Selling a boat can be worse than selling a house. For starters, a lot of us love our boats more than our houses. Think about it: Who names his house, calls it “she” or upgrades its equipment every couple of years?
This (at times unnatural) bond with our boats can make it hard to let go, and can blind us to what’s needed when it comes time to sell. Getting the best price often means working with a broker, and not always in ways that make us comfortable. Here are three tips for putting aside your personal feelings and helping your broker make the best possible sale.
1: Hire a professional cleaning crew. Even if you think you keep your boat meticulously clean, there are going to be spots here and there where you never look—but where every potential buyer will. For instance, the pros will come aboard, sit on every toilet (while wearing pants) and look up and around, for cobwebs and stains and other muck that can gather in odd crevices nobody ever notices. Unless you are spending that kind of time considering cleanliness, pay the pros to come in for an afternoon and leave the boat sparkling.
2: Use top-quality photos. The Internet is the number one place where buyers go to research boats, and as they’re scrolling through the listings, you want your boat to stand out. While it’s not necessary to hire a professional photographer, it is necessary to have good quality photos (you’d be surprised what your college-age nephew can do with a decent Canon or Nikon SLR). Take wide angles of the living spaces and close-ups of interesting design elements—and don’t forget helm electronics and engine-room equipment. Showing that those spaces are up-to-date and grime-free can go a long way toward making a buyer’s short list.
3: Try to stay out of the way. Good brokers have a full understanding of your boat’s high points and low points, and they know how to present your boat in the best light. It can be tempting to call a few times a week asking what you can do to help, but the reality is that, most of the time, you need to sit back and pipe down. If potential buyers repeatedly cite the same concern, your broker will tell you, so you can consider investing in a change or repair. Otherwise, different buyers are going to have different concerns, and fretting about every single one will drive both you and your broker nuts.