How it works

We built Boathouse Auctions to help brokers and their clients sell vessels faster. We’re a broker-loyal platform – whether you’re a broker representing a seller or a broker representing a buyer, commissions are always paid in full.

Below you will find quick highlights on our approach. Further below, in the FAQ’s, we go into more detail around the workings of the process.

Boathouse Auctions – approach highlights:

  • Your client chooses the date they would like to sell their vessel
  • They set a “reserve”, or minimum, they’re willing to accept
  • There are absolutely no fees to the broker nor owner to list or sell on our platform
  • Broker and co-broker commissions are always protected and paid
  • The end-to-end process takes about six weeks, sales are final and unconditional
  • Buyers pay a 5% fee based on the winning bid

 

8 TYPES OF SELLERS

Below are the sellers we best serve – do you have a client that fits one of the following seller types:

  1. 1. Frustrated and Fatigued – They have a high-quality asset, it’s priced right, donation not an option, and for whatever reason it’s just not selling.
  2. 2. Business-Minded – They recognize that a sale could happen in maybe two days or two years. They’re willing to discount some depreciation, carry, and opportunity costs in exchange for a six-week time-certain sale, as such an approach typically delivers equivalent net proceeds, adjusted for time.
  3. 3. Hard to Price – The vessel is unique, perhaps one-of-a-kind, well-built, maybe not well known in local waters, and just hard to asses fair value.
  4. 4. Many Interested – On the market for many quarters, multiple interested and qualified buyers but they’re all on the sidelines lacking urgency.
  5. 5. Nonprofit Donation Programs – High-quality donated vessels. We work with many nonprofits to help sell vessels received through donation.
  6. 6. Synchronize Trades – You see it quite often, someone has an existing vessel and an eye on their next new vessel. Can’t hold both and need a way to reasonably match the date of the two trades.
  7. 7. Special Situations – Death, divorce, illness, bank-owned, etc.
  8. 8. Trade-Ins – Manufacturer and dealer inventory.

See below for details on How It Works and FAQ’s common to Brokers, Owners, and Buyers.

Brokers / Owners

Submit vessel for potential inclusion in auction:

The Listing broker is welcome to  Submit Vessel. The submission information is light. We need just broker name, email, phone, year, make, length, and location. A photo would be a nice touch but isn’t required initially. We’re looking for high-quality vessels. The size, value, and condition are of interest but likely will not contribute significantly to whether the vessel is a good fit for our platform or not.

If vessel is accepted, we need an accurate depiction of the condition:

This will include the full listing, including photo gallery and any videos. We also require a current survey or pre-sale survey by an accredited professional surveyor.

Confirm the date you would like to sell vessel and set reserve price:

Unlike traditional open-ended approaches, there’s a finite end to auctions. The date to sell the vessel is chosen by the owner. The auction date is largely determined by how much time and exposure the broker and owner feel is appropriate. Larger and more unique vessels will benefit from a longer preview period. Owners are also able to set a ‘reserve’, or minimum price they’re willing to sell the vessel. We will only accept vessels which we deem to have reasonable reserves.

Each auction has a ‘preview period’ prior to a one-week online auction:

The broker/owners determine the preview length up to eight weeks. As mentioned above, larger and more unique vessels are good candidates for longer preview periods. Owners must make their vessel reasonably available for previews.

Upon close of auction, winning bidder and seller privately matched:

Regardless of your participation on our platform, all users are anonymous. The user name established at Registration, not someone’s real name nor email address, is used on the site for both sellers and buyers. This is important to ensure that all participants are completely anonymous on the platform. Once an auction is final, we privately match the buying and selling parties via their brokers.

Brokers Representing Owners

It’s business as usual – respond to inquiries, schedule viewings, sea trial, closing documents, etc:

There aren’t many material changes to mention. It is important, however, to note that all due diligence by prospective buyers is conducted during the ‘preview period’. When the auction is complete, sales are final and unconditional just like any other auction in any other asset class.

Commission paid per existing listing agreement with client:

This is very important to us. Brokers are always paid their full commission. Whatever your agreement is with your client remains in effect. If the buyer is working with a broker, co-brokerage applies. If the buyer is independent, the full commission accrues to the listing broker. All users on the platform are required to identify their broker. We validate that the broker listed is a broker in good standing.

