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Wednesday, September 9, 2020.  You learn a lot about yacht brokers when you’re considering buying your first boat or moving on to another.  I’m not a broker, so this is written from a buyer’s perspective.

My “Admiral” and I thought we knew what we wanted, but considering it would be the next largest purchase to our home, we decided to enlist some professional guidance — we call it, “Measuring Twice and Cutting Once.”   I contacted a well-known local broker, told him what we thought we needed based on being two maturing boaters that would be traveling with their “four-legged daughter.”  After a couple of email exchanges, he wrote back and said, “Why don’t you decide what you want and then I’ll help you find it.”  And to think that I had contacted him, believing he was a real pro that could help us determine the boat that would best suit our needs! 

That’s when I made the decision to use a female broker as a “buyers’ agent,” who could relate to those things of importance to my “Admiral” and me.  It was the best decision I could have made.  After discussing the type of boat we thought we needed — a boat easy to board, and with stairs, rather than steps to the upper helm — she suggested that we do a little searching ourselves on YachtWorld.com, she would do the same, and we would then compare notes.  We did our researching, found a couple of boats of interest, and let her make the inquiries for us.  That process led us to the 2006 Mainship 34T that would come to be known as “Slow Dance.”  YACHTWORLD SCREEN SHOT ~ REDUCED

On YachtWorld, you may find boat listings that interest you, but you may still have questions.  From YachtWorld, you may directly Message or Call the listing broker, or Share information with others via Facebook, Twitter, Send Email, or Print.  I admit to loving YachtWorld, and enjoy visiting the site just to see what’s available from time to time.

What could make the YachtWorld search process better?  Yacht brokers and other shoppers may add to my list, but I’d like to see more criteria allowing me to narrow my search.  A few suggestions would be;

  • The ability to exclude brands in which I have no interest. (I prefer traditional designs over modern offered by some manufacturers)
  • Ability to search by number of staterooms desired. (1, 2, or 3)
  • Search by galley up or down. (Seems the majority are down)
  • Search by engine manufacturer. (Depending on age of boat, there are multiple manufacturers to choose from.  We all have preferences.)
  • Search by number of helms. (Some have only one)
  • Search for boats with a full keel.  (Cruising on the ICW, I prefer full keel for protection of props and rudders, and added stability)
  • Search for boats with upper helm access by steps, rather than a ladder.

If I Was A Yacht Broker!

It’s one thing to list a seller’s boat.  It’s another thing to do a really appealing and informative posting on YachtWorld.com or any other website.  To really sell it, I encourage the following;

The Interior

  • Have the interior of the boat “staged,” much like many realtors today have homes staged for added appeal.  After comparing listings of staged boats vs. un-staged boats, I would consider it an investment, not an expense. 
  • If you’re not “staging” the interior, at least straighten it up.  No one wants to see a stateroom, especially the owner’s stateroom with clothes, boat fenders, or Isinglass curtains tossed on the bed!
  • Make sure the galley is clean and orderly before shooting the pictures.
  • If you’re not “staging” the boat for photographs, at least de-clutter it!
  • Whether your pictures are shot horizontally or vertically, make sure they are posted so the viewer can see them as if onboard the boat.  It’s frustrating to have to flip your phone in every direction in order to see a photograph correctly! 

What to photograph?

  • Some YachtWorld listings include more than 100 photographs!
  • Photograph each and every section of the boat — inside and out, and by all means, include photographs of the engine compartment! 
  • Include exterior photographs showing the boat out of the water, if at all possible.  Some of us want to see the keel, props, and rudders.
  • Also, if possible, include a diagram of the boat’s layout.

BROKER, You signed an agreement to sell the boat, you advertised in print, and posted it on websites, NOW RESPOND TO INQUIRIES!

Last spring, I started dreaming about a larger boat that would enable us to take our grandchildren or friends on some of our overnight cruises.  My main criteria was the boat would have at least two comfortable staterooms, two heads, preferably a galley up design, and evidence of having been well maintained. First impressions are important impressions!

The best listings on YachtWorld provided most of the answers that I was looking for.  Needless to say, there was that other 20% of listings that did not serve the listing broker or their client well.   How did they fail their clients?  To repeat, first impressions are important impressions!

  1. Inadequate number of pictures posted.  When pictures of the engine compartment or other areas of the boat are missing, it makes a potential buyer suspicious.
  2. Poorly photographed pictures.  Poorly composed, or blurry pictures reflect poorly on the boat, the seller and broker!
  3. Pictures that show clutter, rust, or dirt suggest the boat may have been poorly maintained. 
  4. Pictures of the boat underway, with fenders bouncing against the hull, suggest the captain’s first time at the helm, which may raise further questions about the boat or broker.
  5. Inadequate information in the listing raises a yellow flag on a possible issue with the boat that may have been intentionally left out.
  6. Failure to return the calls or emails from potential buyers.  (I had more than one!)
  7. Finally returning calls, and promising information and/or pictures that are never delivered.

How my search, research, and “shopping” experience ended — for now!

On YachtWorld, I found the boat of my dreams, and of all thing, it was local!  Instead of calling the listing broker, I contacted one of the brokers that had assisted with the purchase and delivery of our current boat.  Though he didn’t have it listed, he was familiar with the boat that I found, and he thought it was sold.  He got back to me, and let me know it was sold. 

Since it was sold, but I still had questions about it, I then attempted to contacted the listing broker for information on the boatyard that had done the many upgrades mentioned in the listing.  When my call was not returned, I called the firm’s managing broker.  Talk about service!  Before I could finish leaving a short message on his voicemail, he sent a text asking if he could return my call!  Within minutes, my call was returned, he gave me some history of the boat, and was an absolute pleasure to speak with.

Hopefully, the day will come when I meet the new owner, and can get a “first right of refusal” to buy when he decides to sell.  Yes, based on the pictures and wonderful write-up in the listing, and the boat’s YouTube video, I loved the boat enough to at least want to be able to consider it!  It’s disappointing to think that IF my initial YachtWorld.com search criteria had been increased by just 2 more feet, the future might have been a couple of months ago, and I’d be cruising it to Georgetown this weekend!

They say, “A word to the wise is sufficient.”  Before buying your boat or next boat, do as the old mountain carpenters used to say, “Measure twice and cut once!”

Oh Captain My Captain