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Old 11-04-2010
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Dealers Vs Private Sellers

So I am currently very active in looking for a sailboat. I have a few in mind at the moment but as I continue my search I am finding some options I did not see previous.
Some of the boats I am looking at online are listed as dealer boats, some are listed as private seller.
What I am wondering is how similar the two are to cars? In dealing with cars a dealer is sure to make it look pretty, pump up the price, and try to make as much $ as possible for them selves. However, a lot of the time buying from a dealer gives you some type of protection, whether it be in the form of warranties or something else.
I bought my car from a private seller because it was cheaper than buying the same make and model from a dealership. However, 6 months later when I needed a new timing belt and PCM, I was left paying out of pocket. Had I bought dealer, I would have most likely been covered under warranty.

So, what are your thoughts on dealers vs private sellers? What are the major differences? Pros/Cons? I know that an exact awnser is impossible to do all the variables, but please use your own experience and knowledge to help in as much as can be helped. Also, if you know any specific dealers with good reputations in or around FL, please feel free to list a link or two.
Thanks all
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Old 11-04-2010
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If your buying used there is NO consumer protection and as a matter of fact there really is NO consumer protection on a new boat compared to what you might get in the automotive world
with lemon laws and manufactures that have deep enough pockets to by back a bad car



I know up here that most of the brokers will sell anything that floats and while some are a bit more selctive its not much


I sold my J24 in the snow in December 2009 and 19 powerboat in June 2010 without issue other than a few tire kickers

The J24 sold at 100% of my carefully picked price the powerboat 500 less than asking both sold through free adds and sold fast becasue they were clean and everything worked
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Old 11-04-2010
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So then by nature would you stick your searches to private sellars when searching for used and brokers/dealers when searching for new/newer? (5 years or so)
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Old 11-04-2010
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Dealers Vs Private Sellers

Might want to consider yacht brokers as well which is a more likely situation for a used boat.

A dealer of new boats can also sell used boats that he owns via trade, auction, etc. Point is that he owns the boat. It is becoming more common for a dealer to “certify” some of his used inventory which would provide some warranty. I have seen this being done with larger power boat companies like MarineMax although not so much with sailboats.

A dealer may also provide brokerage services for boats that he does not own.

A yacht broker is more like a real estate broker. Someone who “brokers” a sale of something that he or his company does not own. No warranties here.
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Old 11-04-2010
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Originally Posted by trisstan87 View Post
So then by nature would you stick your searches to private sellars when searching for used and brokers/dealers when searching for new/newer? (5 years or so)
When you find the boat on the market you really want! Sometimes you'll find very good things on owners/class assoc. websites.
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Old 11-04-2010
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We purchased our previous boat by private sale and our current one by broker. Both experiences were very positive. We used Annapolis Yacht Sales and were very pleased with how they helped narrow our search and how they actually fought for us on the purchase. Keep in mind that a really good broker, while working for the seller, wants to make the sale. Thus, he will "guide" an unrealistic seller's price toward something reasonable, especially if there is a serious buyer involved.

Regarding peace of mind, others are correct when they say that used boats generally have nothing of the sort, whether purchased privately, through a broker, or new boat dealer. However, your comfort will come from a detailed survey. A surveyor, selected by the buyer (without influence from the seller or broker) will find the vast majority of warts on a boat. The survey will not be cheap and the buyer should resist the temptation to go with a cheap "Insurance Survey" and should opt for a "Purchase Survey". When the surveyor has completed the survey (including sea trial) you will have a great understanding of the boat. In our case, our surveyor rescued the sale when she found a structural defect that I missed.

My recommendation is to find the boat that fits your needs regardless of who's selling it. If it's brokered, don't sweat the difference in price. After a couple of years, it won't matter. In our case, we were neutral regarding seller. Our broker found us a boat that we never even saw in our searches. After narrowing our list to 3 boats, we looked at all 3 and bought the 2nd one. The point is that we knew what we wanted, limited the search, and then made a purchase. Broker was secondary; I really didn't care.

Good luck.
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Old 11-04-2010
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Originally Posted by trisstan87 View Post
So then by nature would you stick your searches to private sellars when searching for used and brokers/dealers when searching for new/newer? (5 years or so)
Yachtworld.com is the gold standard for boats of any age listed or offered for sale by dealer/brokers.

There are numerous FSBO sites also. Just google used sailboats for sale and have at it! Sometimes it is helpful to google what you are looking for such as C & C 36.

Don’t forget Craig’s List or even EBAY.
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Old 11-04-2010
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Personally I prefer buying from a private seller if buying anything but new. As long as you do your research and know how to look at a boat it seems like the best way to go.

I do know and like a few people at Annapolis Yacht Sales though, Dan Nardo is an honest broker I would recommend over there.
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Old 11-04-2010
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another point to consider is that a broker typically makes 10% on the transaction, which would probably increase your cost. frankly, i would think that a private seller who 'just loves his baby and hates to see her go' would be more biased then a reputable dealer/broker. brokers do have some rep to protect, and my guy has never told me anything untrue...along those lines i bought her from the sales dept where she is moored, so knowing i would be a customer moving forward (slip rent etc) may have helped the honesty cause--but now ive know this guy a while and he is the real deal in the honesty dept. probably just like anything.... some bad apples are out there no matter if you are buying a car watch stock annuity house gun insurance whatever... maybe ask for referances.

all be it on the purchase agreement it said in huge bold letters AS IS--NO WARRANTY EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED
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Old 11-04-2010
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When buying from a boat it is often not the condition of the boat that should worry you, rather the integrity of the seller or his agent. Genuinely bad boats are hard to hide but anyone can make a dodgy boat look pretty and hide the bad stuff from you.

If you're dealing with reputable and honest people you have a better chance.
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