Selling Your Boat
If you are a boat owner, there comes a time, sooner or later, when you will make the inevitable decision to sell your boat. If you are selling your boat because you just want a change from your present vessel, or if you want to get out of a difficult relationship with one, the process of selling it is the same.
You have probably already experienced the joy of wading through hundreds of listings when you were originally looking for a boat, so you will have some idea of what it’s like to put your boat out there with the hundreds of others for sale. To make your boat stand out from the crowd you will have to differentiate it in some way. Be it the price or the features, it has to be the one someone wants more than the others. This all sounds very obvious, but there is always (nearly always, often, sometimes at least) an element of emotional attachment involved. Do not let emotion cloud your judgement about the “value” of your boat. This is business. It all boils down to how quickly you want to sell. Sell it for a song and, of course, someone will snap it up. Price it at the top end of the market and the number of buyers will dramatically decrease. Unless it’s a much sought after model, it may be sometime before it’s sold.
These days most buyers will first go online to see what’s available. That means the photos and description can often make the difference between getting an enquiry or not. And for people who live many miles from a boat, they really want to have a feel for a particular boat before committing the time and money involved in a viewing.
Now of course you want to present your boat in the best possible light, but it pays to be honest and transparent about what is for sale. You really don’t want to face someone’s disappointment when they have gone to a lot of trouble and expense to come and view the boat because it was misrepresented. After all, you only need one person to buy the boat. Just make sure that the photos look good and the description is detailed and accurate. To make it even more likely that the right person will see your boat listed for sale, you may want to consider using a broker.
There are many people out there who hang a “Yacht Broker” shingle above their doors, so you will need to choose one. Begin by looking at the broker’s listings. Does it look professional? Are the photos appealing? Are the descriptions complete? There’s no excuse for an unprofessional website these days, and buyers will gravitate to a good looking site, even at the expense of incomplete listings. So be sure to look at the offerings and decide if it’s a good fit for you. There is no reason to believe they will do a better job for you just because their site looks good. If you’re prepared to put in some serious time and effort, there’s no real reason not to market the boat yourself. Go online and study other listings. Make note of what’s included in them and that you think is appropriate. Pay particular attention to the photos. Do the boats look good or are the photos poorly done? Are the descriptions sufficiently detailed? What is it about some listings that makes them stand out? Can you apply those examples to your boat?
Preparing your boat is much like staging a house for sale. You have to remove clutter and personal items. Prospective purchasers need to imagine themselves on the boat. Your family photos and other memorabilia will hamper their imaginations. And if you think that was difficult, now comes the hard part. Cleaning. If you want to make it easier for a buyer to part with their money, clean the boat and then clean it some more. Make it shine. Particularly the galley and the heads. Scrub the oven. Clean the refrigerator and inside every locker. Make everything spick-and-span and shipshape.
Now that the boat is ready for viewing, it’s time to take some photos.