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We offered 20% below asking price.
Good luck!! I hope you offered what your research suggests the boat is worth, or a tad less to allow for the owner to satisfy themselves they got you up a bit. A generic discount to asking isn't the way to go. You could piss off an owner that thought they offered her at a sell now price, or get ripped off, if offered at a test the very top of the market price.
 

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I'd negotiate with the seller for a price reduction to cover at least part of the cost of installing an onboard AC unit
One can certainly tell the seller their boat is missing something the buyer really wants, to establish bargaining position. That makes the seller realize they are starting a bit behind. However, no seller is going to underwrite your upgrade, unless most comparable boats have it, or it's being offered with the upgrade, which turn out doesn't work. I'm not sure how many 36 ft boats have built in air conditioning, as they rarely have room for a generator. Still, it's a pretty desirable upgrade for a Chessy summer.
 

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If you liked the boat, it's too bad the deal went down on paperwork. I had an OEM Service Manager (not the sales guy) tell me of all the deals he saw die, because of little things that he swore the parties wouldn't remember years later. Sometimes, just personalities.

The basics of the YBAA contract are that the Seller is fully obligated to sell the boat to you for the agreed upon price, no more, no less, without any encumbrances. The Buyer is not obligated to purchase, until after the Acceptance Date, which is typically a few weeks later. In the middle, the Buyer gets to do whatever was agreed to and that is typically a non-destructive survey at the Buyer's cost.

It's not bad thinking to stay focused on deals with a YBAA contract. They do cover other things, such as who is responsible for the boat before closing, disposition of the deposit and others. Something to consider in your next deal is that the Buyer holds absolutely all the cards, up until Acceptance. There is a good argument for holding back a long list of things, until then. First, to see whether you really want to buy the boat. You might also be in a better negotiating posture, because at that point you're telling the Seller you've surveyed and will be fully obligated under this new list of terms. Typically, the Buyer would also use the time between Contract and Acceptance to try to clear that list, rather than put things like insurance on it and make their offer look more tenuous. If, for example, the Buyer learned they could not obtain insurance, they could just reject the boat before Acceptance, even before Survey, if they chose to. At contract signing, all sorts of contingencies might only make a Seller feel the odds are against them.

One more negotiating tip is that the Buyer is never obligated to sign, so there is no reason to draw hard lines in the sand. You may even have a change of heart. I advise to always state what you would agree to, not what you won't agree to. If the Buyer won't agree, keep it cordial and let them know you're available, if they have a change of heart.

Good luck finding the next one.
 

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I'm well versed in contractual negotiations and it's been a very long time since I've been pulled over a barrel.
I'm certain no one here suggested otherwise. Are you saying the broker did? Trying not to let business get you personally defensive.

While I get the reference to real estate deals, boats are a very different thing and the deal are different. It is far more common to have a list of contingencies and smart legal language in a real estate deal than a boat deal. All boats are flawed in some way. Remarkably, even those directly from the factory. No one invests in boats, nor needs a boat. They resolve a personal want.

I've sold boats and airplanes, which are very similar. One of the early conversations I have with the buyer is to insure they realize they are making a deal for a used boat. We're not making it new at Acceptance. As Seller, I consider it my moral obligation to honestly represent what I know. Beyond what I know, it remains used.
 

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The two year lock up is pretty standard. Keeps Sellers from cutting the broker out who has spent time and money to market the listing. That doesn't mean one can't negotiated directly, just that the Broker must be paid. If you gave the Broker a paginated offer, they are obligated to present it, as is. If they don't do so, there is probably some form of discrimination occurring.

Probably too much trouble to try to resurrect. I'm not sure why we're splitting hairs between walked away and pushed away. There is always another great boat out there.
 
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