Selling Your Boat: How To Get Top Dollar And A Quick Sale
Posted Date: 11/06/2019
Selling your boat can be a big decision that boat owners inevitably encounter. Typically boat owners decide between trading in the boat , listing your boat on your own or listing your boat with a broker.
Selling your boat is not a trivial process, and as such, you want to ensure you take the appropriate steps to give yourself the best opportunity for a quick and successful transaction. Listing your boat without getting your boat ready or understanding the market dynamics can lead to your boat sitting on the market for an extended period of time. If this occurs, it can have a negative impact on the sale price and result in a frustrating experience.
It is possible to quickly and smoothly sell your boat for maximum value. Here are some tips and guidelines to consider when selling your boat.
Presenting The Boat To Buyers
Depending on the location of the boat it can be a challenge to show to potential buyers. For example, if your boat is on a mooring, it will be harder for potential buyers to see its exterior as you will need to skiff people to and from the boat every time someone wants to take a look. The best possible option is to have your boat stationed to a dock for easy access, this way buyers can get a true sense of what its like to be on your boat in the water.
If docking is not a viable option, the next best and cheapest way of viewing is to park your boat on land. Either placed in a trailer or positioned on a stand.
What Information Should You Include
When you write a bill of sale for a boat, its important to be specific. Use as much detail as possible, so both you and the buyer are clear about the agreement before signing on the dotted line. Youll want to include at least the following information:
- The names, ID information , and contact details for both the buyer and the seller
- The boats information, including VIN, make, model, year, and registration number
- The price of the boat
- Conditions of the sale, including any warranties or as is status
To make sure you dont forget anything, its a good idea to download a bill of sale template from the internet. Just make sure the bill of sale you choose is suited for boats and that its compatible with your states laws.
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Lights Camera Action: Make Your Boat Stand Out
Once your boat is spotless, its time to take high-quality, detailed photos and video. Remember, the more photos the better! If you choose to sell your boat privately and own a smartphone, like an iPhone, you can shoot professional-quality photos without the need to hire a pro.
When shooting photos, find an attractive, uncluttered spot in order to capture the best possible imagery. Direct sunlight can be harsh and may create glares and strange shadows that end up making the boat look worse than it actually is. Try to shoot your photos during Golden Hourin the eveningor in the morning when the sun rises.
In addition, try to photograph your boat on the water. While trailer shots will suffice, there is no better place to show your boat to potential buyers than on the water. While youre there, dont be afraid to shoot a short walk-around video describing different aspects of the boat. Hold the camera horizontally, click record and show the boat off by walking through the vessel, showing a cold start, and talking about different options and features.
Above: Be sure the lighting is right when shooting photos or video of your boat. Photo: Ryan McVinney for Boat Trader.
Decide What Youre Selling
When an individual decides to sell their boat he or she must decide what will be going along with the boat including, but not limited to, outboard motor, trailer, life jackets, and other gear. Whether or not these items are included will determine the final value of the sales price depending if its wanted by the buyer.
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I Have A Sailboat Without A Motor Does It Have To Be Registered
All sailboats with mechanical propulsion must be registered regardless of length. Sailboats less than 12 feet in length without mechanical prolusion do not require registration. Sailboats 12 feet or longer must be registered whether or not they have mechanical propulsion. Boats operated exclusively on private ponds or lakes do not have to be registered.
Close The Deal: Boat Registrations Titles And More
Here’s an overview of the paperwork you’ll need to complete any boat sale.
Whether youre selling your family canoe, a large poweryacht, or something in between, finalizing the transfer of ownership will require some paperwork. Make sure you find out exactly what you will need ahead of time so you dont hold up the final sale. Notarizing all paperwork is not always required, but its always a good idea.
Listing The Boat For Sale
The first question to ask yourself is, do I need a broker?
Hiring a Broker Generally, if the boat will be selling for more than $40,000 then its best to hire a broker at a local marina. They will not only list it for the fair market value but also clean the boat and presentable to potential buyers.
Selling it Yourself If the value is under $40,000 then its advised to sell the boat yourself. Most brokers will not accept a boat lower than this amount.
In either case, if the seller decides to list the boat on their own its best to use the following websites :
Before you even think about listing your boat online or with a broker, its a good idea to clean and brush up your boat, whether thats by making cost-worthy repairs or by hiring a cleaning service to give your boat the best opportunity to sell. First impressions can go a long way.
