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  #1  
Old 08-19-2008
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Question about brokers and private seller boats

Hi all,
I'm currently in the market for a new-to-me-boat, and I've been working with a local broker who came highly recommended, and has thus far been great. He's spent a lot of time working with me, showing me boats, communicating via email and on the phone, generally knowing that I'll be picky and wait for the "right" boat. No pressure whatsoever, and willing to go the extra mile. Assuming we find a boat that's listed by any brokerage, we'll be working with him on the purchase, and at least he'll get his cut (as he should).

My question is this--what happens on the off-chance that we stumble on a great boat that's for sale by owner, and we find it on our own? This hasn't happened (this is just hypothetical), but if it did, does it automatically mean I have to go about the purchase without my broker? Is there some sort of standard operating procedure in this instance?

My broker has put in a lot of time and effort. And even if I did find a boat from a private seller, it would likely be a make/model that I'd learned a lot about from him.

Is the choice either to buy a listed boat (and my broker gets his cut), or to buy from a private seller and my broker gets nothing? Or is there some way to work that part out? I'm not here to screw over people, particularly those who are genuinely helpful in a profession where many are not. Also not giving away free money, but I would feel a sense of obligation for this guy's time, effort and expertise thus far.

Again, this hasn't actually happened yet, but I'd like to know how this part works before even looking at a private seller boat (so far we've only looked at listed boats). Note that we don't have a legal agreement with our broker, but that's not my point, really.
Thanks,
J

Last edited by josrulz; 08-19-2008 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 08-19-2008
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"Your" broker gets a fee from the seller of a listed boat, if you buy it through him.

Make a deal with an owner directly and "your" broker is out completely, whether the seller has a listing broker to pay off is not your problem.

If you have a good relationship with the broker, I advise that you don't bother looking at any private sales, let the broker do the footwork and save you time and trouble...that's part of what he gets paid to do. I think a private sale is less likely to be a good deal, even if you think you are spending less money than you would have through a broker....
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Old 08-19-2008
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xort has a spectacular aura about xort has a spectacular aura about xort has a spectacular aura about
Nothing wrong with a private sale.
if you feel the need to 'reward' your broker, talk to him about it. Perhaps he can help negotiate the deal for you. You could sign a contract that says YOU will pay him X% (perhaps 2%) of the sale. If he is good, he might be able to get more than that off the selling price. he will have earned his commission.
If he is good, he has plenty of deals going on & can afford to miss out on yours. It's the nature of the game.

My cynical self says you are seeing him through rose colored glasses. I got jerked around by more than one 'great guy' broker. Remember, the broker does not work for the seller, the broker does not work for the buyer, the broker works for the BROKER!!!!!
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Old 08-19-2008
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I would be up front about it. If you stumble on one, tell the broker. If he is a good broker, my guess is that he will help you make the decision whether it makes him money or not. I once apologized to my realtor about bugging him for lots information when we looked into either moving or adding on and ended up adding on. I bought the house through him several years ago and have stayed in touch and asked lots of questions over the years but never bought anything else. He told me I never need to apologize; he keeps careful notes and knew that I had sent him four people and one of them was on his third house. The good brokers of any type are about creating relationships, not just making sales.
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Last edited by arbarnhart; 08-19-2008 at 08:17 AM.
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Old 08-19-2008
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Unfortunately, many boat brokers aren't in the same position as real estate brokers and don't really give a rat's ass about creating relationships...

I'd second SF's advice... if you've got a broker you trust...let him do the legwork and earn his commission.
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Old 08-19-2008
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"I think a private sale is less likely to be a good deal, even if you think you are spending less money than you would have through a broker...."

What exactly does that mean? As someone who has been actively trying to sell a boat, and having every broker under the sun try to list my boat using whatever lies they can, I can honestly say this statement couldn't be any farther from the truth.
A broker is for the following people:
1. Those who live too far from boats.
2. Those who don't have time to find boats.
3. Those who don't possess a good working knowledge of boats.
A broker's goal is to sell you a boat and make money, that's it. No different than a realtor, car, horse or shoe salesman. If you want a 'relationship', go to Eharmony.com. If you're not able to do this yourself, then you should use the services of a broker. But getting back to the original question, NO, you don't need your broker to find out about a boat you found yourself, unless, of course, you meet the above requirements. And with the internet, you should be able to find out all the information you need about any boat you may consider. In fact, you can probably find every boat your broker showed you on your own anyway if you have the time(2.)

