If you’ve purchased or sold a home, the role of the yacht broker will seem familiar to that of your real estate agent. We both advertise your property or find properties to fit your needs. We both show properties and handle the legal paperwork. For this we receive a percentage of the sales price as a commission or fee. Understand your listing agreement with the broker. A reputable yacht broker, one that belongs to an association that requires following a code of ethics, can explain the various listing differences and point you in the direction that is best for you.
From that point, the broker begins showing yachts to the client, usually starting with nearby listings and progressing to yachts that may be scattered around the world.
Once the client decides on a yacht, there is the usual offer/counter offer process with the broker negotiating for the client until a deal is reached. But, before the deal is completed, there are several more important steps. Without exception, every yacht contract has clauses requiring that the yacht must pass a satisfactory marine survey and may include a sea trial. The broker arranges the haul out, sea trial, and survey on behalf of the seller and/or buyer.
A marine surveyor examines the boat from stem to stern (usually when hauled out), and provides a comprehensive written opinion of the condition. The survey also allows a buyer to negotiate further to either have the owner correct any problems, or to reduce the price accordingly.
The sea trial is a similar test that not only reassures the buyer of a satisfactory yacht, but provides a chance to experience the yacht underway. If, for example, a yacht is claimed to have a top speed of 20 knots, then it should reach that speed on its sea trial. Less easily quantified; but just as important is the “feel” of the yacht.
Assuming a satisfactory survey and trial, the broker then handles the closing paperwork, title transfer, and financial transactions, to pass the yacht to its new owner.