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Old 07-03-2016, 12:18   #1
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Upgrade before selling or discount sale price?

We are thinking about selling our Caliber 40 in order to purchase a much larger boat. I have a question about what prospective purchasers of USED cruising boats look for when considering interiors, nav stations, electronics, and electrics. I would like to hear from all you looking to purchase a well equipped cruising boat or have done so in the last few years.

We purchased our boat new in early 1995 and installed every comfort and safety item then available. The boat has carried us over 12,000 NM from 55N to 18S during the last 17-years. I would be 100% confident sailing from our slip today and heading off to Hawaii or the South Pacific. Everything on the boat is 100% functional – but all old and obsolete.

Most of the electronics and electrics are over 20-years old, not shiny and new, and definitely not in color. I suspect new boat owners would be turned off by the “ancient” technology that has served us so well. So, what to do?

Would the prospective purchaser prefer to do all the upgrades while I discount the selling price?

Will more prospective purchasers look at the boat if I have already done the upgrades?

What are your thoughts about LOOKING at the boat and BUYING the boat with or without the upgrades?


Here are some details. The following equipment is at least 17-years old and all is obsolete, while still working perfectly:

- Freedom 20 battery charger/inverter
- Link 2000R controller for Freedom 20
- Trace C-40 controller for our 500-watts of solar panels
- Freedom Incharge voltage regulator
- Raymarine R20XX 4Kw monochrome radar with CRT display
- All electronics, instruments, radar, autopilot linked via SeaTalk
- ICOM VHF
- Two standalone GPS devices connected to autopilot and PC
- Raymarine ST60 wind instrument
- Raymarine ST50 depth sounder
- Raymarine ST50 knot meter and log
- ICOM 710RT Ham radio & AT140 antenna tuner
- Pactor III modem
- SONY 10 CD remote control player
- Jenson 25-watt stereo
- ADR stereo speakers

AND – there is no integrated chartplotter and no color displays

I can replace all the electronic and electrical equipment with new very good stuff without spending a fortune because I get professional discounts and I do all my own work. But, will the new owner want a different instrument system?

All 20 interior lights are old incandescent or Thinline Flourescent. The light fixtures all work but all look old and well used. All the upholstery is clean and neat but shows 15-years of live aboard usage. Lights and upholstery are a very personal choice so should I leave that choice to the new owner?

The navigation station is dated and looks messy with all the stuff I’ve added over the years. A friend is a wonderful marine woodworker and could create a new, and perfect instrument and electronic panel. But, would it be better to let the new owner create the panel of their desires?

We can afford to upgrade everything before listing it but is that the best tactic? Should I discount the price and let the new owners do what they want?

We've always spent the money and time to keep the boat in perfect operating condition. During the last three years we have replaced or updated the following:

- new mainsail (Quantum Hydranet 4-full length battens with battslides)
- rebuilt genoa (top of the line Spectra TX North that is still in great shape)
- replaced all running rigging
- inspected standing rigging and replaced items that showed wear
- New Raymarine SPX 30 autopilot and associated gear
- Rebuilt and upgraded Raymarine Linear drive to type 2
- Factory rebuild of Spectra 380c watermaker (16 GPH dual feedpump)
- All new raw and fresh water cooling system on Yanmar diesel
- New OEM starter, solenoid, and switch for Yanmar diesel
- New Yanmar heat exchanger and mixing elbow
- Recondition Maxprop
- New prop shaft and cutlass bearing
- New Isotherm waterheater
- New Shurflo pressure water pump
- New pump and plumbing for LaVac toilet

Should I continue the upgrade process or let the new owner pay for the upgrades with the discount I will offer on the sale price?

- Electronics?
- Electrics?
- Interior Lights?
- Nav station panel?
- Entertainment system?
- Cushions and Upholstery?
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Old 07-03-2016, 12:39   #2
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Re: Upgrade before selling or discount sale price?

If you sell to someone who does not care about electronics, then they won't want to pay more for latest and greatest, and be happy that the obsolete gear all works.

If you sell to someone who likes tech... A boat with obsolete gear that is priced right can be appealing because they can upgrade with the latest and greatest of their own choosing. (I'm like that )

Even if you can do the upgrades cheap, you'll still probably not re-coop the cost in a higher sale price.

edit: Perhaps updating the cushions and Upholstery could be a help to win over the buyers admiral
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Old 07-03-2016, 13:27   #3
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Re: Upgrade before selling or discount sale price?

I considered systems when buying both of my boats. A smart used boat shopper knows that it is less expensive to buy a boat with things already on them than to add them later. But most used boat buyers aren't going to willing to fully pay extra for brand new systems. So it is just a price verse features when buying a boat and if you want to know if it is worth upgrading prior to selling you need to look at what you are going to complete with in the market. The decision is probably aimed as much at time on market than on price return.
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Old 07-03-2016, 13:39   #4
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Re: Upgrade before selling or discount sale price?

Replace/repair equipment that's installed as practicable but don't upgrade to new just to have the latest and greatest. Having equipment that is non functioning can put the idea in the buyer's head that the boat is poorly maintained. Doesn't mean that everything has to be functioning but there is a fine line between just a few broken goodies and an owner who hasn't taken care of the boat. First, the prospective buyer won't pay retail plus installation for new equipment even if it was installed the day before they closed on the purchase. Second, they may not want the stuff that you install and won't pay anything extra for it in any case.
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Old 07-03-2016, 13:44   #5
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Re: Upgrade before selling or discount sale price?

