How to Get Your Boat Ready to Sell

Posted by Mark Edwards
Mark Edwards

It’s safe to say I have seen many poorly-staged boats in the brokerage market since starting my yacht sales career in 1996. Our responsibility as listing agents representing a seller, is to advise on best practices and work to get the best offer possible. Below are a few critical areas where sellers can help themselves.

A Little Effort Upfront Rewards a Higher Offer

Clean the Boat! It seems obvious, but a boat that is dirty or has obnoxious odors is a turn off and will make a potential buyer question the condition of everything else in the boat. No matter how well maintained, poor cleaning and excess clutter can kill a deal.

Make sure there are none of the following:

  • No diesel in the bilges
  • No mildew on the wood or cushions
  • No leaves, dirty fenders and dock lines in the cockpit
  • No food in the cabinets
  • No messy toilets
  • No noxious head and engine odors

Put Your Personal Items Away

Better yet, take it home if you intend to keep it for your next boat. Don’t leave personal family photos and your swimsuit on board. The buyer needs to be able to see their family in your boat, and that is more difficult if your personal stuff is present. It is not the broker’s job – it is your job to make the boat sale ready.

A Little Money Upfront Rewards a Higher Offer

It is often advisable to pay for a survey before you list a boat. Having a clean survey in hand gives the buyer a lot of confidence and you and your broker are not surprised at the buyer’s survey by issues that could have been addressed ahead of time. Other ideas where spending money upfront can put your boat on top over an identical sister ship :

  • Paint the bottom 
  • Clean the prop and install fresh zincs 
  • Wax the hull 
  • Polish the stainless on the deck
  • Varnish or oil the exterior teak

Essentially, prep the boat for Spring launching, even if it is early Fall.

Leave All Essential Gear Onboard

Many boat owners take cushions, electronics and other boat gear home for the Winter to store in a warm dry place. This is laudable for owners, but if you want to sell your boat leave the cushions and electronics onboard and in place. The cushions may be set up on edge for ventilation, but at least the broker can board the boat early and put them in position for a positive first viewing for the buyer. For really bulky stuff such as sails, exterior canvas, a dinghy or other gear, it is much better to find a place for those to be stored off the boat but accessible to the broker and buyer for inspection.

Think of selling a house when thinking of selling your boat. You would not leave the grass uncut in the front yard and unmade beds in the bedrooms and risk poor curb appeal. So don’t’ treat your boat that way either! Treat and prep your boat well and your broker will be more enthusiastic and able to receive a higher offer in less time. The end result will be best for all involved.

If you are thinking of selling your boat, let us help!

Contact Us Today to List Your Boat

Topics: Selling Your Boat, How to sell your boat, get your boat ready to sell

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