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Reverse Brokerage.

Long-John Saliva

Active member
Joined
28 Dec 2016
Messages
127
Preamble. I suppose lockdown is teaching me that even if I am not the world's most keen sailor, I might as well get a boat to use just as and when I want. I enjoy my own company, but I don't want to spend the rest of my days doing, well, nothing. Not every week, that's for sure, but having had some time at a boat-share type of thing for two years, I don't want to go back to that. (We can discuss why if you wish but that's not my main topic.) So, I look at the adverts form time to time. Essentially I'd be after the proverbial AWB, and up to about 34 ft as I'd sometimes be taking it out alone for short hops along the SW coast from the Southampton area, and days out. I've also looked at threads on here, and it has been interesting. I've even been to look at a small number of boats to see if they feel "comfortable" for me, with my height. But all the time, I am conscious that the broker is acting for the seller exclusively. Just like an estate agent. I do not doubt the bona fides of most of them, but I have this nagging worry always, as I think someone once said as a journalist, when interviewing a politician, "Why is this bar steward lying to me?". Apologies to the occasional broker who might be reading this!

The issue. I wondered to myself, given that I felt to some extent as a sheep amongst wolves (just as when buying a car really, though that market is totally different now, as you all know) why shouldn't I get a broker to look out for a yacht for me? I could tell them my own personal "must haves" (a wheel, NOT a tiller) and then a list of "desirables". (In mast- furling and a bow thruster.) And I'd pay them of course. I even wrote to my chums in the RYA to ask about it, and someone from the legal department took the trouble to phone and explain that it just didn't happen. Of course, I could see the whole idea was littered with perverse incentives, as I am sure all of you can. But then yesterday, I saw an advert for "Indigo Yachting", based near Chichester. I don't know what they charge, but given that I'd have the final say, I'd happily pay them to find something decent for me. So long as I knew their hourly rate, and disbursements, well, it would be great to end up with a short list of one or two boats to have a look at. They might even negotiate the price for me?

Questions. I can see still potential issues but given that they would be acting for ME, I'd feel a lot safer. Any thoughts, O Nautical Ones? Even better, anyone used them? My internet provider says their website is insecure and won't let me on it!

One Plea. Please do not reply asking me WHY I don't want a tiller or why I SHOULDN'T have in mast furling. I have thought this through, taken opinion, and know what I want to do with my money!

Thanks
 

obmij

Member
Joined
30 Nov 2005
Messages
362
Presume you would instruct a surveyor anyway. What would happen if the survey exposed faults that your buyers agent missed? Would they still get a cut?
 

V1701

Well-known member
Joined
1 Oct 2009
Messages
3,402
Location
South Coast UK
I'd have thought brokers would take your details and contact you if a suitable boat came up but if your experience of the process of shopping for a boat is that it's a bit of a chore are you sure you really want to own one? Would chartering one when you fancy a bit of sailing maybe suit you better?
 

jwilson

Well-known member
Joined
22 Jul 2006
Messages
5,028
The problem is that the "looking at boats phase" can be very time consuming, especially if travel is involved. Although we ( Yachts for sale at Yachtsnet - UK sailing yacht brokerage and boat sales ) will always show lots of good quality and dated photos, and will tell buyers anything bad we know about a boat when they call us, many other adverts (particularly private ads) are deeply misleading: old photos, pictures avoiding the droopy headlinings etc., and not mentioning the seized engine. Often you don't find out the real condition till you've travelled to view.

Long ago I drove a long way and stayed overnight before going to view a wooden yacht, that a Lymington-based broker had described as just needing a little TLC. He didn't actually accompany me, but gave me the keys and told me where the boat was. There was a pool of greenish water in the bilges and actual mushrooms growing in places inside. One deck all the cracks and splits had grass growing out. Fortunately for him he was out of the office when I went to return the keys.

That was an extreme case, but the last time I bought a boat myself I drove about 2,000 miles in total, and that was looking for a good example of one of three specific make/models of 34-36 ft AWB. If Yachtsnet had to charge someone to do that it would be rather expensive.
 

