As the river rises and sales enquiries abound with two frenetic weeks of hat trick sales, I thought it useful to mention a couple of issues which have cropped up recently and possibly need elaboration.
Buying and Selling – How does it work?
I have known some of my customers, and indeed some boats, for a quarter of a century and I hope we trust each other implicitly. I do however still need to have a brokerage form completed for the file so that my colleagues know where to glean information when a prospective buyer calls and I am otherwise engaged.
We are also building a database of classic boats which hopefully will be of use to enthusiasts in future decades. When a boat is put up for sale we try to log the history of ownership and maintenance, where we have the knowledge to do so. It is a shame that there is no DVLA type logbook which accompanies a hull throughout its life as this would document all the owners, name changes etc. In the absence of this kind of data we can but guess.
Occasionally we have a Lloyds Register entry and original photos, or indeed an old magazine article, which add to the excitement for a prospective owner. Nerissa has both Lloyds entries and a magazine article so we know that she was originally called Margo III. Whether the original owner had had three wives called Margo (she doesn’t look especially happy in the photo) or whether there were already two boats called Margo, we can only speculate!
The other snippet which I would like to clarify is what you can expect of a broker, whether you are buying or selling. A broker is simply a facilitator. Sometimes they accompany viewings, sometimes they simply organise them and manage the advertising and the bill of sale. I like to think that we accompany both buyer and seller on their adventure, smoothing over the ruffles, helping to find moorings, organising cranes for surveys and the like.
If in rare cases we actually own the boat and are the sellers we will be clear about this from the start and will offer a year’s warranty. This is not the norm however and usually we advertise, advise, negotiate and produce paperwork on behalf of a vendor and the purchaser is buying the boat “as seen”. There is no VAT on old boats so only the vendor will be charged VAT on the basis of the final fee which is a percentage of the agreed price of the boat.
Gazumping is not in our vocabulary. HSC does not behave like an unscrupulous estate agent in that we take the boat off the market while it is under offer at a price accepted by the vendor. Sometimes it takes a while for surveys, engine checks, river trials etc. and sometimes deals fall through for no reason other than the purchaser realising that they are not suitable owners for a wooden vessel. One could sue for breach of contract or one could simply accept that it is better for an old boat to be owned by someone who will love it and can afford to look after it. We take the latter approach.
So what has been selling? Is there a pattern? I often say to vendors that it is not by dropping the price that they will automatically sell their vessel. There may only be a couple of potential buyers in the whole of the UK. Every boat is different so the broker’s job is to do everything possible to find the perfect match!
Certainly Brexit or no Brexit, the market is more buoyant than it has been for some years. We managed to sell 38 boats last year so let’s see if we can do even better this year. Enquiries are increasingly frequent from foreign buyers as far away as New Zealand while the European buyers give me a golden opportunity to practice my languages.
We are very excited about the container that arrived at our boat store last Friday from Canada. It was like opening a giant Kinder Surprise egg. Inside we found a trailer with a Fantail 217 securely attached and ready to launch, with another one tucked alongside on a cradle and soon to be named Barnaby X. Barnaby will be the 10 seater available for self drive hire from the Swan at Streatley.
Contemporary classics from near and far
Our contemporary classics are certainly proving popular. Our new colleague Chris Bow stood for two days in the Market Place in Henley at the House and Garden Show with the home grown 17ft electric Mallard and was inundated with requests for more information. Subsequently we sold the demonstrator. Henley locals will soon see her pottering around on the river. We also took two orders for new builds.
If you fancy having a Mallard this side of Christmas please let us know as there is still capacity for this summer.
Next weekend we are booking appointments for lake trials with the Fantail and the new Scoop which is arriving from Brittany on Friday. The Scoop is a sassy little number, electric, low maintenance and very reasonably priced. If you would like to take the wheel, please call the office to arrange a demo.
New on our books
These are our most recent listings: Etoile de Paris, Tiffany II, Michigan Minx, Omrah and Lorita.
Please, call us for more information.
Spring has sprung at Boatique
Boatique is simply bursting with gorgeous garments, fab footwear and all manner of unbreakable essentials for entertaining on board. Lifejackets are on a 24 hour delivery to your door.
If you can’t park just call us on 01491 410840, ask for your 10% as a newsletter reader and we will do the rest. Or visit our online store at: www.boatique.co.uk.