I've never really had a lot of contact with Boat Brokers before, but judging from the 20 or so who contacted us about our boat, I would have to say they seem to be a particularly self-centered, smug, and supercilious lot. They came crawling out of the woodwork like bedbugs when we first posted our boat ads on the national sale sites like Multihulls4us.com and sailboatlistings.com. Suddenly our email was full of brokers telling us that they would LOVE to help us sell our boat. For 10% commission. Period. 10% of $239,000 evidently brings the "Boy Scout" in them out. They couldn't wait to "help" us - right out of $23,900 for about 2 hours of work. Many brokers tried the approach of telling us that they had a buyer for our boat, but we had to list it with them first. One enterprising broker ask coyly what he should tell the buyer he was working with about our boat. We told him he could tell the buyer any price including what the broker wanted to be paid, but the first 239K, was ours. He got all indignant then. It was kind of cute - like a prostitute suddenly having morals. "I simply can't do that! Your boat is not worth that much!" Meaning, our boat wasn't worth $262.9K (239k + 23.9k). He was right, the boat's not worth 260 but it is worth about 245-250. If he would have lowered his commission he could have easily made about 5-10K no problem for very little work. I don't know about you, but I think 4K per hour is pretty good pay. Hell, I'd be happy with 2K per hour. It never even occurred to him that he could lower his commission cut. Another broker residing in Mexico informed us that what we were trying to do (sell a US boat in Mexico) was illegal. Oh? What do you do for a living? Sell US boats in Mexico???? Hmm.. As long as the money transaction takes place in America through an escrow company, it's not illegal.
*(Please see note at foot of post)
Blood Suckers are a new lot of humans which I haven't met before, either. Seems times are hard out there folks, and these people have GOLD! That's right. Gold bullion! And since the world is about to end and no one has a job, they will be happy to give us pennies on the dollar for our boat right now! Right now! Pending inspection. That is more than fair. They have money! Do you want it in gold, or dollars? You are taking a chance with dollars since the world is going to end soon, but it's your choice. Honestly. We were approached by three different people who said they had gold and they would like to buy our boat. One offered 150K and the other offered 175K and the third never talked to us again when we told her we had someone coming down to see the boat. Seems they don't like competition. Each one of them made their offer sound like it was some special present. One adamantly assured us that he would not resell the boat for a profit! They all said they were SERIOUS buyers. They were serious - seriously deranged and delusional if they thought we were going to sell our boat for that little.
Which brings us to the charlatans. We listed our boat on Craigslists in Seattle, San Diego and San Francisco - the specific West Coast market where we figured we would find a buyer. This opened us up to our third contestants, the Charlatans. You would laugh at the number of emails we got from people saying things like:
"I love your item. I want to buy it. I can't pick it up now, but I will send a friend to pick it up later. I have always wanted one! Please send me your Paypal information and I will send you the money for the item. Thank you."Really? You're going to send a friend to come and pick it up? No inspection? No sale agreement? Your friend got a big trunk on his car?
It really has been a hoot. We beat the odds and were successful. Very successful. Especially because it really is a buyer's market right now. We had the boat advertised for three months, but were able to use her ourselves almost that whole time. We received many emails from interested parties and made appointments for two people to view her in La Paz. We sat on a dock for less than a week to show her. The first people to see her, bought her for a few thousand less than asking price. (It makes it even better that we really like the couple who bought her). Yes, we might have held out for more money but since we aren't paying for a broker, we are already ahead. We had a great boat, very well cared for, at a good price. It definitely helped that Lagoon makes a desirable boat and there were only three 380's for sale on the entire west coast of North and South America.
What steps did we take to sell Just a Minute? We created an exciting, easy to view website at lagoon380forsale.blogspot.com. We linked our sale blog site through as many other sites as we could think of - Lagoon owner's groups, catamaran info sites, seafarer's chat rooms, Lectronic Latitude, craigslist, our own blog, free sailboat for sale sites, etc. A couple of our friends put links on their blog sites, too. (Thank you very much Hotspur and Third Day!) It all added up. We got over 8,000 hits in the first two months. We paid $40 for advertising, total. Our only paid ad was in Latitude 38 for one month which gets you in both their magazine and their website. We listed JaM only on free sailboat-for-sale websites. There are lots of sailboat for sale sites that charge nominal fees for posting ads ($30-$50), and they would also be a good - we just didn't use them.
It's not rocket science to sell a boat. Be reasonable, study your market, give your buyers a good deal, make sure your boat is as clean and well cared for as possible, make a great sale web site with lots of pictures and info that is easy to navigate (don't make viewers jump between pages to see pertinent info), and get your boat linked on as many free sites as you can find. Make sure your boat is easily accessible to buyers - La Paz is easy and cheap to fly into from the States. Then sit back and enjoy the fun with the blood suckers, boat brokers and charlatans while you wait for your real buyer. You only need one!
* RE marine documentation/escrow companies. There are lots of escrow companies that specialize in national/international boat sales. The escrow company provided the sale agreement and other legal documents needed to sell our boat, and they answered any questions both we and our buyers had about how to do this legally. They had all the answers we needed.