This is the first thing buyers will notice, as price and size are the most common parameters used to search for boats. Because of the Internet, buyers are very educated and have most likely done their research on price and know what a fair target is. Overpricing your boat not only makes a bad first impression to potential buyers – it actually costs more in the end when you add up the months of holding costs such as your mortgage, storage fees, and insurance. It’s much better to price it right and turn down offers than to have it sit with no interest. Also, it’s important to be realistic about the value of the upgrades you’ve done to your boat. Overvaluing these sunk costs – costs that have already been incurred and cannot be recovered – is the most critical mistake sellers make when putting a value on their boat.
You know the saying that you never get a second chance to make a first impression? The first impression your boat leaves on potential buyers is SO important! A clean boat that’s tidy and well organized gives potential buyers a positive message that says “this boat was loved and well cared for”. Subliminally, it leaves them with the impression that the things they CAN’T see are just as well kept. On the other hand, a boat that is dirty and cluttered with unfinished projects gives the impression that no one cares about it anymore. A neglected boat plants a seed of doubt that often results in a low offer (doubt = dollars!) or worse, no offer at all! Pay attention to all aspects of the boat – the hull, deck, interior and even storage and mechanical spaces, as buyers will look everywhere and judge your boat on what they see!
You hear it all the time in real estate – location, location, location! You may not think it’s as important when selling your boat, but it IS! Location plays a big role in how much traffic you’ll get and can make a big difference in how quickly your boat sells. A clean boat that’s priced right but kept in a remote location or is difficult to access will receive much less attention than the one that’s right in the action. Many times buyers are traveling from out of town to a boat buying destination (such as Annapolis) to see several boats in one day. If yours is too far off the beaten path, the chances someone is going to see it – either planned or by chance – are much lower.
We are often asked if storing the boat in or out of the water is better when selling. Both have their pros and cons – a boat in water may be a bit easier to board, but it doesn’t give buyers a chance to see the underside of the boat during their inspection. The question we ask is – Will you be using the boat, or at least checking on it regularly? If so, leaving it in the water is just fine. However, if you’re moving it to a location where you won’t be able to get to it frequently, the best and often safest option is to have it hauled, preferably to a spot where your broker can check on it and act as stewards in your absence.