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  #1  
Old 05-06-2008
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Boat buying -- How?

After years of chartering and going to boat shows without the checkbook it is time to start really looking. Now that I am not working any more it is either buy a boat or sit around the shredder with a stack of money. Spouse prefers the boat alternative. My questions are pretty basic at this point. We are not (currently) interested in buying new.

How is the best way to approach a search for a used boat? If we work with a broker, will they know where sellers have the specific models we might be looking for? Should we work with more than one broker or start with one?

Where can I get information on what used boats have sold for? Is there an equivalent of MLS to get comparables?

Thanks for any input.
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Old 05-06-2008
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I am a fan of working through a broker, most sales end up involving a broker, so you end up paying one whether you use his/her services yourself or not. A good broker can save you a lot of walking around time, looking at trashy boats or boats that don't meet your needs or expectations. See if you can get broker recommendations from recent boat buyers, walk the docks at a marina and ask owners if you don't know any. Meet with several of the recommended brokers, talk about what you are interested in, see how interested they are in helping you, then ask one to look for your boat.

A good broker should be able to identify those brands/models that will work for you...If he/she doesn't seem to attentive, or on the mark, move onto to the next broker, eventually you should find one you enjoy working with and trust. Don't trust too fully, remember the broker is the sellers agent, their loyalty is divided at least. The one you work with does have a vested interest in treating you well, or you will just move on...just remember how they get paid.

You never need to pay a broker directly, for anything, they will get a fee from the sale proceeds, if and when there is a sale..

PS - as to establishing value, there arer some guides like Used Boat Prices ‚€“ NADA Guides Boat values, Marine prices and Outboard Motor prices and brokers can review completed sales off New and Used Yachts for Sale - YachtWorld.com, the problem is there is a wide variance in boat values due to condition, upgrades, and equipment that the guides only sertve to get you into the ballpark of price. Each boat needs its own inspection to figure where it might fit on the wide value scale. My personal opinion: boats with comparably low asking prices for that model are more likely to be worth even less.
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Last edited by sailingfool; 05-06-2008 at 05:36 PM.
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Old 05-06-2008
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You mean a boat isn't a money shredder?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shawmac View Post
You mean a boat isn't a money shredder?
No, I view it as a shredder that floats (mostly). I guess I could also get a tire swing, have someone hose me down while I swing back and forth and then dry my clothes over a pile of burning bills.
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Old 05-06-2008
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Originally Posted by jbachman View Post
No, I view it as a shredder that floats (mostly). I guess I could also get a tire swing, have someone hose me down while I swing back and forth and then dry my clothes over a pile of burning bills.
Make sure you spend the first half of the weekend working on the tire swing and not actually swinging on it.

If you know what you want, I would consider working with a broker that you know and trust, as much as any broker can be trusted. Let him know what you want and send him on his way. The way the market is these days, they should be willing to go the extra mile. If you do not know what you want yet, avoid using your own broker for now as they may try to steer you in a direction that benefits them more than you.

As far as a boat MLS, yachtworld is pretty much it. If you want to find out the sold prices, you will have to get them from someone who has access to soldboats.com or whatever that site is called.
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Old 05-06-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingfool View Post
I am a fan of working through a broker, most sales end up involving a broker, so you end up paying one whether you use his/her services yourself or not. A good broker can save you a lot of walking around time, looking at trashy boats or boats that don't meet your needs or expectations. See if you can get broker recommendations from recent boat buyers, walk the docks at a marina and ask owners if you don't know any. Meet with several of the recommended brokers, talk about what you are interested in, see how interested they are in helping you, then ask one to look for your boat.

A good broker should be able to identify those brands/models that will work for you...If he/she doesn't seem to attentive, or on the mark, move onto to the next broker, eventually you should find one you enjoy working with and trust. Don't trust too fully, remember the broker is the sellers agent, their loyalty is divided at least. The one you work with does have a vested interest in treating you well, or you will just move on...just remember how they get paid.

You never need to pay a broker directly, for anything, they will get a fee from the sale proceeds, if and when there is a sale..

PS - as to establishing value, there arer some guides like Used Boat Prices ‚Äď NADA Guides Boat values, Marine prices and Outboard Motor prices and brokers can review completed sales off New and Used Yachts for Sale - YachtWorld.com, the problem is there is a wide variance in boat values due to condition, upgrades, and equipment that the guides only sertve to get you into the ballpark of price. Each boat needs its own inspection to figure where it might fit on the wide value scale. My personal opinion: boats with comparably low asking prices for that model are more likely to be worth even less.
An excellent post, SF, and exactly how I feel too.

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Old 05-07-2008
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After years of chartering and going to boat shows without the checkbook it is time to start really looking. Now that I am not working any more it is either buy a boat or sit around the shredder with a stack of money.
Congratulations. It is a very nice position to be in and I hope that you are enjoying it. While there are certainly some areas of commonality between shredding money and owning a boat, on the whole I think you'l find the boat the more pleasureable of the two.
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Spouse prefers the boat alternative.
You married well !
Quote:
My questions are pretty basic at this point. We are not (currently) interested in buying new.
Excellent decision. They just aren't building them like they used to and they're charging exorbitant prices for what they do build. Don't worry about asking basic questions. The only dumb question is one that remains unasked.

