Tips And Advice On Selling Your Used Boat
Are you really interested in selling your boat, or just listing it? Often boat owners are not financially or emotionally ready to part with their boat and therefore try to set a price based on either financial need or on a ‘gut feel’ of what their vessel is worth. An over-priced listing will not be attractive to buyers and will only sit on the market for an extended period of time.
- The 10% Rule. Our yacht brokers use many tools, not always available to the public, to determine the value of your vessel. An example would be current sold boat data. Once an average selling price is determined, the asking price should remain within 10% of either side of this price. For example, if the average price for a boat is $100,000, the asking price ‘range’ generally should be $90,000 to $110,000, depending on the condition of the boat. The value of a boat should not be determined by the asking price of similar boats on the market, but rather by an assessed market value based on sold boat data.
- 'My boat is the best boat on the planet!' OK, this may sound like a slight exaggeration, but as yacht brokers, we’ve heard this before. It is delightful to see pride of ownership amongst boat owners, but the reality is there are other well maintained/equipped vessels on the market. Our yacht brokers are in the best position to determine how the condition of your boat will affect her marketability.
- Upgrades. Unfortunately, replacing worn out items such as carpet, canvas, and upholstery, will not necessarily increase the value of a boat. These types of upgrades help maintain a boats value. Upgrades such new electronics or a bow thruster, may add to the saleability of your boat, but will not increase the value of the boat by what they cost to install. As a general rule of thumb, upgrades such as these may positively affect the value of the boat by about 20% of what the cost of the upgrade was. The value of the upgrade also depreciates quickly and significantly over time.
- Over-pricing only delays the inevitable. Many owners price their boats above fair market value. Our experience shows that nearly all over-priced vessels will eventually require a price reduction at some stage in order to find a buyer. How the vessel is initially priced has a major effect on the length of time the boat will remain on the market.
- It may cost you MORE if you list your vessel at a price too high! Vessels that are priced too high generally stay on the market longer resulting in additional costs for things like dockage, storage, insurance and maintenance. And, of course, depreciating value has to be taken into account as well.
- De-clutter and clean your boat. Just as you would if you were selling your home, make the best effort to clean and de-clutter your boat to make it attractive for potential buyers. If the carpets and upholstery are worn, it may be worth investing in replacing these items. Again, it will not make your boat worth more than fair market value, but the improvements can potentially place the value in a higher part of the ‘selling range’.
- Fix any mechanical problems. A generator that won’t start, or lights that don’t work can be perceived as major issues to a potential buyer and indicative of the overall condition of the vessel. These defects are likely to come up in a pre-purchase survey. If you address these issues prior to putting it on the market, a purchaser would likely have no reason to seek a price reduction from you. Investing in your own marine survey could reveal any underlying issues. By being pro-active and obtaining a Marine Survey, (conducted by a qualified Marine Surveyor), you may avoid any unpleasant surprises at the time of sale. A survey may also provide yet another market valuation for your boat. However, keep in mind these figures are generally on the high side for insurance purposes.
- Consider the competition! With the changing economic times both here and in the U.S., we have seen major fluctuations in exchange rates. The stronger Canadian dollar has not helped sales locally – in fact it has been the opposite. We have seen a significant increase in the number of Canadian boat buyers heading south of the border looking for the ultimate ‘deal’. While we continue to educate our clients that there are many good boats right in their own back yard, we have to look farther afield to make sure local prices are in line with the market in general.
- And finally, please listen to the advice of your broker! If you have taken the initiative to list your boat for sale, it is in everyone’s interest to get the boat sold as quickly as possible. Collectively, the Yacht Brokers at North South Nautical Group have many years of experience in selling boats. It is to your advantage to tap into this knowledge and let our brokers assist you to make the experience of selling your vessel a definite ‘win/win’ scenario.