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Mistakes to Avoid at the Boat Show, Part 5

royhl0314The U.S. Coast Guard’s motto Semper Paratus means “Always Ready” and it’s a good one to keep in mind in all boating situation. But you’d be surprised at the number of boaters who don’t follow that advice at boat shows where they hope to make a deal.

“People are there at the boat show to sell boats,” says Chuck Royhl, a broker with Sarasota Yacht & Ship. “Sellers and companies have spent lots and lots of money to get the boat spiffied up and bring it to the boat show, and they’re serious.” This is business after all, and sometimes large boats and large sums of money are at play.

“If you want to be taken seriously as a buyer, you’d better bring a check,” Royhl says. “And that’s when you’re going to get peoples’ undivided attention, is when you are ready to stroke a check for that deposit. This is the fish or cut bait time, sports fans.” It may seem obvious, but Royhl, a certified professional yacht broker, contends that this problem is more common than you might think. And it actually has repercussions beyond the inconvenience at the time.

“Buyers often forget to bring their checkbook, some intentionally, some not,” Royhl says. “If they bring a check to the boat show, it not only reinforces in their own head why they’re going to the boat show, but it makes it clear to those who they’re trying to negotiate with. If you don’t have a check with you, don’t expect to be taken seriously.”

But it’s not just any check. You need to be ready to make out the check for the amount on the spot: “Ten percent of the price is the standard deposit,” Royhl says. “That’s what it takes to get a boat off the market. If somebody shows up with a better offer, they’re going to have to wait until you accept or reject the boat.”

A cashier’s check predrawn in a set amount is not the answer, either. “There are a couple of times when I have had people come into a boat show saying they’re going to show up with, say, a million dollars,” Royhl says. “They’re ready to write that. And they will show up with a cashier’s check made out for $100,000, thinking they’re going to get a $1.5 million boat for a million because they’ve shown up with this. That’s a game—a game that serious sellers with real boats are not going to play.”

Boats are great fun, but buying and selling them is not a game. Show up ready to deal and you will be treated the same way. “If you bring your checkbook, you show up ready to negotiate you will be taken very seriously at a boat show,” Royhl says. “And there is the opportunity to get a great deal at a boat show, if you do that.”

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