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The complete guide on how to prepare to sell your boat

If you are a boat owner, there will likely come a day when you make the hard decision to sell your boat. It is usually a tough decision, especially when so many happy memories are associated with the vessel. But once you decide to let her go, you require two outcomes from the boat selling process – you will want to achieve a good price for your boat, and you will hope for a stress free transaction.  For the best result, you will need to know how to prepare to sell your boat.


The first decision is whether to manage the sale of the boat yourself or whether to call upon the services of a specialist broker. If handling the whole process yourself, you will keep all the proceeds from the sale and avoid paying a commission fee. On the other hand, a broker may be able to negotiate a higher sale price – with the broker taking on the responsibility of both the marketing and selling of the boat.

A considerable amount of preparatory work is needed to sell a boat successfully. The question is, how much of this pre-sale effort do you want to take on yourself. The key is in the attention to detail, which means assessing the boat’s condition, performing necessary repairs, presenting the boat in its best light, deciding on a suitable price, and then pulling together an effective marketing plan.

If you get this process right, you will walk away with the right amount of money which you can then invest in your next boat.

Before planning your next purchase, you need to decide whether to sell the boat independently or find a reputable broker. In this blog, we look at the relative merits of both approaches.


How to prepare to sell your boat independently – Tips on 

inspecting and repairing your boat before sale

Before selling your boat it needs to be in the best possible condition – a buyer will examine a boat thoroughly before purchasing. They will walk away very quickly if they find faults or notice issues. Start by inspecting your boat carefully and establish if there is a need for repairs. Alternatively, you can seek expert advice from a professional marine surveyor.

As part of the boat sale preparation, it is recommended that you undertake any necessary repairs and ensure everything is in good working order.

As well as fixing your boat, ask yourself if its appearance can be improved, with a thorough clean being the least you can do. If a boat looks dirty or cluttered, you are not presenting your asset in its best light – first impressions really do matter.

The same principles of selling a house apply to the boat selling process. You are selling a dream. A touch of paint and a vase of flowers on the table will help create the right impression. Sometimes, it’s the little extra details that count.

And, as importantly, don’t forget to ensure that you have all the necessary documentation ready, such as the boat ownership and maintenance records.


Setting the right price when selling your used boat

If the price is too high, you won’t attract potential buyers. If the price is too low, you will lose money.  Setting the price right is so important when preparing to sell your boat. It comes down to researching the market. Are there boats for sale of comparable age and similar condition? You can get an idea of pricing through online listings, valuation guides and by seeking advice from experts or brokers.

Set a price that you feel comfortable with, whilst also keeping in mind that prospective buyers may try to negotiate the price down.


Effective marketing and advertising strategies for selling boat

You may be lucky and find a buyer simply by submitting a listing or putting a note on a boating club’s noticeboard – but don’t leave it to chance. If you put some effort into marketing your boat, you will be far more likely to get the desired sale.

Take photographs of your boat that show it in the most flattering way. A few snatched pictures from your mobile may not do it justice, so finding someone with a good camera can be worthwhile. Write compelling copy that sells the benefits and upsides of your boat. Selling the lifestyle can draw interest and your bonafide reason for the sale can offer reassurance that you’re not selling because it’s about to cost a fortune in repairs.

Once you have the words and images, you can upload them to the multiple marketplaces and listing sites. Spread the word through social media and boating forums – you can only sell your boat if people know it is up for sale.


Understand the boat selling process

You’ve taken the first steps to prepare to sell your boat. You’ve fixed your vessel, made it look its best, created your adverts – and then someone shows an interest. How do you close the deal? The ideal approach is to build a rapport with the potential buyer, answering any queries promptly and accurately. Be ready to offer both viewings and test cruises.

Be sure to specify exactly what is included in the sale. Are the fenders and lines included? A buyer may, understandably, expect that everything they see on the boat is part of the inventory. If that isn’t the case, make this clear.

Familiarise yourself with the legal requirements for transferring ownership. Once you’ve reached an agreement with a buyer, it is best to have a written sales agreement defining the terms and conditions of the sale. When you sell your boat you must also have a Bill of Sale between you and the purchaser to evidence transfer of ownership. If you need help with how to proceed, seek professional advice.


Staying organised when selling your boat

When you prepare to sell your boat, there is plenty to think about, and your to-do list can be very long. Be organised and plan carefully. There is a lot to do but keep focused, and you will reap the rewards.


Choosing a brokerage for selling your boat: What to expect

If you have read through the first half of this blog and feel exhausted at the thought of selling your boat, then a brokerage route is for you. All you have to do is to ask a respected brokerage to “sell my boat”.

Boat brokers know exactly what they are doing, and it is well worth utilising their knowledge and experience. If you find the right broker, they will go way beyond doing the basic leg work, they will market your boat to people looking to buy and will maximise your realistic sale price.

So how do boat brokerages go above and beyond?


Perfect presentation for prospective buyers

A professional boat brokerage will make your boat stand out. As mentioned earlier, a good clean-up is essential, but brokers can go further. For instance, with Val Wyatt’s professional boat brokerage, our full service includes a lift out from the water and a complimentary pressure wash, plus free storage for six months.

Our marketing collateral is professional and striking, and our attention to detail is demonstrated by our approach to the boat photography. When photographing our boats, we prefer to remove any excess equipment, such as ropes and fenders. Action shots gain significantly more interest than those boats that pictured in their mooring, so we always look to take photos underway.


Reaching the market

A brokerage agent, such as Val Wyatt, will be adept at marketing and advertising your boat. As we earn commission on a successful sale, it is in our interest to sell the vessel at the highest possible price. We have access to the most effective advertising channels and directories, plus our own bespoke listings directory. With extensive industry experience, we are able to target the right marketing channels.


Accompanied viewings

The brokerage can arrange the all important viewing and be on hand to offer expert advice to the prospective buyer as part of their boat-selling services. At high level agencies such as Val Wyatt Marine, virtual tours are also available for buyers who cannot view them in person. This saves the seller considerable amounts of their valuable time.


The sales process

For an independent seller, handling all the paperwork associated with a sale can be time consuming. A professional broker will draw up the appropriate sale and purchase agreements for the buyer and seller, organise the legal aspects, and safeguard the sale funds during the final stages of the sales cycle in accordance with British Marine regulations.


How to prepare to sell your boat – Conclusion

Preparing to sell your boat can be a complicated and daunting experience. It is certainly possible to arrange the sale yourself but be aware that a lot of work will be involved. Using a boat brokerage takes the stress and worry out of the process and increases your chances of getting a speedy sale at the right price.

We understand the significant investment customers make when purchasing a boat, not just from a financial perspective but also emotionally. The team is dedicated to supporting potential buyers with sound and professional advice at every stage of the journey and, most importantly, at their own pace.

If the buyer feels comfortable and trusts the process, then a sale is more likely to happen benefitting both the buyer and seller alike.

We can help you to sell your boat. Our experienced and professional brokers are on hand to secure the very best price. To find out more about our dedicated boat sales service, contact us here.