10 Tips to Help Sell Your Boat!
- Understand Competition. You are not only competing against other boaters selling their boat, you are competing against the boater who may opt to buy a new boat instead. Knowing this you should make sure that your boat is competitively priced against similar boats for sale. Some new boats tend to have fewer options or features in order to keep them price competitive. By understanding this you may be able to offer a prospective buyer a few features that the newer models don't. You may also want to include a few add-on items that can sway a buyer. These include fish finders, downriggers, radar, radio, GPS and so forth. Be sure your ad includes all these things. If your boat has special features that are no longer offered on newer models, mention them.
- Advertise Properly. Most boaters try to sell their boat on the cheap. This includes free internet ads or a sign on your boat saying it is for sale. These rarely if ever work. Selling a boat is a numbers game. The sooner you understand that the smarter you will be. More and more boaters are using the internet to search for boats. And why not, with a simple mouse click they can search hundreds of boats that match their profile, many just a few miles away. Also most boaters look for complete photo listings. It's said a picture is worth a thousand words..in boating it is the difference between selling a boat and not. In fact, in a recent Used Boat Finder study, brokers who placed ads with just word listings got on average 1-3 boaters who responded per week. Similar model boats with pictures got over 20 responses on average per week. On average, boaters need to see 50 boat listings before they make a decision to contact you via e-mail or phone. So unless you are willing to wait 17 weeks to one year you should seriously consider a photo listing. If you are serious about getting good leads and more of them, spend the money to place an ad with photos. A Note about Photos: Your pictures should be very clean on a sunny day. Make sure your photos are clear and take the following type of pictures:
- Make Communication Easy. It is often very funny to call on boat ads. In most cases the phone number is the home phone of the seller. Kids answer the phone and don't take messages. Most spouses can't answer the caller's questions, and in many cases there is no one home to take the call and no answering machine. You should set up an answering machine orrequest thatyour phone company set up a voice mail box (they run about $5 a month). A small price to pay not to lose an important prospect. Many boat prospects use e-mail for this reason. If you don't have e-mail GET IT! You can get a free e-mail account on Hot Mail, just click here: www.hotmail.com. Warning you must check your e-mail account daily as boaters are an anxious bunch and don't appreciate waiting for an e-mail response too long.
- Don't Overprice. Many boaters price their boat for sale based on what they owe on the boat. Unfortunately, this is not really what the boat is worth in most cases. Before you list your boat anywhere, research what the blue book value of your boat really is. If you aren't willing to part with it somewhere in between the low retail and average retail price then either be prepared to get little response or be disappointed when a similar naive buyer makes an offer only to find that his bank won't carry the debt either. You can check the value of your boat with the NADA guide here.
- Consider a Broker. If you aren't prepared to be available nights and weekends to show your boat and have muddy kids and overly judgmental adults going through your boat, then a broker may do you some good. Most brokers charge between 10% and 15% of the sale price of the boat. If you want $40,000 for your boat you will pay the broker around $4,000 to sell it. This price can be negotiated sometimes, especially if your boat is in demand. Ask your broker how they will sell the boat. Will they place internet ads and print ads or just show it on their lot. Make sure they place an ad for your boat on the Internet. You would be surprised how many boaters are willing to drive 500 miles or more to see a boat listed on the Internet that interest them. If you're not listed on the Internet they may never see your boat. If you can afford it or just to busy to show your boat, brokers are a good way to go.
- Clean boats sell. Have you ever been on a nice boat that is dirty? There's no such thing. If the boat is dirty it isn't nice. Very few people buy boats with last years May Flies glued to the canvas. Clean your boat regularly during showing or don't list it in the first place.
- Get a Survey. This could save you a lot of heartache and head aches later. A survey determines if the boat is in good working condition. It allows you to not only see what needs to be fixed, but if your boat will sell in the first place. I once saw a boat (I shall not name the brand to protect the guilty) that was so rotted inside that it was un-sellable. Even though this didn't comfort the seller, they didn't waste their time with selling the boat. Most banks will require a survey to financeused boats, so why not do one before selling and you can use that to hold strong on yourprice. If the survey comes in good, then use it to help sell the boat. If it comes in bad then at least you will know your options. Surveys typically run $10 per linear foot. So a 30 ft boat will run you about $300 to get it surveyed.
- It does take time. Every boater believes that their boat will sell in a week. This very rarely happens. Most boats sell in between 3-6 months after listing. Be patient. It is a numbers game. You must find that one person who wants to find your boat. Listing your boat where it is only up for a couple of weeks, will only disappoint you and lower your chances of selling the boat. Look for listing sites (like Used Boat Finder) that allow you to keep your boat up until it sells. Remember, if you want to sell your boat by fall start now. You can use your boat, just be available to show it. In fact, boats in the water look better and allow the purchaser to fall in love with the performance and ride.
- Be willing to negotiate. Everyone loves a deal. Be somewhat flexible in your price. For example, if you sell your boat at the end of the season you may agree to pay for winter storage. Think about it, you would have to pay that anyway, plus the boat payment. Unless you have several boaters bidding for the same boat, dealing may be necessary to keep them from wandering off for good. In any case you should try to work with the new potential owner any way necessary to make sure the deal goes through.
- Know your best offer. Know the lowest price you can go on the boat. If you don't you may find that you sold a boat for more than you can afford. Now your bank wants their money and your left taking a loan out just to get even. Nothing worst than selling a boat and getting a headache in exchange.
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