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What You Can Do To Help Sell Your Yacht Faster

By Rob Bowman | Posted On Jun 27, 2020
Updated On Mar 23, 2022

Benjamin Franklin had many famous quotes, but there are two that can really be applied to boat ownership; "By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail" and "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". This isn't an article preaching how preventative boat maintenance is key to keeping your vessel running smoothly, although we usually have at least one foot up on that soap box. (Side-note: Ben Franklin was, in fact, a boater. He was quite the maritime expert and is credited with the idea of human-powered propellers, fire prevention on ships, improvement to anchor cable storage, and several more innovations.)

Listing your yacht for sale can yield a variety of results depending on your actions. If you're excited about moving into a new boat and need to sell your existing one first, nothing stalls the anticipation more than months on the market with no action. But there are things that you can do to help prepare your boat for the market and prevent it from sitting there for sale longer than it should. Success in selling your boat quickly and for more money begins with you.

Understanding Its Flaws

yacht survey

While the cost of having a survey done on your boat varies, it will save you time, hassle, and potentially quite a bit of money in the long run. Having a marine surveyor asses your yacht before putting it up for sale allows you to spot any issues before its time to close with the buyer. The buyer will, of course, have their own survey done once an offer has been accepted. Having a major issue arise later on usually means a reduction in the sale price or some tense negotiations. 

Having a survey done prior to putting it on the market will also help your broker price your boat accordingly, assist with successful sea trials, and gives potential buyers confidence that your boat has been well-maintained with no "last minute surprises". Once you have the list of items that need attention, you and your broker can make the decision to either move forward with repairs or factor in the repairs in the price. This is an important step in order to prevent your boat from being tied up by a buyer only to have them back out after receiving the survey results. (Also read: The Cost Of Owning A Yacht.)


Make The Effort When It's Time For The Photo & Video Shoot

Yacht for sale video shoot

Unless your yacht is a late-model boat, in pristine condition, and priced right, chances are it's going to need to be marketed. "There's no question that yachts that are newer and in great condition will sell quickly with the right price," said Peter Schmidt, founder of United Yacht Sales and 40+ year marine industry veteran. "Just in the last few weeks we've sold several late-model Viking Yachts, a Nordhavn, a few Azimuts, and several others that were only listed for a few days. Greg Graham sold a Viking 48 that never even made it to our website it sold so fast. So it does happen, but having a good presentation is key from the start."

Having a professional photographer shoot your yacht, whether just doing photos or producing a video walk-through, is one of the single most important aspects of listing a yacht for sale. As the boat owner, there are a few steps you can do to prepare your boat for success:

  1. Have it detailed by a professional. A clean boat is always going to show better in the photos. Schedule this as close to the photo shoot as possible.
  2. Dedicate a full day to the photo/video shoot. While just a photo shoot won't take this long, a video shoot might. It's been proven that boats with excellent photos get more attention online and sell faster.
  3. Have the right mindset about the photo shoot. Whether it's you or your captain driving the boat, a positive mindset can make a huge difference. Nothing makes a broker's job harder than dealing with lower quality photos because the captain got tired of driving the boat for the photographer. 
  4. Stage your boat for the shoot. Your broker can assist you with this, but take the time to hide your personal affects and remove as much clutter as possible. A clean and orderly boat will always look better in the photos.
  5. If possible, make the effort to get the boat away from the marina or dock for the photo shoot. A nice profile shot with no ropes or fenders makes a difference.

Here's an example of a great video on "No Agenda", a gorgeous custom Michael Rybovich & Sons Sportfish listed with United broker John Blumenthal. With the right preparation and team, your yacht can stand apart from the others on the market that will yield real results.


Prove It!

yacht for sale records

Keep a record. These three simple words should be engrained into every boat owner's head. Dedicate a folder in your home (not your boat) to all of your service records, receipts, and any other important paperwork.

"When it comes time to sell your yacht, you will need to be able to prove your mechanical intervals," says United broker Christopher Cooke, who also owns a successful yacht management company. "I advise all of my clients to keep up with maintenance schedules and document everything from your 100-hour service to getting the bottom painted. It's all important when it comes time to sell."


Location, Location, Location.

yacht marina

Keeping your yacht at the dock outside your home may be convenient for you, but it could be a detriment to getting it sold. Having your yacht at a popular marina, or within a reasonable distance from one, gets it seen by more people and is also easier to show. "If your yacht is in a difficult location, be prepared to move it closer to your broker or other similar yachts," continued Peter. Many time yacht buyers will spend the day with their broker viewing multiple vessels in a single day. If your yacht is an outlier in terms of distance from the others, it may get skipped.

"Seasonal location is also a consideration," said Peter. "If a boat owner wants to sell in the winter months, it's a good idea to store the boat in the water at an all-seasons marina. There are many of these types of marinas in the northern states and it can mean the difference between a deal happening or not." Moving your vessel north to south on the east coast, or vice versa, can also help get it sold. With many boat owners heading north to escape the heat of the summer, it makes sense to keep your boat where there are other boaters. United has many brokers that spend the season in New York or Massachusetts, for example, that travel when their clients do!


Be Realistic When It Comes To The Price & Market

There's an old saying in the boating industry and if you've owned/sold multiple boats you've likely heard it too. "If it's not the boat, the broker, or the marketing, then it's the price." At United, we can provide you with real-time data as to what is happening with your yacht online. How many people have looked it compared to similar boats on the market? How much time did they spend looking at your photos and how does that compare to similar boats? Have you received thousands of visitors to your yacht online, but no leads of phone calls? There are many factors that go into whether or not a particular boat will sell quickly, but having all of the information at your disposal can help lead you to the right strategy.

If you're not in a hurry to sell your boat, let it sit on the market as you continue enjoying it. When the time comes that you want or need to sell your boat, think about how to prepare your vessel for the market so you can prevent it from having a "birthday" online.

If you're interested in selling your boat or yacht, fill out our easy 'What's My Boat Worth' form online and one of our professional yacht brokers will get back to you with a comprehensive market evaluation. Looking to purchase? Don't forget to read "What To Look For When Purchasing A Yacht" and "Is A Yacht A Good Investment?"

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