Good Idea to meet someone who puts in a low offer? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 09-25-2008
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Good Idea to meet someone who puts in a low offer?

I've got a Catalina 27 with diesel in very clean shape for sail with a broker for 17,000. The broker called me with an offer of 10,000 said he didn't even want to make the call but had to relay any offer.
Now I just ignored this offer completely way too low.
Now a month later I'm wondering.
1. Should I have countered at say 15,000
2. Offer to meet the guy at the boat and find out what makes him tick? I'm sure the broker would not like the idea but he has to let us meet right?

I've been a buyer and seller a lot of times for a lot of stuff. I could see me looking at this boat on the hard with varnish pealing and say, I'll offer 10 and see what happens. If the owner invited me aboard and we got talking and I liked the guy and started to see potential in the boat and, well you know, who knows how much i would pay.

Is this done?
Did I screw up?
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Old 09-26-2008
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Do you really want to encourage the guy?

Or did you want to sell at 15k ?

The bottomfeeder can always come back to the broker and say "OK, tell him twelve" if he's willing to move above ten.

If you're serious about 17, and the boat is worth 17, and he's offering 10...don't even encourage him, tell the broker "thank you, tell him I had a good laugh and suggested he could finance the rest."
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Old 09-26-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Do you really want to encourage the guy?

Or did you want to sell at 15k ?

The bottomfeeder can always come back to the broker and say "OK, tell him twelve" if he's willing to move above ten.

If you're serious about 17, and the boat is worth 17, and he's offering 10...don't even encourage him, tell the broker "thank you, tell him I had a good laugh and suggested he could finance the rest."
Well not serious about 17 but 15 yes. It's just that I don't trust brokers. I sold a boat a while back got a low low offer, talked to the prospect. He said well the boat didn't have a boom, sails etc, etc. I said yes it did that stuff was all in storage. Sold the boat for a good price.

Maybe I would offer 15 he would offer 12. I'd offer to do the varnish work which he hates to do and bumps up to 13. I remind him the yard bill is paid for the winter he bumps up to 14.
I say OK.
At least that is my fantasy. Too late now though.
Sometimes in an auction something is worth 10 starts at 1 and sells at 15.
I'm a bottom feeder too sometimes. I'm thinking that everyone needs to be encouraged to find out if they are a hard bottom or soft bottom.

I once bought a house for about 50g under market because the lady thought my son was cute. I'm doubting the popular wisdom and wonder what other peoples experience has been both as a buyer and seller.
Does the broker help or hurt the final deal making?

Last edited by davidpm; 09-26-2008 at 12:48 AM.
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Old 09-26-2008
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Next time you could ask the broker to tell the buyer your best price: "Hey, I am not willing to go any lower than 15K because the boat is pristine. Call me if you want to come look at it."

If he comes to look, you know he is prepare to pay more, and was just lowballing you.

Eric
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Old 09-26-2008
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As much as we love are boats

It is just another boat to a buyer and they have to be prepared for things that may go wrong
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Old 09-26-2008
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When a person makes a lowball offer, he's just testing you, to see how motivated you are to sell the boat. I wouldn't be insulted by it, because he's really not making a statement of what he thinks about your boat. He's just testing you. He's sending you a message, and his message is that he wants to buy the boat as cheaply as possible, and he wants you to get to your bottom line. If you immediately drop to $13K, then you are sending him the clear message that you're anxious to sell. That's not a good message to send him. If you don't respond at all, and stand on your asking price of $17K, then you're sending him a message that you're offended by his offer, and that you can't be moved one inch from your asking price. That's also a bad message to send, because he'll probably give up negotiating, and go look at someone else's boat. I would counter his lowball offer by lowering my price to $16K. That sends him the message that you won't sell at his lowball offer, but that you're willing to be reasonable. It might be enough to keep him in the game. As long as he's in the game, he's a potential buyer. It's only a matter of reaching an agreement on the terms.

It's all about sending the right messages that will keep both parties in the game.
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Old 09-26-2008
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The boat I bought was listed at 12K; I offered 8K sight unseen, but with contingencies (my own inspection, a survey and a sea trial) -- it was a long trip to see the boat, and I wanted to have a deal in place before making that trip. The broker said the seller wanted to meet in the middle at 10K, but the broker also confided that the seller would probably come down to 8K (but no lower) on "survey issues." The broker had already told me what some of those issues might be. My response was to stick to my 8K offer but to make the survey a buy or no buy decision point rather than the basis for further price negotiations. I think the seller really wanted to sell the boat, so he accepted this offer. The surveyor didn't find anything un-expected and I closed the deal that same day.

