Originally Posted by wingNwing
I'm going to offer a contrary opinion to the idea of spending time looking at lots of boats, just because I can. A broker that will show you dozens of boats is wasting your time and his/hers flailing around looking for a boat that might work. Far preferable, to me, is a broker that gets to know our needs well enough, "sized us up" as TakeFive says, that he only needs to show us a couple of boats because he's already sorted through what's available and narrowed it down to things that meet the needs we've discussed.
In fact, when we bought the boat we've been living on for the last 11 years, we didn't have to really "look" at all. Based on our criteria, we narrowed it down to just two or three models, then it was merely a matter of waiting for the right example of this particular boat to come up on the market in our price range. As soon as it did, we got an email; a quick back-and-forth to verify condition, and the contract was in place.
No time to go into great detail now, but a quick comment.
I think buying your FIRST boat is a very different process from buying your NEXT boat. The first time you have a lot of learning to do that can only be accomplished by visiting a lot of specimens. Once you have a boat and have sailed for a number of years, you have a very good idea what you're looking for in the next boat, and you've already narrowed it down. Plus, you're already sailing so if it takes time for the right one to come along, you're not missing out on much.
A first boat buyer has NOTHING, so a lengthy process means missed sailing seasons. He also has less knowledge, so can't narrow it down as fast.