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Old 02-12-2010
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What responsibility does a broker have

This thread got me thinking:
Buyer Beware

How far regarding full disclosure should a broker go?
In the above case I think we would all agree that the broker's actions were reprehensible.

The main factor that made it so in my opinion were that there was an unambiguous flaw in the boat that the broker knew about that was not possible to determine with a survey. It should have been disclosed.

But what about things the broker found out that might be a problem in the future but are not guaranteed problems, for example:
1. The broker knows that the diesel engine had a compression test that showed compression significantly below spec. It still starts and runs well.
2. The broker knows that the diesel engine overheated and stopped. After cooling it started and ran well.
3. The broker saw a yard repair hole in the hull where they ground the hull back three inches at the 1/2" thickness mark instead of the recommended 6" bevel.
4. The broker saw or heard of any number of hundred of things that are repaired poorly or hidden damage.
5. The broker knew the yard did a moisture meter test of the deck and found a couple of 2 foot wet spots by the chain plates.
6. The broker happens to know the main sail is not on the boat because it is shot.
7. The broker know the engine puffs some white smoke on startup for a couple minutes so he starts the engine a few minutes before the buyer shows up.

Not lets talk about the brokers responsibility to learn about the boat.
If the PO does not volunteer problems does the broker have an obligation to ask questions.
What if the PO starts talking about problems and the broker cuts him off because he doesn't want to know?


There are some realities here that should be addressed.
1. Many people buying 28'-32' 20k boats are first timers.
2. These boat all have issues otherwise they would cost more.
3. It is very easy to spook a new buyer by talking about risk
4. With a little luck the new buyer will probably be able to sail the boat a few years with normal maintenance.
5. Eventually one of these newbies will be caught with the hot potato and have an engine or deck job, etc on their hands. Luck will run out eventually.

So where is the line drawn?

Last edited by davidpm; 02-12-2010 at 09:12 PM.
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