Quandary

Well-known member
Joined
20 Mar 2008
Messages
7,017
Location
Argyll
In 1995 I planned to buy a boat, I had a fairly open mind but was particularly thinking of a Sigma 38, I went to the Southampton boat show for a day ( Northshore were displaying their new version) and then visited each of the associated second hand boat shows looking at X yachts, Maxis etc. I decided the Sigma was the one and next day focussed on brokers that listed them, the brokers I talked to all seemed to know each other and were happy to refer me on, I looked at about half a dozen in different south coast yards and marinas, one south coast broker at Northney told me that Nick Stratton back up at Rhu had a good one, and that Nick was on the Northshore stand that year. went back to Northshore and spoke to Nick, phoned my son in Glasgow and got him to drive out to Silvers where it was stored. Then home before a trip over to Silvers to inspect, a week later we were back over on the ferry to take it home. Half a week on the South coast and a day in Scotland to find and complete the deal.
The moral of the story is that brokers do help each other and wil find you what you want as long as you have decided what it is you want to find, I presume they may have some system of sharing comission on a referral but that did not seem to be happening in my case.
 

dunedin

Well-known member
Joined
3 Feb 2004
Messages
6,224
Location
Boat (now back in) the Clyde
This does happen, when a “boat finder” is paid to identify a shortlist of boats for a purchaser - but perhaps more often at the bigger and more expensive end of the market.
For a 34ft AWB the boat purchase price will be much smaller, which could make such a service uneconomic.

On the positive side, for this type of boat there are likely to be a lot of candidate boats available within a short distance, so much easier to compare. Most people might try to persuade a more experienced friend to come along with you to some viewings.
Otherwise I would be tempted to give 3-4 brokers a reasonably precise statement of what you are looking for, together with age range and budget, and ask each of them to suggest 1 or max 2 boats to meet your need. Then compare these suggested boats across the brokers and decide.
 

awol

Well-known member
Joined
4 Jan 2005
Messages
5,410
Location
Me Edinburgh, boat somewhere safe
~34' AWB with wheel, bow thruster and in-mast furling - is that it? Email a few brokers with that and if they think you're serious you will have a list to visit. The more precise your demands, the easier the search
 

Long-John Saliva

Active member
Joined
28 Dec 2016
Messages
127
I'd have thought brokers would take your details and contact you if a suitable boat came up but if your experience of the process of shopping for a boat is that it's a bit of a chore are you sure you really want to own one? Would chartering one when you fancy a bit of sailing maybe suit you better?
Been there, done that etc. it's even more of a chore to have to bring down all one's gear, take it back AND clean the boat thoroughly at the end of the charter.
 

Long-John Saliva

Active member
Joined
28 Dec 2016
Messages
127
Presume you would instruct a surveyor anyway. What would happen if the survey exposed faults that your buyers agent missed? Would they still get a cut?
Don't know, but if I'm paying them an hourly rate I'd be happy to still pay them and think, "Phew! That was a close one".
 

Long-John Saliva

Active member
Joined
28 Dec 2016
Messages
127
~34' AWB with wheel, bow thruster and in-mast furling - is that it? Email a few brokers with that and if they think you're serious you will have a list to visit. The more precise your demands, the easier the search
Yes, that is the "must haves". Few in the adverts I have looked at seem to have these. Of course, it goes without saying that "Not falling apart" is sine qua non, but it would be for any boat one buys, so I didn't mention it. Likewise, an engine with not m ore than c 1000 hours is "highly desirable" as is its service history.
 

Long-John Saliva

Active member
Joined
28 Dec 2016
Messages
127
Fair points. I suppose I feel that a broker can get an idea about a boat when he/she eyeballs it, much better than I can. To me that is a very good start. I don't really have any nautical friends with enough experience to bother them. And if they, as a "Boatfinder" are acting for me, I don't mind paying them. People have to make a living. I might pay them, say £2k, but they might ave me £5k. I just don't know. You may feel it odd, but it's a bit like when I use a solicitor. I may well have to pay them £280 per hour, but if they avoid me grief in the future, I always consider it money well spent. We did this recently with our wills, which were not that difficult, but equally, not straightforward. In any case, I am biding my time as I (selfishly perhaps) am hoping that the pandemic may make prices have to fall, and perhaps by a good way, so I shall probably wait till late summer/autumn before seriously looking. Or even, winter.
Maybe it is a character flaw of mine, but I do regard driving to look at a boat a bit of a pain, knowing there is a 90% chance I won't want it. (Usually because of headroom, or, as has been said, when one gets there, it's not "beautifully looked after". ) Not that long ago I went to look at one in Port Solent. We spent a merry half hour driving around with someone from the brokerage who didn't know where it was. An experience like that doesn't give one much confidence in a particular broker's competence. When we got to it, it was about 3 ins short in terms of headroom in the saloon.
BTW my budget is maybe up to £80k, but hopefully I might get it for less.
 

