Classic Boat Prices – What Are They Thinking?

suckervilleFrom time to time, it’s a good idea to stick my neck out and say some things that need to be said.

For the record, this is the conversation that takes place behind the facade of politeness everyday in my email and at boat shows. Here is how it goes. It’s an email with some sort of subject line that says. “Smoking crack” And there is a link to some boat for sale. OK, another outboard, or U22.. BUT it’s priced at $85,000 bucks. That’s right. This is a weekly event. And to be honest and transparent, this is happening at brokers. I completely understand how it happens, the seller has dumped a small fortune into a restoration and expects someone else to cover those costs. So they list a $25K boat for the $80K they have in it. And the broker agrees to list it. Great, seems understandable..Right? WRONG?

So here is the result that comes from that. The boat does not sell, and the broker looks like they are untrustworthy. Thats right. One , just one crazy price out there and it ruins all the brokers prices. Nothing is credible anymore. The old saying, one little lie, still makes you a lier. The same goes for trustworthyness. So it turns into a free for all. Add on to that, that multiple brokers list the same boat for different prices and guess what happens, no trust and no purchase. Period. Yes, the owner of the boat is somewhat responsible for that. but in some cases there is this dirty little trick that is happening. Its called “List Poaching”. One broker grabs the images from another and lists it on there website. After all if the call comes in, they can usually find the owner. by looking up the registration number on the side.  The owner wants to sell the boat, so what the hell. What the hell? What about the buyers? What about the reputation of your business? What about the hobby of classic boats? Trashed. As one very well respected boat owner we know said. And I quote.

“I have been around for a long time, participated in many different hobbies and have paid my dues.
But I have never experienced so much deception and questionable business practices as I have in the classic boat hobby.

All at the cost of greed and sleazy business practices. I have spoken with many of the brokers out there, many of these tricks were provided by them. and it drives the reputable ones crazy. But it happens. Some have gone to the effort to water mark their photos to stop it from happening. But it still does.  For example, I am helping a pal right now buy a boat that is listed at FOUR DEALERS at 3 different prices AND its stored at another dealers place. Tell me, how frieking hard do you need to make it to buy and sell a boat. My pal is new to the hobby, and this is NOT the way to enter any fun thing. The good news is that he started with a reputable dealer and they will benefit from the sale. But as the buyer started doing his own research he found this trail. For the record, that’s the owners fault as well.

What Can Be done?

First. It’s all starts with the seller. List your boat with ONE Broker! That’s ONE… Lock in your price range in a realistic way. A good broker will tell you what its worth, the Hagerty price guide can help.. Its a guide, not the law, but should give you a ball park.. Please note,  #1 boats are not really pricable if they are rare or fresh restorations. But for U22’s in number 2 condition its close. If you are going to try and recoup your costs, forget it. It aint gonna happen. There is this thing called the internet, its great for information. Its not 1960 anymore. An honest price is the most critical part of creating a trusting deal.If you are going to list it on ebay, list it WITH the broker. And for gods sake, if yo live in Alaska, move the boat to the broker. They have one central location for buyers to come to. If I live in DC, do I really want to treck up to North Dakota to look at your 85K outboard. Are ya smok’n crack?

Second. As a buyer, stick with your broker if you hire one to find a boat. Don’t add to the problem. If your broker can’t find anything about the boat, FIRE HIM! and find another. A good broker should be able to find the boat fast and have better knowledge than YOU can find. If you want to do it on your own. Ebay and craigslist  are the wild wild west. YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN. Another way to go is to buy a boat from a dealer that owns the boats and stands behind them. Water tested boats at Antique Boat Center are always a good bet, and at Katz’s marina they Warranty their boats for a year as an example.  ALWAYS get a survey by an independent surveyor that knows these boats.. If you are an emotional buyer a good broker  is a good idea, they will protect you from yourself and save you money not cost you.

Third. If you are a Broker, know your boat. You are earning 10% you should know the boat, and be able to be talk about it. Relying on the owner is a crap shoot. I know of a boat bought and sold between two very reputable dealers who both got screwed on a deal. The owner was the idiot on that one and took advantage of both. No one is immune to the crap out there.

Forth, if you write for a website on classic boats. Try and help. If you are a reader of such website. COMMENT!

