A broker recently told me about how his interactions with clients have changed over the years. We were talking about boat buyers and sellers and their relationships with their brokers and the broker, who shall remain nameless, got a bit ruminative. He was realistic, but a bit wistful.
I had asked how he took it when a client asked his advice in one minute and turned around and ignored it in the next. He nodded as I spoke and he clearly was thinking about it. Once upon a time, he said (and I’m paraphrasing here), you’d meet a client and bring him to the boat. You may look at a few boats at a time, and talk about what you saw and what he’d hoped you’d see.
Now, he said, you meet the client on the side of the road. He gets out of the car, looks at the boat with you, and then he’s off, presumably to the next boat and the next broker.
This broker then said something I won’t soon forget.
When you’re talking to the listing broker, he said, you’re talking to someone who is working for the seller. Contractually, he’s working for the seller. So you’re alone in the process, and you don’t have anyone working for you or looking out for your best interests.
I think buying a boat is something to be relished and enjoyed. And it’s to be done well. And if you think about it, you can have a broker or two—whom you trust, if you can get to that point—working on your side, at no cost. The seller pays the commission, remember?