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Old 04-01-2019, 12:13   #1
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Free Advice from an actively-looking buyer

As an actively-looking buyer who has looked at hundreds of pictures of boat interiors - engine rooms and living spaces, I'd like to offer a little free advice to prospective sellers about considering your view point.

You shouldn't be trying to sell YOUR boat to me, you should be making it easy for me to see it already as MY boat. YOUR gear spread all over MY (potential) boat makes it impossible for me to envision it being mine.

I'm currently selecting a few potential boats to visit within a few hundred mile travel area and the ones with the best photo presentation go to the top of the list. I'm not saying professionally photographed, but rather smartly presented.

I know how anxious an owner can become to let the world know his/her boat is for sale once you make the decision to sell it - this will be our fourth boat. But please hold off listing it long enough to "stage it" (just like the real estate shows on TV will do) so a potential buyer will see it with his/her gear on it and not distracted with your family pictures, travel souvenirs, and closets full of clothes.

It may take an extra day or so to prep your boat for pictures but when they may stay on the web for months until sold, it's probably worth it to make your best first impression.


(And, yes, free advice is usually worth exactly what you paid for it.)
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Old 04-01-2019, 12:30   #2
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Re: Free Advice from an actively-looking buyer

Sound like good advice. Guess I got my money‘s worth.
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Old 04-01-2019, 12:44   #3
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Re: Free Advice from an actively-looking buyer

Just to offer a different perspective;-)
My wife and i have flipped a few houses. The worst thing for us was all those TV shows teaching people how to stage.
Seeing a house(or boat) how it actually looks day to day tells me more about its condition.
I can see through clutter, and visualize potential. But I have also had a lot of experience doing it.
The really good houses (and boats) that are not staged also tend to sit on the market longer, allowing me time to see them.
I guess what I'm saying is non staged allows the possibility of finding a diamond in the rough. If they are all staged you are trying to eliminate the pigs with lipstick.
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Old 04-01-2019, 13:04   #4
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Re: Free Advice from an actively-looking buyer

And an experienced boat buyer may be able to do the same as you can with houses.

My point is the diligence you take to prepare it for sale probably isn't a one-time thing: you're probably diligent in other things, too, like regular oil changes, checking fittings, tightening screws and bolts, etc.


Also, to your valid 'pig with lipstick' point, an experienced boater would be able to look past the ad hoc staging and notice whether there were sea water stains from leaking thru-hulls, rust around bolts and hose fittings, oil runs on the engines or in the bilge. The kind of telling indicators that say the careful presentation of the staging is a one-time thing and not a habit.
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Old 05-01-2019, 07:38   #5
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Re: Free Advice from an actively-looking buyer

If you want a laugh, have a look at the CF thread "worst boat pic ever" which was started by a potential buyer who shares your frustration (as do I).

Often I find myself giving my head a shake while thinking, "they want to interest me in buying this boat for thousands of dollars and they're providing this one (lousy) picture"?

I learned the hard way last summer when combining a boat viewing with a summer camping trip to Delaware (boat was in a marina in Baltimore). The three pics provided were (1) distant shot of boat sailing (2) saloon interior, starboard side and (3) pic of brand-new Yanmar.

I confess the new Yanmar threw me off somewhat, as I thought no one would install, nor expend that amout of dosh on a putting in a brand new *Yanmar* in a boat that wasn't worth it.... The short of it was - boy was I wrong!

Bilges were a mess, head needed replacing and serious mold/mildew problem, which (on cursory inspection, there was a leak in cabintop) no stove, fridge or electrics to speak of, as owner had been using her for day sails in Baltimore Harbour only; worst of all, auto bilge pump connected to shore power clicked on while we were sitting at the dock before sailing and also again immediately after re-plugging into shore power after a one-hour sail (where lots of other probs were revealed) - so the boat was basically sinking at the dock and the owner too green to know it.

<Sigh>

Anyway! Difficult learning experience, but valuable as it now informs me always to ask what pictures are absent and what does that possibly convey about the state of the boat?

Good luck finding your boat, Bensdad,
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Old 05-01-2019, 08:08   #6
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Re: Free Advice from an actively-looking buyer

This is great advice. Last year we flew all over the us to look at 45+ boats. Can you guess which made us get in a plane? Those that fit our requirements and we’re best represented in pictures. The current reality is that pictures and video more than ever, sell boats.

We live in a digital world. People that can’t take the care to market what they are selling properly will be left behind.
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Old 05-01-2019, 08:35   #7
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Re: Free Advice from an actively-looking buyer

to add my advise
  • make a ton of photos, every surface, everywhere
  • make a video of the boat, engine cold start, ...
  • list the age&condition of every important/valueable item in a document
  • take all these and upload them to dropbox, google drive, ... and send links to every interested party
  • ask a realistic price
This worked out pretty well for me as a seller, no interested party was disappointed by looking at something they didn't expect. The boat was sold in four weeks for almost the same price I bought it for two years prior.


