Boat buyers are a courageous lot when you think about it. They spend their time hunting up boats that may fit the bill, doing exhaustive research on the market and where the price should be for the boat they seek. Then they start looking at the actual boats, and learning about what’s really out there. Invariably, the boats are perfect…except for this one…little…thing. It’s very rare to find a boat that’s exactly as you want it right out of the gate. There may be some detail that the last owner didn’t fix when he decided to sell (the last straw?) or maybe he ran out of money or patience or time. Some owners just don’t care about the details as much as others—when’s the last time you saw someone wave as they cruised by with all of their fenders dangling in the breeze?
But you’re in luck if your broker’s a boat guy—that’s a term I use for someone, man or woman, who gets it. Boat guys think about the details the way you do (maybe that’s why you work so well together and get these deals done) and you find him or her finishing your sentences when you’re talking about your first-priority project if and when you buy that next boat.
And there are brokers who work out of shipyards because they know the business in this way. Take Tucker Fallon, who’s been at Bradford Marine Yacht Sales in Fort Lauderdale for seven years. “I tell clients all the time, we are not brokers with a rented office,” Fallon says. “They have a full-time naval architect on staff here at Bradford Marine. He’s available for consulting any client about any possible changes they want to do on a boat.” Boat guys—both the broker kind and the boat-buying kind—will tell you that while many boats they see are very nice, that if they owned that boat, things would be different. Whether it’s the electronics, or that boot stripe, or the pipework on the hardtop, it wouldn’t stay that way for long.
“We have a propeller shop, a machine shop, a carpentry shop, a welding shop,” Fallon says. “And what’s really nice is to be able to talk to people in the machine shop about running gear, propellers, cutless bearings, all of that stuff. The guys in the shops get a little bit irritated with us because we ask for so many quotes for clients, and then the clients don’t buy the boat and nothing happens. That’s the way it is at all boatyards.” It’s a handy benefit to have insight into the pricing of the various projects you may undertake—even if you don’t do them there—should you buy the boat.
Interestingly it also works for a seller. “I have a new listing: a 1939 Mathis Trumpy,” Fallon says. “So we’re going to haul it out of the water here, and work on it. So the owner has listed the boat with us and he’s going to do work with us too. We’re a one-stop shop that way.” And provided you can find someone you trust, the one-stop approach can really work out for the seller and the buyer.