Sorry for the partial rant. But with each passing week, I'm contacted by one unscrupulous(?) broker after another. They call with promises of a buyer just dying to buy my boat, that is, only after I sign their listing agreement. Only to find out it was some ploy to get me to sign and there really was no buyer waiting. After trying to deal with brokers during my 25 years of boating, I learned early on that I am just as qualified as they in locating a boat suitable for me. And again, today, with the internet, it's so much easier then ever before.
Good luck on your boat search whichever way you go.

Scott
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rewarding broker

I personally wouldn't be too concerned about not using the broker if you found a boat for private sale unless the broker is the one to point out the boat.

Of course you do have another option, buy the boat privately, don't involve your broker, but "tip" him for his help. The tip can be money, gift cards, or recommend him to other potential boat buyers, or any combination there of.
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Old 08-19-2008
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Brokers often have info about boats just coming on to the market or those going to be listed after the season so IF you have a good one and they are looking out for a boat for you, that can be an advantage.

But...if you are a buyer...you owe a broker nothing if you find a FSBO boat on your own. If he has been a good broker...remember him when it is time to list your boat for sale and recommend him to others. That is the extent of your obligation.

I agree that non broker boats once you get past the low 30 foot range can be not such a bargain. Everyone tries to sell without paying the 10% at first...but after a while without selling...keeping on trying privately can reflect:
1. An unrealistic view of the boats real market value.
2. A cheapness of mind which may also be reflected in the maintenance of the boat.
3. A contrary mindset that will make dealing with the owner a real pain in the butt.
Of course none of the above has to be true and you could find the one little old lady with the pristine boat that has gotten too old to sell it and is offering it for 50% of real market value to a good owner.
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Old 08-19-2008
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It really depends...if you're on the buying side or the selling side... the boat buyer is probably helped by a good broker, as is the seller. A bad broker is more of a problem for the seller than the buyer in some ways.

What you're basing your rant on is the selling side...and may or may not have any real relevance to the buying side experience.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Schuckerman View Post
"I think a private sale is less likely to be a good deal, even if you think you are spending less money than you would have through a broker...."

What exactly does that mean? As someone who has been actively trying to sell a boat, and having every broker under the sun try to list my boat using whatever lies they can, I can honestly say this statement couldn't be any farther from the truth.
A broker is for the following people:
1. Those who live too far from boats.
2. Those who don't have time to find boats.
3. Those who don't possess a good working knowledge of boats.
A broker's goal is to sell you a boat and make money, that's it. No different than a realtor, car, horse or shoe salesman. If you want a 'relationship', go to Eharmony.com. If you're not able to do this yourself, then you should use the services of a broker. But getting back to the original question, NO, you don't need your broker to find out about a boat you found yourself, unless, of course, you meet the above requirements. And with the internet, you should be able to find out all the information you need about any boat you may consider. In fact, you can probably find every boat your broker showed you on your own anyway if you have the time(2.)

Sorry for the partial rant. But with each passing week, I'm contacted by one unscrupulous(?) broker after another. They call with promises of a buyer just dying to buy my boat, that is, only after I sign their listing agreement. Only to find out it was some ploy to get me to sign and there really was no buyer waiting. After trying to deal with brokers during my 25 years of boating, I learned early on that I am just as qualified as they in locating a boat suitable for me. And again, today, with the internet, it's so much easier then ever before.
Good luck on your boat search whichever way you go.

Scott
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #10  
Old 08-19-2008
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Thanks for all the info, everyone. It's as I suspected, that buying from a private seller means my broker is out, unless I work out a specific arrangement with him (would be up to me).

Listen, I am keeping my eyes wide open about the broker (he's not my new "best friend", and I know he works for HIMSELF), but he has shown himself to be a hard worker, intent on finding me the right boat--even recommending against boats that would have made him more $ because they would not fit my needs.

Note that I do live close to the water, and I am able to evaluate boats without a broker. But most of the good boats are indeed listed with a broker already, so I might as well have my own broker in my local area who is familiar with the process and will get his cut from the seller. It's free help, so long as I understand he gets paid by selling (and I DO understand this).

So while I remain open-eyed and cautious, I'd much rather work with him than a listing broker. I'm not actively looking at boats from private sellers, but at least now I know what would happen if I happened on good one.

Thanks again for all the info...
-Josrulz

Last edited by josrulz; 08-19-2008 at 01:09 PM.
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