Yacht Broker Basics/Knowing Your Broker
Yacht Brokers work like real estate agents. They are agents who people consult to find and purchase a boat, and who people hire to market, represent, and sell boats for them. Yacht Brokers are paid by the seller at the completion of the sale. A yacht broker earns his sales commission by marketing and successfully selling a client’s yacht. Yacht Broker are not paid a salary or wage. He only earns income by diligently marketing a client’s boat until it sells, and the transaction is complete. A broker’s time and expertise are his only ‘inventory’, and since 95% of his or her time does not result in a completed transaction, a broker must be careful where he invests his time. If you want the best broker available to assist you with your search and evaluation, you will be best served by establishing some mutual loyalty so that the broker will be incentivized to go the extra mile for you to dig for the facts about a target boat and to make inquiries on your behalf.
Although a yacht broker may originally have a relationship with the seller, brokers have a duty to fairly represent the interests of both the buyer and the seller in every transaction. It takes a balanced and knowledgeable approach, and an ability to manage partially competing interests to bring a transaction together to all the parties’ satisfaction.
As a buyer, it is in your best interest to select an experienced yacht broker to assist you in identifying and evaluating a yacht and to have that yacht broker represent you in your inquiries and transactions. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, since commissions are paid by the sellers, and if you connect with a professional and knowledgeable yacht broker, he can deliver a huge benefit to you in finding and evaluating the right boat and coordinating a transaction that will be guided by a predictable and satisfactory process.
A good yacht broker typically has a portfolio of yachts that he represents and markets and the scope of his portfolio of represented yachts will suggest the scope and depth of his expertise. If a broker is representing primarily 30 to 50 foot vessels, he won’t be much of a resource for you in evaluating a 80 foot or larger motor yacht. It takes years to develop expertise in the more complex systems installed in larger yachts, and to understand the dynamics associated with flag state and classification selection.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your broker, to measure his willingness to give you straight answers and his apparent ability to help you effectively deal with the technical and legal issues related to your proposed purchase or sale.