Craigslist(private seller) Vs. Broker
As I search far and wide for the "Perfect Boat" for me. (I'm looking for a Catalina 30 1988-1994). I look at all the local classifieds including Craigslist. I have also gone to see a couple of Brokers. My basic question is should a novice boat buyer like myself limit my dealings with a Broker? What are the advantages/disadvanteges of dealing with Brokers or buying a boat from a private seller.
As always, any sage advice is greatly appreciated
“Who is staring at the sea is already sailing a little.”
Just have a surveyor do a survey of the boat before you put the bucks down...doesn't matter from what source you buy from. Brokers are sales people - people hocking boats they need to get rid are sales people - the boat and whether it is worth your money - comes from a report from a surveyor. BoatUs.com will have a list of accredited surveyors in your area.
boat inspection trip tip sticky...
If you haven't already, you might have a look at the sticky posted by sailingdog:
Obviously finding the right boat is your intent, so whether you go with a private sale or broker in the end doesn't make a huge amount of difference (IMHO). There are advantages and disadvantages with each. And neither private seller nor broker has a more vested interest in your choice of a boat than you do. Both mostly just want to sell a boat. So, as with any major purchase, being an informed consumer is what is paramount. The aforementioned link gives you a good basis to go out and "kick the tires," so to speak. If you are not comfortable going out alone then, armed with a printout of the tips listed, find someone (who would be helpful) to go out and look at some boats with you. You might even practice by looking at some boats you aren't necessarily interested in just to get a feel for looking at boats and what to look for. In any case you will be able to weed out any definite no's when you do decide to look seriously. You are going to want to hire a good surveyor when you do think you have found "THE" boat, so it isn't as if you will be left to rely on your own limited experience that is primarily based on a printed off list of tips anyway. Also, this proposed exercise will be helpful when you do have a surveyor look over the boat in that you will have a better idea of what they are talking about should they find any issues that need to be addressed.
Best of luck in your search.
Yeah... do what he says... :)
As a novice buyer I would think you would benefit greatly from working with a broker. Individual boats have a lot of peculiarities, no two are identical - they will differ in maintenance status and in equipment. There is a lot to learn about boats - after almost 40 years of ownership, I'm still learning - a broker can bring his/her expertise to your purchase so you come out far ahead of where you could get on your own.
Find someone who has been in business for a long time, has a list of quality boats, and repeat customers..tell him what your interests and needs, and then listen to his advice, and let him do the footwork for you. He will be able to find and present you a number of good examples, and advise you on the whole offer and purchase process. Don't expect you'll just buy one of his listings - he should search the region or country for what will fit you best, and be a good buy.
A good broker will bend over backwards to see you get a good buy...his interest is not just to make this sale to you, but to begin a lifelong relationship. You buy a 30' through him, someday you will want to sell it and buy a 36', then sell it and buy a 44', then sell it and go back to a 30'. Those purchases and sales all represent future business for the broker if he does a good job for you on your first boat. It'll take you a few years with the boat before you know whether it was a good buy.
I know the reluctance about using a broker - he gets a fee from the sale - so sit must be more expensive. Will you save money if you buy privately? Ignoring the personal time and effort you may put in looking at junk...probably not - IMHO a novice (or experienced) buyer is more likely to overpay for what they get, than if they purchase via a broker. The most expensive boat is the one that seems a steal, priced under the market, so much for so little...should make you wonder what the seller knows that you do not!
A good broker, like a good real estate agent, can make the process and complexities of the purchase significantly easier; and help you avoid some very costly mistakes.
A BAD broker, like a BAD real estate agent, can cause you some serious damage if you are not diligent and informed.
I know this may seem obvious; but a LOT of people forget who the broker/real estate gent works for! If that is kept in mind at all times, and the agent doesn't creep you out; a broker can be a very good thing.
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