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Many people use New and Used Yachts for Sale - YachtWorld.com. Just remember that the offer price is almost always higher than the actual sold price. The condition and what is included can affect the price a great deal. A 20 year old Catalina 30 in decent condition can be 10,000 or less if worn with an atomic 4, and as much as 15 to 20,000 if it is in great shape with maybe a new engine, good sails and and a dink.
You will see huge differences in price.

If you confine your search to the same model and approximate age you will quickly get a feel for what is a reasonable price.
If you are looking at many different brands you have to look at a lot more boats to get that feel. A Sabre will always fetch more than a Catalina for example, age condition etc being about the same.

Once you get a little more serious and you "loose" some boats your broker can go on soldboats.com (you need an account) and tell you what the boat you looked at actually sold for. This is not gospel however as many brokers are known to fudge numbers and with the complexity of the trade-in's and fancy deals the actual reported price may not always be as it appears.

Whatever else you may be an expert at, cars, houses etc. this is the same in some ways but different enough to take significant time to be good at identifying a bargain.

No book or website will do more than just give you a very general idea of where the price should be.
The condition and gear varies so widely from boat to boat you have to get to the point where you can do the calculations yourself.
And this is just the objective easy stuff to figure for example.
Boat A: +5,000 for 3 year old engine -6,000 for beat sails
Boat B: +3,000 for 1 year old canvas and cushions -2,000 for hacked wiring

Then you could figure the subjective stuff like:
I call this stuff subjective because someone else may weight things differently depending on what they like, intended use and skills.

Boat A: shoal keel +2,000 PHRF above 180 -1,000
Boat B: Fractional Rig: +1,000 Trashed interior +4,000

The plus 4,000 for the trashed interior is because the bad interior is reflected in the price. For me since I'm going to cruse with only two people I plan on making changes anyway to create more storage space. I'm a skilled wood worker so for me a boat with an interior that needs work is less of a problem than to most people.

This is just an example of a subjective calculation.

The bottom line however is that after all these calculations once you fall in love with a particular boat you will mangle the numbers until you convince yourself the boat is a great deal and the only question left is how to pay for it.
The heart usually wins over the head.
There are some tricks to try to overcome this problem but they are not 100% effective.:(
 

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Thanks for the informative reply, I have been looking for sometime now and could not believe the difference in prices it what seems to be comparable boats. These prices were much higher than the site that I was using to determine a base. I guess I was used to Kelley Blue Book for cars where there was not much that would change the base that much. I will give Yacht World a try and see if that will help to determine if the boat is priced reasonable or not to start with and go from there. Again thanks for the response.
 

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Ask your broker (or find one) to give you a printout of actual sale prices of similar boats, in similar condition in the general area you are shopping which is a far better indicator of market value. Yachtworld or Soldboats.com are the only realistic sources of this info.NADA and/or BUC values are typically under-priced although it varies and are generally considered as wholesale prices only.
 

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I guess I was used to Keley Blue Book for cars where there was not much that would change the base that much.
I had to learn the same lesson. Part of the difference is that many sailboats sold only dozens of hulls, the most popular models a few thousand over 20 years. Popular cars sell millions of the same model.
Cars are often used up after 10 years a sailboat is just starting to be "not new".
It is a rare car that you would drop 15,000 for an all-grip job or 5,000 for new cushions.

The bottom line is that sailboats are a unique market and follow their own rules.

I believe that one of the rules is that brokers significantly level out the pricing. I have had several discussions with a local broker with about 40 years experience and I think I have some understanding of how he thinks and how his business works.
Let's say you have a 1984 Catalina 30, diesel, average condition that he says he wants to list for 15,000.
If as the seller you get anxious and want to sell, there is a price, maybe 10,000 at which the broker will buy the boat from you himself. This means that if as a buyer if you offer $9,000 the broker will either not deliver the offer or shame the seller into not taking the offer or buy the boat himself.

How many people no matter how desperate will sell the boat if the broker delivers this speech.
"I'm telling you, you should get 15,000 for this boat. This thief is offering 9,000, I'm only telling you because I legally have to. If you are that desperate to sell I'll buy it from you for 8,500 with no commission so you will be $400 ahead. I know I'll sell it in a month and I doubt if you want me get triple my commission, but it's up to you."

Why do the brokers stand firm on the price. First, they have hundreds of boats to sell, they would like to sell yours but a boat is a boat.
Second, they don't want to poison the well. It is a small community. If people find out boats sell for 50% off that will be the new set point.
Even despite a desperate economy, boat prices are only slightly down not precipitously, like would be expected.

