When you want to sell a boat through a broker, it’s the broker you choose, the central agent, that buys the advertising-just one way he or she provides a service to the seller. That broker fields questions from buyers’ brokers who may be interested in showing the yacht to their clients, and from other selling brokers who like to watch certain markets and know what is available for sale.
“A good central listing agent truly feels a fiduciary responsibility to the owner-seller, making every possible effort to get the yacht sold, regardless of who sells it,” says Bruce Leffers, director at Northrop and Johnson. “This means marketing the yacht to other brokers, encouraging them, and going out of his way to make it easy for other brokers to sell the yacht.”
While the benefits of a seller’s investment in a central agent vary from case to case, a good central agent is a one-stop shop for selling a yacht.
“A good broker inspects the yacht and writes a concise listing with design drawings and good photos,” says Rex Herbert, senior broker at Sparkman & Stephens. “He knows the marketplace and places a reasonable asking price. He advises his client on where to keep the boat while she is listed. He contacts fellow brokers that are known to sell this type of yacht.” The central agent may recommend that the owner have the boat surveyed. He’s focused on getting good, hard facts to present to his fellow brokers, knowing that the information will make it easier for them to present the boat to their clients.
A central broker basically gives the seller the same benefits that a buyer derives from his or her broker. And while we would never impugn the ethical standards of any broker on this page, we will pose a question: Why ask someone with a responsibility to the seller to also represent your interests as a buyer? Instead, get your own broker. It won’t cost you any more and has the benefit of adding an advocate on your side who could save you some money on the deal.
“A buyer should use a broker or a firm that they know or is recommended,” says Herbert. “A good broker can be on both sides of a deal. Transparency is the issue and a good, knowledgeable broker can easily communicate with both parties.” That said, a smart broker who is working just for you will ask the right questions.
“A quality broker will gain all the information, not only from the central agent but, with his network, be able to acquire information that the central broker would not disclose,” says Leffers. “Simply: a good broker will work for his buyer, typically saving him money.”
So the buyer has his broker. What does the owner-seller get from his central agent? “Experience, exposure, and a buyer,” says Herbert succinctly.