Validating selling (buyers') brokers:
  • The “Register” link allows brokers, owners, and buyers to create a username to receive email updates, comment on auctions, place bids, etc.
  • We require $10,000 ‘earnest money’ to prequalify bidders. This is returned in full if a bidder does not bid or if they place an unsuccessful bid. If the bidder places the winning bid the $10,000 goes toward the purchase price. Each auction listing has a gray box below the photo gallery that says, “Bid On This Vessel”. When logged in you will see “Deposit Required, Click Here”. It is there where bidders enter deposit information ($10,000 credit card hold or, at the listing broker’s discretion, they may be directed to the broker to place funds in escrow) and also declare their broker.
  • As there’s no negotiating in auctions, there’s no incentive for buyers to not declare their broker. If they list a broker not found in our directories we will validate through various sources that the person or entity listed is, in fact, a legitimate broker. If a prospective buyer checks the box indicating they do not work with a broker, they will receive a call from us to confirm their broker status.
  • For validation and transparency purposes, prospective buyers are required to enter credit card/escrow information and declare their broker for each vessel they choose to bid on. This ensures that the proper broker is compensated appropriately, not necessarily a broker listed years prior.
  • A note about security – our merchant bank is Wells Fargo, which does 4.6 billion credit transactions per year, and our back-end processor is authorize.net, which is owned by VISA.

Brokers Representing Buyers

Prospective buyers register, list buying broker’s name:

See response just above, “validating buyers’ brokers”. When registering, we do not ask prospective buyers for the name of their broker. Rather, when there’s interest in a particular vessel and they’re ready to move forward with placing a bid, this is when they enter the name of their broker. We validate brokers several different ways.

Clients remain anonymous and confidential:

This is critical. We provide a broker-loyal platform where brokers are always paid commissions and users on the site are completely anonymous. People are identified by user name and nothing else. This way clients of listing brokers and selling brokers remain unknown to all.

Co-brokerage commissions paid:

As mentioned above, commissions are paid on all successful auctions on the platform. If the high bidder is working with a broker, then co-brokerage applies.

Buyers

Registering and Bidding:

Once registered, a deposit is required to bid on all vessels.

  • The “Register” link allows brokers, owners, and buyers to create a user name to receive email updates, comment on auctions, and ultimately place bids.
  • Each auction listing has a gray box below the photo gallery that says, “Bid On This Vessel”. When registered and logged in, within that box it says, “Deposit Required, Click Here”. It is there where bidders enter deposit information ($10,000 credit card hold or directed to the selling broker to fund escrow) and declare their broker. As there’s no negotiating in auctions, there’s no incentive to omit the name of your broker.
  • Our merchant bank is Wells Fargo, which does 4.6 billion credit transactions per year, and our back-end processor is authorize.net, which is owned by VISA.
Arrange to view and inspect vessel through listing broker:

We encourage all bidders to inspect vessels prior to placing a bid. If you would like to see the boat and have it surveyed, you can use the ‘Contact Broker’ button to make arrangements or make arrangements through your Selling Broker. Note: in the Vessel Detail box dates are listed for haul out and sea trial. It is at the discretion of the listing broker to determine if a prospective bidder is qualified for a sea trial. Someone who has not conducted proper prior due diligence will likely not qualify.

Sales are final and unconditional:

Unlike a traditional yacht sale where due diligence is performed after initial agreement and price negotiations, all due diligence is performed prior to bidding. A seller’s survey/condition report is provided with each listing to add transparency to the process and aid prospective bidders in determining their initial interest in the vessel. Bidders are welcome to utilize a surveyor to conduct a traditional survey or simply work with a surveyor to validate existing information and further inspection.

2 Minute Rule:

When bids are placed within the final 2 minutes of an auction, the clock automatically adds 2 minutes to the auction. This functionality is in place to avoid just-in-time last second bidding. It allows each bidder time to consider and input their next bid and it affords the seller the opportunity to realize the true value of their vessel.

