In the case of the real estate example, I bought my last house with a broker in 2005 that saw our finances and decided we needed a bigger house x2. We hesitated, but we were eventually convinced by our broker in spite of our original instructions. Because of that, this housing crisis hit us harder and impacted our cruising plans to a far greater extent than if we had stuck to our guns and fought our broker.
When we tried to sell our house a year and a half ago to save up for our cruising, our broker had our house on the market too high. A year and a half was lost on the house, but for yet another broker... We switched to "by owner" and we accepted an offer at a realistic price.
This weekend at the boat show, I went to talk to brokers and they said things that scared me. If nothing else, the tone of the brokers is very authoritative to the point of not hearing what I am saying. One broker would not listen that I had already found a large list of boats. He felt it was his job to find my boat. I wanted to say "I DO NOT TRUST YOU," but was too polite. I felt this way with every broker I talked to.
I don't know how to work with a broker, even though I think I need one.
There has to be some better arrangement than commission for someone working with the buyer. I would like to tell a broker he will get the equivalent of $200,000 commission whether we buy a $200,000 boat or a $75,000 boat and fix it up... The truth is that a jump from $75,000-$200,000 makes a big difference to a broker in this economy. Brokers won't look at boats the same way we are looking at them. Brokers will say "this more expensive boat already has all these things that you would need to buy anyway making the final cost of the more expensive boat less." But of course, that is a type of fallacy that people like me fall for eventually.
One thing I will never do again is reveal my finances to a broker. I will simply get pre-approved for some amount and show the broker that amount. One thought is to start out with lower pre-approval numbers with the broker so the broker begins thinking that the hard limit is lower than it is. If a boat can't be found, then raise the limit by 25,000 - 50,000 and see what happens. I don't like that approach. That just seems like playing games with somebody and wasting all our time. Really there must be a solution to the commission problem.
As for reputation, really how am I going to check??? If I were to post a bad experience with a broker to this bulletin board or the chamber of commerce, do you really think it matters? How do I know whether I was never shown a good boat in order to complain? I simply would never know that the cheaper better boat was skipped over...
Finally, I could avoid this and simply buy a new boat, but they are more expensive and what I saw at the boat show did not impress me enough.