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Old 15-08-2015, 20:00   #1
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Tips on selling an older sailboat

Here is a venue to contribute input to fellow cruisers looking to sell. How about these for starters?
Spend the time / money to get the boat into "pristine" cosmetic condition.
Money spent on upgrades are not likely to be recovered but targeted improvements may make for a quicker sale. Example: new or fairly new sails.
Brokers are not always keen on taking a listing for a lower priced boat. 10% commission on say a $25,000 boat is not all that attractive for the work involved. A flat fee over 10% commission may be what the broker will require.
Think about getting a survey as a selling tool.
Offer post-sale perks like three days for training or delivery assistance
Pile on folks!
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Old 15-08-2015, 21:23   #2
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Re: Tips on selling an older sailboat

In my experience the biggest problem people have is overpricing what the boat is worth. Not all, but many problems trace back to this.

People put a boat on the market for too much and then stop maintaining it, which means it no longer shows well since all the little things start to fail. The deck isn't clean which invited questions of core rot and hidden deferred maintenance. There is water in the bilge from a failed pump, which opens up issues of leaks and again rot. The heads start to smell, and because the boat is closed up starts to get a funk. Engines and electrical start to go bad, and no one notices except the potential buyer.

In short, unless the boat is being professionally maintained, price it at what you can realistically sell it for and don't negotiate much. By the time Someone is headed to go look at a boat they already know what every other one in the U.S. is listed at, their rough condition, and have a pretty good idea what they are willing to pay. Being the lowest price boat with a firm price is a lot more attractive than a boat that sits around unused for months rotting. And the seller probably walks away in the same place as well.
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Old 15-08-2015, 21:44   #3
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Re: Tips on selling an older sailboat

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.

Rich


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Old 15-08-2015, 22:13   #4
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Re: Tips on selling an older sailboat

Take off everything that is not being sold with the boat.

Remove anything that does not work.

Clean the boat - everywhere. And keep it clean.

Prepare an inventory, including ages of equipment (or at least ballpark!).

Supply the broker with some boatporn shots! (Of the boat being used / at anchor on sunny days)....you are selling a dream as well as a boat, even to experienced boat owners!
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Old 16-08-2015, 08:54   #5
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Re: Tips on selling an older sailboat

Add everything else above, and I would make sure the engine coolant is fresh and the oils changed. Any rust spots on the engine should be touched up and the bilge spotless. Also hoses that look suspect should be replaced. If your boat looks ship shape, it will sell quickly, if it's growing with moss, and there is your last oil change in the bilge it won't sell. I also agree with the pricing, try and get the broker to show you realistic sell prices and price yourself accordingly.
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Old 16-08-2015, 10:17   #6
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Re: Tips on selling an older sailboat

And remember:

"If you can smell it, you can't sell it."

Do everything possible to remove all sources of nasty
odors from the vessel, and try to keep it odor free during the
sales period.

Consider placing portable 120 vac fans aboard to keep the
air moving through open (but weather protected) hatches and
ports.
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Old 16-08-2015, 18:35   #7
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Re: Tips on selling an older sailboat

How about showing the deck moisture readings?
Is a 3-5 year old survey any benefit?
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Old 16-08-2015, 18:55   #8
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Re: Tips on selling an older sailboat

Opinions on cf are mixed on an old survey.....for me it is a big plus as a buyer, not for current condition obviously! but on what was previously fooked and to know where to look to see how (and if!) was fixed....IMO a useful guide on how the current owner looked after the boat.
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Old 17-08-2015, 06:46   #9
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Re: Tips on selling an older sailboat

Check out the "worst for sale pictures" thread here and DON'T do what those people did! Clean everything. Get rid of all the junk. Clean the head before you take a picture, and then put the lid down! (Yes, seriously, I have seen pictures of heads with the lid up that looked like they had just been used and NOT flushed!)

Do not just take a bunch of pictures and stick them on a website. Look carefully at each one. Is it in focus? Do I need to rotate it right-side-up? Does it show the potential buyer something useful? Will it help, or hinder, selling the boat?

And, of course, realistic pricing may well be the most important thing. True story about a friend of mine...

Had a boat to sell. Priced it at $130k. I told him that was too much, that it was probably not worth more than $80k-$90k. He said "I'm not going to give it away!"

A year later he had turned down a couple of offers in the low $90s and lowered the asking price to $120k. A year after that he lowered the asking price to $110k. In the meantime he got a couple of offers that seemed pretty reasonable to me, but he just kept saying "I'm not going to give it away!"

In the end, after about six years on the market, he finally sold it for $82k. By then, over the years, he had turned down a fair number of offers that were higher than that. Of course, in the meantime he had also been paying insurance, maintenance costs, dock fees, registration, etc. for six years.

