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Things to Consider When Buying a Yacht Through a Florida Yacht Broker

Yacht Broker Frequently Asked Questions

Have you thought of sailing the world in the comfort and privacy of your own luxury yacht? Or entertaining family, friends, and business associates offshore aboard a luxurious superyacht? Whatever your reason, one of the easiest ways to get the yacht you desire is by buying your boat through a yacht broker. And if you are based in The Sunshine State, you need a Florida yacht broker.
 
There are many options for a yacht purchase. From highly customized modern boats to classic yacht designs, you can find one that suits your taste. Buying a personal yacht can be quite an investment. And because of this, you should make the right choices the first time. Before you start shopping around to choose your boat, you need to know how the yacht industry works in Florida. Here is a guide to working with a Florida yacht broker or yacht salesperson for buying or selling a yacht in Florida.
 

What is a yacht?

The state of Florida classifies a vessel as a yacht if it exceeds 32 feet in length and doesn’t weigh more than 300 gross tons. A yacht can either be propelled by sail or machine power.
 
There are also regulations as to what types of vessels are designated as a ‘new yacht’. A yacht is considered new when it doesn’t have a previous owner or it has never been titled. Keep this in mind when you are looking to purchase as you choose between new versus pre-owned yacht.
 

What Floridian Laws do you need to consider when buying a yacht through a Florida Yacht Broker?

 
Florida yacht brokers and the yacht industry are well-regulated. Florida is one of two states that require a yacht and ship broker to be licensed by the state. You should ensure that your broker is licensed by the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes (Division) under Chapter 326, Yacht and Ship Brokers’ Act of the Florida Statutes. This chapter of the statute governs and regulates salespersons and yacht brokers across Florida. 
Knowing this, you should ensure that the state of Florida licensed your potential broker. And that he/she is working within the law for your benefit and protection.
 

How can you verify that a broker is licensed?

Only brokers/salespersons licensed in the state of Florida can legally advertise and sell yachts and ships within the state. Therefore, you need to find a licensed Florida yacht broker or a Florida licensed yacht salesperson.
 
If you want to verify that a broker or salesperson is licensed in Florida, you can visit the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation at www.myfloridalicense.com. Select the option to Verify A License. You can then opt to Search by Name for that broker’s name or by the company name. You can then narrow the search to this specific industry by selecting the license category Yacht and Ships.
 

For example, you can find our company, Sprigg Yacht Consulting LLC, license number at the department’s website. As you can see, the search results show our license number as 2813 and our license type Yacht and Ship Salesperson or Broker.

You can also contact the Yacht and Ship Brokers section of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation at 850.487.2987 for verification of a potential broker.
 

Is there a difference between a yacht salesperson and a yacht and ship broker?

You may have come upon the terms yacht salesperson and yacht broker and wondered if there is a distinction. Yes, there is. There are several differences between a yacht salesperson and a yacht and ship broker, a few of which we outline below. 

Licensing

  • A yacht and ship broker is anyone who obtains a license from the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes (Division) for the purposes of:
  • Selling, buying, offering, or negotiating the sale of a yacht or ship
  • Soliciting or providing listings of yachts/ships for sale
  • Negotiating the sale or exchange of a yacht or ship on behalf of someone else.

On the other hand, a yacht salesperson, though also licensed by the Division, is employed by a Florida yacht broker to carry out the work of a broker. So, any person employed by a broker to help in the negotiating and sale/exchange of a yacht is a salesperson. A broker keeps the license of a salesperson and returns the salesperson license to the Division for cancellation/transfer if the salesperson leaves their employment or if the license is otherwise canceled.

At Sprigg Yacht Consulting, when we have salespersons, we keep our salespersons’ licenses as required by law. And we monitor and manage all salespersons offering services through our company. Therefore, if you want to confirm whether an individual works for us, you can contact us to verify the information. 

Bonding

As a part of the application and licensing process, Florida yacht brokers must file a letter of credit or surety bond for $25,000 with the Division. This ensures that if a broker cannot or does not fulfill any part of their obligations or contract, you have the means for recourse. On the other hand, a yacht salesperson is obligated to submit a surety bond of $10,000.

Experience

Another primary differentiating factor between a broker and a salesperson is their experience. A yacht and ship broker tends to have more industry experience than a yacht salesperson. And this is a factor that is considered by the Division in the application for a yacht and ship broker license versus a salesperson license.

What should you know about an ‘employing’ yacht broker?

A yacht salesperson works for an employing broker. Take a look at the Sprigg Yacht Consulting LLC licensing information on the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation website. You will note that our company’s license information under “Rank” is listed as an ‘employing broker’. This means that as a yacht and ship broker, we can employ yacht salespersons under our license.

Employing yacht brokers must maintain an escrow account with a Florida financial institution. For example, as Sprigg Yacht Consulting is a registered yacht and ship broker, we maintain an escrow (trust) account as part of state regulations and licensing for the protection of our clients.

What to do if your broker is from another state?

