If you are a yacht owner who frequents the marina, odds are you have significant insight into what separates a high-quality yacht from lesser quality ones. While your knowledge and expertise will undoubtedly aid you in your search to buy or sell a yacht, there are invaluable benefits of choosing a yacht broker to help you in that process that you’ll miss out on if you go it alone.
At the same time, it is not always a walk in the park to find a yacht broker who will represent you as you deserve to be represented. With that said, we hope this guide will give you what need to find the ideal yacht broker for selling or buying a yacht!
What is a Yacht Broker and What Do They Do?
Before getting into the details of how to choose a yacht broker and why it is beneficial for you to do so when buying or selling a boat, it is perhaps best to first define what a yacht broker is and what they do. A yacht broker is a finance professional who serves any individual planning to buy or sell a boat. While a yacht broker usually represents one party, either the buyer or the seller, they occasionally represent both parties. The services yacht brokers provide to prospective yacht buyers or sellers include:
- Sourcing and appointing potential yacht buyers and sellers for the person they represent
- Negotiating prices with different yacht buyers and sellers and determining a fair asking price
- Preparing advertising strategies for the sale of your yacht
- Drawing up necessary legal documents
- Providing the yacht buyer or seller with expert industry insight and advice
Your yacht broker will start by getting to know your preferences and overall goals with buying or selling a yacht. With this information, they will do their best to find a result that mirrors your goals as closely as possible, whether that involves finding the ideal boat for you within your price range or getting optimal value from the buyer of your boat. At the same time, they will also offer you industry-based advice on your expectations to let you know if you should raise or lower them to align with the current market on yachts.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Yacht Broker to Buy or Sell a Yacht?
For the same reason that an expert in homebuilding would enlist the services of a real estate agent to sell or buy a house, hiring a yacht broker to sell your yacht is a risk adverse and prudent choice, especially if the art of the deal is not your forté. Here are some of the benefits of using a yacht broker to sell or buy a yacht!
You’ll Save Time and Energy
When it comes to selling your yacht, there are numerous tasks that can take an enormous chunk out of your time and energy. Doing it right can become a full-time job, which you likely won’t have time for if you already have a full-time job, a family to take care of or even hobbies to enjoy. For a yacht broker, doing what it takes to successfully sell your yacht is their full-time job! So, it is a much more efficient use of your time and energy to hire an expert to take care of the numerous responsibilities involved in selling a yacht.
The tasks required to successfully sell a yacht include:
- Gathering a thorough overview of current market trends for the yacht
- Determining a fair asking price that respects both the boat and the market
- Preparing and executing an extensive and successful marketing strategy
- Negotiating prices with interested parties
Marketing and Negotiating Expertise
Not everyone has a knack for negotiation, which is an essential skill to have when selling or buying a yacht. Yacht brokers use their industry expertise and negotiating prowess to get the best price for their clients.
When selling a yacht, there is the additional need for a strong marketing strategy. The world of marketing is constantly evolving in our digital landscape and you may unknowingly miss out on ways you can optimize your marketing campaign if you are unfamiliar with the latest marketing strategies or lack access to resources that can take your marketing strategy to the next level. A yacht broker will have access to those strategies and resources to make sure your marketing campaign is successful.
Extends Your Advertising Reach and Broadens Your Pool of Potential Buyers
Having your yacht appear on a broker’s list with a major multiple listing service (MLS) will extend your advertising reach far more than a post on your social media will. In general, an MLS will only list yachts that are sold by a licensed broker. Yacht brokers may also have the opportunity to show your yacht at international yacht shows and often have a pool of buyers of their own who they can showcase your yacht to.
Take Care of the Legal Aspects
The legal aspects of selling or buying a yacht are usually the most mundane and tedious. There is the certificate of ownership, bill of sale, security agreements, transfer of ownership and several other documents that need to be scoured over and drawn up. A yacht broker can lead the charge on all of these fronts so you can focus on your other responsibilities.
Provide Sea Trial to Test the Boat After the Price Has Been Agreed Upon
Before or after you officially buy the yacht, a broker will usually request and arrange a sea trial with a marine surveyor so you can test the boat on the waters for any defects or deficiencies not addressed during price negotiations. If you notice anything faulty with the yacht, you generally have a few options. You can cancel the deal or demand a full refund if you’ve already purchased the boat. If the deficiencies are a concern but not a deal breaker, you can also request that the owner fix the issues before agreeing on a sale or subtract the cost of the repairs from the asking price.
How Do I Choose a Good Yacht Broker?
While using a yacht broker can provide excellent benefits when buying or selling your boat, not all yacht brokers will have your best interest at heart. It is equally as important to find a responsible yacht broker who you trust and who has a consistent track record of producing great outcomes for those they represent as it is to find a yacht broker in the first place.
Furthermore, yacht brokers often specialize in the different types and sizes of yachts while also having expertise in the yacht market of a particular geographic location. So, it is advantageous to find a local yacht broker who specializes in the boat you are selling or considering for purchase. They will have the most available resources and expertise to provide you with full value.
In consideration of those two points, here are some steps to choose the right yacht broker for you.