Please note, we do not want any confusion of the good folks here on the site. We here at Woody Boater go to great lengths to support the good folks in the hobby. That’s all part of the brand of Woody Boater. The supporters of Woody Boater that you see on Woody Boater  are good hard working folks trying to make the passion of classic boats fun and inviting. Please support them as they do you.

59 replies
  1. Rick
    Rick says:

    I know I can get out of Panther the amount my wife THINKS I have in her! (check over shoulder) which is about 1/2 of what I’ve really sunk (good word) in.

  2. Troy
    Troy says:

    I have only bought one boat through a broker, it was glass, and I knew more about the boat than the broker did.

    My latest purchase was off Craigslist and was a pathedic listing. The owner did not even know what he was dealing with, and he builds glass boats for a living.

    Unfortunatelly there are meat heads in every field. I have met “Realtors” who did not know the difference between a cape and a ranch house.

    Matt I give you credit for trying to speak to this issue, but I suspect that this type of stuff happended when the first cave man tried to broker his club.

    • floyd r turbo
      floyd r turbo says:

      Unfortunately, this image is the model for top sales in the business world today. Hire a “Hooters Clone” and reap huge sales. Fortunately, its not been utilized to any extent in our hobby. Vendors of this ilk were knocking down my door for a piece of the $25 million contract I let. Those sales tactics are transparent at the very least and an affront to my sensibilities. And besides, my wife would have sniffed out any possibility of a dream lunch date.

      • Dr. Freud
        Dr. Freud says:

        Suggest you go with it, man. Don’t think of it as transparent sales tactics or an affront. Think of it as “value added.” Besides, so much more fun than mere “features, advantages, and benefits.”

  3. Sean
    Sean says:

    I was once told that you shouldn’t buy ART for an investment but, buy it because you like it. Likewise, with boats but you still must do your homework. I will not pay a broker to do my homework and tell me what I like. Once down this road (river?) it’s more a business deal and less a hobby.

    I would HIGHLY reccomend joining a local active club and get to know the people involved. First, because these are GREAT people to enjoy your hobby with and second, because they are a fantastic resource and usually willing to help… It’s fun to shop with other peoples money! lol.

    Know what you want and why then, leave no stone unturned (even a brokers). If you have educated yourself you may be able to move more quickly if what you want comes available. You should know what a deal is (wherever you see it) and what fits your hobby budget.

    Note*** In every instance … YOU, are ultimately responsible for your own actions when buying or selling and the required dillegence can be a fun part of the hobby. Nobody’s forcing you to do anything.

    On a personal note, I find in dealing with a business you are certainly going to cover their margin however, enthusiasts/hobbiests may have other motivation besides profit.

    • Troy
      Troy says:

      Thanks for the reminder that WE are indeed responsible for our own actions.
      Too many people in our society today want to blame a broker, doctor, teacher, parent, ………………. for a bad choice or situation.
      I have made some bad choices along the way and yes I have had help making those choices, but they were ultimatelly MY CHOICES.
      PS: I have made some GOOD choices along the way also, usually after learning from the bad ones!

    • LymanGuy
      LymanGuy says:

      I’ve owned two Lymans. Sold one and the other is for sale (long story). I’ve learned one thing. When you buy a wood boat you are buying a piece of art and spend accordingly. When you sell a wood boat you are selling a used boat.

  4. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    I have made good and bad choices, the best one was listening to the advice of a broker on my first purchase when I knew nothing. The worst was accepting the contents of an extremely dubious survey of a boat that I bought without seeing – that was my mistake and I blame no one but me for the consewuent financial immolation that this decision begat. I ended up with a great boat but at monstrous final cost.

    I hate seeing boats listed at ridiculous prices – if I was a broker I would not list them at obviosuly preposterous prices. Some sellers need guidance, as do buyers and the brokers can provide protection to both. If a seller will not listen to reasonable price recommendations, I would tell him to list elsewhere.because it is nto going to sell anyway.

    Not sure why one site steals listings from another, but many do. If I was a seller I would be anoyed, and I am sure the brokers are not pleased either. So, why does it happen?

