To sell your boat quickly, it is important get your boat ready as early as possible before the selling season starts to give you an advantage in the marketplace.
You have three basic choices on how to sell your boat: sell it yourself, trade it in, or sell it through a broker. It also depends on the size and value of your boat. Brokers rarely sold small boats as they produce too little income for the amount of time required to make the sale. On the other hand, brokers do not have problems selling large boats even with the amount of paperwork and complex negotiations involved as their commission on the sale will fully compensate their hard work.
Regardless how you choose to go ahead with the selling (by yourself, trade in or by a broker), it is vitally important that in today’s market, your boat is well presented and has all of the correct documentation and is easily accessible if you wish to complete a quick sale.
Selling by Yourself or Trade-in
Once you have decided to sell the boat on your own, start planning your advertising campaign which includes classified ads in a local newspaper, magazines and internet sites to attract buyers across the country and globally. Also, post ads on yacht club bulletin boards and add a “For Sale” sign on the boat if allowed in your marina. True, selling the boat yourself is likely to net you the most money but don’t forget that it will not be easy as you will be responsible with all the work that has to be done to make and close the sale.
Trading in your boat is stress-free when you’re buying a new boat, but most dealers won’t take trades on used boats. Trade-ins, by the way, typically earn you the least money so make sure to shop price as selected dealers may offer substantially more trade-in money than others. When trading-in your boat, you may save tax money since you won’t be paying sales tax on the full price but only on the amount less your traded value. This makes trading-in both easier and more cost-effective.
Since off season sales never net as much money, try selling your boat at the start of the boating season when buyers are most interested. The same is true for trade-ins, because the dealer can’t turn the boat over fast after the boating season ends.
Selling Through a Broker
If you decide on selling your boat through a broker, he will act like a real estate agent. This means that the broker will advertise and show your boat to possible buyers, handle legal paperwork and get a commission which usually runs between 5 to 10 percent of the selling price. You can shop brokerage commission since several brokers are ready to negotiate a discount. Look for brokers who specialize in boats like yours as they are likely to have more serious buyers. A reliable broker, who belongs to an association that requires following a code of ethics, can enlighten you with a number of listing differences and give you the finest direction that suits you best.
Get the Right Price
The key to selling your boat is to make sure that it is valued correctly, but of all the blunders made by boat owners, the leading mistake is pricing the boat either too low or too high. Pricing it too low and you end up giving money away. Pricing it to high and you could never get rid of it. Remember that an overpriced boat sitting on the market for a long period will cost you more money. That’s why you need to make sure that you priced your boat right. A reputable broker can give you valuable advice on what price to advertise your boat and what boat has sold lately and at what price.
If you are selling by yourself, you can correctly price your boat by, first, checking your local newspaper classifieds. Look for boats that are similar to yours for sale and take note of the asking price. You can also clip out appropriate ads and compile them to show to potential buyers what similar boats are selling for. Another way is to talk to local dealers and see what similar models they have available and for how much. Do not forget to check the internet and visit various websites that list thousands of boats for sale. Remember to compare apples to apples which mean small variations in engines or equipment can make a big difference in prices.
Prepping the Boat for Sale
A fresh, clean and unclutter boat always gets a higher selling price, so devote some time to boost your boat’s look by thoroughly cleaning and organizing it. This way, a potential buyer can see that it's been well looked after and maintained. The impression that a buyer gets in the first minutes on board generally decides if he is going to make an offer.
Make sure that your engine has recently been serviced and is visually clean. Keep a copy of the service history, record or copies of the relevant invoices onboard the boat for prospective buyers to see as evidence that the engine has been well maintained. Knowing that the boat has been well maintained and serviced in line with manufacturer’s recommendations will give the potential buyer confidence to make an offer.
Fix defective equipment that can turn off a buyer. Replace everything that either won't clean up or work properly like the lights, lines, fenders and rigging. But don’t go overboard as you are not expected to renovate the entire boat. What’s important is to make sure that anything that will be sold is in good working condition.
While prepping your boat, don’t forget to remove stuffs that you’re not selling with it. Make sure that the buyer is aware of personal items on board that you will be keeping after the sale. You should also remove add-ons on the boat that do not increase its value especially if they don’t look professional.
Offers, Inspections and Paperwork
Keep in mind that possible buyers will always make an offer less than your asking price for the boat. That’s why it’s important to think over how much do you expect to get from selling your boat. A qualified broker can help you with the negotiations and give advice on the buyer’s capacity to buy the boat.
Most buyers get a marine survey to inspect the condition of the boat. The result of the surveys is often used to negotiate the price to cover for any problems found. The seller then has the option to fix the problem or simply give a discount on the selling price. If you opt to make repair, set the limit on the amount you will spend.
Remember to have all of the appropriate documents available to prove ownership of the boat before advertising your boat for sale. Why? Because most buyers, if not all, will ask for these documents to make sure you are the legal owner of the boat and has the authority to sell it. If they are not ready, it can delay the process of the sale. A professional broker will provide valuable advice and guidance on what documentation is required and should be ready.
It is important that you know and have proof of the VAT status of your boat. Having the appropriate paperwork compiled and ready will help speed up the sale. Aside from the proof of VAT status of your boat, keep a copy of the boat’s operating manual, service history with invoices and any relevant licenses that are current and not out of date.
With the current market, it might be hard to sell a boat. But by following the important steps in prepping your boat and the paperwork handy, you will have a certain advantage and will make selling your boat a lot quicker than you think.