What does happen on occasion is someone gets into a beef with the local broker and takes the listing away. Now when you are dealing with the owner and all possible emotions are in play any price is possible.

The problem is that finding a FISBO (for sale by owner) that is a good boat, not junk, great price, the right boat and executing the details of an expensive transaction without the benefit of a broker with a seriously annoyed seller who knows he is giving his boat away can be a really big job and take months.

Brokers do an important job but getting you as a buyer a steal of a price is not one of them.

If my theory is correct, then there should not be very many sailnetters that will be able to report getting a great deal (My definition is 50% off comparable) from a broker. I'm interested in the exceptions. Perhaps a young desperate broker, my guy is old, established has money and is the top broker in the region.
 

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So how do you get a broker to work for the buyer?
Assuming the broker is not your blood relative it's not going to happen. Even if he is your blood relative it is very unlikely.

The broker works for his commission the commission is paid by the seller.
It depends what you mean "work for".

If money is no object and their is a specific boat you want you could theoretically offer the broker a few thousand extra to find your dream boat.
Then they would be "working for you" in one sense?

If your definition is to find your dream boat at the best possible price it's not likely to happen. It's not in the brokers best interest.

That being said every boat is an exception and so is every broker. Some, even many, are very, very nice guys.
You may find one that will really work for you in the sense of showing you a lot of boats and sharing some serious incite about what is good and bad about each boat.
You may even feel obligated, that is the plan, to buy your boat from him even if you find it elsewhere. Everyone deserves to earn a living.

Just be aware that he is paid a percentage by the seller no matter how nice and honorable he is. He has peers to face the next morning and reports to file with sold-boats.com. He is required to report low, low sale to a customer like you to sold boats.com. That same sale to himself he does not have to report.

I'm not against brokers. In fact when I retire I may consider it, it looks like a fun job. I'm just trying to explain the forces I believe are at work.

If it is your first boat buying a boat that is easily resalable from a broker is a good strategy. The broker can help you buy and sell and you will learn a lot.

Funny story:
I was walking the dock at a nearby marina last week and struck up a conversation with a fellow on a 28' classic plastic boat. He said the boat was for sale and invited me aboard. During the pitch he said he had bought the boat about 10 years ago and was lucky he got the boat. I asked him why and he said the broker loved the boat so much the broker was going to keep it for himself. I asked the brokers name but he didn't remember. Of course I had a pretty good idea who the broker was, even though there are at least a hundred brokers in this immediate area, as the story sounded very familiar.
I mentioned my brokers name and sure enough a hit.
To this day my new friend is convinced he was the luckiest guy in the world to steal this fine craft from the yacht broker who desperately wanted it for himself.
 

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These brokers sound suspiciously like realtors and I am not sure I like either one. This sounds like what a commission based sale will do for the market and it sounds like the broker is only working for himself. Like you say there are good and bad so you need to try to trust your instincts and hope you do not get it in the end. I guess the buyer beware statement holds true here so it is important to go into a deal with the most knowledge you can get from whatever source. You stated earlier that buying from a FISBO take much longer is that something that would need financing.
 

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That Dickerson thing was ridiculous. Supply is way greater than demand, so prices are going to go down. If/when demand is greater than supply, prices will go up. Individuals holding firm just means that those individuals won't sell their boats. The pool isn't being contaminated, it's accurately reflecting the current market.

Anyhow, lowball lowball lowball. The worst that can happen is they say no. Be a "bottom feeder" if you're buying a boat right now.
 

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Buyer's Broker

So how do you get a broker to work for the buyer?
Hi mm2712,

John Crosby of NEYB.com prides himself on going the extra mile for the buyer.

Give him a call at: 617-207-5433 and tell him I suggested you call.

Best regards,

Robin
 

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I have had a very different experience than Davidpm with regards to brokers. I have been involved in literally scores of boat deals, both with and without brokers. Most brokers will work both sides of the deal, meaning that they try to bring the parties to a a fair middle, typically getting the seller to take a little less than they had wanted and the buyer to pay a little more than they had hoped, but put a deal together.

I have never heard of a single deal where a broker offers to buy a boat at a low ball price, and the times that I have had low-ball offers the broker presented it pretty neutrally. I don't think most brokers care whether you accept a low-ball offer or not. They may not get as much of a commission, but they get their commission much faster if you accept a low-ball.

