Making the Most Out of the Seller’s Market
As technology advances and internet marketplaces become more popular and accessible to everyone, the temptation to list a boat yourself has probably grown over the years. The current state of the market—with demand far outstripping supply and good boats selling super-fast—may also compound the urge to cash in on the frothiness.
As a sales organization who has pretty much seen it all since 1968, there are many specific reasons you need a listing agent and why paying a 10% commission is more than worth it. Bluewater Sales Manager, Baxter Lusink summarizes the value of hiring a listing agent, “The biggest thing a broker can do is save you time and effort while maximizing your monetary return.”
Having a representative by your side who has your best interests in mind is important in any transaction, but there are many more rewards to reap by hiring a sales firm. We’ve broken some of these benefits down into five tenants, or compartments available from the Bluewater Yacht Sales toolkit:
Preparation, Cooperation, Presentation, Documentation and Satisfaction.
Determining the market value and setting an asking price is one of the most critical decisions of marketing any listing. To successfully value and market your boat, “you need to consider a lot more than just doing a quick Google search,” advises Lusink. No one wants to let their vessel go for less than than the market can bear, but you also don’t want to overestimate it by so much that it doesn’t seem serious and thus languishes on the market.
Let’s face it, owning and selling a boat can be emotional and stressful. A neutral, outside perspective from someone with marketplace expertise is valuable. Another experienced set of eyes can help uncover traits about your boat you perhaps haven’t thought about—both benefits and issues that may matter more to prospective buyers than they did to you. The Bluewater team has the long-standing partnerships with boatyards, surveyors and other experts that are needed to not only confirm the specifics but identify and correct issues that can net you more money.
Many Bluewater team members specialize in certain niches, boat types and name brands. Whether it is a production brand that we represent, past experience with a manufacturer or custom construction; our salespeople have a long track record and valuable insight into both popular and unique vessels. We can tell what is sought after right now and what the strengths and weaknesses are of your boat—information you can capitalize on before putting it on the market.
Bluewater Sales Professionals help educate you about the many facets of the transaction process, equipping you with as much knowledge as possible while maintaining reasonable expectations. Lusink says, “Our brokers could be involved with thousands of boats in their career while a boater may only go through 5-10 transactions; experience pays dividends in not making a bad decision.”
When you engage a Bluewater Sales Professional, you’re not just securing the services of a lone wolf – you are tapping into a vibrant and invaluable network of yacht services, vendors, captains, project managers, boat builders, fellow brokers, support staff and more. This network of expert service providers can be deployed to visit, transport or fix any important issues with your boat prior to listing it on the market.
If you choose to go it alone, you’ll likely have to field a lot of direct inquiries from indecisive buyers who may not be ready to move forward, instead of having pre-qualified, serious buyers brought to you by other agents. All of our sales people act as buyers’ agents for many customers, and in most cases have buyers waiting in the wings for a range of boats meeting certain criteria. Not only can a Sales Professional tell you if your boat is sought after–he or she may already know a prospective buyer for your boat!
Bluewater holds regular conference calls with the entire sales and management team. One important aspect of these calls includes brokers sharing their client’s “in-search-of” lists along with off-market potentially available units, or “pocket listings.” Lusink notes, “There is a truckload of boats that sell before we can even get pictures of them!” Bluewater has so many experts plugged into the industry and putting the pieces together behind the scenes to make deals happen fast because the current market literally has buyers waiting in line.
When it’s time to list your boat for sale, Bluewater has invested in the personnel, equipment and expert marketing support to present it in the best light. We have several in-house licensed drone pilots and equipment and expertise in creating captivating video walkthroughs. Professional photographers are available in all of our regions and ready for dispatch, for still photography, virtual tours and videos. Before these pros arrive at your boat, we can also help with staging and preparation tips to ensure your boat captures the attention of prospective buyers for a quick sale.
Once the valuation, preparation and presentation are in place, Bluewater’s comprehensive marketing machine spins into action to ensure your listing gets seen. This includes not only our own proprietary website, MLS feeds, major publications, search engines and social media–but additional paid advertising in both print and digital mediums. Bluewater’s single largest annual investment is in the marketing of our customers’ listings. We invest heavily to help ensure that your boat has the most opportunities to be seen not just by a larger audience, but qualified, target audiences.
Your boat can also be featured at major boat shows and fishing tournaments, either in physical presence or displayed on our interactive sign boards for attendees to learn more about. Our yard and marina facilities in Hampton and Beaufort can even offer storage and maintenance contracts that make it easier to clean, market and maintain your boat at these locations, which are frequented by qualified buyers and make showing your boat a breeze.
Bluewater Sales Professional Scott James explains, “I feel like we have the whole package, from marketing and new boat lines to boatyard outfitting and delivery, plus annual service and make-ready. Bluewater is your one-stop for everything you need in your boating lifestyle.”
Few boat owners enjoy tracking down paperwork, so we’ve built a team that has perfected the process. Bluewater Sales Professionals are licensed and bonded, and along with our admins, many have taken respective courses in professional yacht sales and transactions processes. Lusink explains that any new Bluewater team member with less than 10 years of experience is required to complete courses from the Yacht Broker Institute, which provides industry-recognized training for both brokers and administrators. Furthermore, all our Sales Professionals are members of the International Yacht Brokers Association (IYBA).
Our Documentation Specialists and Sales Administrators not only facilitate the actual transaction, escrow and payment processing but ensure that ownership and documentation is legally transferred properly, completely and promptly. In fact, from the day you sign a listing contract, they’re working hard to get all your registration and documentation in order so it’s ready well before you ever get your first offer, let alone approach the closing table. In fact, “I can tell you we’ve seen more than one situation where our closing team has done a majority of the work for an outside broker on the other side of a transaction,” says Lusink.
As a seller, you might not realize it, but Bluewater’s in-house financing team can also benefit you. In the cases where we also represent the buyer, being pre-qualified with any necessary financing in place, is another way we can simplify and expedite your transaction.
In short, the point of all this is that Bluewater has invested more than any other sales organization to make every sale as quick and as painless as possible for our customers.
The Bluewater sales and support team will always keep your best interests in mind. “Our team of Sales Professionals and admins are market-responsive and help achieve the task at hand,” Lusink concludes. James refers to what he calls the Bluewater ‘toolkit’ that every Sales Professional and Assistant has access to: sales, service yards, marinas, multiple locations throughout the Mid-Atlantic, and strong partnerships with our featured brands, vendors, lenders and insurers. He adds, “Our team effectively uses the tools that are provided, which allow us to easily develop lasting relationships and regularly exceed expectations.”
Saving time, money and effort are all great benefits of listing your boat with a brokerage–but the relationship you’ll develop with our friendly and knowledgeable sales team has long-term value. James explains, “We are in the relationship business. Boats are just the byproduct of the relationship. For me, the customers become friends before the end of the transaction.” Every year we try to share the stories, customer profiles and testimonials that illustrate this philosophy and success. We work hard to be there for every aspect of your boating lifestyle, and it all begins with a simple conversation with a Bluewater Sales Professional.