  5. Mark Krzyzanowski
    Mark Krzyzanowski says:

    I would like to add a bit to this conversation as a broker. I do my best to give a realistic price range when a seller comes to me to list a boat. Most times, it’s a harsh reality. Wooden Boats are the only market I’ve seen where someone will think that a boat they purchased for $20,000 will be worth $45,000 a few years later..

    Either way, I perform my fiduciary duty of providing a realistic snapshot of what today’s market will bear. If the seller still insists on marketing the boat with his own price, I’m in no position to deny him the service and the market will speak (when there are no offers on the table after a year).

    I spent quite a bit of time in the restoration & show world before the brokerage world, so just about everyone I’ve dealt with knows that I am happy to speak about a boat on a technical level. We ask the right questions from the get-go and try to paint a clear picture of the boat in question.

    I try to make the process as painless and transparent as possible. We’re dealing with classic boats – it should be fun and interesting!

    • Mark Krzyzanowski
      Mark Krzyzanowski says:

      Additionally – part of my job is to encourage a fair-market offer from a buyer. Asking price does not matter at this point, it’s “what the boat is worth in today’s market, and what the boat is worth to you”. Nobody’s feelings get hurt when we submit a fair offer – my job is to find you a boat within a reasonable price range.

    • matt
      matt says:

      Not to start anything here. But if the owner wants to sell a boat for double its value. DONT LIST IT! You and your brand look like the responsible party, not the owner.That was the entire point of what I was saying. Think of the customer, its the buyer. The sellers will go where the buyers are. If they are on crack from the start, they will be in the end. DROP THEM and that will weed out the idiots.

      • Mark Krzyzanowski
        Mark Krzyzanowski says:

        Matt – that’s a good view from the outside, but one that only considers a listing from its face value. Like I mentioned, part of my job is to encourage a fair market value offer. If you don’t like the price, you don’t have to buy it…but buyers that are willing to be patient, put their best foot forward, and make a “fair” offer are often rewarded.

        • matt
          matt says:

          I see your point Mark, but you have rationalized this to the point that you have missed what your companies actions appear to look like to the consumer. The over priced listing reflect very poorly on your brand, not the owners. They, we need your perspective to keep it all together. For the record, I am not talking about a subtle up in price. I am talking about the 150,000 sea skiffs.. And other crazy things. It all comes back to the brokers reputation.

  6. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    One of the influences seems to be the extraordinary price an auction house like Mecum gets on a rare boat giving pause to a newbie that “oh, that’s got to make my fiberglassic more valuable”. Sure, as soon as you can get it pumped out.

  7. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    What is value anyway? Is is rarity?, desirability?, performance?, design?, rebuild cost?, restoration cost minus ??? replacement cost? obviously condition is a factor, geographic location? restorer reputation? restoration documentation? model/owner provenance? oldest surviving/documented?

    There’s a lot of factors involved and many which the owner overlook when they are swept up by the its an “investment” influence.

  8. Troy
    Troy says:

    I don’t mean to hog the page today (just trying to sharpen my math skills), but I want to claify that I am by no means saying that ALL brokers are bad. Like a good Realtor, a good boker is worth every penny they earn. (Mark I am sure you are one of those brokers, and I would be glad to do business with you if I am ever in the market for another boat)

    I think another thing that creates this problem is the way we all oggle over whatever the last unbelievable sale was.
    Case in point the Gar Wood that just sold at the Hershey auction for $360K. I know that was a very rare boat with a very rare engine with a beautiful restoration, but come on let’s be serious, that makes us all think ours is worth a little bit more.

    • Mark Krzyzanowski
      Mark Krzyzanowski says:

      I’ve heard some real horror stories and stories of disappointment – not all brokers are created equally, haha! There are also lots of stories of satisfaction. The key seems to be finding someone you trust, someone you enjoy talking to, and someone who shares the same interest.

  9. Chad
    Chad says:

    I only have a few points to add:

    1) Never buy a boat for more than $2,500
    2) Who is the Mayor of Suckerville?
    3) Troy is a page hogger

    • Barack
      Barack says:

      Ordinarily, I’d let that go. But I’m sitting in a McDonald’s where slightly-too-loud Paula Abdul on the sound system is making me very very tense.

      1) ALWAYS buy a boat for more than $2,500. As dear leader said, “I think when you spread the wealth around it’s good for everybody.”

