Summer is approaching fast. The only thing that is as much fun as boating is shopping for a new boat, but in order to do that you must sell your present boat. The advice for selling a boat is not much different than it would be for selling your house – hire a professional, curb appeal is important, de-clutter and pay attention to details.

All of the articles on selling your boat share the following common suggestions:

  1. USE A PROFESIONAL – Port Sanilac Marina has been in the business for over 30 years, representing the top boat manufacturers in the industry. Our brokerage team has over 40 years of sales/marketing experience. We market our boats on all of the popular websites such as Yacht World, Boat Trader, Sailboats.com and several others. PSM advertises our “freshwater boats” in major markets like Chicago and New York and along the coasts from Maine to Florida and the Gulf. We aggressively utilize and have skills and experience in social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest and Word Press. Our database consists of thousands of boaters in the Midwest and around the country. PSM participates in regional trade shows and gets a lot of boater traffic during the season. We are a marketing machine.
  2. CLEANING AND DETAILING – Take your personal belongings home or leave them in your vehicle. The only items on the vessel should be those which will be included in the sale. The lighter the boat the better she will perform in a sea trial. Give it a thorough cleaning. Better yet, have her professionally detailed. In a couple of hours our service department can have your boat in ship shape. The bilge is the first place experienced boaters look for fuel and oil leaks. Clean it. There are commercial products designed to remove odors from fuel and mildew and they are available in our ship chandlery. A fresh coat of bottom paint, repairing chips and paint touch-ups are investments that will pay off in the resale price. The buyer will look at several similar boats; yours should be the nicest one to justify getting the highest possible price.
  3. MOST PEOPLE ARE VISUAL – Cognitive science tells us there are three basic learning styles: visual, auditory and kinesthetic. Everybody uses a combination of all three with one being dominant, and the majority of the population is predominantly visual. In other words, pictures sell boats. We use good quality digital cameras and try to get optimum lighting for the pictures in our marketing brochures. Potential buyers want to see detailed photos of the electronics, head, galley, saloon and sleeping cabins, engine, nav station and cockpit. Pictures of the boat on the water, on a sunny day, with people having fun create a great mental visualization. A video walk through or “virtual tour” is the next best thing to being there.
  4. THE PRICE IS RIGHT – Establishing the correct price is crucial. Too high and you won’t get any interest, too low and you are giving away money needlessly. Our goal is to get a “fair” price for both the buyer and the seller. Sellers have financial and emotional ties to their boats. The market changes. Physical condition, engine hours, electronics and amenities all determine the selling price. Freshwater boats are in greater demand than saltwater. That does not necessarily mean you can get a premium if yours is a freshwater only boat, but if properly maintained it should put your boat in the upper end of the going price range. PSM subscribes to soldboats.com which allows us (like a real estate “comp”) to see what similar boats have actually sold for recently. This is a real world approach as opposed to a third party opinion. The formula is to first establish a price range of the boats that have sold recently and then determine your price based up condition, hours and amenities, then add a percentage (usually about 10%). Although there is no standard to making an offer, they typically come in at about 10% under the asking price.
  5. SURVEY AND DOCUMENTATION – A buyer is going to have your boat surveyed before they purchase and the offer will be contingent upon a satisfactory survey. A good strategy is to get a survey yourself which you can present to serious buyers. That will take the unknowns out of the equation, let them know you have nothing to hide, and save them the expense of a survey. If there are issues, most surveyors will amend the survey with proof they have been fixed. A buyer will naturally lean toward a boat with a good survey before risking the cost of having one or more surveys done on other boats. If there are problems, the surveyor will find them. If you leave the survey up to the buyer, he/she will either walk or negotiate the price down below the actual cost of the repair. Either option puts you on a financial and emotional roller coaster you would rather avoid. Another good strategy is to have all of your documentation in order. Not only should you have a clear title and registration, but it would go a long way to spend the time creating a history of the boat. Write down any repairs, upgrades and additions you have made. Include maintenance history and some of your voyages, they show that you have confidence in the seaworthiness of the vessel.

Written by: John Siwicki
Yacht Broker
Port Sanilac Marina
(810) 622 -9651
john@portsanilacmarina.com