January 9th 2017
So you want to buy a boat- 2. The Second installment of Peter Gregsons notes on buying a yacht
Last time, we looked at buying a boat privately or through a broker. Following the broker route, keep in mind that up to the point when you decide on a particular boat the broker is there to offer you advice and help you towards the right boat, especially if you are a novice but as soon as you decide on a particular boat do remember that essentially the broker is acting for the seller in any negotiation and he is paid by the seller.
That said, in any negotiation on price and conditions the broker although formally acting for the seller is best placed to ensure that at the end of the day the seller’s instructions to sell the boat are achieved which means finding a fair deal for all parties. The negotiations and the logistics of the deal are the broker’s job, that is what he is being paid for and that is what you should look for, never mind whose side he is on.
Some points to think about will be the time schedule of the deal, who will move the boat to the slip for survey, where you will take possession, the equipment to be sold with the boat and much more. The broker will help you with all this if only because he does not want to spend time later sorting out problems. And he has been there many times before.
A verbal negotiation will be followed by getting it all down on paper, hopefully in a proper legal form as this deal invariably involves a lot of money. Confrontation is not the name of the game, what both you want as buyer and the seller is a clear path to follow, what happens and when. And of course you must ensure that there is some back-up in terms of what you can both do if something goes wrong. While you don’t have to have a complicated document the back of an envelope or worse a hand shake in the pub is unwise and the broker will invariably use a formal sale agreement. If you are doing a private deal you can download a suitable document from the net. Either way it is essential that you both know exactly what to expect and when.
At this stage the broker will ask you as buyer for a deposit with your signature on a contract. The purpose of this is firstly to concentrate your mind on the deal you are entering into and secondly to protect the seller. We have seen a buyer string out the whole deal, even go to the length of signing a contract then disappear meanwhile the boat is off the market and the seller could well have refused other offers. Alternatively we have seen the boat slipped for survey, stripped down and opened up, paint and varnish scraped off all for the surveyor to gain the access he wants then the buyer disappears leaving the seller with a wreck on his hands and a big bill. It has happened!
Up to this point it is probably best keep the seller at arm’s length giving yourself more room for manoeuvre but build a relationship with your broker.
It’s not a battle, at the end of the day you all want the same thing and never forget that yachting is a sport and a hobby and should be enjoyable from the start.