What your Broker needs to know about your prospective new boat.
This concept has never been clearer to me than in a recent transaction where I had the privilege of representing a first time buyer. The buyer and I immediately hit it off and had a great time over a several month span looking at boats, researching the market, and narrowing down the options to select the best opportunity for his family. This portion is often the most fun and, frankly, most rewarding part of being a yacht broker – the opportunity to be a part of fulfilling a lifelong dream of yacht ownership.
Without going into too much detail, we found the vessel that we agreed would be a great fit for the family. Well before making any offers, I like to do some digging to see what I can find out about the prospective vessel. This is typically a short exercise of calling local service people, ship yards, other brokers, etc. to see if there is anything my buyer should be aware of before moving forward. I rarely find any major issues, but unfortunately, this time I did. The first call I made along with several subsequent calls opened up a proverbial Pandora’s Box of issues about the history of this boat that the listing broker failed to mention. This included a pending lawsuit, countless mechanical issues and a near sinking of the vessel. Once confronted, the broker told me that the boat had been repaired and offered up receipts as proof.
It’s good to find out about these types of things before going through a tough negotiation, not to mention the surveys and sea trial that takes up considerable time and money. As licensed brokers, we’re required by law to disclose known issues, but it doesn’t always happen. So when issues come up the way they did for my client, trust becomes an issue; you have to wonder what else has not been disclosed. Knowing about potential issues ahead of time could save tens – if not hundreds – of thousands of dollars for the new owner, so be sure your broker is doing his homework!
We quickly made the decision not to move forward with that particular vessel, and soon found a great boat that my client has since purchased and is thrilled with. This saved thousands of dollars in survey costs, not to mention avoiding what could have been a horrible boat buying experience.
Ask questions and make sure your broker is an advocate for you, not just his or her commission.