5% Buyer’s Premium:

Buyers gain first access to our curated selection of high-quality vessels from brokers, banks, and nonprofit donation programs. Buyers name their price via a straightforward and transparent bidding process. The 5% Buyer’s Premium is Boathouse Auctions’ fee for managing and marketing auctions. To be clear, this is a 5% fee paid by the highest bidder based on the highest final bid price. As an example, a vessel with a high bid of $100 will cost the highest bidder a total of $105.

Frequently Asked Questions - Owners

How much does it cost to list or sell my vessel at auction?

$0.

My vessel is already listed on Yachtworld and Yatco, isn’t that enough?

Yachtworld is indisputably the largest yacht listing site in the world. That’s both good and bad. The fact is that yacht sales typically fall into two categories – either your vessel sells quickly at or near asking within the first 30-90 days or else you could be in for a long ride with an outcome considerably below asking. Our premise is simple – we aggregate high-quality yachts from owners who would rather save on depreciation and carrying cost in exchange for a quick sale. We place all high-quality, hard-to-find needles in a haystack from brokers, banks, and nonprofits in one convenient location – our platform. Rather than sellers negotiate down over an uncertain and potentially long period of time chasing a market in hopes of finding a single prospective buyer in a process that could have little urgency, our approach is for prospective buyers to compete and bid up the price over a finite and certain timeframe. It is an entirely different approach than listing on Yachtworld and there are no fees whatsoever to the owner or broker to list or sell on our platform.

How do I submit my vessel and what happens after I submit it?

You can submit your vessel here. Once you submit, we will review your submission for quality and suitability. If we accept your vessel for auction, we will work with you to create a listing based on the information you provide. Once you approve the draft, your listing will be scheduled to go live on the site.

How do you choose which boats to accept?

The largest factor by a mile is the quality of the design and build. Other criteria include the condition and also the level of the requested reserve price.

How do I take good photos of my boat?

Good images, and often videos, are vital to the success of an auction. We put together a photo guide to help you take photos of your vessel. For truly spectacular photos, we would recommend reaching out to photographer Billy Black at mail@BillyBlack.com or 401.683.5500.

Why is a survey required on all vessels?

A survey, or pre-sale inspection, provides an independent assessment of your vessel by a marine surveyor. While we recommend doing a full survey, sometimes that’s not practical. The inspection is done to provide prospective bidders an initial assessment of the vessel so they can determine if they care to pursue further due diligence. The report is posted online in each auction listing in the Vessel Detail box.

Why is the owner responsible for a survey and the added expense?

Our approach is short and transparent, and sales are final and unconditional. Prospective bidders need to have a reasonable understanding of the vessel condition prior to performing their own proper due diligence within the auction preview period. Too often in the traditional sales approach surveys are rejected in the 11th hour which comes at a high economic and emotional cost to both the owner and prospective buyer. There’s a buyer for all boats and having a qualified opinion of a vessel in advance increases the pool of prospective bidders. Many brokers welcome and encourage owners to conduct such an inspection prior to selling. The expenses, while still an expense, is nominal compared to the expense of additional time the vessel could otherwise sit on the market.

Who writes the listing and posts the photos?

If your vessel is accepted for auction, your broker is responsible for providing the vessel details and photos and then we curate your listing from end-to-end based on the information you provide. We will also monitor your auction and assist with any questions you may have along the way.

How long does it take for my vessel to go live on your platform?

It takes less than a week from submission to live auction and if you need it faster, we can turn it around in 24-48 hours. The more complete the info is that we receive the quicker the process goes.

Items needed to post an auction:

  • Signed Sellers Agreement
  • Pictures, video, full specs
  • Survey
  • Date of auction-end
  • Reserve price (opening bid price)
  • Broker to update Yachtworld/Yatco listing to mention/promote the auction
  • Broker to actively market to their client base and those that have shown interest in past
How does a reserve work?

A reserve is the minimum price that a seller is willing to accept for their vessel. We work with sellers to set reasonable reserves while not accepting vessels with unrealistic reserves.

Can I lower my reserve?

You’re welcome to lower or remove a reserve on your vessel at any time during an auction.

Can I cancel my auction once it’s live?

We recognize that the auction process can produce buyers eager to purchase a vessel prior to the end of an auction. To cancel an auction, the seller is obligated to pay Boathouse Auctions an auction cancellation fee equal to the 3% of the reserve price should the vessel be removed with no intent to sell, and 5% of the final sale price should the owner choose ‘bird in hand’ and not follow through with the auction. Noteworthy, auctions that are within the one week live auction period (i.e. the last week of the auction process) cannot be canceled.

