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Old 08-21-2007
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Sail test question - Proper procedure

Here's the deal. I'm try to sell my boat without a broker. I have a couple people somewhat interested, and one of them wants to do a test sail, but we haven't yet discussed money. When I bought it through a broker, I submitted a written offer, contingent on a test sail and survey, but this potential buyer, never really made an offer, he was more like "I really like this boat, can we take it out for a sail?" and not wanting to lose the sale, I said "sure, how about Wednesday". But now I'm thinking this might be a big waste of time. Should I ask the buyer to make an offer first? Or should I keep it casual, and just see what happens?
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Old 08-21-2007
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I'm assuming that he knows your selling the boat. I ask him to make an offer for the boat. You could say you have another person interested.
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Old 08-21-2007
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It sounds like you already agreed to take this guy sailing.

You may want to start the day off with some discussions around the purchase price... I suggest; "Hi Joe, my name is Fred. I understand through that broker that if today's sail goes well that you will be buying my boat. Because I have not heard otherwise, I am assuming that you are offering the price that I am asking." This ought to get you down to brass tacks pretty fast.

PLEASE keep us posted...
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Old 08-21-2007
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Your problems of dealing with interested, potential buyers are only just beginning. A yacht broker serves as the buffer between you and these hull-kickers. Without an established basic procedure and standard agreements and forms, it's just you against them.

This guys needs to step up to the plate with at least a verbal offer based upon visual inspection. Without at least that, forget the joy ride.
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Old 08-21-2007
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At some level, whether you like it or not, you are committed to the sail with the potential buyer since you offered to take him out sailing. Buying or selling a boat without a broker requires a lot more trust between the parties than when there is a broker involved and so going back on your offer might instill some distrust that you don't want if this is a serious buyer.

On the other hand, if the person asked to go sailing before making an offer this is probably an inexperienced buyer making it especially difficult to make a deal without a broker since much of the traditional boat purchasing process sounds scary to someone who has only bought cars. In particular paying a 10% deposit along with your offer, and before doing a sea trial or survey seems counterintuitive if you have never bought a boat before.

Without an agreement in place this sail is not a 'sail test' or a 'Sea Trial' and you may still need to do another sea trial since the surveryor is not on board and many, if not most, surveyors prefer to be aboard for the sea trial.

I liked the suggestion that you at least talk price before you go sailing. If the person seems completely unrealistic, then you might then be in a possition to let the tire kicker know that you are not in the business of offering joy rides. When I sold my Laser 28 I had one potential buyer whose wife was scared that the boat might be to 'racey' for her, and so I took them out sailing before we had a contract. We actually agreed on a price out on the water, but they did not buy the boat due to a change in his job.

Jeff
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Old 08-21-2007
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Selling a boat without a broker can be a very time-consuming process. In many cases, the broker's fee is well worth paying, since it really depends on what your time is worth. As it has been pointed out, a good broker will act as a filter to get rid of the "lookee lookees" and people looking for a free afternoon of sailing. You might want to ask yourself, "What is my time worth?"... and then compare the answer to what using a broker would cost you.

As for the couple in question...even if they're not serious... it does appear that you've essentially agreed to take them out for a sail.
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Thanks for all the quick advice. I'm going to call the guy and try to get a read on how serious he is about the purchase. If he sounds legit, I guess I'll take him out and see where things go. I have talked to a couple of brokers, but none seemed all that enthusiastic about trying to sell her for me. My boat is a 1982 35' foot C&C Landfall and I'm asking $35K, which I believe is a reasonable price. She's in great condition with many quality upgrades. I guess most brokers like to sell newer boats? Or boats that have higher asking prices? I don't know, but I will repost after I speak with the buyer. Thanks again.
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Old 08-21-2007
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take the guy out i bought my boat with out a broker and we went out i knew his price after we were out i bought the boat and slip and every thing in it it sailed well and was a good boat i dont think if they didnt like the price or the boat he would not waste his time for just a few minutes on the water
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Old 08-21-2007
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Perhaps you'll get 30k for the boat, which equates to a 3k fee to a broker. The buyer's down payment would normally be held in the broker's escrow account (you'll never see it again - it's his fee).

If you can sell it yourself - that's worth a try. But, I see the 10% broker's fee as money well spent.
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We went for a "test" ride on one boat we were considering, and had one lined up for another, both w/o making an offer. Both private sales. But, in each case, the sail was at the owner/seller's convenience and in each case we made it clear we were seriously interested. In the 1st case we went on a race. Worked out well for the seller, because our additional ballast actually allowed him to win the race . In the second case we begged-off on the sail well in advance of the date, as we decided we wanted something different, after all. That seller appreciated our honesty.

So I wouldn't say what you've agreed-to is unheard-of or, necessarily, unusual. But I can see how a seller could become inundated with tire-kickers and end-up spending an incredible amount of time taking people sailing.

In the end, we bought a boat we never sailed before we took possession of her. Good thing we like the way she sails, eh?

Jim
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