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Author Topic: Buying a boat from a broker  (Read 914 times)

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Buying a boat from a broker
« on: June 01, 2021, 06:49:01 AM »

Can someone lead me through some key points in buying a boat through a broker?

Does one call, discuss the boat and make an offer contingent upon financing, purchaser inspection, survey and sea trial?

Does one do that after purchaser inspection?

I would like a brief tutorial before I stumble forward.

Thank you,



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Re: Buying a boat from a broker
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2021, 10:51:21 AM »

The process depends somewhat where the boat is.  Some states (very few) have regulations on boat brokering (like for real estate brokers, form of sale contract, etc.)  It also varies whether the boat is local or remote (and how remote.)

But *typically* one would discuss the boat w/ the broker (in person if local possibly while tire-kicking to see what's available, and get the viewing at the same time) or during a phone call and arrange a viewing date/time (NOT a sea trial.)  If serious and local, do not hesitate on a second viewing -- don't be intimidated by a broker (some can be REAL aholes.)  Then make an offer after the viewing and after whatever homework you do on the model, particular boat, etc.  The brokerage will have a standard contract (offer) form (although some use their own form) that will contain contingencies like an acceptable survey, acceptable sea trial, etc. 
See the attached example contract (personal info redacted.)

The buyer may ask the broker to add a contingency (unless state brokering regulations prevent it) Say, things like "Buyer waives survey in favor of a personal inspection by the Buyer," or "Subject to seller cleaning out the filthy bilge," or "Seller purchasing a new shore power cord before closing," or "Seller replacing worn cutlass bearing."  But be cautious, a seller who is not desperate may be very put off by petty a$$, penny ante type contingencies (this happened to me -- a buyer in NY wanted some really stupid things done on a Catalina 42 in MD that she REALLY wanted to buy -- the seller said "pound salt" and went to the next buyer.  I should have tried to talk her out of them before making the offer but didn't.)  Then there is the dickering before after the survey or sea trial. Otherwise, buyers just love to take free boat rides w/o putting any skin in the game (10% deposit.)  Some (very few) owners will do a sea trial before an offer (say they sail every day and don't mind you tagging along.)  Depending on the parties and personalities it may connect, or it may blow up.  Brokers will most often discourage this but sometimes it works out.  I had a survey done but didn't sea trial my boat -- I already had sailed a Catalina.  There's different ways of doing it depending on how comfortable a buyer feels.

I always say on a remote boat dicker what you can up front and get the purchase down to your comfort range before a viewing or sea trial, or survey -- then it can ONLY go lower based on what you find.  I insist that the owner allow or provide pics of EVERY single defect or deficiency for the listing -- it's going to come out in the end anyway so there's no point in wasting the broker's or buyer's time.  The example was a split brokering (NY/TX) on a remote boat (TX) where the seller (TX) was very motivated and we discussed the seller's bottom line before the seller (NY) made an offer.  It was before the viewing because (1) the boat was too remote to make a few trips, and (2) he KNEW that was the boat the couple wanted and the broker was very good and described to me the very few things that were in question.  The haul out and personal inspection revealed a few things and the motivated seller (the boat had been for sale for 3-4 years) gave a few bucks to make the sale.  The survey could be a short haul and survey, or an in-water survey followed by a haul/hull inspection.  In one case I had the seller do a pre-survey and a buyer trusted that and just did a hull inspection himself on a short haul after the acceptable sea trial.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2021, 10:52:58 AM by KWKloeber »
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Re: Buying a boat from a broker
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2021, 06:50:20 PM »


When we bought our boat.  We made an offer and made it conditional to a survey made by a prfessional surveyor that we would choose.
And if you can, get an amount kept in an escrow account by the broker until you get property of the boat.   
For our experience, we bought the boat far from our home,   we went to check the boat and it was to our needs.
Made an offer and we agreed to a price.   I went back for the survey.  And came as a good boat.
Arrange for the boat to be transported by truck close to home.  To find out that the previous owner went back on the boat and remove equipments.  Such as the VHF which was a brand new with remote mic at helm.
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