Broker, dealer or private seller – which is best?
When buying a new boat, you should either buy it direct from the boatyard that builds the boat of your choice, or buy from one of their appointed Dealers.
Any boat advertised as new and that does not appear to originate from either of these sources should be checked out carefully with the boat builder, before proceeding to view.
Used boat buying options
When it comes to used boats, you have a choice. You can buy from a Dealer who has taken boats in part exchange and now has them for sale, or you can buy from a Broker, who is selling boats on behalf of private individuals. You can also buy from private individuals who have chosen to sell their boat themselves.
In price terms, you can expect to pay more for the same boat from a Dealer who is trying to sell a part exchange, than you are from a broker. You might get a better deal from a private individual, but you may not have the assurances – a warranty for example – that Dealers and Brokers can offer.
However this is not always the case and it is something that you should always check. It is an advantage to be offered a warranty when buying from a Dealer, and this is particularly likely if they are selling you a used boat of the new brand that they represent. And with a Dealer or a Broker you are assured that all of the necessary paperwork and checks required to protect you, as well as themselves, will be carried out.
Their reputation and future business performance depends as much upon you being delighted with the boat that you buy as much as it is in them selling it to you. However all of this comes at a cost and that's principally why you'll pay a lot more for a boat from these sources than you will from a private seller.
The vast majority of private sellers are genuine individuals who are often looking to upgrade to another boat (and the builder/dealer doesn't take part exchanges) or who are trying to avoid paying brokerage fees and are passing some of that saving on to you in the form of a reduced sales price. Sometimes the sales price
is lower because they want to sell their boat quickly; they perhaps need the funds for other purposes or they are 'bridging' their new boat with their old one.
Occasionally, but rarely, private sellers are not what they seem. It's possible that they could be offering a boat for sale that's stolen or are attempting lure you into entering into a fraudulent transaction and this is this risk that you take when not buying from an established business. But there are steps that you can take to minimise greatly this risk.
Also, remember that private individuals are neither professional sellers, nor are they boat experts. There's no guarantee that they'll provide the right paperwork to back up the sale and value of the boat and they'll certainly not warrant that the boat's in great condition. It'll be up to you to satisfy yourself and unlike with professional Dealers and Brokers, you'll have little recourse in law if things go somewhat pear-shaped later on. But once more, as you'll see later, there are steps that you can take to protect yourself and minimise the chance of a private seller deliberately or otherwise selling you a 'pup'.
So again it's up to you. There's no right or wrong, it's a matter of what suits you and perhaps your budget best, as well as who is selling the boat and if it's truly the one of your dreams. Whoever it is, don't be put off, just proceed carefully, taking all of the necessary steps to protect yourself and the chances are that you'll have bought yourself the right boat at a great value price.