First Time Buyer Frustration.... - SailNet Community

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Old 07-07-2010
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First Time Buyer Frustration....

Is it just me...or is getting information out of brokers like pulling teeth?

I've been searching (mostly on Yachtworld) for possible boats and have e-mailed several brokers about their listings. Typically I've been asking if they can tell me the general condition of the boat, hours on the engine, electronics and sail inventories (if they haven't been listed), whether there is a current survey available...

A few people have been really good, sending me additional information and being very helpful. I must say though that they seem to be in the minority.

The most typical response I've got has been for them to send me a link to the listing I'm asking questions about... ...then telling me if I want more information to hire a surveyor.

The worst (IMO) guy responded by saying "if you're interested please submit an offer, subject to survey."

Am I nuts to think brokers should be more willing and able to share information? If I was paying someone a % to sell my boat I think I'd expect them to do a bit more.

I suppose the issue is that I'm looking to buy a relatively inexpensive "entry level" boat and the effort they feel like expending on me is proportional to their commission...which isn't going to be much compared to other boats they have listed!
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Old 07-07-2010
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If you're really interested, try a phone call. Most email inquiries are tire kicking or just BS. A phone call works (almost) every time.
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Old 07-07-2010
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many marinas have there own sales dept, and i've found the local guy to generally be helpful/honest. If there are marinas in your area, i would go meet the fellow/gal and spend a few hours looking around. esp. if you are looking on yachtworld for an inexpensive boat (i guess it depends on what that means to you), as the cost to ship could significantly add to your price if you find something 'inexpensive' but far away...
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Old 07-07-2010
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Thanks for the tips.

"Inexpensive" for me is <$20K. I've been looking in the Great Lakes and Northeast regions. The "plan" I had was to gather as much information as I can, if that looks good, take a trip to see it, then survey/offer.

Ideally I'd like to find something that I could sail back with and make a (1-2 week) vacation out of it.
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Old 07-07-2010
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i used to sail the beer can races out of belmont harbour in chicago, and would only say that if you are inexperienced, a Lake Michigan crossing is a daunting endeavor. if you are on the michigan or illinois side or WI for that matter, you might want to check out burns harbour/michigan city IN for marinas as well as new buffalo MI or any coastal community. if you find something not across the lake, you may be able to hug the coast and get her home safely in your timeframe
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Last edited by QuickMick; 07-07-2010 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 07-07-2010
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You might consider getting a knowledgeable broker to work for you. Doesn't cost extra since the fee comes out of the seller. A good broker will have contacts with selling brokers and be able to get info and separate the BS from what s/he is told. In the price range you are looking for you are not going to get a broker to travel too far to look at boats for you, but they can narrow down the looking a great deal.

The question becomes how do you identify a good broker to help you. Ask around and have a set of questions to ask several brokers before you commit.
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Old 07-07-2010
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Part of the problem is that you're looking at relatively inexpensive boats...and most brokers don't want to deal with you, since you're really not worth their time, at least in their eyes. A $17,000 might sell for as little as $12,000—which means their commission, often 10%, is only $1,200 or so... They'd rather spend their time chasing down someone on a $170,000 boat, since they'll make $12,000 or so for basically the same amount of effort.
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Old 07-08-2010
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SailingDog us right about most brokers not wanting to deal with the little guy. These brokers are stupid though. Most people move up in boat in a few years. It pays to be courteous, polite and helpful to everyone- even the little guy. Perhaps he's buying a 20,000 dollar boat just now but maybe he will move up to a boat with another zero soon. Its a small community and behavior- either good or bad will be noted.
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Old 07-08-2010
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Unfortunately, most brokers are looking for the best short-term return, rather than a longer term relationship. They have trouble thinking past the sale to possibly having a relationship and a repeat customer.

This is true of many businesses nowadays...and a big part of what is wrong with this country.
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Old 07-08-2010
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Dog is dead on with this...

the brokers are all going for the home run...failing to see that 10% of something is way better than 100% of nothing.

I went through this, and even on my last boat - with money in my pocket...the broker would give me half-axx directions or the owners phone number to "go look at some boats" and let him know when I found something I liked.

Along the way to this boat, I stopped at every marina along the way and if I saw something I liked, I asked, went aboard and dealt with the broker there to see it.

Get out, pack a lunch, bring a map, notepad and a camera, the wife/GF if she is up for an adventure and look at some boats. Forget the broker till you are ready to make an offer, and if the owner is there, let him know that you have tried to get to see the boat, but HIS broker is lazy.....or here we call them trifling...whether boat/car/house
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