Q: What If My Registration Has Expired
A: You can renew online at www.mass.gov/ole, by mail or visit one of our registration offices.
When registering in person, bring a copy of your old registration . You will be required to complete an application. Please bring with you a check or money order payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Please include on your check the applicable registration number for our reference. Your registration will be brought up to date to reflect a two year boat, snowmobile or Off-Highway Vehicle registration. OHV/Snowmobile registrations for non-residents will reflect a one year registration. Please note: If your registration has been expired for 48 months or longer, you will not be able to renew it online. Please visit one of our registration offices to process your renewal.
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How To Sell Your Boat Fast
Selling your boat can be an overwhelming endeavor in todays market and even more so if you need to sell quickly. We are often asked questions such as:
- How do I sell my boat quickly?
- What is the fastest way to sell my boat?
- What is the easiest way to sell my boat?
Yachts 360 is the industry professional in boat buying and selling and has created the guide below to help you through the process. Please contact us directly if you have any questions, comments, or would like to speak with a broker.
Prepare Your Boat To Sell
Youve got your price nailed down, but its still not time to take pictures of your boat yet or even make the listing, and why? Because its full of all of your stuff! Now is when you start getting your boat prepared for selling, and everything that comes with it.
Boat Prepping Tip #1
Remove all of the non essential stuff out of the boat. Good rule of Thumb: If someone were driving it away now, is there anything you would need to take out of it?
-Real Estate Agents do this all the time, right? Its called staging. You set up the house to look/feel as if its something anyone could move right into and use. Thats exactly what you are doing here because not only are you establishing what does and doesnt come with the boat, but you are also beginning the process of cleaning it for great pictures.
Boat Prepping Tip #2
- Axles & Brakes are OK
- Rust isnt Too Bad
The condition of the trailer doesnt have to be immaculate, but if its bad enough it will take money from the sale price.
Boat Prepping Tip #5
Remember Your Goal.
When you are selling anything to anyone their goal is always going to be to find a boat they like first, and following that to find as many problems as they can to drive down your price. So, your goal is to give them the least amount of ammunition to come at you with so you can better defend your price.
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Components Of A Boat Bill Of Sale
- The legal name and address of the buyer
- The legal name and address of the seller
- The date of the sale
- The sale price
- You may need a notary public to sign the form
- The printed name of the involved parties and the seller signature.
Many bill of sale forms also have an as-is clause. The phrase as-is refers to the boat being sold in its current condition and implies that the buyer accepts the boat as it is, including any potential or apparent faults. This caveat protects the seller from any subsequent request for a refund from the buyer because of any issues arising after receiving and paying for the boat.
How Do I Contact My Boat Manufacturer To Get A Hull Identification Number
A HIN is required for boats manufactured after November 1, 1972. If the HIN is unavailable and unknown, the boat owner must first contact the boat manufacturer to obtain a replacement HIN. The U.S. Coast Guard maintains a list of boat manufacturers and contact information at .
If the manufacturer is out of business or will not assist the boat owner, a DNR HIN Inspection is necessary. DNR will assign a HIN number during the inspection process and the boat owner is responsible for permanently affixing the HIN to the boat.
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No Two Used Boats Are The Same
One thing that is for sure, unlike a car, is that you are not going to find your identical boat out there. Someone will have the same hull but upgraded motors. Another boat owner will have the same motors but more/less electronics. You will get in the ballpark easily, but the rest you will have to use your best judgment.
Best practice here is to consider what it would cost someone to upgrade then back down from that .
Q: Do I Need To Apply For A Certificate Of Title
A: All boats 14 feet or greater in length that are designed for use with a motor, or that use a motor at any time, must be titled. For example, sailboats 14 feet or longer with a backup motor in use, or sailboats designed for use with a backup motor, must be titled. Even canoes 14 feet or longer that use a motor of any type must be titled. Boats exempt from titling requirements include U.S. government-owned vessels federally documented vessels boats used solely for demonstration, testing, sales, or promotional purposes by a dealer or manufacturer and boats registered in another state which are not located in the Commonwealth for more than 60 consecutive day
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What Paperwork Do I Need To Sell My Boat
You will need the title, registration and any relevant Coast Guard documentation for your boat. Also, make sure you have title and registration documentation for any associated trailers. A bill of sale is typically used to document the transaction and includes things such as hull or vessel identification number, description of the boat, purchase price and transaction date. If a licensed broker is involved, there is typically additional paperwork that serves to protect the buyers and sellers involved in the transaction. Other paperwork you should have includes insurance documentation, maintenance and service records and any warranty information.
