Selling a Boat

Top ten tips when selling a boat

It is vitally important that in today’s market that your yacht or motorboat is well presented and has all of the appropriate documentation. It also needs to be easily accessible if you wish to achieve a quick sale. The following is a list of the top ten things to consider when selling a boat.

1. Leave it tidy

A neat, clean and tidy boat will always sell quicker and for more money than a tatty sistership. The impression that a purchaser gets in the first five minutes on board usually decides if he or she is going to make an offer. Therefore, when selling a boat, make sure that you either remove your personal belongings or place them in cupboards. There is nothing like a full forepeak or quarter berth to quench any impression of space below.

2. Make it look clean

Make sure that as well as cleaning the exterior of the boat that the interior is clean particularly the fridge and cooker. There is little worse than a prospective buyer finding the remains of last week’s supper in the fridge or thick grease in the oven.

3. Make it smell good

Make sure that when cleaning the interior of the vessel that you also clean the bilges and the engine bay. Bad smells are very off-putting, particularly for someone buying a boat for the first time. The good news is they can usually be cured easily and cheaply! Smelly toilets are usually the result of bacteria in the water inlet pipe, so consider changing this for a new anti-bacterial one. Stale bilge water, oil and diesel leaks are often easily solved but put many buyers off. Damp, musty upholstery can be dried, cleaned and freshened up with fabric cleaner. Even an air freshener can go a long way to helping!

4. Maximise your advertising

There are many different locations to advertise your boat, from the local post office window, local newspapers, yacht clubs, yachting magazines, numerous paid and free web sites or through a professional broker. The cost of advertising varies depending upon the size of your advert and the number of words. Advertising through a professional broker will mean that your boat will normally be seen in the yachting press and through their membership of different agencies on numerous websites both in the UK and abroad. Remember advertising your boat for sale with a broker normally costs nothing until it is sold, when you pay them a commission on the final selling price.

5. Get the sale price right

We all think that our pride and joy is worth more than what it actually is. One key to selling a boat is to make sure that it is priced correctly. An overpriced boat will sit on the market for a long time costing you money to store. If you seriously want to sell a boat make sure that the price is right. A good broker will be able to give you advice on not only what price to advertise your boat at but will be able to tell you what has sold and at what price recently.

6. Check you have proof of ownership

Any buyer will want to make sure that you are the legal owner of the vessel and have the authority to sell the boat. Therefore, before you advertise your boat for sale make sure that you have all of the appropriate title documents available to prove ownership. If they are not available, it can not only hold up completion of the sale but in some cases can cause the sale not to complete. A good broker will always provide advice and guidance on what documentation is required.

7. Know the VAT status of your boat

It is important that you know and have proof of the VAT status of your boat. We are seeing an increasing number of buyers coming from Europe to buy boats based in the UK. When they return to their home country they will be required to prove the VAT status of the vessel if it was built post 1985. The best way to show this is to have the original VAT paid invoice. If you aren’t sure ask a professional broker who will be able to give advice on the documentation required. Remember if you cannot confirm the VAT status of your vessel, it can not only hold up completion of the sale but in some cases can cause the sale not to complete.

8. Engine and servicing

Make sure that your engine has recently been serviced and is visually clean. Keep a copy of service history, records or copies of relevant invoices on board for prospective buyers to see. Knowing a boat has been well maintained, and in particular the engine, will give prospective buyers confidence to offer.

9. Hull presentation

If you have brought your boat ashore to sell we recommend you invest time and/or money cleaning it! Polishing the topsides and anti-fouling the hull can make a huge difference to first impressions. Boats covered in weed, barnacles and flaky antifoul are very off putting to buyers because they look unloved. If your boat is presented clean and ready to sail away this will make her stand out against other less presented rivals. This usually encourages prospective buyers to make an increased offer knowing that they can get on the water sooner.

10. Accepting offers

Remember that prospective buyers will usually expect to make an offer less than the asking price. Some buyers will start with a very low offer hoping to grab a bargain. Others will make a more realistic offer but will be unwilling to negotiate much, or at all. It is important to think before you market your boat what you really want to achieve from selling your boat. A professional broker will always help in the negations and give advice on what he feels the buyer can afford. In the current market it is worth giving every offer serious consideration.