In regards to money, Warren Buffet once said, “Rule No. 1. Never lose money. Rule No 2. Never forget rule No. 1.” Among most business in life, this rule provides some good guidance when selling your boat. Selling can be a frustrating experience and often, to expedite the process, people are often willing to sell an item for less than its true value. Even governments have fallen folly to the practice of an impromptu sale. In 1867 Russia sold Alaska to the US for approximately $.02 per acre. And in 1803 the US made the Louisiana Purchase (which added 13 states to our country) for roughly $.03 per acre from France.
With a little planning, patience, and research you can get the most out of your boat. The following tips are some simple steps to guide your through the selling process.
This sounds obvious, but over the years I’ve seen many a boat for sale that looked like a floating trash dump. There may have been a viable boat underneath all the fishing gear, tools, and general clutter, but it would have work to find it, and as a buyer, who wants to work. We want something that catches our attention. And a spotless boat not only is easier on the eye, it implies the owner cared enough to maintain the boat. If you’re not into cleaning and detailing, then hire a company.
Chances are that you already have a pretty good idea of the condition of your boat, but now is the time to take a close look at all the systems on board (cosmetic and mechanical) from the eyes of a buyer. Do a thorough walk-through of your boat, as if you were going to purchase this boat, and make note of all the items that jump out at you that could use a little attention.
Once you have your list, decide which items are quick fixes and which need a professional. Dangling fixtures, burnt out light bulbs, and dull hand rails are great places for owners to increase the wow value of their boat without spending cash. Designate a day to spend fixing the little things. Large items may be better off left for negotiation during the sale.
Pricing your boat correctly is key to how quickly the buyers come in. If you price too high your boat may sit on the market unnoticed for a long time. During this time your boat may devalue more. It’s amazing what can break on an unused boat. Be careful to calculate in the cost of storage, depreciation, and maintenance when pricing your boat.
NADA is a great place to start when determining the fair market price of your boat. Another great way to get market information is to search for you boat on other boat sites and find out what the competition is. If your boat is worth more than a small house, hiring an appraiser may be a good option. Professionals can help you get your boat priced correctly without the guess work.
Buyers want to see photos. With so much competition out there, most buyers will spend hours looking at photos of boats online before they pick up a phone to contact a seller. Boats with photos have a much better chance of getting that call. Before placing your ad, have your photos ready. This will be a crucial step in any listing, and it’s easier to create your listing when your photos are ready to go.
Pick a day with good light. Remember, photos turn out best when the lighting is coming from behind the photographer or directly overhead. Takes photos from every angle – up-close, and far away. When you get back to your computer, you can decide which photos are best.
While you’re taking photos of your boat, you should also take notes on all of the equipment and options that your boat has. You will need this when creating your listing.
There are many sites that offer free boat listings. Find one that allows tons of photos and details about your boat. Write a good description of your boat, and create a listing that will give buyers a complete picture of their next boat. Remember that specs are very important to some buyers (engine size, draft, speed, fuel consumption.. ) so have these numbers ready for your listing.