You’ve decided to sell your boat, either because you’re moving up, down, or out. Whatever the reason, there a several very simple tips you should heed before you put it on the market.
The first tip is to use a reputable yacht broker from a well established yacht brokerage firm. This may seem like a shameless plug, but don’t just take our word for it.
Ask friends who have bought and sold boats for their opinion. Assuming you have decided to enlist a yacht brokers’ services, how do you find a good one? Again, ask around. Ask potential brokers for testimonials and look at examples of their previous and current listings of boats for sale. Market exposure is key.
This is a question you should ask when your broker presents you with a listing agreement: “Where will my boat be advertised?” The answer should be simply “everywhere”. You should feel comfortable that your boat will be posted to the many internet portals that are out there. More about what a good broker will do for you will be the subject of a future post, but for now let’s move on.
It’s not rocket science. In order for your boat to sell in a competitive market, it really only needs three things: It needs to be clean, it needs to be turn key, and it needs to be priced right. Your broker will help you establish the right price, but the first two are up to you.
CLEAN. Ask yourself – when a prospective buyer comes to see my boat, will they want to see themselves in it? The answer must be yes. Put the odds in your favor for that “yes” by getting the boat detailed, inside and out, including mechanical spaces. It will be well worth the cost! Get all your personal stuff off the boat as much as possible, because clutter is a turn-off to prospects who are seeing your boat for the first time. If there are any ‘smells’ on the boat, be it head smell, diesel, or whatever, fix rather than mask the source. The boat should smell like air, not perfume or air freshener. In sum, just like in home sales, ‘curb appeal’ is critical, and you never get a second chance to give a first impression.
TURN KEY. It’s pretty simple. Everything on the boat must work, period. It may be that if you have owned your boat for awhile, you have gotten used to several items on the boat being inoperative, however minor. If you take care of those things, down to every last light bulb, you’ll get a better chance at that positive first impression. If you’ve been deferring any kind of maintenance take care of it right way. Remember that when you do get on contract and go to survey, that surveyor will be looking at your boat critically because that’s what he’s paid to do. If he finds something significant, you will likely be facing a ‘fix this or lose the deal’ scenario. Avoid these very unhappy staring contests with your buyer by getting all those items fixed before getting on contract. Speaking of a survey, it may well be that you have done all the right things up to this point. The boat is neat as a pin, clean, and everything works as advertised. Well done! However, maybe it’s taken a while to get under contract and in the meantime you haven’t been using the boat. Before the surveyor shows up make sure she’s ready to go. There’s nothing like a dead battery to put a cloud over the beginning of a survey.
PRICED RIGHT. When you decide to sell your boat, one of the first questions that will come to mind is, “what is my boat worth?” Your broker will take many factors into account when arriving at this figure. Be prepared for a little tough love here. You may have a number in mind, but the broker’s due diligence on researching comps, or comparative values, will reveal a number that reflects what the market is likely to bear. Granted, we get emotional about our boats, but think objectively here and if at first you don’t agree with that number have the broker explain to you in detail why it is what it is.
Bottom line: If your boat is clean, turn key, and priced right, you are already ahead of much of your competition.
Written by Matt Howard – Yacht Broker