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Selling Your Boat? Keep These 5 Tips in Mind

by Dangula Bingula

When it comes time to sell a boat, the last thing you want to do is drag out the process. The quicker you can sell it, the sooner you can free up your money to buy another one or pursue another hobby. And with some proven tips and techniques, you can increase your chances of enjoying a speedy transaction.

5 Tips for a Quick Boat Sale

It’s summer time, which means it’s the perfect time to sell a boat. The market is ripe and people are ready to go all in and make a big purchase. If you adhere to the following advice, you’ll have it sold in no time.


  1. Thoroughly Clean It

First impressions are everything. In order to impress potential buyers, take special care to thoroughly clean the boat inside and out. There should be no dock-lines on the hull, smudges on the windshield, grime in the bilge, or dirty brown water on the floorboards. Not only should it be cleaned – but it should also shine!

“Cleaning your boat thoroughly is a good start, but pay particular attention to the head, where it needs to look and smell like the day it launched,” expert Chris Caswell writes. “Empty the holding tank, and add chemicals to neutralize any aroma. Make sure you leave ports or hatches open to air the boat thoroughly.”

If you don’t have the time to do it yourself, hire someone to professionally clean it for you. It’s well worth the price.

  1. Price it Right

The number one mistake owners make when selling is setting the price too high or too low. If you price it too high, it’ll take months to sell. If you price it too low, you’ll leave money on the table.

Thankfully, accurately pricing a boat isn’t overly difficult these days. You can go online and check out any number of sites and marketplaces to get an idea of what different models are selling for. You can also look at industry pricing guides to get a ballpark estimate.

  1. Gather All Paperwork

Before you officially list your boat and field phone calls from interested buyers, you’ll want to gather all of your paper work and get organized.

“The boat’s maintenance records and recent survey are great sales tools, which help make the buyer feel confident in moving forward.” SYS Yacht Sales explains. “Make sure to have all relevant paperwork prepared, including the title, registration, and loan information for when an offer is accepted and you’re ready to close the sale.”

  1. List It in the Right Places

Getting full-priced offers within hours or days (as opposed to weeks or months) is all about reach. You want your listing to reach as many interested buyers as possible. Instead of listing your boat in one or two local newspapers or marinas, expand your audience to include dozens of online marketplaces, websites, and even message boards/forums.

  1. Embrace the Art of Negotiation

If you’ve priced your boat right from the start, you shouldn’t need to negotiate much with prospective buyers. They’ll know when a price is fair and a deal can be struck quickly. However, if you do encounter someone who tries to lowball you, stand your ground and be confident in your pricing. Don’t make a rash decision to lower your price based on the emotions of the moment.


Finding Your Next Boat


Once you sell your boat, your attention immediately shifts to the more enjoyable side of the equation: buying a new one.

Begin by determining exactly what type you want to buy (or at least narrow your list down to a couple of different kinds). From here, you should set your budget and figure out whether you want to buy new or used. Depending on the price point and type, it may be helpful to work with a broker or attend a show. If you’re shopping on the lower end of the market, local listing sites and classifies will give you plenty of options.

When negotiating and closing a deal, make sure you have a clear understanding of what comes with it. (Is it just the boat, or does it come with equipment, extra parts, a trailer, etc.?) It’s also wise to have it inspected by a professional. If nothing else, the engine should be looked at to ensure it’s in good working condition. Finally, do your research and ensure there aren’t any outstanding liens against it.

Assuming you do all of the proper due diligence, this process should go off without a hitch. Before you know it, you’ll be out on the water enjoying the warm summer sunshine.