If he had sold it for $80k that first year he would have been WAAAY ahead in terms of money, time, effort, aggravation, everything. But, you know, he wasn't going to give it away!
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Old 17-08-2015, 10:36   #10
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Re: Tips on selling an older sailboat

Yes!, have to factor in time to sell costs to asking (and accepting) price.
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Old 17-08-2015, 11:24   #11
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Re: Tips on selling an older sailboat

I second all David Old Jersey's points, and would summarize myself by saying:

1. Focus on relatively inexpensive curb appeal things - Get and keep the boat as clean as you can. Avoid using tattered dock lines, etc. Do touchup paint and varnish of trim, etc. Get most stuff off the boat, definitely get rid of broken stuff. Don't have projects in progress. Fix minor things.

2. Boats in the water tend to show better than boats on the hard. - Related to above, you want to the boat to look as close to turn key as possible.

3. Make sure basic maintenance is up to date - engine oil, filters, etc. If you neglect the basics, a potential buyer will wonder what else has been neglected.

4.. Consider price point. Be competitive with similar boats for sale, but also think about what price people search for. If you would take 28K for a boat, don't advertise it at 32K because you will immediately lose everyone who searches with a 30K cut off. List it at 29,500 instead.

5. Have many good photos. Most people view a boat online before seeing it in person. Have lots of photos that are appropriately exposed, not at all blurry, cropped well, edited as needed. Brokers are less inclined to spend a lot of time here on old boats, so I make sure I have good photos to give them. You don't want a broker to just grab photos of a sister ship. If possible include some photos of having fun onto boat, the boat under sail, or anchored in some beautiful location - don't just show it's space, make it someone's dream. (Sister ship photos make people wonder why the actual boat for sale isn't being shown)

6. If you use a broker, listen to their advice, they are probably more objective and experience selling boats than you, but also realize that their incentive and yours may not always be inline. Spending a lot to make the boat look better may be helpful to them, but you may not see the return.

7. Face the reality of the market. Better to sell a less expensive boat quickly than pay for a year's worth of dockage and insurance.
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Old 17-08-2015, 17:53   #12
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Re: Tips on selling an older sailboat

I'm currently selling an older boat (1974), so I find this thread informative.

My advice...get the boat REALLY REALLY CLEAN.
Nobody wants a dirty boat. Even broken stuff doesn't look so bad if its clean.

Having said that, I spent today (at a beautiful anchorage) on my knees scrubbing the cockpit, the head, and the edge of the hull where all the spiders live. In fact, there were so many spiders, a small flock of ducks gathered around me to eat the spiders I kept flicking off the boat.

And yes, sad is it may be, older boats aren't going to get high prices. Be realistic. I started at a high price, and have been lowering the price all summer. Now I'm at $8k us for a Pearson 30 thats ready to head to the caribbean. The same boat costs less than $1k on ebay, but condition is everything.

http://www.kijiji.ca/v-view-details....dId=1090387035

http://1drv.ms/1CrbSlc

https://youtu.be/trNsXH8xUNE
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Old 17-08-2015, 18:12   #13
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Re: Tips on selling an older sailboat

On setting a high selling price, one seller of a very well presented boat priced it way above comparables. I engaged him about the relatively high price as I was seriously interested. He finally conceded that he didn't really want to sell but his wife was pressuring him to sell. Moral of the story: are you setting the high price because you really don't want to sell ?
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Old 17-08-2015, 18:20   #14
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Re: Tips on selling an older sailboat

When buying, prices always seem high.

When selling, prices seem low.

The season is getting late here in the north (Canada). Also, the Canadian dollar is in a huge slump. Come to Canada for some amazing deals on boats.
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Old 17-08-2015, 18:20   #15
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Re: Tips on selling an older sailboat

What everyone else says. The first moment a prospective buyer sees your boat he has already decided whether or not to look further. Remove EVERYTHING from the boat that isn't part of the boat. Clean the crap out of it. A light bleach solution and scrubber will remove mold. Febreze is good for removing any musty odors, mainly in the cushion fabric. Then put back only those things that will make it look better. Clean the engine and engine room too, distasteful as it may be.

May sound dishonest, but I would avoid getting a new survey. You can never be sure how it will turn out, and you may wind up paying for a survey and then not wanting to show it to a prospective buyer. And suspicious buyers may think you had a friend do the survey for you. On the other hand, unlike many brokers, I would truthfully answer any direct question the buyer asked.

As for price, be realistic to both the market and yourself. If you're in no hurry to sell then price it up and be firm. I did. It took two years to find a buyer. Not only was I not in a hurry to sell, I now regret selling her. Even at the above market price.
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