BROKER'S CORNER - Word of Mouth

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Long-serving Sydney boat broker, LEE DILLON, reveals that simply talking to other boaters can put the would-be buyer on the right path

BROKER'S CORNER - Word of Mouth
BROKER'S CORNER — Word of Mouth

The brand has now, more than ever, become an important part of ensuring any purchaser’s investment is relatively safe in this volatile environment.

This tip is among some honest advice that Lee Dillon, dealer principal of Luxury Design Motoryachts (LDM) and founding partner of Belize Motoryachts, reveals in this inaugural marine brokers page.

TAB: It is definitely a buyer’s market at the moment for new and used boats. Can you provide an insight, based on your experience, into what purchasers need to look for when buying a boat?

Dillon: Given market opportunities are now so heavily slanted toward the buyer, they now have the opportunity to seek the best value and quality of their chosen brand and model than ever before.

Any buyer in the marketplace today can afford to seek the newest, low-hours boat available. But as I said, the brand is everything in this volatile environment.

The world has become a much smaller place with the internet and the strength of the Australian dollar. Hence, the volume of what is termed "grey imports" has increased dramatically.

Buyers should avoid them wherever possible. The reason is that in many cases the wiring is non-compliant with Australian standards, along with other pitfalls.

In the case of wiring non-compliance, should there be a fire the boat owner may find himself facing a fight with the insurance company and even be totally uninsured.

Therefore, locally delivered and/or manufactured boats are still the most desirable and have the potential to hold their value better.

TAB:In the past, second-hand boats have tended to hold value, why has this been eroded and what can people do to maintain value in their boats?

Dillon: It is true to say, as with many luxury items, the value has not upheld as well as pre-GFC times. Again, the flood of grey imports has to some degree eroded the value of locally used boats due to the amount of repossessed product that was sold out of the USA post GFC.

Along with our strong dollar, many boats including well-recognised brand-names have been imported at a far lower cost than equivalent local boats.

The best way to try and maintain the value of your boat is to ensure servicing and maintenance — including detailing of the appearance — is kept up. It gives a vendor an edge on similar brands in the market and helps prevent a buyer from haggling due to boat condition.

TAB: What should people look for in the dealership or salesperson when they are about to purchase? And what do they need to be aware of when purchasing privately?

Dillon: Clearly, in the past, boat brokers have been seen as a hole in the wall with a shingle out front saying: "Boat Broker". Very much a cottage industry. However, over the last two decades the standing of professional boat dealerships has improved, generally dragged along by the motor industry to some degree.

Today, most prominent dealerships and brokerages have staff that have been through the BIA Brokers Course and have a strong background in sound business practice. In fact, any broker a customer deals with should also be a member of the BIA Marine Brokers Association.

Purchasing a boat privately has pitfalls, namely surety of title. Brokers have the right paperwork and in a lot of cases have known the boat through various owners, which helps in sourcing the root of title.

TAB: What are the biggest changes you have seen over the years in regards to the Sydney marine retail market?

Dillon: I have been associated with the Sydney marine retail market over the last 30-plus years and seen many changes. Not only the amount of dealers, which is bound to increase over time, but the variation of product available to the retail public.

A stroll down the docks of any of the major (boat) shows in any state of Australia, but particularly the East Coast, will prove the world is now very small and there are very few brands you cannot source through a local dealer. The choice has become wide and varied.

TAB: Sydney Harbour and her surrounds really offer some of the best boating conditions in the world. What lifestyle benefits do you see a boat offers those who commit to the pastime?

Dillon: A boating lifestyle chosen by the Sydney boating fraternity is an enviable one. With three major bodies of mainly deep water surrounded by a lot of National Parks, Sydney boasts some of the best leisure boating facilities in the world.

The most appealing part of boating in Sydney is you only have to travel such a short distance to be in a secluded environment to entertain or relax with the family.

TAB: If someone is considering selling or purchasing a boat, what are the steps they should take to ensure a hassle-free and enjoyable experience?

Dillon: In considering the process of buying or selling a boat, use word of mouth through fellow boaters to find out who offers the best and most reasonable service. So often the buying or selling process can be intense and leave you needing follow-up assistance from the dealer or broker.

Those who are in the boating business, on the whole, are there because they have a love of boats. Most people are perceptive enough to know who are the passionate ones — unless they are committed to the industry then don’t deal with them!

Ongoing support, service, owner gatherings or just simply being able to pick up the phone for a bit of free advice is why you need dealers who are committed and passionate about the boat business.

Photos: Lee Dillon;
The Belize 52 Hardtop; LDM office at d'Albora Marinas, The Spit, Sydney.


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