WHY USE A PROFESSIONAL YACHT BROKER?
Boat transactions usually involve large financial investments and, in Ontario, our data is showing that they are currently averaging around $70,000 CDN for a pre-owned boat. We are definitely finding that the average selling price is on the rise and more and more frequently exceeding $100,000 CDN in value and, of course, in some instances can run even more for higher-end yachts. Very few people consider purchasing or selling a home without the help of a real estate broker and yet many people have a tendency to avoid dealing with a professional Yacht Broker. Considering the small upside cost and the large downside risk, it truly may not be prudent to consider purchasing or selling a boat without the professional assistance of a qualified Yacht Broker.
But if you are still not convinced of the value of a professional Yacht Broker, here are a dozen or so more reasons to consider using one.
WHEN BUYING A BOAT
Professional Yacht Brokers have resources available to them that most boat buyers do not have. Their access to electronic multiple listing services can save you time in narrowing the field of boats that meet your requirements. A broker's participation in professional yacht brokerage associations also provides the connections necessary to find those boats that are not yet on the market or that are not being actively marketed by their owners.
A Yacht Broker can assist in the selection process by helping you to clearly define your boating requirements and by providing objective information needed to evaluate each yacht. Not all boats and boat manufacturers are created equal. Sometimes it is necessary to have that more objective point of view. With the knowledge and experience that a Yacht Broker has, they can quite often help to guide you through the known problems that some boat have historically had.
A Yacht Broker with integrity will be honest about pre-owned boats. If there is something wrong with a boat, they will inform you. They will investigate other used boats for you, and help determine which boats are worth visiting or considering. They will be able to speak to other brokers about their listings asking the right questions, and find out information that you would not likely get on your own. They will have more access to information than you will, thus making the search process easier and faster.
Once that potential used boat is located, what is a good and fair price to pay? Using data that may be available only to Yacht Brokers, they can give you the prices of similar used boats bought in recent months. Remember, a boat is only worth what you are willing to pay and the seller is willing to take. Most importantly, a Yacht Broker can guide you in making an offer that will allow you and the seller to negotiate to a satisfactory selling price.
A Yacht Broker will write purchase contracts that specify each step in the buying process; the length of time for the seller to accept the offer, the date by which the buyer will either accept or reject the used boat, any specific conditions that the offer is contingent upon, and the anticipated closing date. The contract will also specify the buyer getting his or her deposit back if there is a problem with the boat.
A Yacht Broker can help in the negotiation phase of the project. There are a number of negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession, point of delivery and often the inclusion or exclusion of repairs and furnishings or equipment. There will normally be negotiations associated with every step and often it is good to have an objective, experienced broker to help sort it all out, to prepare a purchase agreement and to manage the deposit being held in trust.
A Yacht Broker can provide local information on different yacht services, such as, engine repair, dockage, and inspection services.
An experienced and professional Yacht Broker will advise you throughout the due diligence process of evaluating the chosen yacht. Recommending the extent of the survey to be used in the inspection, both structurally and mechanically, and helping to identify the most qualified individuals to conduct the surveys are two key functions of a knowledgeable and experienced broker during this phase.
The Yacht Broker can assist in yet another step in the due diligence process, making sure that the title to the yacht is clear. Title indicates ownership of the yacht and can be mired in a confusing status of past owners or rights of access. If the yacht is a foreign-flagged yacht, set up as a corporation, or existing under any number of other special circumstances, the services of a professional yacht broker will become even more valuable. Any existing ship’s mortgages are paid in full before you take possession. In addition, documentations are transferred and Bills of Sales are prepared. When working with a Yacht Broker, you will receive the necessary legal documentation identifying the used boat as yours. Buying a used boat from an individual can be hazardous if these checks are not made.
A Yacht Broker can help you understand different financing options and aid in determination of actual buying power. Given some basic information about available savings, income and current debt, the broker can refer you to the lenders best qualified to provide the necessary service.
A Yacht Broker will guide you through the closing process and make sure everything flows together smoothly.
WHEN SELLING YOUR BOAT
A Yacht Broker is obligated to get maximum exposure to each and every Central Agency Listing. Successful marketing strategies and effective advertising to the public are critical factors. Knowing which Internet sites do the best jobs, have the best traffic patterns and yield the best results is paramount in selling your boat quickly. A knowledgeable Yacht Broker will know where best to place the ads that advertise your boat being for sale. Through worldwide Multiple Listing Services and other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for other yacht brokers, or personal contacts, a Yacht Broker has the tools to maximize exposure for your yacht. Responses to advertising are prescreened so that only qualified prospects are shown through your boat. You, the seller, can be free of concern about the safety of your property as a Yacht Broker accompanies prospects during this preview process and beyond.
During the selling process, a Yacht Broker can give you up-to-date information on what is happening in the marketplace including price, financing, terms and conditions of competing yachts. Often, a Yacht Broker can recommend repairs or cosmetic work that will significantly enhance the salability of your yacht. These are key factors in getting your yacht sold at the best price, quickly and with minimum hassle.
A Yacht Broker can help you objectively evaluate every buyer's proposal without compromising your marketing position. This initial agreement is only the beginning of a process of appraisals, inspections and financing -- a lot of possible pitfalls. A Yacht Broker can help you write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process.
A Yacht Broker can help close the sale of your yacht. Between the initial sales agreement and closing (or settlement), questions may arise. For example, unexpected repairs are required to obtain financing or a cloud in the title is discovered. The required paperwork can be overwhelming for most sellers. A Yacht Broker is the best person to objectively help you resolve these issues and move the transaction to a successful completion.
CHOOSE YOUR BROKER CAREFULLY
Most yacht brokers are very responsible and treat their customers accordingly. There are horror stories from customers about their dealings with less than professional yacht brokers. Unfortunately, as in any business, some brokers are out for a quick buck and could seem to care less about you as a customer. They don’t return phone calls or emails, don’t seem to know much about used boats and don’t seemingly show up to work until lunch. At times, one can wonder how they have ANY customers at all.
There are professional organizations in North America such as the Certified Professional Yacht Brokers and the Boating Ontario Brokers that require their members to have a required amount of experience in the field, write certification exams, conform their behaviour to a strict Code of Ethics and maintain an on-going level of knowledge for re-certification.
Be sure that your chosen broker is very knowledgeable about the used boat you think you want to buy or the one that you want to sell. Do bit of research to determine the character of the person you are dealing with. Don’t be afraid to ask for references and choose your broker carefully.
SUBMITTED BY: Grant and Pat Bowlby, Kingston area brokers with Harris & Ellis Yachts