Do Your Research and Have Reasonable Expectations
It is important to go into the yacht brokering process with reasonable expectations, whether buying or selling a yacht. To do that, you will need to conduct some research of your own into the current status of the yacht industry. If you lack insight into the current market value for your yacht or the type of yacht you want to purchase, you can easily mistake a yacht broker’s disagreement with your assessment as not having your best interest at heart and dismiss their service prematurely, even if they could help you receive great value for your yacht!
The research required will depend on whether you are buying or selling your yacht. If buying a yacht, you will want to make sure you know the type and size of boat best suited to your needs and research the going rate for it both nationally and regionally. Consider the features and equipment on the boat that are must-haves for you and make a budget plan accordingly.
On the other hand, if you are selling a yacht, you will want to compare your yacht broadly with others currently on the market to get a feel for how much value yours holds on the open market. Examine the high end and low end, as well as features associated with either end, and evaluate where your yacht fits within that spectrum. Your yacht likely holds sentimental value for you, but try to limit that value from the equation, as prospective buyers may not appreciate your yacht’s sentimental value as much as you.
Interview Several Yacht Brokers Before Hiring One
The bigger the sample size is, the more reliable the results will be. That adage applies to any research endeavor, including that of hiring a yacht broker! While it may be convenient to hire the first yacht broker you find, you may later regret not holding out for a better option down the road. Make sure you have a significant pool of yacht broker candidates before comparing and contrasting them. Doing so can help illuminate the best candidate for you, as cream eventually rises to the top!
The interview process can occur in person, over the phone, through email, on a video chat or whatever medium works best for you and the yacht broker. That said, make sure you come prepared with questions that will enable you to get a solid read on the yacht broker’s value for your purposes.
Ask Around the Marina and Boatyard for Recommendations
Leverage your connections at your local marina to find out if any fellow skippers and yacht owners have used yacht brokerage services. Ask about their experience with the broker they worked with, as their insight can aid in your search for a good yacht broker, regardless of whether their experience was good or bad. If they had a good experience, you can add a candidate to your pool. If their experience was poor, you can put a red flag by their name. Even if they have not had any experience with yacht brokers, they may know someone who has that they can put in touch with you.
Learn the Qualities of a Good Yacht Broker
Take the time to learn what makes a yacht broker worth their weight in gold. When you know the qualities of a good yacht broker, you will be more empowered to choose the best one for you, and the quality of information you gain from your interviews will also be enhanced. Here are some general attributes of a reliable and solid yacht broker:
- They take the time to listen to your intentions, goals and preferences for purchasing or selling a yacht
- They provide thorough explanations with their opinions and suggestions
- They are a licensed and bonded broker in your state or the state where you are selling your yacht
- They exude professionalism and are an experienced and committed yacht broker
- They promptly respond to your emails and other correspondence
- The brokerage they represent is professional and promptly returns your calls
- They are well-respected by their clients and the larger community
- They possess significant expertise and insight not only into the yacht industry but also into brokerage services and marketing strategies
Prioritize Which Qualities of a Good Yacht Broker Are Most Important to You
A yacht broker does not necessarily need to possess all of the qualities of a good yacht broker to be a good yacht broker. Consequently, it may be helpful to prioritize the qualities of a good yacht broker that are most important to you, as you may find that brokers in your candidate pool possess a mix of those qualities, while none of them possess all of the qualities of a good yacht broker.
If a candidate does hit it out of the park with every quality, they will probably be your ideal choice. That said, prioritizing the qualities you want to see in a yacht broker will help you make the best choice if there isn’t a candidate that checks every box.
Ask to View a Gallery of Their Listings and Check Out Their Reviews
Anyone can talk a big game, but the real test is backing up your claims with concrete evidence. As such, an interview alone may not grant a full image of the character and ability of the yacht broker, but that combined with actual examples of their work can give you the insight you need to make an informed judgment on their overall value.
Plan to ask each yacht broker you interview if they have a gallery or presentation of their listings that you can peruse to see if the quality of their work matches what you are looking for. Since they will likely put their best work on display, check out reviews clients of theirs have left to get a general idea of their track record.
What Questions Should I Ask a Yacht Broker?
Before interviewing a yacht broker, it is best to be prepared with questions that will help you find the right one for you. Some important questions to ask a yacht broker include:
- What is your customer relationship management (CRM) and overall marketing strategy?
- Do you attend boat shows, and which ones do you frequent?
- How knowledgeable are you of the current market trends in my area?
- Is your brokerage company represented by a well-respected firm?
- Is your broker license up to date and active?
- How much do you charge for commission?
- How do your listings stand out from the crowd?
- Do you have a video or photo gallery of your current and past listings that I can view?
- What types of yachts are your specialty?
Contact Flagler Yachts for Our Superior Yacht Brokerage Services
For anyone who has a yacht on the market or is in the market for a yacht in Florida, our team of yacht brokers at Flagler Yachts would be happy to lead the way and help you get the best deal possible. Our brokers know the market inside and out in several different regions of Florida, including Jupiter, Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, Lantana, and Stuart, FL, and are uncompromisingly committed to high standards of excellence and reliability for all our clients. Contact us today to learn more about our yacht brokerage services!