How to Sell Your Boat

by Captain Bill Rountree

There has been a lot of good advice written about buying and selling boats but after personally buying over 20 boats and being involved in the purchase and sale of many more through my website and other sources, there are some pointers that I would like to share about selling boats that I haven't seen in other articles.

  1. Attempt to sell your boat yourself. If your boat is a smaller boat, this is clearly your best option and the decision is easy. If your boat is a larger, more expensive boat you should still attempt to sell your boat yourself first. Brokers can certainly take some of the hassles out of selling your boat but they can be very expensive (many charge a 10% commission). If you have an expensive or somewhat unique boat you may want to consider having a pay per click ad link back to an ad for your boat.  This has worked well for many people and although you may spend several hundred dollars in pay per click costs you can save thousands (or tens of thousands) in commission and get a lot of exposure for your boat.
  2. Advertise in many locations. List your boat in several online ad sites, in printed media - even with a flyer on the board at your marina or yacht club. The more you advertise the better. When you choose the online site to list your boat with make sure you choose a site that is owned by a reputable company by reading their 'Why choose us?' or 'About Us' page. Also choose a company that has thousands of ads and therefore the online presence with Google, Yahoo and others to make sure your boat gets viewed. Smaller or new websites just dont get the number of visitors that more established sites do.
  3. Make sure your boat is ready to show. Keep your boat clean and orderly with everything in good working condition. As with most things first impressions are very important. If a boat is dirty on the outside or smells moldy inside it will be a tough sale.
  4. Be honest to potential buyers. If your boat needs some work or just TLC, advertise it that way. If you advertise your boat as excellent condition whereas in reality it needs work, many potential buyers will immediately not consider your boat because they are disappointed and you wasted their time. But if you are honest with them and let them know it needs work they will approach it with an open mind.
  5. Seriously consider your first offer. Many times when you put a boat up for sale there is someone that has been looking for a boat just like yours. They see it, make an offer that may be less than what you wanted - so you turn it down because it is so early in the process that you think another offer will come along soon. But then it doesn't and you regret turning down that first offer. Try to get the offer price up closer to what you were asking - and think hard before turning it down.

In closing I would like to add that if you do decide to sell your boat keep enjoying it while it is for sale. You bought it for a reason, so make time to enjoy it - plus things deteriorate when not being used so it will keep the boat and its equipment running smoothly while awaiting that buyer.

 

 

About the author: Bill Rountree is a lifelong boater, holds his US Coast Guard Masters license and a US Sailing instructor certification. He has owned motor yachts, sailing yachts, racing sailboats, rowing shells, kayaks, windsurfers and on and on. He spent two years living aboard and cruising on a forty foot sailboat and has over 10,000 blue water miles.