So you want to sell your boat in the best possible way? I explain how you can handle the transaction professionally and successfully.
In your search for a buyer for your boat, there are a number of processes that need to run effectively so that the matter stays on track and in the end both parties can shake hands with satisfaction. At the top is the perfect presentation, because buyers find it difficult to get excited about goods that are not offered in a temptingly clean and tidy condition. Second, the price has to be right, not too high but also not below the value and thirdly, your boat also wants to be well advertised in order to appeal not only to as many buyers as possible, but above all to the right groups of buyers.
If this first phase was successful, interested parties will contact you with the expectation that you are prepared to answer your questions or that you can explain the boat and demonstrate it on a test drive. This is followed by price negotiation and handling of the paperwork.
- How do I want to sell?
Private Selling This option has gained popularity in recent years, not least because of the Internet, but there are pros and cons.
• More money in your own pocket (no commissions or fees)
• Direct negotiation with less involved people
• You are in control
• Nobody knows your boat as well as you do
• The procedure can be very time consuming
• You need to educate yourself about the market yourself
• You have to carry out a test drive, expert opinion and document traffic
• You need to find out about test drives and reports
But if you want to get the help of third parties in selling your boat, see how the process works with dealers or brokers.
- Prepare to sell
Refurbishing the boat after you have decided to sell is an important first step in making the project a success. “”Quirks” to which you have become accustomed over the years would put off interested parties, which is why we give you a few useful tips on how to make your boat as attractive as possible for interested parties.
Eliminate mechanical problems
Even tinkerers can be put off by defective mechanics. If a light (on the trailer or boat) is not working properly, a handrail is loose, or something is jammed or rattling, repair it.
Engine maintenance before sale
You can probably remove most of these annoyances yourself, and a little extra effort will certainly pay off when prospects knock on the door. If you are not a “screwdriver”, let a professional do the job. It costs something, but an engine that purrs convinces most buyers.
Clean up the boat
In the next step, they clear the boat of all unnecessary and unusable objects and everything that should not be included in the sale. This creates space and helps ambiguities e.g. using the supplied accessories. Spare tools, old mooring lines, the bucket of cleaning agents in the trailer box, remove everything that does not belong directly to the boat. In addition: With empty boxes and shelves, every ship simply looks more spacious. Read about other activities that are recommended.
- Set the price
Do your research to find a realistic price. While the price of buying used cars more or less sticks to the Blue Book, prices for used boats can vary greatly depending on how many improvements have been made and how often the boat has been serviced. Be realistic, but also leave room for negotiation. The Schwacke list can help, but the advertisements of comparable boats on de.boats.com or in specialist magazines are better. Do not only determine the year of construction of the offered comparison object, but also take a look at accessories and extras that other sellers include in the price.
- Where should you advertise your boat?
It is well known that only one buyer is required, but that has to be the right one. And in order to find that one should, if possible, reach thousands of readers, both at national, regional and local level, through print, online and traditional methods such as the notice in the marina or winter storage. Do you remember where your boat was advertised before you bought it? This medium or this notice could also promise success again now.
Internet classified ads
boats.com has thousands of boats in its database. With more than 450,000 page views daily by serious prospects, the site is user-friendly, inexpensive and therefore ideal for reaching local and national markets. This is where you design your classified ad.
In addition to the paid advertisements, there are also free advertisements on various other sites. Don’t forget to consider type or class specific pages that are designed to be very target group specific. But before you decide on a site, check the statistics to get an overview of the number and origin of the visitors. Not all websites are equally suitable for your purposes, either because they only offer a limited number of advertisements, only serve one region or only allow one type of boat (such as the pages of various sailing boat classes). General ad portals or auction sites like Craigslist and eBay generate a lot of feedback, but you need to be prepared to filter out the small number of serious prospects from the crowd.
- The matter of the reports
Depending on the size of the boat, the age and the number of on-board systems, it may be worthwhile to obtain an appraisal before you even put the boat on the market. The bigger and older the boat, the more important this step becomes. The insurance company can also ask for a report, especially if your boat has ever been involved in an accident or if major repairs have to be carried out. Insurance reports, however, are less detailed than sales reports. Many potential buyers insist on a professional inspection before submitting an offer. If you have had an inspection carried out before the boat was advertised and the buyer does not accept this, he should bear the costs for further expert work. Otherwise the inspection costs should be included in the price negotiations. Read how and where to find a reviewer and what to expect.
- The test drive
When it comes to a test drive, make sure that everything is thoroughly cleaned – including the underwater hull – because only a clean, tidy boat makes a good first impression. If possible, try to make an appointment when the weather is fine, as far as foreseeable. A water body that is as protected as possible is also advantageous for the test drive, because after all it is about presenting your boat in the best possible shape and that includes the weather conditions. Don’t just hand over your boat for a test drive, stay on board so you can explain all the important details and answer any questions that may arise.
- Come to a conclusion
Serious buyers often make an offer that is well below your asking price. Don’t take this as an insult, this tactic is part of negotiating. Instead, make a polite counter-offer that is closer to your ideas and always keep the minimum price that is still acceptable for you in mind. Once the price is determined, you will need to exchange the necessary documents to complete the transaction. This includes, for example, the purchase contract, the international boat license and, for boats built before 1985, if applicable, proof of the original payment of sales tax or proof of CE certification for boats manufactured after June 15, 1998. The exact list of documents also depends on the country, but in any case you have to cancel your insurance as soon as the boat changes hands.
- Trust is good, control is better
But be careful: there is a lot of fraud in online trading too. Prospective buyers who accept an online offer without negotiating and without having seen the boat could in reality be looking for a fraud. Cash is the first choice when selling. Never give the boat away in return for a down payment or an announcement of a transfer, but only when the total amount has been paid out or has been credited to your account. When doing cash deals, take a second person with you and do not choose secluded and lonely locations for the handover. The busy marina is safer here than the remote freeway parking lot.