A yacht or ship broker from another state, or one who primarily conducts business outside of Florida, and does not have a license from the state of Florida, is classified in Florida as a “foreign or out-of-state yacht and ship broker or salesperson”.

Your foreign broker/salesperson can work with a Florida licensed broker on your behalf. But, to legally do this, the foreign broker cannot ‘physically enter the state’ and conduct business in the state. So, if your broker is in another state and you want to buy, sell, or exchange a yacht in Florida, your broker and Sprigg Yacht Consulting, for example, would work together to process the sale or exchange.

Are there certifications for yacht brokers?

There are several certification bodies for yacht brokers with Certified Professional Yacht Brokers being amongst the top. Certification by the CPYB involves training, performance standards, and sound business practices. It also promotes continuing education for re-certification.

Your broker should be able to illustrate their dedication to their craft with relevant professional qualifications and industry accreditation.

Why buy your yacht through a Florida Yacht Brokerage?

Smooth sailing and security.

One of the most secure and simplest ways to purchase or sell a yacht is through a Florida broker. They are also the ideal route if you are considering eventually custom building a boat. Buying brokerage can help you to determine if owning a yacht is something that you want to take on by first going the pre-owned or new route.

A yacht broker is an industry expert. When you want to buy your dream vessel or sell your current yacht, a broker’s expertise can help you navigate the complexities of purchasing/selling a yacht. And you are better protected because a Florida licensed yacht and ship broker and a Florida licensed yacht salesperson must meet state regulations. They are fingerprinted, background checked and required to place a substantial bond.

·        Yacht Brokers and salespersons act on behalf of their clients

A yacht broker or salesperson offers the personalized experience and support you need to make the right choices in a boat transaction.

If you are buying a boat: Find a buyer’s broker that knows the industry and will represent your interests. A good yacht broker has the necessary skills and contacts to find the right boat that meets your criteria. Your broker will work closely with you to find the boat that you want and work on your behalf to negotiate a fair price for you. They will also work with the seller’s broker to organize your sea trial. And they should have a dedicated escrow account to manage the funds for the sale.

If you are selling a boat: Your yacht broker will manage the sales process for you. They will help you set the right price for your yacht and get your boat before more and targeted buyers. Comparing boat prices online will not allow you to price your boat the right way. An industry professional will not only know what your boat is valued at, but will also be able to tell you what it can be realistically sold for.

A broker also handles the advertising as well as inquiries and viewings by potential buyers. They negotiate the sale on your behalf and facilitate all the contractual requirements to get the boat to its new owner and your funds to you.

·         Yacht Brokers are highly regulated and monitored

Yacht brokers are required to maintain the highest standards of service and ethics to keep their license. The requirements of the Yacht and Ship Brokers’ Act are intended to protect the interests of purchasers and sellers. This means you can conduct your transactions in a safe environment.

Violations that could result in a broker facing monetary penalties or revocation of their license include:

·         fraud and other dishonest acts

·         misrepresentation and false warranties

·         misuse of escrow funds

·         use of an unlicensed person to perform the acts of a broker

You can read the full details of the requirements and violations under the Yacht and Ship Brokers’ Act.

·         You Are Protected

You might worry about the funds paid over for a yacht to a broker. But, the regulations under which a broker operates helps to negate these fears. Firstly, a broker or salesperson is only licensed after a criminal background check. Secondly, brokers are required to file a surety bond or provide a letter of credit that will cover the period of their license. (Licenses must be renewed every two years to prevent the license from expiring). Thirdly, all funds collected by a broker in relation to a sale, purchase, or exchange of a yacht must be placed in an escrow (trust) account.

·         Reputable brokers work towards upholding the standards of the industry

Apart from the regulations by the state, yacht brokers also work together to maintain the industry through organizations such as the International Yacht Brokers Association (IYBA). One of the aims of the IYBA is to:

“promote professionalism and cooperation among its members; and to promote and maintain a high standard of conduct in the transacting of the yacht brokerage business.”

Brokers, such as the team at Sprigg Consulting, who are members of the IYBA work to uphold these ideals and deliver the best service to their clients.

Have any more questions?

We trust that the information provided has been useful. We want you to understand the role of a licensed yacht broker or yacht salesperson in helping you with purchasing a yacht in Florida. A licensed and accredited yacht sales professional will make the buying or selling process flow smoothly with little ripples in the water.

These Q&As are intended for reference purposes for some of the more commonly asked questions related to buying a yacht in Florida. For more detailed information and guidance, you can contact us to discuss your options. You can also refer to the most current edition of the Florida Statutes governing the yacht and ship industry or seek legal advice.

Next Steps

If you would like to have an idea of some of the vessels available for purchase, you can take a look at the existing boats in our Florida yacht listings to find your perfect getaway or entertainment vessel. Let us know what you’re looking for if you don’t see one that you like, and we can find it for you.

If you would like to discuss working with Sprigg Yacht Consulting to buy or sell your boat, then feel free to contact us at 239.825.6174. We will be happy to answer all your questions or arrange a viewing or sea trial of one or more of our luxury yachts. 

 

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