When selecting a broker to assist you in buying or selling your boat, ask around for recommendations from other boaters. When you have narrowed down your choices, ask your candidate brokers why they like being a yacht broker. The answer should be because they enjoy helping people find their “perfect boat” (understanding that every boat is a compromise to some degree). Then ask the follow-up question: How do they go about doing this? The broker’s answer should be that they have experience with the type of boat you are considering, or the waters you intend to frequent for cruising, fishing, or whatever. In their answers, the broker must show that the client’s interests are first and foremost, with their ego and personal agenda stowed away out of sight.
Does the broker ever give their personal opinion? Yes, but only when asked and then with a full explanation of the rationale behind the opinion. The broker’s single objective is to ensure the client’s happiness without regard to the broker’s personal preferences. Customer satisfaction is not measured by how many boats are sold or the size of the commission but by the number of referrals generated from contacts made and the relationships fostered.
When looking for a boat, it helps to have a broker work closely with you. A broker acting as the buyer’s agent can assist in developing and refining your requirements for that “perfect boat.” Brokers can assist you in searching out that boat; they have access to resources and tools that the average buyer may not know about, and they can guide you through the purchase process. A broker representing the buyer can bring all of their expertise to bear on the process, often recommending things to check and alerting the buyer to potential issues before they become problems. The selling broker also appreciates the buyer’s agent because he can now deal with a professional familiar with the sales process, eliminating potential confusion or misunderstanding on the part of the buyers.
Using a broker as a buyer’s agent costs the buyer nothing. Upon closing, the seller pays commission to the listing broker and the listing broker splits the commission with the buyer’s agent. After all, there would have been no sale without the buyer.
This is the traditional role of the yacht broker. Selling your boat can be as simple as placing an ad in your local newspaper or on Craig’s List. But, as anyone who has done this will tell you, problems can arise almost immediately. You, as the owner, must be present to show the boat, usually on the potential buyer’s schedule. Then there are conditions to be met, deposits to be held, surveys and sea trials to be conducted, and lots of paperwork to be managed. The larger the boat, the more complex each of these steps becomes. For a rowboat, maybe it’s just as easy to run an ad, but for almost anything larger, the ease of retaining a broker is the wisest choice. And, if your boat is special, antique, or otherwise sought after, having a broker represent your boat is really helpful.
Brokerage commissions are normally ten percent of the selling price and are paid to the listing broker at closing. Brokers work hard for their commissions: They can help you get your boat ready for showing. They show your boat for you. They negotiate the price and the contract. They participate in the survey, mechanical inspection and sea trial. They manage the paperwork from start to finish, making sure that all applicable laws are followed so there are no problems later. And, they often split their commission with the buyer’s agent. Brokerage services are worth every penny, making the seller’s life much easier.
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