My experience with for-sale-by-owner deals is that most owners have an unrealistic expectation of what their boat is worth based on what they see as asking prices and thier prejudice that thier boat is bettter than the other boats out there. I have almost never seen a real bargain FSBO. In my boat buying experience, I have gotten my best deals when there was a broker involved acting as a 'neutral third party' helping the Seller to understand why what I was offering was a fair price.

By the same token, when I have sold boats, I have also had brokers work a low-ball offer up to a fair price by presenting my case to a buyer. That included a case where I had my boat for sale without a broker and I was selling the boat an asking price just above what I wanted out of the boat. A fellow came in with a low-ball offer which I rejected and countered with what I wanted out of the boat. The guy went ballistic on me accusing me of bargaining in bad faith and not wanting to ever sell the boat.

I later listed the boat with a broker, and the same guy bought the boat. He went to my broker, and started with the same low-ball offer, but with the help of the Broker, he showed him similar models that has sold recently and what they sold for, and showed him what a boat at his offer price looked like. I ended up selling the boat to that guy at a price equal to my original counter offer when I was a FSBO plus the broker's commission fee.

I think that the whole buyer broker thing is a load of hoey. If you go to a decent broker, he will work for his perceived client. If you are a buyer, he will work for you. If you are a seller he will work for you. Either way his goal will be to make a fair deal at a reasonable price and in a reasonable time. No matter who he works for he gets the same commission.

In the end, whether there is a broker involved or not, the key is to look at a lot of boats of a similar type and get a sense of what they look like condition, outfitting and asking-price-wise. Normally, boats are priced 15% to 20% over the average sales price to leave room for bargaining. These days there are some pretty unrealistic asking prices out there so that the purchase price may be 75% or less of the asking price.

Jeff
 

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That Dickerson thing was ridiculous. Supply is way greater than demand, so prices are going to go down. If/when demand is greater than supply, prices will go up. Individuals holding firm just means that those individuals won't sell their boats. The pool isn't being contaminated, it's accurately reflecting the current market.

Anyhow, lowball lowball lowball. The worst that can happen is they say no. Be a "bottom feeder" if you're buying a boat right now.
If and when the day comes I elect to sell my boat the ad will contain a line that reads "Lowballers not welcome"
I have been around buying and selling for many years and had my share of dealing with lowballers, those individuals looking for the "Killer Deal" always want something for nothing and think they are doing you a favour by making an offer. I refuse to do any kind of business with them, they are a waste of my time.
I will take the time to negotiate a fair price with someone who comes along with a fair offer that does not insult me. I will also explain all the modifications I have made, all the extra equipment I have added and any other relevant options/changes that impact the price. I will also offer a test sail and give the serious buyer time to decide and go over every inch of the boat with them. I will treat a serious buyer with the respect they deserve but I will have absolutely no respect for some "bottom feeder" looking to get something for nothing. I will simply tell the bottom feeder to take a hike, not interested.:rolleyes:
 

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I will treat a serious buyer with the respect they deserve but I will have absolutely no respect for some "bottom feeder" looking to get something for nothing. I will simply tell the bottom feeder to take a hike, not interested.:rolleyes:
That's what great about an open market. There is room for everything. Risk is a big factor. As a buyer the higher the risk the lower the offer. If you buy a new boat your risk it supposedly the lowest and the price is usually the highest.
If I was to look at a boat Kermie had for sale by the time he showed me everything and explained everything my perceived risk would be lower and the price therefor higher.
On the other hand a bank owned foreclosed boat presents a much higher risk and therefor lower price.

So bottom feeding may be warranted and paying top price may be warranted. It depends on the risk among several other things.
 

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I have had a very different experience than Davidpm with regards to brokers. I have been involved in literally scores of boat deals, both with and without brokers. Most brokers will work both sides of the deal, meaning that they try to bring the parties to a a fair middle, typically getting the seller to take a little less than they had wanted and the buyer to pay a little more than they had hoped, but put a deal together.
I'm not sure we are saying different things. Maybe saying the same thing in different ways.
I agree that the broker serves as a moderating influence and without them many deals would not get made.

But as you can see from the link I found at least some brokers have a concern about "poisoning the water".

Jeff has had way more experience with this than I have; my only warning to the OP is that as far as I can tell no boat broker will have a buyers interests as their only motivator. Just saying.:)


Also just as your brokers were successfull in making deals happen for you I'm sure it is evident that brokers are capable of discouraging a deal from happing if they think they should.
I've got nothing against brokers, in fact it looks like an interesting job, might give it a try myself in a few years.
 
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