Tips to Sell Your Boat

Advance Preparation is the key!
Remember, you can do it now or you can do it later, don’t risk losing your buyer.

Your Boat’s Exterior:

  • The “90 Second Rule” is in play here. Make your boat’s “dock appeal” stellar. A first impression will determine whether your buyer is willing to look deeper or if you’ve lost the sale in the first 90 seconds.
  • The best money you can spend may be for an exterior wax of your boat.
  • A thorough cleaning from stem to stern will keep your buyer interested.
  • All exterior wood surfaces should be clean and bright. That’s why they call it “brightwork”!
  • Bottom condition may be difficult to see in the water, but at the waterline, much is visible. A good bottom cleaning dive service can keep your boat’s bottom and running gear clean and ready for sea trial.
  • Make all your lines, fenders, sheets and halyards neat and well organized.


Your Boat’s Interior:

  • Make sure the head(s) are spotless, odor free and have no visible mildew or mold.
  • Make DOUBLE SURE the head(s) are spotless, odor free and have no visible mildew or mold!
  • “Clutter” is your enemy. Make sure that all personal items are off the boat or if absolutely necessary, out of the line of sight of your buyer. Buyers’ want to see where “their stuff” will go, and want to see how much space your boat offers. They don’t want to see “your stuff” in “their boat”. Anything that is not intended to convey with the boat sale should be removed prior to showing your boat. Clean all lockers, closets and lazarettes first.
  • Clean and scrub the galley. Extra attention is needed in the refrigerator, oven/stove and sinks.
  • Clean the bilge and ensure it is dry, clean and odor-free.

General Maintenance is Key:

  • Change your oil! Change your Oil Filter and Fuel Filters.
  • Check all fluid levels and fill to the required level.
  • Check your batteries. Remove any corrosion at the terminals and check water levels on standard lead acid batteries. Make sure they are fully charged and ready for service.
  • If you have been regularly maintaining your boat and engine and have maintenance records or have collected the receipts, make these available to your broker as this will have a significant impact on a prospective buyer.


Correct any Defective or Deficient Gear:

  • Your boat will undergo a survey at the buyers’ expense. Anything that is not working or is deficient in any way will most likely be revealed. Do the required work before the first potential buyer sees your boat. You do not want a disappointed buyer who has just spent many hundreds of dollars or more to survey a boat that they will not buy. If you are unable to get a piece of gear working, then disclose this to your broker immediately. We will indicate that this gear is inoperable on your listing. This will save time and disappointment later if a buyer then decides to make an offer with this knowledge in advance. This will reduce the likelihood that a request will come after the survey asking for pricing concessions to have the gear repaired or replaced.
  • Check for leaks in the engine, generator, fresh water system and sanitation system and repair them. A surveyor will find them anyway. Remember, you can do it now or you can do it later if you haven’t lost your buyer first.


Boat Location; Geography Matters

  • Buyers Like Easy! And if you can make it easy for them to see your boat, more buyers will see the boat resulting in a quicker sale. We have brokerage rates for our Clients at a number of marinas. If your boat is in an out of the way location, or behind a private residence it will not be as easy to see as in a marina with other vessels for sale in nearby slips.
  • Contact us to see if we can help put your boat in a highly visible well trafficked area and to discuss why this is so important for a quick sale.

Boat Paperwork:

  • Be sure all your paperwork is in your hands and is up to date. If your Documentation has lapsed, renew it now. If your state registration is not valid, obtain a valid registration. It will not be legal to run your boat for a sea trial if this has lapsed.
  • Be sure your insurance is current and in full force and effect during the entire time your boat is for sale.
  • Be sure that your broker has all necessary information about legal ownership, copies of Documentation and/or state or foreign title, and any bank loans or other liens that may be outstanding on the vessel. This will have to be dealt with before we can close the sale of your boat, so be sure that your broker is fully informed and copied on all necessary documents.

What to Expect:

A few years ago we could say with a high degree of confidence that a good boat, well priced and in very good condition would sell “fast” and by fast we would expect this to mean in about six months. Today, the world is different. Data shows that the length of time a boat remains on the market is over one year and is averaging about 13 months or so.

Of course, some boats sell quicker, but more often than not pricing comes into play and in order to get a quick sale deep discounting is often involved. In many cases, we have seen boats languish on the market for three or even four years without many showings and few offers. There are often valid reasons why a boat would remain on the market for this length of time—and in some cases, for reasons that could have been easily corrected by the seller!

So the key to sell your boat is be realistic about your boat’s value, condition and pricing, and to insure your boat can be easily seen by as many potential buyers as possible.

Don’t be offended if a buyer makes what you might consider an unreasonably low offer on your boat. We’ve seen many cases where a broker can take a “lowball” first offer and turn it into a sale that ultimately brought a price that was reasonable and acceptable to both buyer and seller. Remember, if a buyer took the time to visit and inspect your boat, and then took the time to sit down with a broker and prepare and sign a written offer to purchase your boat and sent the broker a 10% earnest deposit, this buyer is a serious buyer.

In some cases, a lowball offer is the only offer a buyer will tender, but in other cases a skilled broker can often elicit a higher and more reasonable offer that may result in a sale.

Patience is usually required. But you should have the confidence that your broker is advertising your boat and most importantly is responding to each and every inquiry about your boat promptly and professionally. This will result in a showing which will ultimately get your boat sold.




If you are on the fence about whether now is the best time to sell your boat, rest assured; NOW IS THE BEST TIME TO SELL YOUR BOAT!

Unfortunately, boats in general are not appreciating assets. It is not unusual to see boats depreciate at 10% or more per year. So consider the potential depreciation, dock rental fees, boat loan payments, insurance, and maintenance expenses on your vessel. You might decide to wait for a better market a year from now. It may or may not be a better market in a year. But a year from now you will have spent a bundle keeping her and still own a boat that is worth less than it was worth a year ago.