Why use a broker?




The most often asked question sellers have is why should they use a broker to sell their vessel. The answer is simple. We take care of most of the work involved in selling your vessel. On a simple level a marine broker works like a real estate agent. We take care of all the advertising, sales evaluation and preparation, paperwork and making sure it is a sound legal transaction. We work with both the seller and buyer to make sure the vessel is properly and fairly marketed and hopefully sold. If your vessel does not sell, you owe nothing, “no pay no cure“.

The market for marine vessels has always seemed to be in the buyer’s favour. At any given time there are thousands more vessels available for sale than there are buyers looking to buy a vessel. In this very competitive market it’s far more difficult to sell a vessel than to buy one. Selling a vessel can be a stressful, expensive and a time-consuming ordeal for the owners. This is where your Broker comes in.

Some prospective buyers can be very critical or downright nasty during a vessel showing. The broker will be the one to negotiate any problems or wants the buyer may have. Whereas a seller/owner who wishes to do it themselves must be prepared to face a potentially difficult buyer who will complain about anything and everything, demanding price reductions or repairs prior to signing an offer to buy – and that’s before a survey has even been completed. More sales are sunk after a survey than at any other time – during the offer to buy transaction.

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Not only is there plenty of stress involved (and to go around) in selling your vessel, the whole process can be fairly expensive from the advertising and marketing point-of-view. The owner must be willing to devote the time and money necessary to properly market his vessel, all the while hoping the savings of a brokerage commission doesn’t somehow reduce the negotiated price at which the vessel is to be sold. But with a broker, they do all this work for you. The broker puts your vessel into the marketplace for any perspective buyer to see.

A substantial amount of personal time is also required, as well as a flexible schedule. Many buyers expect to view your vessel at a time of their choosing, not yours, which frequently means your days, nights and weekends are spent waiting for prospective buyers to, hopefully, keep appointments. Yes, hopefully.

A broker’s job is to market and sell your vessel, so instead of you as the owner taking your time off work to hopefully make a sale, your broker does his job and works with any potential buyer.



The Advantage – With HARLOW MARINE

There’s a reason athletes, musicians, association’s, professional and union workers use a third party to negotiate on their behalf. Transactions negotiated via a third party frequently increase the future contract price (value) by an amount greater than the third party’s fee (our commission). Whereas, a do-it-yourself seller may end up with the need to just get things done, thereby taking a much lower value for their vessel.

If there’s any question whether a professional broker has earned their commission up to this point, the additional value supplied by salvaging a sinking sale and calmly negotiating a fair and equitable agreement between buyer and seller will more than justify a fair brokerage fee.

A professional broker will often bring enough additional value to a transaction to more than offset a commission. Unfortunately, there’s no upfront guarantee that a broker will sell a vessel faster, for more money, or for that matter, at all. However, most professional broker’s services are free to the seller until a transaction is completed.

We always work on a “no cure, no pay” commission basis. There is no charge for listing vessels with Harlow Marine; commissions are only due when your vessel is sold. So, you may ask, is hiring a broker the right way to go? The larger and more sophisticated the vessel, the greater the value, and the less inclined the owner is to show and sell a vessel, negotiate a fair price, and deal directly with a (possibly emotionally involved) buyer, the more likely the answer to the question will be a resounding “YES, YES, YES, YES!”

Better Quality Transactions - With Harlow Marine

At Harlow Marine, we know that you cannot just send us a vessel’s information and expect us to sell it. There are steps to take to ensure that you have the best quality transaction. As your broker, it is our responsibility to get you the best value for your vessel. So we will help guide you through the process and in the end get you a much better result.

First, preparing your vessel for a sale is the most important step in the process and will typically be the owner’s responsibility, whether or not a broker has been hired. The vessel should be cleaned thoroughly – twice. Don’t overlook the bilge or engine room, and a coat of paint couldn’t hurt with respect to decks and rusty hulls. Time and effort spent on professional detailing at this point in the sale’s process will be recovered through a higher final selling price plus and on average result in a faster sale of your vessel.

Cleaning a vessel months after bringing it to market may (will) be too little too late. In most cases, there are a limited number of prospects for your specific type of vessel and the old cliche applies: “you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”.

Once the vessel is shipshape and Bristol Clean, preparation is complete and you’re ready for the next step in the process. The most vital part of making a future successful sale is correctly pricing your vessel. The market value sets a standard for all vessels in the marine industry. You are unlikely to generate any inquiries when overpricing a vessel, meaning there will be little or no response from any potential buyer.

When a vessel is languishing for months on the market because it’s overpriced, it may develop a poor reputation. Then lowering the price leads prospective buyers to wonder whether there’s some undisclosed problem in relation to the price drop. On the other hand, under pricing a vessel can also be a costly mistake for the inexperienced owner. Buyers are typically skeptical and some will assume a vessel priced well below market value may in fact be too un-seaworthy or in such bad repair to even consider.


Since our brokerage firm (Harlow Marine) absorbs all (yes all) of the marketing and advertising costs associated with selling your vessel, as brokers, we will suggest a realistic market price for your vessel whereby the advertising will produce the desired results. Since our compensation is based on a percentage of the selling price, we as professional brokers seek to secure all fair and reasonable offers for your vessel.


Once a vessel is properly prepared and professionally priced, the public needs to know of its availability. The broker needs to use various venues of presentation of your vessel. A picture can be worth a thousand words and is a must have when selling your vessel. Unfortunately, the cost to advertise with some descriptive text can be prohibitively expensive, especially over a long period of time.


Internet advertising is an important marketing tool in its own right, although nothing substitutes for a comprehensive marketing program that includes other media as well. Research has shown that many buyers turn to the Internet to look for additional details on a VESSEL only after advertising in print or some other medium has made them aware the vessel is being offered for sale.

A professional brokerage company like Harlow Marine International Inc. will use a variety of advertising resources to call market attention to any of our client’s vessel(s), and to the best of our ability will do things more likely to make something happen rather than simply wait for a lucky break or the phone to ring.

Professional Brokers (like Harlow Marine) generally have a file of buyers actively seeking various types of vessels, and may be able to match an owner’s offering with an already identified prospect. In a surprising number of instances, we often sell a vessel to a buyer who initially called about another vessel. Since we may have hundreds of vessels listed and access to thousands more, advertising a single vessel often works to promote all similar listings.

Customer Service - At Its Best

Owners employing a professional broker should expect professional service, integrity, accountability and responsibility – plus expert pricing advice. A professional broker should be able to supply the owner with up-to-date market information rather than guesstimates, speculation and hopeful conjecture

With the superior customer service that Harlow Marine provides remember to call us first; we are the leaders in the field!

The competition follows us!