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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest Forums > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > Boat Buyers & Sellers Forum
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Old 03-27-2012
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Thoughts on the Boat Market (A Rant)

Where to begin... Okay, I am in the market to upgrade my boat. I listed my Catalina 36 on sailboatlistings some time ago; and decided that, while the boat was listed at a relative premium to others on the market, I felt its condition and equipment list justified its price. It's now under contract virtually AT my asking price. My elation faded quickly when I realized what horrors awaited me as a buyer.

Buckle up because I am about to rant about virtually all aspects and parties involved in boat buying, and I have some thoughts on why the boat market sucks (or does it really?).

BROKERS: You've got to be kidding me. I take issue with the comparison that brokers are like used car salesmen. I think that is a convenient veil to hide behind when trying to justify piss poor service. They are not used car salesmen because yachts are not used cars.

If I were to walk into a car dealership with $100,000 or MORE balled up in my pockets, champaign would fall from the heavens, the velvet ropes would part, and the dealership would lay at my feet... or they would at least strive to provide reasonable customer service.

But contact a broker with the same, and you're doing better than average if you can get a call back. (how hard is a call back gang??) I'm sorry guys, it's long time you as brokers step up the level of customer service. Let's pretend the people you are working with are about to spend enough to buy a HOUSE on a yacht and act accordingly. Follow through with the promises you make, don't "force" boats on buyers that aren't appropriate (direct quote from a broker: "I know it's $80,000 outside of your price range, and it is 7 feet longer than you were looking for, but you should consider putting an offer on this boat. Always buy as much boat as you can afford, gas prices are going up and that is going to make fiberglass prohibitively expensive very soon.), and stop trying to BS buyers (direct qoute from a broker when asked about shallow bilges in a beneteau 361: "You don't need deep bilges, water's not supposed to get in there.") In short, stop trying to hide behind the used car salesmen stigma, bring some work ethic to the table and you'll be surprised to find people will begin to enjoy working with you. There are exceptions to this generalization, and of the dozen of MORE yacht brokers I've spoken to (or tried to), the two excpetions were fantastic (and by fantastic I mean they met the standard for a person selling a $100,000-150,000 commodity).

SELLERS: Really guys? I understand you're selling your boats, and in many cases it's either because you've given up on the dream, lost interest, moved, etc, but if you expect someone to pay 6 figures for your boat, you need to clean it and arrange to have it cleaned as time goes on, attempt to maintain it, and extra credit for those who manage to keep it looking like the pictures they use in the listings. NO ONE is going to drive across a state based on some great pictures, be met with a decaying pile of s#!t, and rush to make you an offer. People are going to drive across the state, see your decaying heap, and end up being p!ssed that you wasted their day. And guess what.... No one is going to buy a liability, and that's exactly what your boat becomes if you don't continue to maintain the thing to at least a resonable standard. Whaaaaaah, the market is bad.. No it's not, in fact every decent boat I've found on yachtworld was either under contract or had already sold. The market just doesn't want to buy your POS. You literally cannot find a reasonable boat in the state of Florida for $100,000. They all look GREAT from the listings, but swing by and check them out. Every reasonable on you find on yachtworld is under contract, it's unbelievable.

What astounds me is the fact that all this is happening in this price range. This is the first time I've tried buying in this bracket (my last 2 boats being less than $60,000). I always thought at that price point, you should expect the indistry's foibles and idiosynchracies. What I didn't realize is the backhanded disdain that brokers seem to have for buyers, the rediculously poor standards sellers have for their boats aren't reserved for the lower end of the used boat spectrum. I can only speak from my experience but I can tell you with certainty that there is utter garbage on the market up to at least $195,000.

RANT COMPLETE.

Oh, and if you happen to have a 1995-2000 Catalina or Beneteau in the 36-42 foot range for sale in Central Florida (no longer willing to travel for boats after being let down too many times) between $100,00-$150,000 that isn't a pile of crap, feel free to PM me, I am ready to write a check for the right boat.
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Old 03-27-2012
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Re: Thoughts on the Boat Market (A Rant)

So who were the exceptions? Never hurts to name names when it comes to businesses that provide good customer service.
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Old 03-27-2012
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Re: Thoughts on the Boat Market (A Rant)

I agree with the OP. That's all I have to say about that.
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Old 03-27-2012
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Re: Thoughts on the Boat Market (A Rant)

Nah, one thing about brokers not getting it. The guy that I used to buy my current boat, split a 50k commission with the listing broker. Even after paying house expenses, he easily cleared $12.5k.

As a thank you, he gave us a $14 bottle of bad wine. I would have preferred a good handshake and would have never thought a gift was necessary. We swear the bottle was re-gifted.
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Old 03-27-2012
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Re: Thoughts on the Boat Market (A Rant)

I need to send the seller's broker we dealt with a box of chocolates monthly. We got lucky if the broker rants on SailNet are anything to go by. He even saved us about $4K and stopped us from making dumb decisions in our excitement and we weren't buying a boat nearly as expensive as Creedence's. He'll probably be retired by the time we buy our next boat so now I dread the next experience.
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Old 03-27-2012
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Re: Thoughts on the Boat Market (A Rant)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
I agree with the OP. That's all I have to say about that.
Ditto to that... Best of luck to the OP finding what you're after..
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Old 03-27-2012
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Re: Thoughts on the Boat Market (A Rant)

Quote:
Originally Posted by creedence623 View Post
Where to begin...
Wow. LOL! I think you hit it, or most of it, right on the head. You sound like a man that is firmly grounded in the shenanigans of the boating market. The brokers just haven't gotten it yet.

I manage our law office, and we see a lot of clients that have become indebted over and over, and not realized just where the economy is, and is going. It probably won't be too much longer before the brokers find out where they are headed, and perhaps they will start to provide a service, rather than a hindrance, to the buyer.

Good luck to you and selling your Catalina. They are really beautiful boats.
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Old 03-28-2012
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Re: Thoughts on the Boat Market (A Rant)

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
So who were the exceptions? Never hurts to name names when it comes to businesses that provide good customer service.
I'd feel comfortable recommending Al Pollack with Massey Yacht Sales out of St Petersburg. He's a knowledgable, "no pressure" guy who seems to enjoy simply poking around on/talking about boats. Very good resource if you need your list of potential boats narrowed down. There was another one, but I'm waiting to see how he follows through before I make a recommendation.

I found a 2001 C36 that I might put an offer on this week so we'll see how that goes. More to follow I'm sure.
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Old 03-28-2012
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Re: Thoughts on the Boat Market (A Rant)

Yup!
Distortions of the truth, 20 yr old photos, no call backs, or worse.

I have found a couple of brokers who are decent enough, but, they are few and far between.

I have come to the conclusion that they simply cannot be in it for the money.
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Old 03-28-2012
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Old photos are my peeve. I went to look at a boat once where the pics were great, shiny wood, gleaming metal, nice paint.
The boat ended up being covered in dirt, looke like a kelp farm growing from the waterline, inside was trashed just really, really worn.
I asked the guy about the pictures and he blew it off saying they were from when he bought the boat 10 years prior
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