The Soundings Trade Only Today magazine recently published an article entitled “Online used-boat sales sans broker” which outlines an effort that enables buyers and sellers to execute a transaction without the services of a broker.
I applaud any effort whose aim is to responsibly get more people out on the water aboard the vessel of their choice, but the internet by itself will not always be the solution.
Ultimately, brokered transactions are about relationships. Sometimes I help a buyer and seller come together quickly and effect a sale. In other cases I’ve spent years with clients, both buyers and sellers, helping them chart their path. In some cases they were planning to buy a boat to cruise upon retirement, or were looking to transition from sail to power. In other cases they were looking to move up or down in size. Over the course of days, weeks and months spent talking, emailing, texting and dock walking, these clients have become more than buyer x or seller y. They have become friends, and I’ve become a trusted agent upon whom they know they can rely. Along the way they have become extremely well prepared for their next step because they know the market in a way an internet search could never replace.
I’d argue that savvy brokerages have not “missed the train” when it comes to the internet. We leverage its power to help buyers and sellers get what they want via exposure and education. We use cloud based data storage to quickly produce information for buyers and sellers whether it be showing a listing on a tablet or walking them through the details of a purchase and sale agreement. We use internet based forums to rapidly exchange information between company brokers and thus more efficiently arrive at a solution for a buyer or seller.
The intricacies of a deal, and thus the value of a broker, aren’t about writing up a contract or advertising a boat for sale. It’s about what happens between the first showing to the last wired funds that closes a transaction. The broker, as that knowledgable third party, can assist both buyer and seller to a degree that can’t be replaced by the internet alone.