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Old 17-08-2015, 17:21   #16
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Re: Tips on selling an older sailboat

Originally Posted by rkjbnz View Post
Being in the market and having looked at hundreds of listings and seen lots of boats the biggest tip I could give anyone selling their boat no matter how old, is declutter your boat.

I don't want to see your vase of shells you have collected from every beach or your nets of fruit hanging over the galley. Clean up your boat make the beds or remove the linen all together. Remove surfboards and water toys. Don't leave a roll of toilet paper visible. Put cleaning products away. Just try and remove as much personal stuff as possible. Tidy the deck up remove extra tanks and coil the rope nicely.

Try and take the boat back to show boat/brochure boat and then only then take photos.

One listing had taken photos of them eating a meal and even the old duck in her swimsuit, yikes!!! Next listing.


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We too looked at over 125 yachts during an 80 roadtrip back in 2012 / 13.

We were constantly amazed at the utter crap falsely advertised.

The one true proxy for boats worth looking at was the quality of the photos.

The good photos never included clutter, personal detritus or silly pictures of some trivial item.

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Old 18-08-2015, 02:47   #17
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Re: Tips on selling an older sailboat

Another thought..... honest (yikes!), but within reason!

Most boats are not perfect, and whilst I would not list all the defects on the sale advert (unless fundamental, like engine don't work or hull full of Osmosis - and those priced in), nonetheless I would be upfront on what could do with a upgrade or replacement sooner rather than later, but all those reflected in the price :-) .....the "get out" is that you would do these things if you were keeping the boat as would be getting the benefit of the cash spent, but for sale makes no commercial sense. For buyers it can be seen as a benefit to replace old with new.

People like honesty (within reason!).

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Old 18-08-2015, 05:12   #18
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Re: Tips on selling an older sailboat

Originally Posted by nautical62 View Post
If possible include some photos of having fun onto boat, the boat under sail, or anchored in some beautiful location...
I'm not going to disagree with this, but I will add a caveat. Anchored in a beautiful location, great. A picture of the rail splashing up water, okay. People lounging and cavorting around on the boat, maybe, but ONLY ONE!

Most importantly, remember that prospective buyers want to see the boat. They want to judge its condition, the level of care it has gotten, and how it is laid out. They do NOT want to see your family vacation pictures (yes, I have seen ads that looked like they just took their vacation pictures and stuck them into the ad). They are not interested in how many pretty girls you can crowd onto the boat (anyone that that kind of picture appeals to is only going to be a lookey-loo, not a serious buyer). They certainly don't want to see you draped across the settee in your tattered, all-too-revealing short-shorts! (Another one that, yes, I have actually seen, and there is not enough eye-bleach in the world to get rid of THAT image!)

So, a picture or two that shows how fun the boat is, fine. But do not get carried away. Almost all of the pictures should show the boat and nothing but the boat, and some view of it that will help the buyer make a decision. You don't have to sell the dream to the buyer; the buyer already has the dream, or he wouldn't be looking for boats. What you want to sell him is YOUR boat!
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Old 19-08-2015, 05:40   #19
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Re: Tips on selling an older sailboat

Adding to many of the already great ideas above.

If you are using a broker, have him run a 'Sold Boats' for you. Do this before setting your price. Not only look at price, but location. Find somewhere in the middle to start, unless your boat is Bristol. Also notice the difference between asking and sold.

Check out NADA on your boat. These numbers are sometimes very low for some boats, but this is what most banks use to determine what they will loan on a boat. Age is also a factor, the older the boat, the fewer banks will lend on the boat, so once boats get past a certain age, they drop significantly. The higher the boat, the harder it is to find a cash buyer.

If there are electronics installed that do not work, remove them or fix them. Make sure the little things that will be brought up in a survey are on the boat, working and current. Trash and oil placards, fire extinguishers that are not 20 years old. Current flares, receipts and maintenance logs. Uneducated buyers will use all the negative marks by a surveyor including the small safety items that total less than $100 may bring back a counter of $1000 or more.

