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Old 04-23-2010, 06:09 AM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 16

Hi Folks,

Im in the market for a second hand yacht on East Coast Australia. I'm no stranger to negotiating to buy property or cars, but have never had to negotiate a yacht before. Many of the vessels I find myself looking at tend to fall under the "custom" category more than the Beneteau/Hunters/Jenneau production boats.

Im happy to pay a fair price but don't want to get taken for more than the vessel is worth. I'm well aware the buying price is generally inflated significantly from most owners expectations - my question is, as a general rule how much below asking price (in percent terms) do you start without being ridiculous on a six figure asking price?

Having seen some boats prices re-listed at nearly half the original asking price recently, is a 50% offer reasonable or would the broker tell me to f*off and sour relations? (Im talking about a boat thats pretty much ready to go with cosmetic work only required - im assuming major repairs would need to be negotiated following a survey and quotes).

Also, are sea trials and surveys generally done before or after price negotiations in Australia?


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Old 04-23-2010, 12:25 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,098

I think that it's harder to establish a fair price for a boat compared to a house or car, but here are a few tips, using some of the same ideas as for houses and cars, with a twist. I'm no expert, but here are some of the issues from our search, and from our friends' sales.

First, because you are in Australia, the origin and owner of the boat can be an important clue. For a foreigner owning the boat and who will be leaving Australia, look to the price of comparable boats in their home country. Not necessarily the same boat, considering one-offs, but size, age, hull material, and importantly, who designed the boat and who built it. Home built boats, no matter how much you love it, should go for a lower price than one from an established yard.

How much would it cost to repatriate the boat? Deduct that from the asking price and see what they say.

Designer - established reputation, higher price than an unknown.

Yard - same

How old are the electronics? Generally, here in the States we're told to discount their value since most people would want to put in their own.

There are so many websites for boats for sale, with multiple search criteria, you should be able to find lots of comparable boats to look at.

If you really like a boat, you can ask for a sea trial before making a final offer, but the broker will guide you a bit on this.

Survey is for after the offer to purchase is accepted and signed, with a contingent to survey clause in it. You might want to interview the surveyors to find out how familiar they are with the particular make of boat he will be surveying. The survey should point out any problems (osmosis, damage, etc.) and provide an estimated fair market value for the boat. If it's lower than your offer price, there are usually further negotiations. If it's higher, you can pat yourself on the back.

Maybe Canukiwis will check in and give you more ideas since they have recently gone through the exercise themselves.

Good luck.


In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

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Old 04-24-2010, 04:46 AM   #3
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 16

Thanks Jeanne! Good tips.
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