an enticing description, and recommend
things to improve the look and marketability of your boat. Brokers can also help you
navigate some of the more confusing aspects
of selling such as corporate ownership, loan
payoffs, bills of sale, and other documents
needed for transferring ownership. Aside
from listing and advertising the boat, their
most important job is helping move the process along once a buyer is found. Brokers can
also help a buyer obtain financing and assist
with changing the USCG documentation.
While the 10-percent commission is usually not negotiable, brokers will sometimes
discount it for a sale that might be falling
apart because of a survey report or other
defects found on a boat. The different listing
contracts used by brokers can be confusing,
but they’re not complicated once you understand the two main types, a central agency
agreement and an open listing agreement.
A central agency agreement (sometimes
called an exclusive listing) means you’ve
hired a specific broker to sell your boat. With
this type of agreement, the broker typically
lists your boat on Yachtworld and — this is
important — is obligated to sell it through
a co-brokerage arrangement. Co-brokerage
means that if another broker finds a buyer
for your boat, your broker agrees to split the
commission with him. This incentive to help
each other is why about 70 percent of all bro-
kerage sales are co-brokered. Keep in mind,
though, with this type of agreement, even if
you bring in the seller or end up donating
your boat, you’ll still be liable for the broker’s
commission. The majority of brokerage sales
are central agency agreements.
An open listing agreement means you’ve
given more than one broker the right to sell
your boat and you also retain the right to
sell it on your own. The disadvantage is that
because no broker is guaranteed at least a
part of the commission, it’s not very likely
any of them will spend the money to list your
boat on Yachtworld or pay for other advertising. There can also be confused communications between multiple brokers and potential
buyers. On the other hand, a hungry broker
may be more motivated to bring you a buyer
because he would get the entire commission.
With this type of agreement, if you find your
If You’re The Seller, A Broker Will:
■ Advertise your boat. Brokers should list
your boat on Yachtworld and advertise
in other places where appropriate. Find
out what their marketing plan is and
get it in writing.
■ Price your boat realistically. Brokers
have access to recent sale prices and
know a good starting point.
■ Prescreen responses to advertising.
This will avoid most tire kickers.
■ Show your boat to prospective buyers.
This will save you from wasting time
with buyers who don’t show up.
■ Communicate all offers from potential
buyers to you.
■ Negotiate the selling price. This is
where brokers can really earn their
■ Draw up sales agreements and accept
deposits. Many brokers can do this
electronically over computers, tablets,
and even smartphones.
■ Arrange for sea trials and schedule
■ Coordinate closing.
■ Transfer funds to you. Now you can start
shopping for your next boat.
If You’re The Buyer, A Broker Will:
■ Accurately represent a listed boat. It’s also
the broker’s job to determine whether the
boat is free of liens.
■ Arrange for you to look at boats.
■ Disclose any serious known issues. There’s a
fine line between passive failure to disclose
information and active concealment. Brokers
should disclose anything they know that
might affect a buyer’s decision to purchase
a vessel, such as a previous sinking or major
repair. Keep in mind that even though a
seller is obligated to mention serious issues,
brokers only know what a seller discloses.
■ Accurately transmit offers to the owner in a
■ Place deposits in a separate escrow account.
Be sure to ask where and how deposits are
held and have them clearly state why, how,
and when any deposits will be returned
should the sale fall through.
■ Assist in scheduling haulouts, surveys, and
sea trials. As a potential buyer, you’re probably paying for the haulout and survey, so
HERE’S HOW A BROKER CAN HELP
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