Long-John Saliva

Active member
Joined
28 Dec 2016
Messages
127
I guess it depends on what they charge? It can't be on a % basis for low value (by Branson's standards) yachts, that's for sure.
 

obmij

Member
Joined
30 Nov 2005
Messages
362
Fair points. I suppose I feel that a broker can get an idea about a boat when he/she eyeballs it, much better than I can. To me that is a very good start. I don't really have any nautical friends with enough experience to bother them. And if they, as a "Boatfinder" are acting for me, I don't mind paying them. People have to make a living. I might pay them, say £2k, but they might ave me £5k. I just don't know. You may feel it odd, but it's a bit like when I use a solicitor. I may well have to pay them £280 per hour, but if they avoid me grief in the future, I always consider it money well spent. We did this recently with our wills, which were not that difficult, but equally, not straightforward. In any case, I am biding my time as I (selfishly perhaps) am hoping that the pandemic may make prices have to fall, and perhaps by a good way, so I shall probably wait till late summer/autumn before seriously looking. Or even, winter.
Maybe it is a character flaw of mine, but I do regard driving to look at a boat a bit of a pain, knowing there is a 90% chance I won't want it. (Usually because of headroom, or, as has been said, when one gets there, it's not "beautifully looked after". ) Not that long ago I went to look at one in Port Solent. We spent a merry half hour driving around with someone from the brokerage who didn't know where it was. An experience like that doesn't give one much confidence in a particular broker's competence. When we got to it, it was about 3 ins short in terms of headroom in the saloon.
BTW my budget is maybe up to £80k, but hopefully I might get it for less.
Pay £2k to save £5k makes sense, as does instructing a qualified person - however as others have pointed out the economics here don't really stack up.

You make the point that £280 spent on a solicitor is value, the equivalent is a surveyor. What you are proposing though is paying someone to do open ended grunt work, but at professional rates, with no guarantee of success.

I'm happy to carry out the work if you like, just drop me a message :)
 

ithet

Active member
Joined
27 Mar 2009
Messages
695
Location
UK, Hamble
Maybe it is a character flaw of mine, but I do regard driving to look at a boat a bit of a pain, knowing there is a 90% chance I won't want it. (Usually because of headroom, or, as has been said, when one gets there, it's not "beautifully looked after". )
There's your issue. Most on here would probably regard looking at different boats as a pleasant pastime! However, I do know of someone who actually bought a boat the way you ask, there was someone doing a yacht finding service and they found him a boat in Holland. That was about fifteen years ago - he still has it.

BTW my budget is maybe up to £80k, but hopefully I might get it for less.
With that budget you will be able to get a fairly modern 34' AWB. You should be able to get all the specs online, so do the homework before you go to look. Once you have a shortlist only look at the newest boats that are within a reasonable drive, there shouldn't be too many nasty surprises.

The other thing is there are going to be few 34' AWBs with a bow thruster...

Edit: I can only find these two (if you end up buying one of them call it a pint :)):

Bene Oceanis 331
Hunter Legend 356
I have an Oceanis 331 - (without bowthruster) good headroom, but for your budget you could get a much newer model.
 

Laser_310

Member
Joined
6 Oct 2019
Messages
82
In the US, it is not uncommon for a buyer to use the services of a "buyers broker". The buyers broker will search for suitable boats, provide advice, perhaps handle negotiations, and so on. The buyers broker is also a selling broker - there is not enough business to be only a buyers broker, and in any case you probably want someone with experience on both sides of the deal.

typically, when the buyer buys a yacht that was identified by his buyers broker, the listing broker splits the commission with the buyers broker. It is not unusual to see the willingness to split the commission with a buyers broker stated explicitly in the yacht listing.

I think it is not so clear where the fiduciary responsibility of the buyers broker lies under this arrangement. They only get paid if the buyer buys a boat, and it might be argued they have nearly as much of an incentive to put the buyer in the "wrong" boat, as the listing broker. But, like anything, word of mouth is important, and people choose their buyers broker on the recommendation of friends and associates. There are a few brokers who have made a good reputation as buyers brokers, and i imagine they try to protect it.
 

Long-John Saliva

Active member
Joined
28 Dec 2016
Messages
127
Pay £2k to save £5k makes sense, as does instructing a qualified person - however as others have pointed out the economics here don't really stack up.

You make the point that £280 spent on a solicitor is value, the equivalent is a surveyor. What you are proposing though is paying someone to do open ended grunt work, but at professional rates, with no guarantee of success.

I'm happy to carry out the work if you like, just drop me a message :)
How much do you charge?
 
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