This is a comprehensive guide on How to Sell a Boat. Selling a boat can take a matter of days, or it can take a matter of years. The yacht market is rebounding in style after the financial crisis, yet selling a boat can be a long and drawn-out process if you don’t go about it the right way. Even worse, you stand to lose a lot of money if you set your price wrong or don’t present your yacht in a way that will attract buyers.
Here is our guide from Worth Avenue Yachts in the Yachting Capital of the World on how to sell a boat. It’s our business after all. Our brokers have sold over a billion dollars’ worth of yachts, and at nearly three times the average speed of rival brokerages. If you’re thinking about selling your yacht, get in touch. But to get you started, here’s a basic guide to how to sell a boat – with or without a broker – and how the sale should progress.
How to Sell a Boat Guide
1. Find a broker
Yes, we’re yacht brokers so we’d be expected to say that, but by selling your yacht through a broker you are accessing the global power of their marketing department, not to mention their book of elite clients. Brokers are expert negotiators and will be able to fight your corner, as well as use their industry knowledge to advise you on price points and where you might improve the yacht’s chances of selling.
2. Choose A Single Central Broker
It’s up to you, but we’d recommend finding a single central broker rather than going for an open agreement where brokers all have a chance to sell your boat. As mentioned in the Superyacht Owner’s Guide, selecting a sole central broker is considered the best way to get your broker to work hard for you, because it’s their sole responsibility and sole financial incentive. Things may slip if it’s left up to a group of unrelated brokers, and you may find the process disorganized. And don’t worry, if you’ve made the wrong choice of broker, there’s normally a 90 day cancellation clause written into your brokerage contract (which is normally a year.)
3. Who pays for you yacht marketing?
As a general rule, brokers will pay most advertising expenses – and this is where their slick photography and big marketing budgets come into play in selling your boat. Press releases, social media, newsletter campaigns, trade magazine listings – you can expect your yacht to feature heavily across yachting channels. If you’ve elected to go for a particularly big yacht marketing campaign, you may foot some of the marketing bill – this will be deducted from the final sale amount.
4. Know the process.
Whether you get a broker or not, the selling process will go like this: Interested buyer pays 10% deposit to a holding account to take your yacht off the market while sea trials and negotiations take place. If the potential buyer takes the yacht out on a sea trial or doesn’t like the results of the survey, the sale process ends there and the 10% is refunded. If the buyer is still interested, a memorandum of sale is drawn up (by the broker if you have one) and the final price negotiations take place. If the negotiations fall through or take too long, the sale is cancelled, but you and the broker divide the 10% deposit to compensate for the broker’s time and the inconvenience of you having had your boat off the market.
5. Make your yacht easy to view.
To sell a boat fast, it helps to not have a lot of remote cruising planned for that cruising season, so that people can view it easily. For this reason, selling a boat in the off-season or shoulder season in a major yachting area can be a wise option. Fall in Florida is a great time to be selling a yacht as Americans start thinking of sunshine and palm trees as the mercury drops.
6. Be prepared to wait.
Yachts can sit unsold for quite some time, so don’t wait until you absolutely have to get rid of it to put it on the market. The nice thing about it is that you can continue to use the yacht while it’s for sale- although it’s worth keeping in mind the point above about keeping it somewhere where it can be viewed easily.
7. Give Your Boat A Makover
While it can be painful to spend money on something you’re about to sell, the perceived value of your yacht will rise if you give it a makeover. Perception is everything- and old linens, carpets and furnishings make the yacht look drab and feel unwelcoming. If your yacht is old, the value will shoot up with the words ‘recent refit’. If you don’t want to spend much cash, make it look nice with little cosmetic touches such as flowers, de-clutter it of your own belongings and make sure it doesn’t have any mustiness or grime. If your yacht isn’t crewed at present, hire dayworkers to come in regularly to keep it sparkling. Just like in the real estate world, ‘dressing a yacht’ can have a huge impact on how potential buyers perceive it.
8. Ask Your Broker If They Can Create A Website For Your Boat
For a very small outlay you could start your own yacht website, uploading videos, pictures and blogs of good times you’ve had aboard, as well as all the great features. This could be really effective at the smaller end of the yacht market when you’re trying to impress a family or first time yacht buyer who wants to understand the experience of owning a yacht rather than just the features of it.
9. Consider appearing at a yacht show.
Here in Florida, we’re very lucky to have the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, Palm Beach Boat Show and Miami Boat shows right on our doorstep. These shows get a lot of people viewing your yacht and talking about your yacht, as well as press mentions. Even if it doesn’t sell at the time, your boat gets on the radar of other brokers and buyers.
At Worth Avenue Yachts we have a wealth of experience helping people sell their boats, and we exhibit at all the main yacht shows worldwide every year so send us a boat sales inquiry to tell us about the boat you would like to sell. Here are all the yachts for sale currently listed with Worth Avenue Yachts.