Quote:
How is the best way to approach a search for a used boat ?
Spend huge amounts of time on the internet reading everything that you can find about sailing. Read about the adventures that others have had and decide which of them sounds appealing and which (if any) scare the pants off you. Assess your goals realistically. Realise that if you want to head off around the world you're going to need to spend some time developing the skills and knowledge a circumnavigation requires. If you are planning on heading down to the Carib and spending your days lounging in utopian anchorages... well you need to learn a different set of skills to do that well.

While you are reading, you will note that certain brands and models of boat tend to be mentioned in connection with various types of sailing. Often, this is an indication that said boats are fairly well suited to the activities described.

So start by identifying the boats that do what you want to do. Then go out and look at as many of them as you possibly can. Contact owners, brokers, anyone who has a boat that might remotely interest you, and go look at it. Leave your chequebook at home. I am seriously suggesting that you view 50 or 75 boats in your area, in order to start developing a sense of what is out there and how much it costs. Don't feel that you are wasting someone's time. You are in the market for a boat and they have one they are trying to sell. Don't let them pressure you into anything. Conversely, if you have not interest in purchasing the boat after you look at it, tell the owner as soon as you reach that decision and (tactfully) tell them why, so that they have an opportunity to correct any shortcomings that you have identified if they should so choose.

Quote:
If we work with a broker, will they know where sellers have the specific models we might be looking for? Should we work with more than one broker or start with one?
I have heard that there are honest, decent brokers out there, and I suppose that there must be somewhere, but I have not encountered one. I have met honest folks who didn't have a clue about boats, and I have met knowledgeable slime balls, but I have yet to encounter someone who knew what they were talking about and was ethical. It is my opinion (and only my OPINION) that brokers are a fallback option employed by people who have been unable to sell their boat privately. I think people consent to pay a sales commission only after they feel that they have exhausted other possibilities.

Unlike realtors, I have not found that boat brokers educate themselves about the market, nor have I found them to be very eager to spend time and energy hunting down the boat I wanted.

If you are looking for a good boat, my suggestion would be to start with yacht club bulletin boards and owners' association websites. Boats are usually listed there first. Then read local buy / sell publications such as boat for sale. After those avenues have been exhausted, start contacting brokers. I think that ebay and craiglist are the last and least desireable places to search. Others may well differ.

Personally, I would not engage the services of a broker to act on my behalf if I was purchasing. I would deal with the broker who had been contracted to sell a boat that I was interested in. As with real estate, when there are two brokers involved the commission is split and there is less room or incentive for the listing broker to drop their fees in order to close the deal...

Quote:
Where can I get information on what used boats have sold for? Is there an equivalent of MLS to get comparables?
There is a service called BUCNET that may give you some idea, but I have found the values listed there to be low. Prices vary by region, general condition of the boat and desirability of the design. I think that if you were to list the various examples of a specific model listed on Yachtworld.com, discard the highest and lowest prices, average the remainder of their asking prices and finally deduct 25 percent, you'll get an idea of what a boat is worth on the market.

DON'T EVER BUY A BOAT WITHOUT HAVING IT SURVEYED !

Quote:
Thanks for any input.
You're welcome ! Good Luck ! Let us know what happens.

Last edited by Sailormann; 05-07-2008 at 12:37 AM.
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Old 05-07-2008
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Thanks for all the quick and thorough replies. Some great suggestions to get us started.

We do have a pretty good idea of what we are looking for. We have been chartering on the Chesapeake for over 20 years and finally retired to the area. We have a pretty good idea of what has worked and not worked. Our range will likely be 80-90% here on the bay with (possibly) an occasional excursion up the east coast. But for now we are focused on what will work for the 80-90%. We have a couple models in mind but open to others if we get new info.

Sounds like the first thing to do is start climbing on some boats and get an idea what is out there.

Thanks again.
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DON'T EVER BUY A BOAT WITHOUT HAVING IT SURVEYED ! (quote-sailorman)

This is the best advice on this page. And don't use a surveyor that the broker recommends; if you need to, ask some one here or search the SAMS/NAMS sites. Most brokers are good guys but they do have dollar signs in their eyes.
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Old 05-10-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbachman View Post
Sounds like the first thing to do is start climbing on some boats and get an idea what is out there.
Being in the process of finalizing the purchase of my first boat, I just wanted to chime in and say that (1) yes, start climbing aboard some boats - I would suggest even looking at a couple of boats that are just outside your price range if only to get a better overall picture of the value of what you finally decide on; (2) get a survey before you buy.

I was very close to purchasing a different boat until I got back a survey that revealed a couple of serious issues. It was disappointing at first, but I quickly realized that it was money well spent toward my used boat buying education.
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