Ask The Experts: What does a yacht broker do?

For many people looking to buy their first-ever yacht or boat, the process can seem overwhelming. In the second of our series on the initial stages of interest in the yachting market, we asked some of the world's most expert yacht brokerage companies - including BurgessEdmistonFraser YachtsSimpson Marine and Y.CO - about finding a yacht broker and understanding what he or she does for their clients...

If someone has not had a yacht broker before, what should they expect the yacht broker to do when helping them find a yacht?

In a word, everything. A yacht broker is a consultant, advisor, negotiator, administrator and connector. From the initial search through inspections, sea trials, surveys, negotiations, the transaction itself, registration and all other administrative elements, a good broker handles every element. Brokers will also liaise with third party specialists such as surveyors, financing agents, insurance underwriters and tax specialists, making sure that the buyer has access to the best advice and resources available. Companies like Y.CO, which offer additional services in charter and yacht management will also be able to offer practical advice about yacht crewing and operations as well as knowledgeable after-sales support and ongoing advice long after the sale is concluded. Y.CO

Yacht brokers represent yacht or boat sellers and/or buyers for the sale or purchase of a yacht or boat. The yacht broker helps a yacht seller to market the yacht for sale, handle interest and inquiries from buyers, manage negotiations, attend inspection and water trial and to arrange for delivery when the sale is completed. A buyer's broker may assist their client in identifying and qualifying a boat that suits their needs and assists with purchase negotiations and ensures the smooth transfer of ownership. Simpson Marine

What is not expected of the yacht broker?

While yacht brokers do not provide financing, insurance or specialist tax advice, a good yacht broker will introduce reputable third party specialists wherever necessary and will coordinate all parties to ensure that everyone’s number one priority is the buyer’s interests. In essence, there is no element of a sale that an experienced broker will not offer advice or guidance on. Y.CO

Are there guidelines to the commission brokers get for involvement in a sale of a yacht and who pays the commission?

The broker is always working for his client, so sometimes he/she represents the seller, sometimes the buyer. He/She is paid a percentage of the gross sale price. Large brokerage houses are affiliated with superyacht associations, such as LYBrA (the Large Yacht Brokers Association) or MYBA (the Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association), which regulate the ethics and rules of the industry. David Legrand, Sales Broker, Fraser Yachts

For a brokerage sale (ie a pre-owned yacht or boat), the seller pays the broker’s commission. For new yachts, it will be the shipyard. There are industry standards for commission structures. The commissions will be paid after the yacht has been handed over to the buyer and all the ownership paperwork is completed. Simpson Marine

When does the broker get their commission?

When the yacht is sold and the title of ownership is exchanged. For boats over 80ft (24m), if you go directly to a yacht builder (for boats over 80ft) will you need a yacht broker? It is always advisable to speak with a yacht broker who will be able to offer professional advice on which yacht will suit your needs and budget. He will also be able to ensure that all the necessary procedures and paperwork for the purchase are in order. Simpson Marine

If you want to get an objective opinion yes, as a broker knows most of the shipyards in the world and will always be able to compare and offer you the vision from all angles, which a shipyard cannot – they would only push their brand. David Legrand, Sales Broker, Fraser Yachts

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