      2) There is a town in Maine called Suckerville (look it up). Try as I might, I could not find the Mayor’s name. Maybe there isn’t one. Oh wait, I’m sorry. Did you mean the Mayer of Suckerville?

      3) Troy is only a page hogger when he exceeds the 5:1 ratio of comments per babe photo.

  10. ranger
    ranger says:

    We are in the process of selling our boat and have chosen one broker to deal with and we sincerely hope that we have successfully taken our emotions out of the pricing…

    we do not expect to recover the cost of the restoration and forget about the purchase price…

    but…there is a point as a seller where you can go no lower and may have to wait on the perfect buyer for your “treasure”

    we’ll wait…

    I don’t regret one penny spent!

  11. Philip Andrew
    Philip Andrew says:

    Geez thats all a bit too full on for first thing in the morning.
    Pictures of boats tomorrow please Matt.

  12. matt
    matt says:

    Pictures tomorrow of a very sweet kind boat! I promise! Boat took 4 years to buy, and save. One owner! All original.

  13. Steve M.
    Steve M. says:

    Bottom line…”Buy what YOU like and ENJOY it!”.
    Where is it written, that you have to or are entitled to “make money” on everything you buy???
    If you buy a big screen TV or sofa for your house, try and sell it the next day……Take a Vacation, think you will get your money back when you come back???
    Most “Hobbies” have turned into Investments for most people…
    It is really sad when the first question people ask about your boat is “WHAT’S IT WORTH?” not how beautiful or rare it is…
    It is a great thing when you can buy something, use it and then make money on it when you sell it. It should not be the main reason you buy it.

  14. matt
    matt says:

    Steve, you are DEAD ON! The bottom line is to not feel ripped off in the end. Thats the sad part. You go into this with that mind set and then find out you got taken. Thats why the TRUST in a broker is so critical.

  15. Sean
    Sean says:

    I bought this boat right. Then I spent WAY TOO MUCH on her…. and continue to do so. I don’t expect the market would even bear 1/2 of the gross expenditures.

    If you can see the grin on that old mug, you’ll see it is worth every penny! And, it’s still less than 1/3 the cost of a new plastic Cobalt!

  16. Dave
    Dave says:

    Hey fellows, stop whining. Just follow the advice of John Rybovich who used to always say “If you have to ask how much, you can’t afford it.”

    And some of you out there (besides Matt) need to take remedial spelling! I hope you can do arithmetic better than spell.

    • Paul H.
      Paul H. says:

      in my case, the examples of poor spelling are typo’s as spell check does not work when using the comment box. I hate poor spelling and usually am not guilty of it, but I am not the best proof-reader when commenting here. I don’t spend a lot of time proofing my posts but I do try to fix the most egregious errors.

      Now I am leaving to go to the Packers game, and that is if for me today.

  17. Paul H.
    Paul H. says:

    If I call a real estate agent and ask him to list my house at twice or three times the real value, he likely won’t want to waste his time, or attract the scorn of an incredulous market. A boat broker has two masters – the seller, who pays him, and the buyer – who likely expects reasonable advice. If a broker accepts or encourages an offer he knows to be way off the market, who is he helping? Not the buyer, but he is helping himself and the seller.

    If I were a broker, I would simply not list anything that I knew to be priced way over the top – period. If the lister will not take my advice , then I do not want to work with him because there is no trust. I have nothing to gain by taking up bandwidth with a boat that is way over priced and which will sit on the market for years. I deal with this in my personal business which is advisory in nature (NOT boats) – if I don’t feel the client trusts me or will take my advice, the relationship is not working for either of us.

    I came across a listing a week or two ago on a site (not a site that is present on represented by WB or anywhere else that I know of) that was nuts. A 15′ 1958 Cadillac 15′ outboard for $50k – restored to perfection but it is a molded plywood 15′ boat. Absolutely nuts. It is probably a $12k boat at best. But there it is. So, brokers – work with your listers on price and if they don’t listen, send them down the road. I personally don’t think a broker who allows vastly over priced listings is doing the seller any favors. To me, it is a very simple solution.

    I can say that the brokers I have deal with and that I know are almost uniformly knowledgeable and well informed about a very wide variety of boats. I have not encountered vastly uninformed brokers anywhere.

