Ultimately every ownership journey comes to an end and in most instances that requires working with a yacht broker to list and facilitate the sale of your catamaran.
Here are three questions you should ask your broker when listing your catamaran for sale:
What Association Affiliations and Licensure Do They Carry?
I have always found it unbelievably fascinating that there are so few regulations for yacht sales in most parts of the world. In the United States, only two states require licensing to perform the duty of a yacht and catamaran broker, Florida and California.
If you are listing a catamaran outside of one of those two jurisdictions, I still feel there is a lot of value in only working with a licensed broker. As a licensed yacht and ship broker, there are laws and regulations that one must follow to maintain licensure. There are also consumer protections built into the licensing. For an example, at Catamaran Central, we are required by law to have a dedicated client trust or escrow account, as well as carry a surety bond to protect client funds.
Equally important to being a licensed and bonded broker is joining an association like the International Yacht Broker’s Association (IYBA). This organization is one of the most important yachting organizations that most consumers have never heard of. In addition to successfully lobbying for caps on state sales tax and the creation of Marine Free Trade Zones; members of IYBA are required to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics dictates how member brokers interact not only with their clients but also with inter-broker relationships. IYBA has a system in place to deal with ethics violations and disputes, should they ever arise.
As the consumer, it’s important that your listing or buying agent is both licensed and an IYBA member. It isn’t sufficient to only have the Head of whichever yacht brokerage company you chose to list your boat, be the licensed and the IYBA member. At Catamaran Central, all of our brokers are both licensed and an active IYBA member.
Do You Co-Broker With Other Firms?
Catamaran brokers are paid by the listing commission charged to the seller. If the listing broker is the only broker in the transaction it is called “dual agency” and he/she receives the full commission. When there is a Listing Agent and a Selling Agent, it is called “co-brokerage, and the commission is split 50/50; 50% going to the Listing Agent and 50% going to the Selling Agent. It goes without saying it is far more beneficial to the listing broker to conduct a dual agency transaction versus a co-brokerage transaction. But what is best for the broker is not always what is best for the seller. Statistically speaking, around 70% of all yacht sales occur on a “Co-Brokerage” basis. If your broker does not co-broker your boat you have severely limited your market, because buyers brokers cannot submit offers from their clients to you.
When interviewing brokers, if they ask for 30 days to sell it in-house or anything else to limit the market potential of your boat…Keep looking.
It is important to ask your perspective broker if they use an IYBA listing agreement. Recently I had a listing client send me an agreement from a non-IYBA broker with the wording, “Broker will submit offers generated by its own in-house sales team to the Owner.” This nuanced wording in a very soft manner gives the broker the contractual right to not present any offers from outside brokerage firms, thus possibly not getting your catamaran sold for as much and as fast as if the entire market could buy your boat.
Aside From the Sales Commission, Do I Have Any Additional Costs?
Some brokerage firms will charge on top of the commission, an assortment of fees including but not limited to: closing fee, processing fee, administrative fee, marketing fee.
At Catamaran Central we do not charge any fees at closing.