By Jim Lodico
When it comes time to buy or sell a boat, it can be tempting to try going it alone. On the surface, buying or selling a boat by yourself may look like an easy way to save a few dollars on broker fees. However, when you dig into it, working with a broker as both a buyer and seller can save significant, unnecessary expense, and there are advantages that go way beyond the actual purchase or sale of a boat.
Here are five ways working with a yacht broker beats going it alone:
1. Brokers Know the Market
On average, a boat owner jumps into the market as a buyer, seller or both around once every five years. Yacht brokers live in the market. They know what’s selling and what isn’t. They know what buyers want and what is available. The have a solid command of supply and demand and most important, they know what people are currently paying for boats, how to evaluate a boat and how to set a proper price for a boat. This plays an important role in the process both when the seller lists their boat and when a buyer makes an offer.
2. Brokers Know How to Market Boats
Prepping a boat for the best possible sale takes more than hitting it with the power washer. A good yacht broker will go through an entire sales prep process with the seller. They talk to buyers every day and know what buyers want. As a result, a good broker can provide advice on what to repair and how to make the boat look its best. They also know where to spend the money when prepping for a sale.
According to Mike Titgemeyer, owner of Crusader Yacht Sales in Annapolis, “Something as simple as hiring a professional boat detailer can make a huge difference in the successful marketing of a boat. The seller spends some dollars on a proper detail, and short list of minor repairs and wham the boat is meeting the market’s expectations and sells quickly and for a better price.” A broker will know how to evaluate the boat and determine what it needs most to help it sell quickly at a fair market value.
Yacht Brokers also have a huge network of buyers and fellow brokers. Combine that with knowing where to market boats to get the best results. At a good yacht brokerage, brokers will meet regularly to discuss both their own listings, their buyers and the specific boats on their buyers’ radar. A good broker’s network extends beyond the brokerage to a regional and even a national level.
3. Brokers Know Where to Find Boats
The hunt for that perfect boat can quickly become all consuming. A good broker not only knows where to find specific boats but often knows owners who are thinking about selling if the right opportunity comes along. “A big part of our job is simply bringing people together. Sometimes it’s a simple as reaching out to one of our current owners who is might be kicking a few tires, cruising the boat shows but hasn’t made the leap and letting them know we’ve got someone who might be interested in their boat.
4. Brokers Take the Emotion Out of the Process
We spend countless hours working on our boats making them ours. Time spent on our boats becomes the stuff of lifelong memories. We even personify our boats, giving them names. When it comes time to sell a boat, it’s easy for emotions to get in the way. Fond memories can be quickly become confused with monetary value. Likewise for the buyer, dreams of time on the water can often cloud the reality of a “project” that could quickly overwhelm a new boat owner. A good broker can help their buyers and sellers see through the emotions and come to a fair deal that works for everyone.
5. A Good Broker is Your Boating Expert Before, During and Even After the Sale
Most people don’t realize that a good yacht broker can be there to help even after the sale. According to Titgemeyer, working with a yacht broker is about forming a relationship that carries on through the complete ownership of the boat. A good broker is there during the survey, he or she knows the boat and learns its idiosyncrasies with you. They are also experts in maintaining and repairing boats and know who to contact for help when the time comes.
“After the sale, we expect our owners to call us when issues arrive. We all have large networks throughout the marine industry and chances are we know somebody,” Titgemeyer said. “We can also help our owners when they want to change or upgrade their boats. We can help them determine what equipment is best for the boat and how it will affect resale value down the road.”
Finally, according to Titgemeyer, when choosing a yacht broker, the most important thing is to choose someone you enjoy working with. “More than anything, at Crusader Yacht Sales at least, we feel that being nice matters. You want a broker who is nice to work with both for you and for other brokers. Nice matters because 50 percent of the time we are going to be working with other brokers. Yacht brokerages all have similar models but when it comes down to it, you to work with someone that is easy to deal with and deals fairly with others.”
Explore some of the Bay’s best brokers and dealerships with CBM’s Broker Showcase.