I haven't ever sold a boat, but my advice to any sellers would be to be realistic about the condition of your boat, be realistic about the state of the market, decide how badly you need or want to sell, decide how much effort you want to put into making your boat marketable (or would you rather go out and play golf?), determine what your bottom line is, set an appropriate asking price, and entertain any and all offers (assuming that you do really want to sell the boat).
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Old 09-26-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
I could see me looking at this boat on the hard with varnish pealing and say, I'll offer 10 and see what happens.
Quote:
I'd offer to do the varnish work which he hates to do and bumps up to 13.
It sounds like you're not getting much interest, and that's why you're wondering if you should have responded to the "lowball" offer.

From the point of view of a buyer, I'd look at comparable boats. Yachtworld right now shows 70 Catalina 27s for sale with brokers. Of those 9 are above $17,000 and 61 are below your price. Median asking price looks to be right at the $10,000 this fellow offered.

So, your boat is one of the most expensive C27s on the market. Is it worth that? Again, as a buyer, when I see peeling varnish, it screams (to me, anyway) "NEGLECTED BOAT!" If the owner has let the varnish get this bad, what else has he neglected is the first question in my mind. The second question is how much potential hidden expense is there in this boat, and the third question is why don't I just buy this other better-maintained C27 with the lower asking price?

There's lots and lots of fixer-upper sailboats out there. If that's what you're trying to market, and you've got the skills to convince someone to pay a premium price for a boat needing work, then entering a negotiation with this fellow might have been effective. On the other hand, given that it's people in the lower- to mid-range boat market hurting the most with the current economy, there just may not be many potential buyers with lots of money to spend on an older boat that needs work.

It sounds like you're willing to redo the varnish. So why not do it? The vast majority of sailboat buyers can be scared away by first impression cosmetics. The ones who realize its just cosmetic issues are the ones who know they can get the same boat for a lot less money somewhere else.

Good luck,

Tim
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Old 09-26-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gramp34 View Post
It sounds like you're willing to redo the varnish. So why not do it? The vast majority of sailboat buyers can be scared away by first impression cosmetics. The ones who realize its just cosmetic issues are the ones who know they can get the same boat for a lot less money somewhere else.

Good luck,

Tim
That's why there are so many 'dealer' stories out, most people buy on looks assuming if it looks good it'll be dependable.

If your boat doesn't look like a $17000 dollar boat, you'll not have many interested in it. I've bought a lot boats at prices ranging from $500 to $2000 that could have gone for a whole lot more if the seller had wanted to go through and clean them up or do a little routine maintenance prior to the listing. I've also seen a lot of $2000 dollar boats go for 5000 or more because they looked great.

If there is a defect that draws the eye, no matter how minor most people will make a snap judgement right there.
A while ago I had a boat for sale for several months, lots of people looked but no buyers. Boat was in great shape, looked good sailed perfectly, with nice sails and equipment. After stepping back and looking at it the only thing I could see wrong was that the trailer had a realy ugly junk box mounted on the tongue and a few rusty spots in the paint, took the box off, put all the junk in a locker, touched up the trailer paint and sold the boat two days later for my full asking price.

Ken
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Old 09-26-2008
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If he's offering you 60% he's probably a kook. 10% should be about expected (but some won't budge on that - especially if it is recently listed). 15% or 20% would be a low "what the heck" offer or if it has been on the market for more than six months. 30% low would be a test . . . unless the initial listing was a pipe dream and ususlly, if it is through a broker, they aren't far above "book".

When I lowball I have ammunition - i.e. the NADA listing for that year & model, a sampling from Soundings and yachtworld.com or other source of listings for that model, etc. And then a specific list of why THAT boat is getting the low shot (original sails, damaged wood or fittings, wear & tear beyond normal, ugly cushion pattern, pea-green Formica cabinet facings, whatever).

And the sensible offer usually comes with a provision to be contingent on a clean survey. I've stuck my check back in my pocket and walked away from one due to a failed test on the diesel that was "the last straw" as they say on an already suspect "project" sailboat. Usually it's small stuff - and these are used boats.
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