Three Ideas to Help You Sell Your Boat

We often hear the old saying “you have to spend money, to make money.” And when it comes to selling your boat this can be true. All to often we see a boat ad that is filled with language like: “ran great last season”, “needs a little TLC”, “all it needs .. fill in the blank”. These are negative selling descriptions. A buyer wants to be confident, not full of doubt about buying your boat. Here are three things to think about when it comes to selling your boat; operation, safety and appearance. Let’s dive into what I mean.

Operation basically means your boat operates mechanically and functionally 100%. If your boat does not operate as it should, then you have a major hurdle to pass with a potential buyer. Ethically speaking, it is really important to be transparent when it comes to the mechanics of your boat. Unless you truly can’t afford to have the boat repaired to full operation, then the next best thing is full disclosure. But, in order to get the maximum value, we always advise getting anything fixed so your boat runs perfectly, as it should. When you get the boat serviced, this is a great opportunity to have it inspected, and add any other repairs that should be done. The money you spend on this you will recoup two or three times over when you sell it. Keep the documentation of the repairs, the mechanics reports and the buyer will have way more confidence in the boat.

Safety, this is a multifaceted one. Primarily what we mean is, not only is your boat running 100%, the boat is operational in a safe manner. I remember seeing a boat for sale that “ran perfect” but it had a 25” outboard mounted on a 20” transom with a transom plate lifting the outboard way up to compensate. This creates a potentially dangerous situation, poor handling, stress on the transom and bad rigging overall. Safety could also mean you have an up to date functional bilge, engine management warning systems, newer battery, the proper propeller and a host of other things.

Don’t forget your trailer. The next time your boat is off the trailer, take a close look at the bearings, axle(s), winch and bunks. Even freshwater trailers can corrode, and all moving parts on a trailer will wear out over time. If you’re unsure, find a trailer repair specialist to look at it, this is a critical piece. Trailers are very expensive and a well maintained trailer is a big part of the sale. Spending some money on a good trailer, even if it is a little older is well worth it. Even replacing the bunks and repainting is more often than not worth it compared to replacing one.

Additionally, peripheral safety equipment like life jackets, paddles, flares and horns are great things to include with the boat but only if they are in great condition and working order. All to often we see older boats for sale that “include” life jackets, paddles, bumpers, skis and ropes but it is quite evident the dated equipment is just garbage and actually a burden to sell. The key here is, only include what is necessary, works as it should and actually adds value to the buyer. We can guarantee those 1987 wooden slalom skis and moldy life vest are not a huge selling point.

Appearance is a big one. There is no question that a boat that looks mint is going to be easier to sell. Almost any used boat is going to have a few marks or rubs, and maybe a little fading but overall, the appearance of your boat can say a lot about its maintenance. Taking an afternoon to give your boat a thorough cleaning, polish and detail can make the boat infinitely more attractive to a buyer. Even paying a professional to fully detail the boat can rejuvenate the gelcoat or paint, and bring back the color and gloss to make the boat look significantly better. Are the decals worn, ripped or faded? Consider removing them or replacing them. Are there any plastic pieces that are broken? Make sure anything fastened is secure and the hardware is solid. Give your boat a good detail actually allows you to really inspect it at the same time.

In the end there are lots of used boats out there. If you want to sell yours follow this advice if you can. Sales is often about removing objections, if your boat operates perfectly, is fully up to date on maintenance and looks better than the next boat, you will have an easy sale. A good rule of thumb is if you addressed all of this and your boat isn’t selling, you have priced it too high. That’s where our auction comes in. Good luck.