We've moved to Facebook! Follow us there!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Should you use a boat broker?

Recently we received the final documentation from the US Coast Guard finishing off our boat purchase process. Wahoo! We never used a broker.

To recap, we found our boat on the Internet, contacted the owner, visited the boat, put down a deposit, studied the boat for issues (mechanical and title), paid off the remainder (and the seller in turn had a lien holder), processed all the paperwork, obtained insurance, transferred the boat slip, and finally received the last piece of documentation from the US Coast Guard listing us as the owners, with no liens.

We had never bought a boat before, yet we did all this without an agent. Were we foolish? From what we've been reading over the years, 33 percent of the boating community would say yes, 33 percent would say no, and 34 percent would say "it depends."

Did we get lucky because we didn't have any problems in the transaction? Would a boat broker have made a difference? I don't think so in either case. We were prepared and we studied all aspects of the transaction. Given our experience with businesses, houses, cars and the like, we found following the process quite trivial.

What value would a broker have provided? Well, they come to the table with the knowledge of the transaction process. How much time did we invest in figuring out "how" to buy a boat? Val, being generous, says she spent a total of 10 hours figuring it all out. That comes out to around $500 per hour, in our case, for money we kept in our pocket (that is, the amount of money a broker would have cost divided by 10 hours comes out to $500 per hour).

Did we just happen to have an honest seller? Maybe, but that was an active part of our buying process. When we looked at boats, if we felt the owners were not folks we could do business with, we simply walked away.

We treated the boat like a business transaction. We didn't let our emotions take over. We really liked the boat, but if we didn't like the seller and if we didn't think of it in terms of money for an asset, then we may have been better off with a broker.

Should you use a broker, as a popular boating magazine recently suggested? The bottom line is, you don't need to. We didn't. Will you have as positive experience as we did? I have no idea. Like everything else on this site, your mileage will vary because your experience, knowledge, desire, etc. are all different from ours. But we are here to tell you that a couple of complete novices in boat brokerage successfully handled the entire transaction of a liveaboard boat.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.