As a buyer I also like to know upfront with what I'm dealing with, if there's plenty of "surprises", I tend to either walk away completely or make low-ball offers with plenty of room for further surprises.



Just don't waste your time or the time of the potential buyer.
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Old 05-01-2019, 08:57   #8
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Re: Free Advice from an actively-looking buyer

Been looking at a few also and have to say that it amazes me how many are advertised with trash (frequently literally) all over the cabin and mold on the walls. What a turn off and indicator of how the last owner treated his things. Just simply clean it.

LOL
https://www.mondovacilando.com/how-n...ell-your-boat/
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Old 05-01-2019, 09:17   #9
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Re: Free Advice from an actively-looking buyer

I've seen a few boats belonging to liveaboards who passed suddenly or after an illness that kept them away from the boat, leaving relatives or the club/marina having to unload the boat.


Often these are good boats that no-one had the time or interest to give them a good cleaning, and they went for a song. I missed out on one such boat by a few hours. Another guy snapped it up and flipped it, making a few grand from an afternoon of cleaning, basically.
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Old 05-01-2019, 11:03   #10
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Re: Free Advice from an actively-looking buyer

You see it as a negative and I see it as a positive for me, the buyer. Boat I just bought a year ago was filled with scattered owners junk. Pictures didn't look good, broker was horrible and the boat showed really badly and for those reasons sat and sat and sat. I'd seen sister ships in pristine condition so my focus was on the structural issues. End result, I bought a boat for 1/2 the asking price in part because nobody had even asked about it for so long.
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Old 05-01-2019, 11:07   #11
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Re: Free Advice from an actively-looking buyer

I too, have been "kicking tires" and the ads that get the most attention are those that provide a great description of the vessel, good photos of all the interior and exterior, and a list and condition of all sails, possible damage and/or repairs, and of course equipment. Sometimes, too much information is better than not enough.
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Old 05-01-2019, 13:33   #12
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Re: Free Advice from an actively-looking buyer

I too have been looking, a few things strike me. Pictures of BBQ and other non essential things and no pictures of the expensive important items. I see that frequently. Sellers please show the things that really matter. Oh when we sell the current boat should we picture the BBQ.
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Old 06-01-2019, 07:15   #13
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Re: Free Advice from an actively-looking buyer

I'm with Joe. What the seller chooses to photograph means a lot.

Pictures of their bric-a-brac, a well-made berth, or the lounge chairs on the sun deck are fine, but when there's only one, dim, blurry shot of the engine room, I know this owner had no interest in maintaining the mechanical systems.
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Old 06-01-2019, 09:31   #14
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Re: Free Advice from an actively-looking buyer

This is certainly an interesting discussion from buyers point of view. I am both a seller and buyer and would be curious to hear some feedback from folks about how I have positioned "Sequitur", my 38' sloop, a LeComte NE 38 built in Holland in 1968 which I am offering for sale at $ 39,500. She is located in Bristol, Rhode Island.

I generally agree that it is often astounding to see some of the low quality and debris filled photos people have posted on their "boat-for-sale" documents and hard to understand how anyone might think this would be appealing to potential buyers. However, from a buyer's perspective, one might find a great deal from a seller that has neither the time or inclination to market the boat properly, especially in the case of an estate sale and especially if the boat has a good pedigree.

In any case, this thread has been a good read for me so I am motivated to join in. With regard to Sequitur, I have owned her for 20 years, taken good care of her and sailed her all over the US New England coast from Sag Harbor, NY to Maine with great enjoyment and success. She has been a great boat - seaworthy, comfortable and beautiful.

My reason for selling now is to move onto a larger boat in the 44 - 46 foot range and I would be happy to send anyone of you actively looking buyers that might be interested in such a boat - a 10 page brochure I have set up. Even if this boat is not of particular interest to you, perhaps you could comment on the structure and content of the brochure. If anyone turns out to have interest, I have also taken the initiative to commission a survey to establish an impartial evaluation of the overall condition of the boat as she is 50 years old. This made sense to me and was also a recommendation of my broker.

See attached a few select photos. If there is interest in the boat, or interest in commenting on the brochure and marketing strategy, please do not hesitate to send me a direct email with your email address so I can send you the brochure and other supplemental photos.

Thanks, best wishes, and good luck to all of you actively looking buyers!!!
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Old 06-01-2019, 09:58   #15
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Re: Free Advice from an actively-looking buyer

Wow! I never thought my spontaneous writing after looking at a junky collection of pix of a boat I THOUGHT I would be interested in would develop so far. Glad to know I'm not alone.

If there's any truth in the line "every picture tells a story", then it may be worth the time for sellers to ask themselves before taking that picture "what am I telling them about me and my boat with this view?" and buyers asking "what is he/she telling me about their boat and their attitude toward it with that picture?"

It's like making that good first impression when you're meeting someone important to you - like a job interview. Many decisions are made within the first few seconds of the encounter.
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