      • Paul H.
        Paul H. says:

        Like ’em just fine and the boat in question is very nice, but the price is insulting to the intelligence of the market, and a potential buyer. I like all old boats, no bias’s here.

        • Sean
          Sean says:

          From a “devils advocate point of view”

          let’s just consider the cost for a quality restorer to a strip, perform minor repairs and refinish a boat? Add new interior, gauge refurbish, rub rail, re-chrome, rewire, a professional engine rebuild, a few NOS parts, set up ? You can get to $ 25,000 pretty quick.

          labour costs the same no matter what brand, type or style you are considering. So, no boat that has just come through a perfect restoration is valued less than the minimum restoration cost and could be much more if major repairs were required… after all, the work needs to be done by the seller or the buyer to have a perfect boat.

          If 1958 Cadillac #M5883 is worth only $12K with her refurbished 30HP Evinrude and 1959 trailer then the hobby for smaller boats has a bleak future. Is this boat worth 50K? probably not but, I’d say this boat is worth much more than 12K…. If it isn’t then only rare and expensive boats will be worth restoring.

          • Alex
            Alex says:

            Hi Sean. I hate to say it but I think Paul’s right.

            Doesn’t matter whether it cost $25,000, or $125,000 to restore that Cadillac. The market will value it for what it is: a small ply boat. It’s a $12,000-ish sale on a good day, unless the seller get’s lucky (or it turns out to have been Elvis’).

            Please understand, this isn’t to dis the manufacturer, the boat’s design, the outstanding and no-doubt painstaking work of the restorer, or the fondness and/or hopes of the owner. It’s just marketplace reality.

            If this is so, then let me address your concerns that:

            a) “only rare and expensive boats will be worth restoring;” and

            b) “the hobby for smaller boats has a bleak future.”

            Re a), I think you are right. HOWEVER, only if you’re measuring “worth restoring” in financial terms. Thankfully, there are other measurements of worthiness that go beyond monetary. Family heirloom, owner fondness/love for a particular boat and/or boating, etc. A boat can still be “worth it” despite being a money-losing proposition. In fact, I believe this is the case with all but a few classic boats. I know it is for me.

            Re b), I do not think the hobby for smaller boats has a bleak future. I expect there will be few of them professionally restored though. And for good reason. Spending $65 or so per hour on a boat that’s lucky to make five figures in selling price is an overtly losing proposition that can get ugly really quickly. However, many (most?) small boats are brought back to life and maintained by their owners, who derive great pleasure with the process. I think many small boats have bright futures because they make wonderful weekend projects for people who love tinkering and woodworking. And, at the end of the day, the owners get to be classic boaters in something they brought back to life. How cool is that!

            It’s not just the small boats where the marketplace will not repay a professional restoration. Far worse off are the wooden cruisers. The restoration dollars are ginormous. The maintenance is ginormous. And the market values are tinormous (just made that word up — actually, my beer did). And the projects are far too large for weekend warriors to undertake. The cruiser marketplace is littered with partly-completed projects for sale by owners who cry uncle. Wooden cruisers are the most endangered species of all.

            Bottom line to my too-lengthy point is this. Thank goodness there are enough of us who buy our beloved classic boats, restore them, and maintain them, while all the time deluding ourselves that the cost is not THAT bad. It is pretty bad. Yet we still do it. Because we love classic boats and we love classic boating. And we’re lucky for it.

            Hey, kids are lousy “financial” investments too. Yet we keep procreating because it’s worth it.

            Reminds me of that Woody Allen line in Annie Hall:

            “Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering – and it’s all over much too soon.”

    • Randy Rush Captain Grumpy
      Randy Rush Captain Grumpy says:

      Paul: I do a good piece of business picking up expired listings from agents and sellers overpricing property. I sit them down and explain that your property is only worth what someone will pay, not what you spent . Boats are no different.

  18. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Matt, I think you are way off base on this. With an emotional purchase, the value is what someone else is willing to pay. The seller and broker can ask whatever they want. If it is too high, it is their time and expense wasted. If some nutcase comes and pays $85,000 for a U22 more power to them.

    I certainly don’t see the trust issue. Do I trust a broker less because they have an over-priced listing? Heck no! I start with zero trust of any salesman and therefore it can’t go down. These guys are the water equivalent of used car salesmen. Do your own homework or expect to get burned.