You will never recover the additional money you dump into electronics, etc just to sell the boat. You will most likely sell the boat a little faster with more newer toys onboard. You are probably better off puttng time and money into cosmetics and price the boat right.
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Old 07-03-2016, 14:14   #6
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Re: Upgrade before selling or discount sale price?

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You will never recover the additional money you dump into electronics, etc just to sell the boat. You will most likely sell the boat a little faster with more newer toys onboard. You are probably better off puttng time and money into cosmetics and price the boat right.

100%true, was the case when we sold our last boat. People want there own toys and "Stuff". How the boat looks as a whole is much more important.
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Old 07-03-2016, 14:29   #7
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pirate Re: Upgrade before selling or discount sale price?

Replace stuff that's not working but considered necessary like depth/speed/wind..
anything working leave alone and let the prospective owner do it at leisure and just what he wants..
There's a lot of old crap on mine that looks great on the inventory but of zero use or value to me and will end up in the skip when I get round to elecs etc.
Price her high middle of the market and see how it goes..
Buyers get a warm fuzzy feeling if they can knock one down...
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Old 07-03-2016, 14:47   #8
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Re: Upgrade before selling or discount sale price?

What Hoppy said!
Nice neutral interior and cushions!


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Old 07-03-2016, 15:38   #9
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Re: Upgrade before selling or discount sale price?

You will never recoup the cost of upgrades except 2 conditions:

1. Cleaning.
2. Replacing an irreparable engine.

Replacing dated equipment is a poor investment on your part. Putting in a fairly cheap chartplotter to match your instruments may help to avoid a "lacking" objection.

Replacing dated electrics and electronics that work fine, solely for someone else to enjoy at your expense would be kind, but a poor investment in your part.

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Old 07-03-2016, 16:38   #10
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Re: Upgrade before selling or discount sale price?

I would consider fixing cosmetic issues and for sure fix anything that is just plain broken. Basically do a self-survey (or pay a good surveyor to do it) and make sure there will be no major findings when you put the boat up for sale.

I don't think it is good to second guess the prospective buyer's desires regarding electronics. The valuation at the time of purchase survey won't give much value for electronics even if they are only 3 months old.

Since you can get new electronics at a discount and you can install them maybe you can work out something with the buyer once you agree on a price for the boat "as is" and conclude that transaction.

For example, after the deal is done let the buyer pick out the electronics they want and you agree to install them. They get a nice boat with modern electronics. You aren't out of pocket anything except your time. This idea has some problems but if you are comfortable doing the work and letting the buyer get some of your discount then you are both better off than the options you have listed. You are not out a lot of cash and time now. The new buyer gets the electronics they want and installed for below market cost. That could be a reasonable option in terms of a win-win.
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Old 07-03-2016, 16:56   #11
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Re: Upgrade before selling or discount sale price?

I wouldn't replace what's working.

It is what it is. Most people would probably rather get a better price, and upgrade on their own schedule.
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Old 07-03-2016, 16:57   #12
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Re: Upgrade before selling or discount sale price?

-You will not recover your money by upgrading.
-People prefer to buy their own rather than pay for someone else's choice.
Clean, neat and tidy matter.
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Old 07-03-2016, 17:43   #13
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Re: Upgrade before selling or discount sale price?

Quote:
Originally Posted by transmitterdan View Post
I would consider fixing cosmetic issues and for sure fix anything that is just plain broken. Basically do a self-survey (or pay a good surveyor to do it) and make sure there will be no major findings when you put the boat up for sale.

I don't think it is good to second guess the prospective buyer's desires regarding electronics. The valuation at the time of purchase survey won't give much value for electronics even if they are only 3 months old.

Since you can get new electronics at a discount and you can install them maybe you can work out something with the buyer once you agree on a price for the boat "as is" and conclude that transaction.

For example, after the deal is done let the buyer pick out the electronics they want and you agree to install them. They get a nice boat with modern electronics. You aren't out of pocket anything except your time. This idea has some problems but if you are comfortable doing the work and letting the buyer get some of your discount then you are both better off than the options you have listed. You are not out a lot of cash and time now. The new buyer gets the electronics they want and installed for below market cost. That could be a reasonable option in terms of a win-win.
+1 on the Above. It lets the buyer pick & choose what they both; want, & can afford. While stretching their dollar a Lot further in the end.
I'm guessing that such is pretty much what you'll be doing with your new boat, right?

Also... Spend either the time, or the coin, to put a couple of professional grade coats of varnish on everything. That, & other little touches to make the boat feel like home, sans overdoing it.
Shiny & Pretty Sells!
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Old 08-03-2016, 08:46   #14
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Re: Upgrade before selling or discount sale price?

Second that!
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Old 08-03-2016, 09:07   #15
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Re: Upgrade before selling or discount sale price?

I do not have experience in selling boats but I think it's safe to generalize. Rule 1- if it ain't broke don't fix it. For every buyer who wants the latest and greatest installed there are probably a dozen who don't and everybody looks at the price. Rule 2- cosmetics matter. Limited investments to look 'pretty' generally pay. I think this common sense applies to selling most anything. You never know what a prospect will fixate on. Good luck with you sale.
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