Older boats are not wired to current standards. Fix that as much as possible.

If you have a survey from when you bought the boat, did you fix everything that was mentioned on that? If not, it will come up again.

Create a checklist and locations for through hulls, starting instructions, etc. For the Broker to use when it comes time for a Sea Trial. As well as instructions for using equipment and where things are located. If your solar charger is behind a panel, document that. It looks a lot better if a broker can reference a binder with your instructions on all systems then call you 5 times during the sea trial and haul out. It is also a selling point when a prospect can look through those things.

Video. If your Broker is not doing a video walk-through, do one yourself and post it to youtube.

Selling yourself. Sailboat, sailboatlistings - free and gets a lot of attention. Ebay. Not to auction your boat off, but a lot of exposure for a little bit of money.

If you get an offer and they will be doing a sea trial and haul out, have a diver come out the day before and clean the hull and replace the zincs. If your buyer does not have to sit around waiting and paying for a power wash, he will be happier. Happy buyers are good. Also, he is already putting up a bunch of money, don't let him have the yard come to him and tell him all the zincs are burned.

Select a broker that is no more than a couple miles from the boat. If the best broker is 30 miles away, move the boat closer to him and do this before you list the boat. Larger offices are better than single broker offices as there is always someone to show the boat if your broker is tied up and allows walk in traffic. I have bought two boats while on vacation, so there are walk in buyers.

SMELLS. Often overlooked. If your boat smells, do your best to find the source and get it fixed, cleaned and aired out. Replace the head hoses, clean out the holding tank and leave the head and systems dry until you sell the boat. Unzip cushions and place Gain fabric dryer sheets inside the cushion. If in warm climates, run the A/C, or instruct the broker to turn it on as soon as he gets to the boat to show it. At the very least, run a de-humidifier if you do not live close to the boat and must keep it closed up.

And as others said, clean and maintained goes a long way.

And last on the list is systems. There are a lot of brokers who will not turn anything on when showing a boat. I would rather turn the DC Breaker on and have the VHF radio come to life, the stereo playing lightly in the background, the A/C cranking out cold air, the electronics lit up and the boat telling the buyer it is ready. This is as true on a $10K boat as it is on a $1,000,000 boat.
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Old 19-08-2015, 06:14   #20
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Re: Tips on selling an older sailboat

Let's say the boat is in the water and that you are still using it. Certainly everything about keeping it clean and priced right still applies (cluttered listing photos are just funny to look at!). This has the advantage that cleaning and maintenance are more likely to be kept up, since you are there.

  • Let the agent know when it won't be at the dock.
  • Does the marina detract? On the other hand, they almost certainly won't keep it there.
  • If the slip fees are cheap, let them know?

There will be things on-board that do not convey. You can minimize this, and keep them well-stowed, but it is unavoidable.
  • List what does or does not convey?
  • Put away everything that does not convey?
  • Confine the personal stuff to a limited number of lockers, such that some are empty?
What about stuff that is not on the boat that does convey?
  • Extra sails that are NOT old dogs? For example, I have a very good smaller jib that would be great in a windier area or for someone more conservative. It stays home.
  • Drogue.
  • Good parts.
What should convey? What simply detracts?

  • Old PFDs that are usable but not pretty?
  • Spare line?
  • Good tableware you simply don't want to take back?
What about test sails? Typically these are after a survey and deposit, but if the boat is in the water ready to go and you like sailing, it's just not a big deal.
  • Don't put it in the add.
  • If a looker seems serious, offer it. Serious shoppers will generally decline if they are not really interested.
  • Don't offer if the weather is unsuitable. For example, if they seem a little timid, don't take them out in 20 knots even if you like that. On the other hand, such folks might like a quick power spin around the harbor.
  • Is there a down side in sailing before the deposit, other than the effort?

"Climbing (sailing) is like fun, only different."

Tom Pattey, Scottish ice climber
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