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Selling Your Boat in a Down Market

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Selling Your Boat in a Down Market

There is no denying that the U.S. Economy is in a state of turmoil. Daily news reports seem to keep pounding doom and gloom reports at us on a daily basis. The fact is that today’s market is not what it was five years ago, three years ago or even at this time last year. And yet another fact is that many boat owners are looking for ways to cut their expenses and are considering selling their boats.

The questions that today’s seller has are only slightly different from yesterday’s seller’s. Today’s seller has heard that banks won’t lend money to buyers, that nobody is buying anything, that it’s all bad – very bad but untrue. Loans are still available at decent rates but the lenders are not as frivolous as in the past. As someone who may want – or need – to sell their boat, you may not be sure what the best way to sell your boat for the highest price possible and with the lowest costs is. You need information, and you need information that is honest and accurate – not someone who is telling you what you want to hear.

As an experienced broker, I have been through similar situations where boat sales have been impacted by economic factors beyond anyone’s control, and I am here to tell you that your boat can sell, and it will sell, when three key factors are addressed, regardless of any economic conditions.
Condition is top on the list because it is essential that your boat presents itself well. First impressions are lasting ones, and your goal should be to allow potential buyers to imagine how much fun and relaxation your boat will provide them. The last thing you want is for them to be envisioning how much work they will have to perform. Show them that your boat has been loved and cared for!

It rarely requires a major expense to get your boat in “selling condition.” In most cases a good clean up is all that is needed. Take a moment to look at your boat as if you were stepping on your boat for the first time. This is something I can advise you on, as well. As someone who has shown countless boats, I know what hits a potential buyer first and what can be a deal-breaker right off the bat. For starters, look at the following:
• Teak – Clean and treat if dirty and dull.
• Canvas – Repair or replace if it is ripped or has broken zippers.
• Enclosure – Again, repair or replace as needed.
• Carpet – Clean or shampoo, if it is dirty or soiled. Replace it if needed.
• Bilge & Engines – They should not appear dirty, oily or rusted – be sure they’re clean, wire brushed and touched up with paint, if needed.
• Equipment – If your equipment is inoperable, repair or remove it.
• Engines – If your engines are not in good working order, fix them! Not doing so may be the quickest way to turn a buyer away.

Boat owners who hesitate to fix items until a deal is made or offer buyers an allowance to take care of the problems themselves are in for a really big (and unpleasant) surprise! The simplest repair is almost guaranteed to cost you much more when negotiating the sale. Too many repairs give the impression of neglect and a buyer’s interest will quickly turn to someone else’s boat! Remember, the focus has to be on keeping the boat fun and exciting for the future owner, not for them to begin fixing problems from Day 1. Buying and selling a boat is supposed to be a pleasurable experience.
The more people that are aware of your boat and see it, the more likely it will sell quickly and for the current market value! Intrinsic Yacht & Ship boasts a prime office location in Annapolis. Located at the Yacht Haven, we offer dedicated, full-time brokers and a mobile service fleet with experienced technicians to better serve our clients.

We focus heavily on marketing. The internet is still one of the best places to find potential buyers, and we get your boat onto the most viewed and useful sights, including the top 3 MLS systems; Yacht Council, BUC Net and Yachtworld, as well as our website. We are also aggressive in our print advertising, direct mail, e-mail campaigns and utilizing established maritime networks.

Intrinsic Yacht & Ship also believes in using new and innovative methods to stay in front of the boating community. By participating in every major Boat Show and Fishing Tournament on the East Coast, we are able to be with boaters, not just in front of them. We also use a variety of other media, including YouTube videos, blogs, our constant contact clients and more. Changing times call for constantly updating our approach, using the tried and true methods, while keeping current with today’s trends is vital in today’s market. Focusing on the long term is far better than short term band aids!
Of the three key essentials to getting your boat sold, particularly in today’s market, price is by far the most important. Optimistic yacht owners love to quote, “There’s a buyer for every yacht,” but, more often than not, they leave out the qualifier “at the buyer’s price.” The reality is that it is the buyers, not the sellers, brokers or dealers who determine the market value of a yacht. You can own the best kept boat with the most upgrades and have everyone in the world know about it, but, if it isn’t priced right, it simply won’t sell!

When you set an unrealistic price, even with the intention of giving yourself room to negotiate offers to your advantage, it sets in motion a string of events that works against you. Most yacht brokers, as well as most qualified buyers, will see your boat advertised almost immediately. If it is overpriced by as little as 10% it will be duly noted, the interest in your yacht will decline and buyers will look toward similar yachts at a real offering price. You may have already priced many qualified buyers away from your yacht and toward its competition. Good yacht brokers know the market by checking it daily, and they often used overpriced yachts like yours to help sell their own listings. If your boat has been listed for sale and hasn’t sold within a reasonable period of time, you can almost bet it’s overpriced.

The price you paid for your boat, the amount you have invested in repairs, upgrades or updates, or the amount you still owe on it has absolutely no bearing on its current market value. Prices are determined by several factors; comparable boats that have sold, BUC & NADA book pricing (the industry guides used by lenders and insurance companies), demand, and the number of boats on the market that are competing with yours. Listing prices of boats found on the market can often be misleading because they do not reflect how long the boat has been for sale, much less the actual selling price.
In choosing a broker, make sure they are totally knowledgeable of today’s ever-changing market. Be concerned if a broker asks you to suggest the listing price of your boat. Don’t laugh – it happens all the time! You wouldn’t feel very confident if your dentist asked you what tooth he should drill! A qualified yacht broker, like any other professional, is expected to be the expert in his field and should be able to provide you with your boat’s true value in current market conditions.

Often brokers will list your boat at any price because they are banking on the chance that, if an offer should come in at a lower price, they can convince you to accept it. When your price is set at a price that is unreasonable and it takes an increased amount of time to sell it, your boat is getting older (decreasing in value), mounting up slip fees, monthly payments and insurance costs, as well as slowly deteriorating if you are not using the boat! The truth is that the longer your boat remains on the market without any changes, the harder it becomes to sell and the less valuable it becomes. It is often hard to accept the truth about your boat’s true market value, especially when the market is soft. If you are willing to face the facts, you will sell your boat.

In years past, it was very easy for someone to buy a boat with little or no money down. Unfortunately this resulted in a “negative position” for many boat owners. If that is your situation, you must first decide whether you can afford to sell your boat. If you can not afford to sell it for its current value rather than what you owe on it or have invested into it, then you must accept the fact that you will continue to have payments, interest, insurance, storage expenses and maintenance while your boat continues to decrease in value. Carefully weigh your options, and keep in mind that selling your boat sooner rather than later will keep any losses to a minimum.

If you want to discuss selling your boat, please contact me today to find out what your boat’s value is in today’s market. I have had many years of experience successfully selling boats for owners who are in the same position you are in today. Currently, I am working with many sellers and have negotiated with their financial institutions to help them reduce their financial risks in selling their boats. The choice is yours and we are here to help.

Intrinsic Yacht & Ship

201 Washington St
Annapolis, MD 21403, United States

Toll-free 877-393-9030
Tel 877-342-2709
Fax 410-263-9289
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