Most yacht owners face the day when it is time to move on - whether it is moving up, moving down or moving out. Wise sellers will increase the odds of their yacht selling and for a better price by thinking like a savvy buyer. Here are some proven tips to help the process:
• As a potential buyer, I look for someone who has cared for their possession, rather than trying to figure out how many problems I will be inheriting upon purchase. "Curb appeal", (meaning the first impression upon walking aboard) is everything. The easiest way to keep a prospective buyer interested can be as simple ensuring the boat smells good (has no offensive odors such as mildew, holding tanks, diesel leaks), clean and uncluttered interior (especially renewed or cleaned carpets), clean and waxed exterior, and a tidy and non-corroded engine compartment. Try to look at the interior through the eyes of the wife. While most sellers will argue that buyers should be able to look through these things (since they are going to make a low offer anyway); it really boils down to how the boat stands against the competition. Boats that give off an "air" of neglect often turn away real buyers and only encourage "bottom feeders" with ridiculously low offers (the guys who can really 'see through things'). A boat with no apologies is one who will see the best offers.
• Pre-Survey the boat by a professional, known surveyor. This won't take place of the pre-purchase survey that the buyer will do, it will illuminate potential issues that will likely show up; giving the seller time to take care of them in a cost-effective manner ahead of the Buyer's survey. While it is hard to predict how and which issues will affect a sale; it is certain that the owner will save money by taking care of issues (no matter how small) ahead of time rather than having "estimates" of repairs (often in the form of "dartboard pricing") being deducted from the purchase price. Remember that you can pay now or pay later....but you will always pay & later always costs dearly.
• Ensure that your broker takes care to market the boat with good photography and a straight-forward, comprehensive description of the boat; clearly listing the attributes for the prospective buyer. The boat should be predominantly marketed with a variety of popular internet sites, as well as periodical publications. It should be docked at an attractive setting and easy to get on and off of. Also consider locating the boat in a popular area for boating shoppers, such as South Florida; rather than an obscure - hard to get to area.
• If you want action, try to price the boat at the front of the market. Look closely at the competition to see how your boat stands up. Neglected boats tend to be priced at the low end. If you are not getting showings (and doing everything else right), the market is trying to tell you something. Many sellers resolve not to move off their price and the boat languishes on the market for years, costing them not only the cost of maintaining, insurance, dockage, etc, but also depreciating far lower than what it may have sold for at an earlier stage...if only it were priced at the front of the market at the beginning.
• Offer creative financing and consider taking trades (a good broker will be able to assess the sale-ability of the trade) With banks tightening the rules in today's economy, it is often difficult for buyers even with good credit to secure yacht financing. However, it is easier for an owner to secure credit in such a way that will benefit both parties...often resulting in a deal that would never happen otherwise.
Unfortunately, most boats become for sale when the owners tire of them and it often shows. Making the effort to focus on the 3 critical sale-ability factors...condition, location and price will not only increase the chances of selling but often achieve a more substantial return.