one instead and had negotiating power.
My experience selling:
-Hans Christian 38, listed at $136k. (all others on the market were at that number more or less) 1.5 years later I closed a deal at $90k. Tired of paying moorage on a boat 3500 miles from me. (34% discount)
Buying:
-44 foot cutter negotiated to 110K from $120k. Had problems in survey and bought for $65k.


I bought the house I'm currently in years ago by having a "buyer's auction". I couldn't decide between two houses. I told the broker I was going to offer on one and if not accepted I was going to offer on the other house.... and just keep that gong... so they would let the seller know that!
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Old 04-01-2017, 10:07   #24
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Re: Boat Buying - the art of the Bid

The only advice I give a buyer is that a good boat can be a good buy and a bad boat us never a good buy.

Two reasonable parties will always be able to make it work.

If you want to steal a boat the seller might just see you as a thief.

Quality is the best choice of all of the alternatives.

Buy quality and know where the market value is. You will only know if you made a good deal when you sell the boat. Then and only then will you what the boat cost!

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Old 04-01-2017, 10:11   #25
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Re: Boat Buying - the art of the Bid

Great thread!

Regarding the "average discount". I don't think this is very valuable as it tells you nothing about how a particular boat is priced. It may be a steal at the listed price. You'll have to determine the average selling price, and factor in location and condition.

One note though on the discount %: the sold and listed price reported reflect the last listed price. Many sellers will lower the listing price if their boat doesn't sell within a given time frame. So the real discount from intial asking price may be higher than reported.

But again, the average discount number are not very valuable if you have access to comps - which you should.
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Old 04-01-2017, 10:51   #26
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Re: Boat Buying - the art of the Bid

My sailboat came on the market at $24,500. The boat appeared to be in really good shape after I spent several hours on it doing my own preliminary survey. My broker friend, familiar with these boats suggested I offer $16,000. I thought that would offend the seller, so I offered $17,000 on condition of successful boat an d motor surveys. After a couple counter offers and the seller's broker offering to split the last $1000 difference between our final offers, we settled on $18,500 based on good surveys. The engine survey came up with a $900 repair that was needed. I offered to pay half. Seller refused to go lower in price or put any more money into the boat. The deal was cancelled. His broker said the repair needed has to be disclosed now so it should be fixed. I got a call from the broker asking if my offer still stands now that the repair was done. I said yes but I did not offer to pay half as the first deal had fallen through.
I now have my beautiful boat at the price I thought was fair and in the end the seller was very friendly. I spent the $450 saved from not paying part of the repair bill on stuff for the boat. Good luck and like others have said, know when to walk away!
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Old 04-01-2017, 11:02   #27
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Re: Boat Buying - the art of the Bid

I forgot the other half of my story. Prior to buying my sailboat, I sold my motor boat. I wanted to get no less than $10,000 for it. I put it on the market for $14,000. The first offer came in less than 24 hours at $10,000. We finalized at $10,500. His wife tried to get it down to $10,000 but he told her to stop dickering or I might start taking extras out of the deal. He was right, and I ended up throwing in more extras because of his good attitude. The only hard part was, I was a little spooked, carrying all that cash to the bank! I made sure the deposit slip showed it was from a boat sale and not drug money!
Again, less than 24 hours passed and the boat I mentioned in my earlier post came up for sale. I was the first one to make an offer and now it's mine!
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Old 04-01-2017, 11:11   #28
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Re: Boat Buying - the art of the Bid

We bought and sold boats this last year and I credit having a good broker to be a big help in working out both deals. I've known our broker for 25-30 years and knew several friends that used her to sell. In buying, the research on price and boat attributes were extremely helpful. In selling, knowing how to handle the prospective buyers and get fair value for our boat was extremely timely as we were not (2) boat owners for more than 1-2 weeks. I got excellent feedback response to my emails and text messages and was well worth the commissions to the broker. Doing your homework on boat value and attention to details was key. A lot depends on your buying and selling posture. Assess boat values and have enough knowledge to be able to value what you are buying and what you are selling. In the end it's pretty sweet when you get to the other side and realize that you were successful on both ends of buying and selling. Good Luck.
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Old 04-01-2017, 11:23   #29
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Re: Boat Buying - the art of the Bid

"YOUR BABY IS UGLY!"
It's never a good thing to say to a parent or a boat owner. They have invested thousands of dollars and a great deal of time on that 'baby', so telling them what is wrong with it will not work to reduce the price. You are simply slamming the negotiating door shut.

I prefer the 'what I can afford' practise. Praise the boat and tell them how much you can afford to spend. You may not initially get agreement, but you do keep the door open to further negotiation.
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Old 04-01-2017, 12:02   #30
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Re: Boat Buying - the art of the Bid

I wrote a short bit on this on our blog, see below, entitled "hunter, really". In the process of answering your specific question in that blog I lost the whole thing! Ugh. Cliff note version is there.

Having been a broker and participated in a lot of transactions I've seen it all. My routine is become VERY familiar with the market you want to buy in, be ready, know a great deal when you see one and make a reasonable offer that you can back up with alternatives.

The other think on your side is TIME. If making a very low offer and not in a rush make it respectfully, get turned down, then wait. "If anything changes please let me know". You "plant the seed" and if nothing else is happening after some time you will get a call to chat a bit more and reach an agreement.

Being "nice" goes a long way in my opinion and experience.

Good luck!
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