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How to sell my boat for profit?

If you’ve been itching to upgrade your boat, buy something more low key, or (heaven forbid), leave the world of boat ownership all together, you may be thinking about selling up.

If this is the case, having a selling strategy, which maximises profit, is the best way to achieve the kind of returns you’d like.

Here are some tips for folk looking to sell their boat! (And then hopefully invest in boat 2.0.)

  1. Get it seen

Yep, exposure is so important when you’re selling, well, anything. The more eyes on your boat, the more likely the right people will see it. And by that, we mean people who have the budget and desire to buy it. (These people are also called your target market.)

Knowing where your target market is likely to be is the next step to getting your boat seen. We recommend advertising your boat in the following places:

  • Local sailing clubs, including Facebook pages that are run by them.
  • Boating community Facebook pages based in your state.
  • Local trade papers, such as Gumtree (including the online versions).
  • On your own social media pages, for example Facebook. Be sure to share an advert from Gumtree or another online forum, so the ad looks as professional as possible.
  • Specialised selling websites, such as boatsales.com.au, which allow people to post adverts selling their boats (usually for a nominal fee).
  • Other websites include tradeboats.com.au, which offer packages based on the kind of advert you require.
  • Simply mentioning you’re selling a boat when you speak with people at work, at barbeques or at the yacht club. Old-fashioned word of mouth still works a treat!
  1. Take good photos

Even if your boat is in great nick, it won’t matter at all if the photography doesn’t do it justice. We’re not saying you need to spend big on a professional photographer, but it would help to enlist someone in your life who has a good eye for taking photos. (Especially if you don’t!)

Perhaps your son, daughter, cousin or that guy from work know how to take a half decent snap? Call in an imaginary favour and get them on deck to photograph your boat. Even if it means passing them a little cash (or a fishing trip?), it’s certainly worth the effort.

Be sure to show the boat from various angles, including the big picture, interiors, the engine and any cool detail your boat has. Before this happens, take a moment to get rid of any clutter. Too much stuff on your boat will make it look smaller to potential buyers.

But, don’t take everything off, as it could start to feel impersonal or sterile. As a general rule, get rid of personal items, so potential new owners can imagine themselves at the helm, and anything else that makes the boat feel cramped or small.

  1. Clean it

If your boat is cleaned thoroughly and generally in good condition, prospective buyers are more likely to see minor issues as ‘wear and tear’. If something is broken, be honest about it, so you don’t waste the buyer’s time, or yours.

Being transparent and open about the condition of the boat isn’t just about karma. Most people will know if something is wrong, so if they find it after you’ve said everything is fine, they’re more likely to question the integrity of the entire boat (and you!).

  1. Don’t renovate

Many people decide to renovate their boat before selling it, which is not always a good decision. This is because, in most cases, you won’t realise your return on investment. Yes, painting it may make it look better, but it’s unlikely to increase the value of the boat significantly.

Cosmetic repairs on the other hand are a good idea. For example, fix dings within the gel coat, and any other easy repairs that make the boat look better without too much work on your part. Major repairs should be considered within the scope of your selling strategy.

If, for example, your knotmetre is not working, and you know the cost of fixing it outweighs the additional profit you would make selling it, don’t fix it. But, be honest about the condition of the boat. (See point 3!)

  1. Price it right

Check out boats that are a similar model, age and condition to your own, and get an idea of what they’re selling for. Deduct any major repairs (if you’re not doing them), and let sellers know this has been considered in the price.

When advertising your boat, describe it in as much detail as possible, and don’t price it above what it’s worth. If you do price your boat too high above its market value, you’re likely to get fewer inquiries, and you’ll probably end up lowering the price later anyway.

Instead of wasting your time, get the price right from the start. If you’re worried about whether you’re in the ballpark, ask someone who has experience with buying and selling boats for their opinion on its selling price.

Good luck! And as always, don’t be afraid to ask for help. We find that most people in the boating community love to lend their knowledge, and we’re sure you will too, once you’ve succeeded in your selling journey.

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Boat for sale sign