Selling a boat is not as easy as buying one. When you purchased your boat you spent a lot of time looking for just the right one at a fair price that you could afford. You found the right boat, fell in love and made an offer. Remember how excited you were. That’s the feeling you need to generate in a potential buyer. Here’s some tips on how to sell your boat quickly.

1.     Price to sell

If a boat is priced to meet the market it will sell quickly. Do some research: look at the same model or similar vessels and compare the condition and inclusions.  Be realistic. If your price is too high your boat may take many months to sell and in that time you will still be paying for maintenance, berths, mooring or storage. Always leave some room for bargaining.

2.     Clean and de-clutter

Many people decide to sell their boat because they are no longer using it. This usually means it is in a sorry state. Take the time to give it a good clean, air it out and get rid of all of your junk. You’ll have to remove it eventually so do it now and increase your chances of a speedy sale. Leave only the gear that will go with the boat eg safety equipment. No, they don’t want your old bedding and tea stained mugs. Consider using a professional detailer to bring your boat up to scratch.

3.     Advertising

Get the word out there! Consider advertising in both print and online. Print magazines have a long life. Online advertising is easily searchable. Put a sign on the boat.

A picture is worth a thousand words. You will attract many more potential buyers with a good photo. Take the time to do it right. Take it from the side, not in shadow and with a clear view. Most modern phones will take good quality photos.

4.     Boat Brokers and Dealers

Consider using a reputable Boat Broker or sell through a dealer. Most marinas have a brokerage office. A good professional broker will take the stress out of selling. The broker will list, advertise and show the boat. They are on the spot when buyers are looking. They know the market and will give you a realistic idea of the value of your boat.

5.     Inspections and Sea Trials

Make sure you are available for showing the boat. Check your boat before the buyer arrives. Make sure it starts and warm it up. A flat battery is not a good look. Don’t let them drive if they are unlicenced. Keep the number of people on board for the trial to a minimum.

6.     Surveys

If the boat is kept in the water a sensible buyer will want a survey done. At this stage you will have reached an agreed price with the buyer. A survey is a real commitment on the part of the buyer as they pay for the cost of the surveyor and the slipping.

The final price and sale will be subject to a satisfactory survey. Small defects and maintenance issues should not affect the agreed upon sale price. However, if major defects are found the buyer will either back out or want to re-negotiate with a lower price reflecting the cost to make good the defects.

7.     Closing the sale

Once you have agreed on a sale price and a deposit (usually 10%) you will need a Bill of Sale. Prepare one earlier to prevent errors. Look online for an example. The Bill of Sale should include the following details:

  • Date
  • Sellers and buyers names and addresses, phone and email
  • Clear details identifying the vessel – rego, HIN, engine number, make, model, year, colour
  • Stating sold “as is, where is’ if applicable
  • A statement from the seller that they are the legal owner and the vessel is sold free and clear
  • Amount of deposit paid and amount owing
  • Signatures of buyer and seller

8.     Paperwork

Make sure you have your Registration Papers, HIN details (Hull Identification Number) and Gas Compliance Certificate (usually only required for larger vessels with a galley).

9.     Beware of Scammers

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Beware of anyone who avoids talking to you over the phone or doesn’t want an inspection; sends an email with links to follow (phishing); asks you to help with any third party payments; or makes an offer (usually more than the asking price) sight unseen. They usually have a reason for buying ‘sight unseen’ such as they are a remote area worker or on an oil rig.

As a seller, do not give out any personal information without obtaining (and verifying) the buyer’s details first. Most importantly, don’t hand over the keys until the buyer has paid in full – and the money is in your account.

10.  Be Polite and Friendly

Don’t act like a tough negotiator. You can reach a good deal that both parties are happy with while still being friendly. Boats are mostly a fun family recreational item. The potential buyers are usually in a good mood and excited about buying a boat. Build trust, keep them happy and they will buy your boat.