Boat Surveys Sea Trials And Documentation
Buyers who like the marketing pitch and see all those details in order will next want to step aboard for a sea trial and a survey. Upon first boarding, they expect to see a boat that is clean and well maintained with no stinky smells. They also expect to see shipyard records at the ready for inspection, detailing everything from engine hours and rebuild work to the last hull paint job. A detailed service history alone can rank one boat higher than another in a buyers mind regular maintenance shows that the boat owner didnt just spruce up the boat for appearances at sale time, but instead actually cared.
This, by the way, is a great time to go back to step one and tell a storyabout, perhaps, the way you found the best carpenter in the shipyard to redo the teak varnish. Maybe his name was Carl. Maybe he still works at the yard, and you have his number ready for the new owner, along with a tip that Carl really loves stone crab claws. Now, youre selling not only the boat and its fresh new varnish, but also a tip about how to make sure it remains lovingly cared for with the buyer, who will be picturing himself at the shipyard with Carl, living his own version of the boating dream.
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S Involved In Selling A Boat
Selling a boat is like selling a house but few people see it that way.
If you want buyers to drool over your vessel and start dreaming about owning it from the moment they see it, you have a lot of work to do.
Its important to have a process when selling your boat to reduce prepping time, expenses and time to close the deal. Start by determining the boats worth.
Common Questions For Private Boat Sellers
- A common first question is a request for more details about the boats condition. Be honest but positive, and try to highlight the boats best features rather than rushing to bring up any “issues.” However, you do need to disclose any known significant defects.
- Another common request is for more photos. Buyers almost always want to see more boat pictures before they travel to see it in person.
- You can also expect questions about ownership history.
- Even if you have listed details in your ad, serious buyers may ask again how many hours are on the engine and where the boat can be viewed.
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How Do I Get A Hull Identification Number
- Boat owners should use every effort to determine if a boat has an existing HIN or resolve problems with a HIN for use in the registration process.
- A HIN is required for boats manufactured after November 1, 1972. If the HIN is unavailable and unknown, the boat owner must first contact the boat manufacturer to obtain a replacement HIN .
- If the HIN is known but the plate is missing or the HIN not inscribed on the boat, the boat owner is responsible for permanently affixing the HIN to the boat.
- If the HIN is an improper format, the applicant will be asked to electronically upload or send a picture or pencil tracing of the HIN to DNR for verification and further instruction.
- If the manufacturer is out of business or will not assist the boat owner, a DNR HIN Inspection is necessary. DNR will assign a HIN number after the inspection process and the boat owner is responsible for permanently affixing the HIN to the boat. Information on arranging an inspection can be found at .
Why Do I Have To Pay A Transaction Fee To Register My Boat
In December 2007, DNR first entered into a contract with an outside vendor to design and manage an automated hunting and fishing license and boat registration system. The new license system was required to replace a failing automated licensing system that was not going to be licensed and available to DNR after December 2008. In short, the system was failing and had to be replaced. Absent of a significant funding source to develop and manage a new system in-house, DNR explored contractual options for obtaining a no cost to state contract like those adopted in many other states. Funding for this type of system would be recovered by the addition of a service charge paid by the buyer at the time of the purchase. The current contract includes: boat registration and renewal online, by telephone, and by mail, and requires mailing registration cards and decals to vessel owners. A Service Center operated by the vendor receives about 200,000 calls per year and registers boat, sells licenses and answers questions about boat registration and recreational hunting and fishing licenses.
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Your Looking For Liquidity Now
Plenty of boat owners are interested in reshuffling their assets when new business ventures come along or when they have other goals, including real estate, other luxury vehicles, or investments. If you really need the liquidity in selling your boat, choosing a reliable broker can help you to not only sell your boat easily and quickly, but can also help you ensure that you get the highest return possible, boosting your liquidity for other ventures.