Why Use a Broker to List and Sell Your Boat
Yacht brokers work hard to facilitate the sale of the boats they list, while protecting and promoting their clients’ interests. As well as marketing the vessel to a wide audience of potential buyers, they also help to ensure negotiations proceed smoothly through the many potential pitfalls of selling a boat.
While there is no legal requirement for training or qualification of yacht brokers in the UK, the Association of Brokers and Yacht Agents requires its 200 members to adhere to a strict code of professional standards and a scheme of continuous professional development.
In particular, members must have a Client Account, a special secure account with their bank that holds client monies and does not form part of the broker’s own accounts, as well as holding Professional Indemnity and Public Liability Insurance. Any broker should be happy to show you evidence that these are all in place before listing your boat.
Equally, to prevent delays and the possibility of a sale falling through at a later date, they are likely to ask you for documentation including proof of your unencumbered ownership and if the vessel is sold as VAT paid, evidence of this status. If you don’t have this documentation – and many older or lower value vessels don’t – a competent broker will also be able to advise you on the best route forward.
It’s usually possible to choose either a sole agency listing, which has the advantage of a lower rate of commission, or the freedom to list the boat with multiple agencies. Many brokers work co-operatively with most other brokers on a co-brokerage basis. Yacht brokers charge a commission when the vessel is sold, and the commission amount will be set in writing when the seller signs a listing agreement with the broker. If another broker brings a buyer to the table on a co-brokerage arrangement, this total commission is normally be shared between the brokers – there’s no additional cost to the vendor or to the buyer.
Many brokers specialise in particular styles or sizes of boat, or operate in a specific geographical location, so choose a broker who already represents boats similar to yours, and who operates close to where your boat is located.
It’s worth interviewing several brokers by phone, email and in person before appointing one. View the presentation of their other listings in YachtWorld. Do they present their other listings as you would like them to present yours? Send them an email. Do they respond quickly to your email? Do they answer your phone calls promptly? Do they track prospective buyers with online tools? After you have chosen a broker, view your listing in YachtWorld. Could it be better?
The brokers’ role for the seller includes:
• Determining a fair asking price – To ensure a timely sale, it is essential to ask a fair price. A broker can help establish fair-market value for the boat by accessing actual sold boat data in www.soldboats.com, as reported by YachtWorld.com brokerage firms. This data is not available to the public.
• Preparing an advertising strategy – The professional broker will outline a plan of how a boat is to be advertised in the most appropriate media. For example, the best means to promote a 1970s 30 footer is vastly different to the strategy for a 63ft Sunseeker. The broker’s objective is to devise a strategy with the best chances of reaching the most interested and qualified audience for your boat.
• Prepare the boat – The broker will advise of any improvements that should be made to compete within today’s market, identify possible problems and solutions, and help organise upgrades and repairs. The broker can also help to locate easy-access moorings/storage for the duration of the listing.
• Preparing the listing for the public – The broker will prepare the listing for distribution in various electronic and print media, for print and email distribution to clients and other brokers, and for distribution to prospects at boat shows, open houses, and walk-in inquiries. Sellers who have listed their boat for sale with a YachtWorld.com broker will see their listing advertised in www.yachtworld.com, on the website of the YachtWorld broker, and in other partner sites selected by their broker.
• YachtWorld member policies – YW member brokers are bound by our member policies. For example, members agree to only advertise boats for which they have a current signed listing agreement from the owner of the boat. While listing agreements vary, they should contain the same elements you would expect to find in any legal agreement. Our members agree not to accept an advertising fee to promote their listings in YachtWorld. Members agree to only identify a boat as a “Central or Exclusive Listing” if it complies with the YachtWorld definition of a central/exclusive listing. All advertised boats must be accurately represented and identified.
• Professional know-how – Good brokers understand the principles of the brokerage profession – such as certificates of ownership, security agreements, bills of sale and other documents needed to register and transfer titles to boats. They will understand maritime and admiralty liens for the type of vessels they represent, as well as mortgaging and transferring title to documented vessels. They will understand agency contracts, listing agreements, closing statements, deposit requirements and client accounts to safeguard funds.
• Sea trial and survey – The buyer will usually request a sea trial and commission a pre-purchase survey. The broker will then be able to help you determine how any deficiencies discovered should be addressed in the purchase negotiations.
• Negotiating the deal – A skilled broker can often help find a mutually agreeable middle position between buyer and seller that they would not have been able to reach without an intermediary.
Benefits of a brokerage associated with YachtWorld
YachtWorld advertising services are only available to eligible yacht brokerage firms and dealerships representing multiple boats for sale on behalf of an owner/seller. We do not offer services directly to the individual owner/seller.
Multiple listing services – When you list your boat with a YachtWorld.com broker, your broker may also prepare the listing for co-brokerage by other brokers using the private BoatWizard multiple listing service. YachtWorld has more than 2,000 member brokerage firms, with 3,000 offices and 5,000 individual yacht brokers and salespeople, all of whom have password access to the system.