John Rodriguez Yachts
+44 (0)7505 485 950
Specialist Blue Water and Cruising Yacht Brokerage

Yacht Buyers Guide

Buying a brokerage boat can sometimes be more complicated than a property transaction, so we have put together this short yacht buyers guide to help give you a clearer idea of the process and the stages involved.

When purchasing a used boat it is important that the legal and financial processes are handled correctly.
ABYA registered yacht brokers are professionally qualified and as a requirement of membership must also carry professional Indemnity Insurance, operate specifically designated client accounts and follow the ABYA Code of practice.

Unlike a property transaction where an agent will market the property and then hand over to conveyancing solicitors after acceptance of an offer, the ABYA yacht broker continues with the conveyancing until completion.

He or she will ensure the distribution of final funds are handled correctly and that the boat’s title history, record of mortgages (if part 1 registered) and RCD and VAT status evidence have been requested, as well as administering the sale and purchase contracts and legal transfer of title.

The purchase is made by using an unconditional or conditional Sale & Purchase agreement. Buying a yacht this way can be less stressful than the current English system of property buying, as everything is agreed in writing at the beginning. Once an offer is accepted and a deposit is paid, the yacht is then essentially off the market. At that point, no other offers can be accepted whilst the agreement is in place.

The usual sequence of events for a conditional sale are set out below:

  • The boat is offered for sale and an offer is received “subject to survey” and accepted.
  • The seller and buyer enter into an agreement drawn up by the yacht broker. A 10% deposit is taken and held in an independent account. The deposit protects the seller if his boat is damaged during the survey or if any associated lift out/yard bills are not settled by the buyer. It also gives him good reason to accept no further offers whilst the agreement is running.
  • The buyer is also protected as the seller is now agreeing to sell to that buyer at an agreed price and within an agreed time frame. The seller can not change his mind or sell to a higher bidder whilst the buyer is spending money on a survey and this agreement is in place.
  • As we are dealing with the sale of second-hand goods between two private individuals that are not
    warranted, having a survey gives the buyer independent knowledge of what he is buying.
  • The agreement allows him to re-negotiate the price or have his deposit refunded if the survey shows the boat to not be in the condition that both he and the seller thought she was in.
  • However, it is important to remember that a 10-15 year old yacht will not survey like a brand new one. The survey will almost certainly have a list of minor non structural recommendations for repairs and upgrades that are not serious and form part of the ongoing maintenance of a yacht.
  • The buyer pays for his survey and any associated lift out or yard costs etc. and now the owner may no longer use the vessel until the agreement is completed.
  • After the survey the boat sale moves to the completion stage.
  • Once the sale is agreed, the balance payment is made to the yacht broker’s client account.
  • If unexpected or serious defects had been found during the survey, an agreement may be reached between both parties where the owner makes repairs or reduces the price, with due regard being taken for betterment and any previously agreed reductions. In the unlikely event of an agreement not being reached within 14 days, the contract may be rescinded and the buyers deposit refunded. The boat is then free to be re-marketed.
  • On agreement of sale and receipt of funds to the protected client account, the yacht broker executes an MCA Bill of Sale in the name of the new owner. He then collates the paperwork and title documents to hand over with the newly executed Bill of Sale, whilst simultaneously transferring the funds to the vendor.

It all works very well for both parties. The seller knows he has a committed buyer and financial protection. The buyer has time to find out exactly what he is buying and the knowledge that any money he spends on surveys will not be wasted by the boat being sold elsewhere during the process. There is a clear written framework, with a professional yacht broker as a third party to administer it, and a safe method of distributing the funds. It is also possible to use an unconditional contract if not having a survey or to insert an optional seatrial clause.

Although ultimately it is for buyers to satisfy themselves on the title history and VAT and RCD status of a used vessel, John Rodriguez Yachts will request paperwork or details on all listed yachts with regard to VAT status, RCD status and Title history paperwork and present these findings as a matter of course to a prospective purchaser.

The ABYA Code of practice requires that all deposits and final payments are processed through a dedicated client account solely for this purpose. The John Rodriguez Yachts client account conforms to this requirement and is written in trust at Lloyds.

When transacting through client accounts and/or to vendor and purchasers accounts, suitable identity should always be obtained and a two-step process should be in place. John Rodriguez Yachts will never ask clients to change bank account details via email.

It is also a requirement that all ABYA brokers carry professional indemnity insurance and John Rodriguez Yachts is fully insured.

Our full list of yachts for sale can be found here.

Information on selling your yacht can be found here.