Grand Plans

A broker can help you find a boat to fit the yachting life you always wanted.

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It's a great time to upgrade your boat. Prices are low, there's plenty of inventory, and there are deals to be had.

Where to begin? It can seem daunting, but if you can change your thinking, you'll actually learn more about the boat-buying process. These tips will help you navigate your way to your best next boat. ****

Getting to Know You

****While you've decided to make a move to a larger boat, you may not be familiar with the market. That's where a top-notch broker comes in. No matter how much research you do, you won't be as tuned in to trends in the market-that's what a broker does. The key is to reach a comfort level, and that means finding a broker who serves the market you're looking at.

"As you look at the advertisements in magazines and see which boats catch your eye, you'll see the names of brokers that have the listings you like," explains Luis Rubio, a sales consultant for American Global Yacht Group (AGYG) with experience in the Florida, Caribbean, and Latin American markets. "As you find the kind of boat you like, the same names will keep coming up." That's a good starting point.

Once the conversation begins, you'll know if you're in the right place. "A good broker should interview the buyer to see what he actually wants," Rubio continues. "He will ask, 'How will you use the boat?'" By virtue of this line of questioning, the broker will be able to ascertain your needs and experience level and steer you in the right direction. ****

Market Motivation

Now that the broker knows about you and what you're after, it's time to ask your questions. Smart buyers find the boat they want, then focus on the mindset of the seller to get the best deal. And it has never been a better time to capitalize on a buyer's market.

Bill Sanderson, a broker at Camper & Nicholsons with more than 30 years of brokerage experience, says to ask how long the boat has been on the market. The bottom line: Time is a friend to the seller. "I've seen boats sell after rejecting offers that were substantially greater than the final selling price."

Sanderson also says to ask if the seller owns another boat. If the seller bought their upgrade before selling, they may be motivated to move the merchandise. "Generally, the broker wants to make the deal and will offer anything they know," Sanderson says.

Once you decide to make a move, you'll get a better deal if you understand the market you're entering. And a good yacht broker will help you find that market, and gain that understanding. Just be ready to answer a few questions.