I have recently found some directives on trading yachts through a broker or a brokerage firm and I have been surprised to notice that all the “protection” a broker can offer is concentrated on the seller. The broker advertises certain boats in the media, the broker takes care for the boat to have all the documents in order, the broker organizes the eventually repairs or refurbishes the boat, the broker assists with this and that, etc..
The buyer, the client, will be the one to be persuaded to spend his money for a boat chosen by a broker. If the buyer wants to be certain of the boat’s security, he has to pay himself a surveyor. Sometimes the broker will recommend the surveying firm as well. I felt sorry for the presumptive client, because he’s so easy to be duped.
Let’s consider the reasons a boat owner wants to sell. A rare reason is that he is changing the boat as he is changing his car, he wants a newer model. I said it is rare, because actually, by selling a boat as a second hand, one loses more than with the car. Sometimes the car dealer takes your used car back and delivers a new one, for a small difference, usually less than 20%, insurances included.
With a boat is different. Maybe for some people it doesn’t matter a lot, if they have the whim to buy a newer yacht and they have the deeds to do it, they will proceed, but I doubt that they will spend any cent foolishly, at the grace of a crooked broker.
The general reason a boat is sold, is because the owner is broke and needs money to run. Where to run, is not our business, but usually abroad or in the country. He’s not going to sell cheaper than expected, but he can be squeezed by the broker in the same way as he does with the buyer. Usually, the recent “monetary crisis” victim (the future ex-yacht owner), doesn’t want to spend anything. He doesn’t want to pay any debts he certainly has and if he is stupid enough, is not at all concerned about preparing the boat for sale. He doesn’t want to sign a listing agreement with the broker, he expects the broker to do all the advertising on his own and to squeeze the commission from the client, as this one is a pheasant of some sort.
Another category of people who sells is divorcing couples. When they can’t buy each other out, they sell the property. It is not easy for the broker because they want it done quickly and in some sort of advantage (a little bit over the normal limits), which is hard, but not impossible. They are also not willing to sign any agreement with the broker; the female and the male own equally the boat, but they are hardly speaking, and usually it’s very difficult to make them to sign anything. As a broker, you are the salesman, not the owner, so you have to haggle for the price with two parties instead of one.
I met people who wanted to enter the exotic category of live-aboard population, and they were selling property to buy a boat and make some reserves. Nice guys, I openly admire them because a boat is a mobile house. They have the opportunity to travel the world in the same time.
I can say that is easier to deal with the buyer than it is with the seller. If the seller accepts to use a broker to intermediate, he is convinced that the broker is going to cheat him. I don’t agree. It is normal for a broker to make something more from the deal, that is his reason, the broker is like a lawyer, he has to be paid for his services. Many so called brokers, consider life as being “hard”. “It’s hard to sell a boat, it’s hard to find clients…” they say. They are right. Selling boats, or selling in general is not a trade for everybody. If you devise a method to find clients, you sell.
I advise any yacht owner who wants to sell his boat, to do it on his own, to advertise his boat on the specialized media, printed and digital, to learn what authorities he is in need to please, which notary or lawyer to use, etc. The broker doesn’t cheat you, but he is going to do some money on top, that’s for sure. You don’t need a broker. You want to sell your boat, learn how to do it and sell it.
It is upon you to choose!
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