We have advertised with Boatsearch.com since November and have had great results. We now have someone who has signed an agreement to purchase our boat, and we are currently sorting out the details of payment. He is talking about escrow accounts and we are a little nervous about this. Where would we get more information on how would this work?
Jon Shattuck responds:
Thanks for your question. Even with an experienced broker involved and a well-stipulated purchase agreement, escrow accounts can get sticky. And they always prompt a lot of questions. How much? Why? What's involved? What triggers their release? What is the proper procedure if something goes awry, or you and the other party do not see eye to eye?
As you know, escrow funds are monies held by a third party until certain aspects of a transaction are satisfied as previously agreed upon by all parties. As a broker, my policy was never to release the funds held in escrow until the buyer and seller agreed to a settlement in writing. I was once forced to hold funds in escrow for a year. So, while I'd advise you not to agree to a purchase that closes more than 30 days down the road, I'd also see whether you can delay the closing until the escrow monies are no longer an issue. And if shipping is involved, my recommendation is that you don't set up an escrow situation. With boat buying, once the boat goes on the truck, the deal is done.
If making the sale work means putting the funds in escrow, I would recommend that you and the buyer agree upon a third party (perhaps a full-service documentation company) who can hold the funds in escrow for that period of time. But remember, every deal is different, so feel free to call me directly if you'd like more information (843-972-2090).