Prepping Your Boat to Sell

Tips for selling a boat for top dollar

By Chris Beardsley, Yacht Broker, North Point Yacht Sales

So you’ve decided to sell your boat. By now you’ve started to gather information, history, inventory of equipment, and upgrades for the listing. The question is: what sets your boat apart from other boats on the market? It’s not only the physical features and gear but the presentation that is a key factor in attracting buyers and keeping offers close to your asking price. In order to be at the top of the market in price, the boat needs to command attention in both its condition and appearance.

As a seller, an important exercise is to put yourself into the buyer’s shoes and eliminate as many potential objections as possible. Think back to the day you first saw your boat and what drew you to making the decision to buy. Buyers will likely be looking at several different boats in their buying process, starting with viewing photographs online and touring several boats, then narrowing their search to a small group of makes and models. When they step on board, that’s usually the time they decide whether the boat is a contender for their purchase or if it is one they will rule out, so first impressions are important.

Every boat will have a list of things that can or need to be done. Making a list of these things and any repairs that haven’t yet been completed can help prioritize what needs to be done before the boat is on the market as well as prepare for any potential survey findings that may become negotiating items before closing. Oftentimes, if there are repairs that need to be done, the buyer will ask for a larger concession in price than the actual cost to err on the side of caution and limit their expense—especially if the items were not disclosed prior to the survey. Going through the boat’s systems to know exactly what works and what doesn’t can give you the opportunity to make the easy fixes, schedule repairs, or have quotes in place. This can be used in negotiations to avoid too large of a concession.

Over the length of ownership, boats tend to collect a lot of “boat stuff” in addition to personal items. Going through and making sure the boat is as free of clutter as possible will help the boat show its true size, storage capabilities and let the buyer envision how they will move aboard and make it their own. Any personal items that do not convey with the sale should be removed prior to showings. If you plan to use the boat while it is on the market, keeping on board only what is essential will allow you to store these items in one designated area when you are not on board and the boat is being shown. Make sure your broker knows to relay to prospective buyers what does and does not convey.

Selling a boat is often bittersweet. Many memories have been made onboard, and the sale will open the door for new opportunities or hopefully, your next boat. Remembering what it was that helped you make the decision that your boat was “the one”, and passing that on, will only improve the sale experience for both you and the buyer. Ask your broker what other boats they would show in the area to prospective buyers if they wanted comparisons. Your broker may be able to arrange to show you those boats as well. Knowing your competition is a great advantage when making your boat presentable and more attractive.