How to choose a broker
Anyone can sell their boat privately and avoid broker’s fees. You just have to decide how much you want for it, stick it on a website somewhere and hope someone comes along with the money. However, if you are keen to get the best price for your boat in the least time, and want to avoid fielding time-wasting enquiries, you’re headed for the broker’s office. Here’s how to choose the right one:
- There is an enormous variation in selling and presentation skills. Take a look at brokers’ advertisements for similar boats. If they don’t bother to include relevant information, great photos and an individual description, look elsewhere.
- Find a broker who does this for a living, not someone who sells boats as a sideline. Do they have an office? How long have they been established? What is their reputation, and importantly, how experienced are the brokers working for the company?
- Monitor potential brokers’ websites to see how many boats they actually have on their books. Are they selling boats? Do they keep their lists current?
- What type of boats do they focus on? Some brokers, especially in smaller places, are generalists and have a wide range of boating knowledge and experience. Others may specialise in a particular field – like commercial vessels, wooden boats, or even recent model production boats. Either way, look for experience with your type of boat.
- A major advantage of a broker is that they are unemotional about your boat, willing to deal with people who may or may not be serious potential buyers and expert at weeding out the time wasters. However, a good broker will be interested in and knowledgeable about the features of your particular boat, whether it is a custom build or standard production boat.
- Try contacting the broker you would like to deal with. A tardy response to your enquiry will likely be repeated with potential buyers.
- An active broker will be familiar with the current market, able to discuss prices and recently sold boats, and offer a considered opinion about a realistic asking price for yours, based on the sale of similar boats.
- Ask what boats they’ve sold recently. They should be able to answer immediately with a list of sales completed within the past six months.
- Selling your boat can be difficult emotionally, so try to pick a broker who understands your needs, is open and responsive, and with whom you feel you can get along through sensitive negotiations.
- Ask what they will do to sell your boat. Where will they list it? Are they part of a network that will increase the visibility of your offering? They should be totally open about their fees, and who covers the cost of any advertising for your boat.
- If your boat is not local to the broker, ask if they have berths available for brokerage boats. Your boat will need to be accessible to potential buyers and visible to people who may happen to know someone who is looking for that type of vessel.
To sum up: go for experience and reputation. Boat Sales Tasmania didn’t become the largest broker in the state by accident!
By: Petrea McCarthy