It is rarely done this way, but I think the following approach should become common practice. Think about this logically…If you are a business owner and wish to hire a new employee. You prepare a job description, solicit applications, evaluate the qualifications, and interview selected candidates before making your final determination.
Purchasing a trawler is a major commitment of both time and money – it’s probably up there with buying a home or sending your kids off to college. Shouldn’t you develop a strategy for how you are going to approach this rather than randomly bouncing from websites to boat shows trying to find the perfect trawler on your own?
Remember you, the buyer, not only pay the commission (which is built into the asking price), but also pay for all of the due diligence costs – hull surveyor, haul out, diesel mechanic and oil samples.
Shouldn’t you consider whom you want to represent your interests as a buyer?
This may sound like propaganda from the YBAA, but having a professional yacht broker looking out for your interests is the best money you will ever save. There are hundreds of professional yacht brokers with years of experience who are finely trained in the mechanics of a transaction. They know how to make an offer, bank a good faith deposit, attend a survey, complete the closing statements, and distribute the funds…but is that enough? It may not be enough, and below are some questions to ensure your yacht broker will advocate for your interests.
Ask your professional yacht broker to outline exactly what they are going to do for you.
Will he/she help you find a banker to see what type of loan you qualify for?
Who can he/she put you in touch with to assist with insurance (did you know that even if you can afford to buy a trawler you may not be able to use it by yourself until you are approved by a captain)?*
What about legal issues, does your broker know someone familiar with the maritime laws in the location of the trawler you are interested in buying? Does he/she know an attorney who can advise you on best way to handle title, tax issues, etc.?
Does he/she have recommendations for service people to work on projects that arise during the survey?
Can he/she advise on slip locations and/or delivery captains to help you get your trawler home?
Once the dust settles and the deal has closed, what will your broker do for you?
Will your broker be personally involved in coaching you on systems operations and explaining the navigation equipment?
What about boat handling like coming back to the dock or setting the anchor?
Will your professional yacht broker handle this coaching or hire a captain you’ve never met to show you the ropes?
Can he/she provide tips on cleaning routines and maintenance products?
Does he/she have the knowledge to help you source spare parts and provide special tool recommendations?
What hands on experience does your broker have on trawlers in general and on the particular model you are interested in?
Just as you should develop a “wish list” spread sheet for the features and equipment you want to see in your trawler you should seriously consider a similar list to help you find a broker. Your broker should provide the type of experience you deserve – both in purchasing a trawler and in enjoying it after you have completed the sale.
*Some insurance providers will not approve you to operate your boat until after you have been checked out by a licensed captain and shown your proficiency in systems management, navigation, and good boat handling skills.