    Besides, as a buyer, the asking price should be irrelevant except as a cap for what you will offer. It is up to the buyer and his team to figure out what they are willing to offer. I bought my ski-jet for less than half the asking price (a good bit less). It would be easy to argue I still paid too much, but I wanted it, I had the money, and there weren’t exactly a bunch of others to choose from. Had I been more flush with cash and dead set on the jet, and the seller less motivated to deal, I could have paid 80-90% of the asking price so you could equally argue the seller sold it for too little. But, he didn’t have another buyer and I wasn’t willing to pay more, so we made a deal. At that moment my boat had a fair market value you could point a finger to. Before or after that moment, you could only guess what the boat was worth.

  19. Chris / Great Lakes marine Insurance
    Chris / Great Lakes marine Insurance says:

    Great topic, lets remember there is a big difference between a dealer and a broker and I agree, the prices that are “out there” (for production boats) are specific to sellers request. In dealing with most of the classic boat Brokers over the last 15 years, I don’t think I could name any still in business that don’t try to educate the seller of what the realities of the market may be for a specific boat and model. Unrealistic prices, if actually achieved for the seller, create issues on many fronts, what am I as an insurance adviser to do when a clients calls and tells me he paid 200% of real market value for a boat? It would be great if the Broker sites that keep or list sold boats published the actual selling price….of the boat only, forget the possible trailer, or any other add ins…of course that would make “price guides” less important, IF they are actually current and accurate. What about documentation? Two boats of exactly the same condition, but one has complete history of ownership and care, one doesn’t. In the classic car world, this is what drives top selling and valuation for any given car. This hobby / lifestyle is so unique in so many aspects….it is tiny compared to so many other like type of hobbies that are focused on a specific commodity. From a historic collectible stand point, hugely undervalued….be careful of auctions….they can open the market and visibility, but also drastically change valuation…..ever hear of “perception is reality….”
    I do this to be able to provide a value proposition that allows a owner some level of comfort knowing he is going to make a considerable investment in restoring and preserving an iconic part of America’s history of watercraft recreation…. in most cases, not a monetary investment….yet….maybe valuation will catch up, but it will be awhile…..

  20. Alex
    Alex says:

    I think I agree w/ m-fine. The market will sort out the pricing, which it does in the big picture. People can overpay and get burned with boats. But they do with cars too. Overpriced listings are laughable to those of us who have been around the block (and burned) before. But they should not be an irritant or offensive. Do they screw up market pricing? I can’t see how they do, though they do add confusion.

    Multiple listings is a real problem though because it does a disservice to the “actual” listing broker and confuses buyers, especially when prices for the same boat vary. I regard this sore of thing as soft theft, because the copycats are infringing on the relationship between the seller and his/her chosen agent. Is it illegal? I don’t know. Is it immoral? Of course it is. And any brokers out there who do this — you know who you are — should be ashamed. If you have any shame.

    Here’s a thought… some party in the classic boating business — ACBS for instance — could accredit / certify brokers who avoid this practice and who play by the rules, thereby spotlighting the good ones, while giving the malpractice ones incentive to either clean up their acts to earn accreditation, or take it in the wallet with lower sales. Sort of like the BBB. Or like Google with its “Trusted” vendors. (In Google’s case, there are performance metrics which must be met.) And yes, if ACBS provides this service, they should charge brokers a nominal annual fee, in order to cover the administrative cost. Will this lead to squabbles? Some. But the entire hobby would be better served by it.

    • MikeM
      MikeM says:

      Woodyboater is sort of providing that service by the advertisers it accepts. If they’re not on the WB page but they’re in a lot of other places they may not be “certified”.

      Anyone that peruses the ads will know how long a boat has been listed, more or less. That indicates how something is priced. Stealing listings is another story. Pathetic. Most honorable brokers will offer a co-brokering fee if someone brings them a buyer. I know of one broker who says they’ll do it and then they don’t.