What happens after the auction? How do I get paid?

At the close of auction, the winning bidder and seller will receive each other’s contact information through their brokers or directly. The listing broker manages the transaction no differently than a traditional sale.

Frequently Asked Questions - Buyer

Where do the vessels on your platform come from?

Our vessels come from brokers with motivated clients and nonprofit vessel donation programs. We work through a network of brokers. They know which owners place a value on time and are open to maximizing their return through limiting depreciation and carrying cost by selling their vessel in a matter of weeks rather than many months or years. Our vessels also include manufacturer and dealer trade-ins, special situation vessels such as estate sales and US Marshals seizures, and vessels from owners wanting to synchronize two trades (selling one vessel when buying another vessel) with a time-certain approach.

Is the survey and due diligence performed after I win the auction?

No. Unlike a traditional yacht sale where due diligence is performed after initial agreement and price negotiations, all due diligence is performed prior to bidding. There’s no negotiating in an auction model. A seller’s survey is provided with each listing to add transparency to the process and aid prospective bidders in determining their initial interest in the vessel. Bidders are welcome to utilize a surveyor to conduct a traditional survey or simply work with a surveyor to validate existing information and further inspection.

Once I register can I bid?

Not quite. Each auction listing has a gray box below the photo gallery that says, “Bid On This Vessel”. When logged in, within that box it says, “Deposit Required, Click Here”. It is here where bidders enter deposit information ($10,000 credit card hold or they’ll be directed to the listing broker to fund escrow), declare their broker, and are then they’re able to place a bid.

Is a deposit required to bid?

Yes.

How does bidding work?

Once you’ve registered and submitted deposit/escrow, you enter an amount higher than the existing amount. Bidding advances immediately to the amount entered. Each auction will state a minimum bid increment level.

Can you notify me of new listings?

Yes. Click here to join our email list of new yachts being added to the platform.

Is there a fee to buyers and if so how much and why?

Yes. If you win an auction there’s a 5% Buyer’s Premium. As an example, if you are the winning bidder at $100, the Buyer’s Premium would be $5, for a total of $105. This fee is Boathouse Auctions’ single source of revenue. This fee covers all expenses such as technology, infrastructure, sales, marketing, administration, etc.

What happens after the auction and how does payment work?

At the close of auction, the winning bidder and seller will receive each other’s contact information through their brokers or directly. The listing broker manages the transaction no differently than a traditional sale.

Can I bid from outside the US?

Yes. The platform is global and available to Brokers, Owners, and Buyers worldwide. Auctions are listed in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

Can I cancel my bid?

No. Once a bid has been placed it cannot be canceled.

How do I know if an auction has a reserve?

A reserve is the minimum price that a seller is willing to accept for their vessel. We work with sellers to set reasonable reserves while not accepting vessels with unrealistic reserves. Opening bid amounts satisfy reserve requirements so all bidders know the minimum hurdle prior to investing time and money conducting their own due diligence.

How do I contact a seller?

Questions and answers are to be addressed in the comments section at the bottom of each auction listing. Should you need to contact the broker to make arrangements for a survey or sea trial, there’s a button in the ‘Vessel Details” box that says “Contact Broker”. All general questions, however, are to be posted in the comments section.

Who does the “Contact Broker” button connect me with?

The “Contact Broker” button will connect you with the listing broker.

Can I inspect a boat?

You sure can and we encourage all bidders to inspect vessels prior to placing a bid. If you would like to see the boat and have it surveyed, you can use the ‘Contact Broker’ button to make arrangements. Note: in the Vessel Detail box dates are listed for haul out and sea trial. It is at the discretion of the broker/owner to determine if a prospective bidder is qualified for a sea trial. Someone who has not conducted proper prior due diligence will likely not qualify.

Why does the clock keep resetting at the end of some auctions?

When bids are placed within the final 2 minutes of an auction, the clock automatically adds 2 minutes to the auction. This happens until no more bids are placed and the auction ends. It gives prospective buyers a chance to place their bids and gives the owner the ability to sell to the true highest bidder.