The "Cut to the Chase" statement. Offer betwen 70 and 80% of asking for first go around and make offer depended on successful survey and sea trial.
While that is a guideline, there are certain things that can make seller stick to his guns on asking:
- Rare model/Latest Model
- Exceptional Upgrades/Condition
- Age - New
- Brand Name
- Testing the Waters - No Hurry
What I mean from Testing the Waters is that the current owner likes the boat and has a set price in mind that he will let it go for. Unless he gets close to that, he isn't going to sell it. Maybe he wants to upgrade and needs a certain amount to "float" his next pruchase
Maneuver Room on Asking Price (Good For You):
- Owner needs to unload for variety or reasons (helath, move, kid's college, divorce, change in employment, etc.)
- Specific model is plentiful in your area (Catalina, Cals, Hunters, etc.)
- Poor conditon - Needs work
- End of Season
- Estate Settlement
- Rare Model/Old model
I made an offer on an 87 Pearson 33-2 boat. Owner originally was asking 44K, dropped his price to 40K. $40K was out of my initial price range, but I went to look at it anyway. Current owner was there cleaning boat and I asked him why he was selling. He said he just got a Catalina 36 so he needed to sell and wanted to not have to pay for two boats.
Armed with that knowledge, I offered $32K, to the displeasure of the Broker, who kept telling me to offer around $35. $32K was more near my price range. The offer didn't go through, but was countered with $38K. The boat is still for sale at $40K 6 months later.
A month later, a Pearson 1979 10M came up for sale. The asking was $27.5K. The boat was in exceptional condition. We liked it immediately and offered $24,5K. Seller came back with $25K and the deal was done.
I just saw a Pearson 34 (1984) go for low money for it's model/age because a dealer took it on trade from the original owner when he bought a newer boat from them. Dealer just wanted it off their lot. Boat was in good shape. Similar boats are listed/going for $40 to 50K. This one was being offered at $35K, so probably went for slightly less.
Once you find a boat that you like, pick a price that you are comfortable paying for the boat and be prepared to walk away if that price is exceeded as the final offer
. Another opportunity will came along quickly.
Maybe you make your limit the upper end of your counter offer range and make the initial some number lower. If a boat is listed at $80K, you like and would be willing to pay $70K as your max, offer say 55K (30% off 80K). If the counter offer is $75K, you'll have to make a decision if you go to $70K immediately or offer somwhere in between.
Like others have said, there is no science or formula to this. In the end, you need to be happy with the price that you want to purchase the boat for.