  21. Tom H
    Tom H says:

    Interesting topic today. Some of you are looking to cut out the unscrupulous sellers and agents which you may help circumvent with certifications of some kind but you can’t stop greedy people and as they say “a fool and his money will soon be parted”. You can try and force moralaty and good judgement, (something the goverment has been working on for some time).
    Everyone does not have the same value of a dollar as you might. My $2,500 is someone elses $10,000. so $85,000 for a 15 ft outboard may be fine and worth evey penny to them. Could they gotten the boat for less, sure, do they feel they got a good deal, who knows?
    Right and wrong can all change depending on which side of the desk your standing on, how much money you have in your wallet and a thousand of other items.

  22. Dale
    Dale says:

    I personally consider trust, integrity and realism critical to successful business. I am intolerant of sharp business practices and where possible avoid dealing with people that use them. I am strongly biased in favor of Matt’s position.
    I can say however, that looking at this issue from purely a free market standpoint, I believe many of today’s posts have merit regardless of the poster’s position on the issue.
    If we put pure business aside though, and consider how this affects our hobby, I believe unrealistic pricing is ruinous.
    We all talk about trying to find ways to encourage new people to join our hobby and help preserve these beautiful classics for future generations. But unrealistic pricing can quickly ruin a potential hobbyist’s interest. I have number of boats (projects through show winners) that I keep at a building along a major thoroughfare in a very popular lake area. Anytime I pull a boat or two out of the building people stop and ask if they can see them. I’m happy to oblige and will spend time showing the boats and taking to them about the hobby.
    Quite often they leave with what appears to be a genuine interest in getting a classic for themselves. You would be amazed through, how often someone will come back to visit another time and lament that they want one but after checking prices on the internet they just don’t believe they can afford one. It’s not surprising when you talk to them a bit more to find that they have a grossly misguided perception of the actual price of a good user boat. They don’t realize that it is not uncommon for boats to sell at 50% of t the listing price, or below. They are distracted by the big dollars of the rare, professionally 9 or 10 point boats, and begin to believe some of the ridiculous prices the sellers are asking.
    So they lose the dream and only worship from afar. Or worse yet, they find a decent boat at a fair price, buy it, and have the delusion that they got a steal and will be able to make money flipping the boat. They soon learn the only flipping to be done in this hobby is for the purposes of a new bottom. They will likely walk away form the hobby with a real bad taste and probably dissuade others from ever buying a woody.

    I would think it would be great if the brokers of our hobby would share the actual selling prices. This would help bring realistic and fair market valuation to the hobby. I would assume a number of sellers would agree to allow the pricing to be published. Maybe that can be one of the questions asked and either agreed to, or declined, at the time of listing…that of course assumes the broker actually had the sellers permission to list the boat in the first place…

    • ian
      ian says:

      What is not mentioned is the restoration pricing that goes on.
      The fellow has been doing the work for 20 years and he looks the boat over that you bought for $12k, and then he says it should come in at another 12k and then the real cost comes in at $24k so you have boat with $36k in it and so what is it worth. It makes buying a wood boat a headache which is why so many people have been driven and stay away from the hobby; because it is a money pit.

      I have been involved in a number of wooden boat restorations including new builds and this seems to be how different restorers operate. This is why you see distorted pricing; perhaps more boats need to just be burnt because they are not worth restoring; that seems to be the crux of this issue. Don’t pick on the broker that lists a boat that is one of a kind, has $25k in restoration costs and then there is the actual boat, motor and trailer. What does a piece of history cost; what the market will pay; and they may not pay the price but the price reflects the true costs of a one of a kind boat. This is the real education for the consumer and the potential buyer. It should be know.

      • Paul H.
        Paul H. says:

        Your comment is not easy to follow and I am not sure it is relevant to asking prices. However, most people do not buy these boats thinking they are a sound financial investment. I am uncertain how anyone could arrive at the position that they are. The cost of restoration and market values are two totally separate items and are not linked, and why should they be? Because some deluded owner thinks they should be? I have had total restorations of rare and complex boats done and such work is challenging and expensive. The boats are worth less than this works costs. This is not news. I have never been deceived by a restorer. The guys that do work for me are honest, but costs exceeded value anyway. If a boat owner does not want to restore boats because of this then he should not do so. If he has an accurate reading on the market value of his boat before he does work, he can likely figure out where he will end up.

        The car hobby, though much bigger, is the same. You can go and buy a nice old restored car for much less than it costs to do it.

