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Old 19-10-2016, 22:03   #1
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Liveaboard broker in Seattle area?

Hello everyone. My wife and I have decided to start a new adventure and move onto a sailboat in Seattle, at the Shilshole Bay Marina (yes, we're on the waiting list)! We've been planning it for two years now, and the time has come to start shopping for the boat. I was wondering if any of you have any experience with brokers in the area who were pleasant to work with?

A little about us: We are both 30, just go married, and are planning on moving onto a sailboat in May. I'm a lifelong sailor, growing up racing dinghy's on the Chesapeake. She didn't sail growing up, but she has been taking classes and she's learning fast. We're still working, so we won't be out permanently cruising, and in fact we will be in the marina more often than not. Our sailing will probably be all inside the sound, San Juan islands, Vancouver island, and maybe the inside passage up to Alaska when we start getting aggressive, but we probably won't venture out into the ocean for a while (given there's so much good inshore cruising in the area, not sure we'll ever go out). Between the frequency of sailing and the kind of sailing we're looking to do, we're mostly looking at your standard production inshore cruisers, and less at the heavy offshore cruising vessels.

We would like to work with a broker who knows what boats meet good liveaboard criteria (or at least our criteria, comfort for extended living, handling that at least isn't completely compromised, storage, etc.) and generally has a good reputation in the community. Any references or just advice would be greatly appreciated. Looking forward to living afloat!
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Old 20-10-2016, 04:26   #2
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Re: Liveaboard broker in Seattle area?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, gatorcse.
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Old 20-10-2016, 05:00   #3
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Re: Liveaboard broker in Seattle area?

I would simply ask around the maritime industry in your area. One or two names will keep coming up, and you can be fairly sure that those will be the ones with good reputations as knowledgeable brokers who are easy to work with.

Specifically, you're looking for a "buyer's broker". They will represent you throughout the process and they split the commission on the boat you buy with the selling broker so there is no cost to you.

That said, no buyer's broker wants to be saddled with having to educate a client from scratch and show them 50 boats. You and your spouse need to educate yourself so that you're prepared with your own list of requirements, can answer questions confidently, and are in a position to evaluate what you're being shown.

There are lots of liveaboards on this forum, and even more who have extensive familiarity with a broad range of boats. You'd do well to read some of the prior threads on the very same topic and ask additional questions here.

Ideally, you and your broker will zero in a few makes/models of boats that fit your requirements. Then the real work begins. The broker will pull up listings for those boats, and should have the knowledge to parse out the relative strengths, weaknesses, and value of each one to help you select which ones you go look at.

Every boat, even of the same model, is different, with different levels of maintenance, equipment, condition, etc. Layouts and equipment change from year to year. You'll find boats that are in dramatically better condition, and a better value, than sister boats 5-10 years newer, so you'll need to be prepared to evaluate what you see and what it means for your plans for the boat.
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