        I bought a boat that cost about 8x times the purchase price to restore and it is now worth half that figure, and these are pretty big numbers. I new this would be the likely outcome when I decided to do the work, and I had my own reasons for proceeding – these were not financially motivated. If I were to sell the boat, I would list it at what I thought the value was, not what it had cost me to restore.

        I own a number of boats and I do so because I enjoy it, not because they are a profitable investment. I think almost everyone hear would say the same thing if asked about financial outcomes of their boat “investment”.

    • Alex
      Alex says:

      Oh come on Troy. How sophmoric can you get at a serious time like this. Wait a minute. I meant that as a question / challenge / favor. How sophmoric can you get at a serious time like this? 🙂

  23. Sean
    Sean says:

    Hi Alex, fair points (and I agree). But, if you want a show worthey 1958 Cadillac; what’s the difference between picking up a $2,500 project and spending another $25,000 or more on it… or just buying one already done for $20,000ish and enjoying right away? Are there others of this calibre available at 12K?

    In this light is it a $12,000 boat. I still think not. BTW I would not have chosen to do a Cadillac but somebody might have a connection to it.

    • Paul H.
      Paul H. says:

      Sean, a sellers “connection” is worthless to me as the next buyer of the boat. It does not add a thing to the intrinsic value of the boat to the market. Small, 15′ molded plywood boats do not sell for that kind of money, anywhere at anytime. A Riva Junior can be had for this kind of money, or less, though I would hate to compare that to a ’50’s molded plywood boat, despite the vague similarities in hull material. I actually think $12k is a generous value for this particular boat, but I am happy to be proven wrong by a sale at a higher price.

      Because a boat is rare does not mean it is valuable. I have two exceedingly rare boats that are worth very little – a 1926 Mullins Outboard Special and a 1946 Peterborough Falcon. I doubt there are more than 3 or so of either them left in the world. They are worth lunch money because they were cheap and disposable in their day and are rare only because the rest were discarded. In many cases, boats are rare or were sold in small numbers because they were lousy boats – it is not because of some inate exclusivity that they had when built. The Cadillac likely falls into the category of a marketing failure more than anything else, though I admit to knowing little about them.

      If a doddering plutocrat who excretes money as he sidles along would rather have Cadillac outboard than a Riva Junior at $50k, and will settle for nothing other than a Cadillac, then he has to buy this example, doesn’t he? Now all the seller has to do is wait for such a buyer to materialize from the ether – the same ether that he would have to be inhaling in order to make that purchase. Chances are that will not happen and the deluded seller will continue to clog the listing site for years, and by doing so will make my argument for me.

      By the way, I was advised this evening by a person in a position to know that the engine on that listing is not a “special 1958 Evinrude” but a pedestrian, regular production 1956. So apparently neither the seller or anyone else even knows what they are selling.

      Again, I will be pleased to e proven wrong by seeing this or any similar molded plywood outboard boat sell for anything near this asking price. If it happens, I will apologise and I bet Matt will as well.

      • Sean
        Sean says:

        Hi Paul, again, valid points…. from a point of view.

        Clearly, the boat is not worth 50K. It is worth what someone will pay. But, we are talking about value. If you are looking for a Cadillac I imagine there are not many (if any) in this condition. To find a cheap boat and do it yourself costs much more than 12K…. value created.

        In this case there’s a decent opportunity. Let’s for moment say you are a Cadillac guy…maybe a longtime dealer or a collector of the iconic land yachts (fins and all). For 25K a dealer could put this on his floorplan as a used vehicle and use it promotionally. He wouldn’t even notice the cost. I’ve seen the “accessories” that many car collectors buy from signs to gas pumps and it’s not unreasonable to think that some Caddy guy will want the “best” Cadillac boat in the world to add to his “Caddyville” collection.

        With value and opportunity this particular boat potentially fits a niche for those types of buyers and they will not care the motor is not a “special”. For a boat guy looking to spend 25-50K on” somthin’ different” well, that’s just not the buyer.

        I’d love to see this boat roll across at Barrett-Jackson.

  24. Troy
    Troy says:

    I wonder if I went to a Golf forum if they talk about the $ they spend on clubs as being an investment?
    This is a HOBBY. Hobbys by nature are an expense not an investment.

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